Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Tips for Working with Audio in DemoMate

Here is a collection of useful tips for incorporating sound bites in DemoMate:

  • Invest in a good microphone! We tested a variety of different recording devices, and microphone quality had the biggest impact on audio quality. Check the DemoMate Team Blog for suggestions.
  • Keep your sound bites short and sweet. You don’t need continuous dialog.
  • Experiment with adding sound to a Step or a Section. Select whichever approach works best for you.
  • Use the Presenter Script box to write notes about what you are going to say ahead of time.
  • Try using a free, professional audio recording program. We’re big fans of certain packages. Check the DemoMate Team Blog for suggestions.
  • If using a professional audio recording program, normalize the volume levels of the recordings. Also, trim out any dead space at the beginning and end of your audio clips, to tighten them up. If you don’t do this, you might notice a bit of “lag” at the beginning or end of a Step or Section.
  • Advanced: If needed, you can adjust the volume levels of your audio in tutorials by directly editing the following attributes in the OBJECT embed tag: ClickSoundVolume, SoundBiteVolume, and BackgroundSoundVolume. Valid values for these three parameters are between 0 (muted) and 1 (full volume).

Monday, August 17, 2009

Adding Sound Bites or Background Music to Your Demo

There are two ways to add audio to your demo: you can record your own audio using the DemoMate Sound Recorder, or you can Attach pre-recorded audio files. DemoMate supports both .mp3 and Windows Media Audio (.wma) file formats.

The benefits of using the DemoMate Sound Recorder are that it is extremely simple, fast, and easy to use. The benefits of using professional audio software are that you have the opportunity to perform post-production functions not supported by the DemoMate Sound Recorder, such as normalizing volume levels, eliminating static, and editing out dead space. Check the DemoMate Team Blog for recommended audio packages. When using professional audio, you may still want to use the DemoMate Sound Recorder for the purposes of timing and “scratch tracks.”

Adding Audio to a Step or Section

To add an audio “sound bite” to a Step or Section, click on the Speaker Button next to the Step number or Section Name in the right navigation pane. This will launch the Sound Bite dialog box, with the following options:

Play – Preview an existing sound bite.

Stop – This button serves dual purposes, and will either stop playing a sound bite if one is playing, or stop a recording session.

Record – Begin recording a sound bite.

Attach File – Allows you to browse and select an existing file.

Delete – Deletes the existing sound bite.

Using the Mini Audio Control Panel

There is an additional way to add an audio Sound Bite to a Step. If you have an individual Step selected in the navigation pane, you can also use the Mini Audio Control Panel, embedded in the bottom panel, to preview, record, or attach sound bites. Finally, you can right click on a step (or section) in the navigation pane to bring up a context menu that allows you to perform certain actions.

Adding Demo Background Music

To add background music to your demo, click the Music button located directly above the Capture New Section button in the right editor pane.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Introduction to Audio in DemoMate

DemoMate gives you the ability to add audio “sound bites” to individual Steps within a demo, or to Sections within a demo. You can hear the audio whenever you use one of the auto-play options in DemoMate. These options include: clicking the Play button from the DemoMate Editor, or selecting Package Tutorial on the Share tab.

When playing a demo back, audio “Sound Bites” associated with an individual Step will play first, then advance the demo, giving demo authors control and flexibility over how sound bites are used in the demo. Audio associated with a Section will keep playing as the demo progresses from Step to Step. If the audio file is longer than all the steps in the Section, then the mouse cursor will pause on the last step of the Section until the audio file has finished playing.

You can also add Background Music to your demo, which will play and loop in the background of your demo.

Note: Even in a DemoMate where audio has been added, the audio will not interfere with your use of any presenter-driven DemoMate formats, such as selecting Preview or Present from the DemoMate Editor, or selecting “Package for Distribution” or “Publish for Download” from the Share tab. In any of these cases, the recorded sound bites and background audio will simply not play when Presenting or Previewing. However, they will be included in any packaged file and available to the recipient for use in auto-play scenarios.