Although text and graphics are the most common elements used in multimedia applications, sound and video clips may also be used to enhance your program. Let's take a brief look at each one:


As stated earlier, sound can refer to speech, natural or synthesized sound effects, or music. Speech can be used to complement your written text, while music and sound effects can be used to create a mood, add emphasis or realism, or signal interactivity. For example, sound can be used to:

  • Replay historic moments, such as speeches or news events.
  • Add narration to a program.
  • Learn about music and acoustics.
  • Create a certain ambience, such as soft music for a story.
  • Add sound effects to on-screen events, such as a mouse click.
  • Provide entertainment.

There are many different types of sound files. The most common Windows sound file format is the WAV file. On the Mac the most common sound file type is the AIF file. Other file types include AU, SND, MIDI, MP3, and RA. Both the Windows and Mac operating systems come with simple sound recording software that allows you to record your own voice or other sounds. The sound quality of files created in this manner will not rival recordings made in a sound studio, but this equipment does provide a means for you to quickly add sound to your multimedia programs. If you prefer, you can use a dedicated sound recording/editing program such as SoundForge (Windows) or SoundEdit (Mac) to record and process your audio files.


Digital movies can provide visual impact and can be a great benefit in certain educational situations. With video you can show tasks and events that words and graphics are inadequate to explain. Video can be used to show something that changes over time, or to provide a more "real-world" look as compared to other graphics. For example, video can be used to:

  • Show historic events, such as the launch of Apollo-11.
  • Show something that we cannot see easily because of location, such as the landing on the moon.
  • Show something that cannot be shown due to physical or safety considerations, such as the inside of a nuclear reactor.
  • Demonstrate a critical process, such as a surgical procedure.

Keep in mind that movie files are generally very large. To display movie files efficiently you need fast network connections such as those offered by cable modems and related high-bandwidth technologies. In addition, producing high quality video clips is a difficult and time consuming job. To create a video clip you must have special computer hardware to take a video input from a camera or other source, edit your footage, and export the result as a digital movie file. While several years ago this process required high-end equipment, there are many low-cost tools available to do this.

The most common movie formats are QuickTime (MOV), MPEG (or MPG), MP4, FLV, WMV, and AVI.

Both sound and video files can take up a great deal of hard drive space, so it's important to use methods that will result in the smallest possible file sizes. As the length of a clip increases and/or the quality improves, the file size grows quickly. As a result, sound and video clips should be kept short in length, and compression should be used to further reduce the file sizes. Most video and sound editing programs have the ability to make adjustments to various parameters in order to help you keep your file sizes as small as possible. As long as you are not expecting to achieve film, broadcast, or CD quality you should be able to integrate sound and video clips into your multimedia programs in ways that will enhance your learners' experiences.

For this competency we'd like for you to play around with your authoring program's various ways of importing and using sound and video files. Depending on the authoring software you are using, here are some LinkedIn Learning tutorials we recommend that you go through. Since sound and video files are often handled the same way as graphics files, you may have already been through a tutorial that dealt with these topics, in which case you should already be familiar with the methods for importing these types of files into your program. Once again, keep in mind that the names of the tutorials may differ slightly depending on which set of tutorials you are using.

PowerPoint Advanced: Working with Multimedia
Dreamweaver Nothing new here
Flash Importing and Editing Sounds
Sound Properties
Combining and Nesting Movie Clip Symbols
Creating Screens and Frame Labels
Other programs Screen Recording or Screen Capture

Sound and Video Activity

When you've explored your authoring program's various ways of working with sound and video files, we'd like you to demonstrate your ability to import and present sound and video files using your authoring program. How you accomplish this will differ depending on the program you are using.

Begin by loading your activity from Competency 5. If you recall, at the end of that activity you ended up with a main screen with three menu items, each of which had a mouseover effect on it. For this activity, you can use the same menu as before. Once again, each of the options available on the main menu should lead users to a new page or screen. These separate screens should contain the following:

  • One of the screens should have a button that plays a sound effect when a user clicks on it.
  • One of the screens should have a short clip of narration that plays automatically when the screen loads. You can record narration using the built-in sound recording program on your computer, or a dedicated sound recording/editing program such as SoundForge or SoundEdit.
  • One of the screens should bring up a short digital movie file. The movie should appear embedded as part of the screen, not as a hyperlinked file. In addition, the movie should not begin playing by itself; instead, the user should control when the movie begins (see the example below).
  • Make sure there's a button on each screen to allow users to go back to the main screen.
  • Finally, include your name somewhere on the main screen.

The narration clip should be recorded by you. The other sound and video clips can either be clips you create yourself or clips you find somewhere else (there are many on the Web). Either way you do it, try to use clips that are small in size. We don't want you to spend hours uploading your results.

Once again, if you are using PowerPoint make sure that users cannot advance through the show except through the use of the menu buttons.

Flash Notes

If you are using Flash, your movie file will need to be in either QuickTime or AVI format for best results. If you are using an AVI file, Flash may ask you what format you want to import it as - if you choose "QuickTime" instead of "AVI" Flash will convert your AVI file to a QuickTime movie.

Also be aware that movie files are "linked" in Flash as opposed to being embedded in the movie, so you'll need to upload the movie file along with your Flash file.

PowerPoint Notes

If you are using a Windows version of PowerPoint, you may receive an error message if you try to insert a QuickTime movie into your show. Evidently, newer versions of PowerPoint do not support movies that were created with newer versions of QuickTime. Microsoft has some information about this on their site, which may or may not be helpful. If you encounter this problem and you cannot resolve it you may need to try finding another type of movie file to use. Or, you can try converting your QuickTime movie to different file format using a program such as QuickTime Pro.

Also be aware that if your movie was compressed with a nonstandard codec you may have problems playing it on another machine that doesn't have that codec. This is a good reason to try out your presentation on different machines.

HTML Notes

If you are using HTML and want to insert a movie file, you will have to embed the movie on the page, not link to it. Embedding a movie on a page causes the movie to appear as though it were part of the web page. This can be accomplished using the "embed" command in HTML. The "embed" command can be used to embed many different types of multimedia files, such as QuickTime (MOV), AVI, and WAV. The following example uses a QuickTime movie. When done correctly, the result should look something like this:

It should not look like this:

Link to Movie

If you need help with the "embed" command, consult the following web sites:

Submitting your Activity

Save this activity in your program's native file format. Name the file "soundvideo". Depending on the program you are using, you will end up with one of the following types of files:

  • Flash MX - fla (soundvideo.fla)
  • PowerPoint - ppt or pptx (soundvideo.ppt or soundvideo.pptx)
  • Dreamweaver - htm or html (soundvideo.htm or soundvideo.html)
  • Other programs - swf or other supported export formats (soundvideo.swf)

After you have saved the file, go to the student interface and submit your assignment for grading. Click here if you need additional information regarding submission of your assignment.

Assignment:Sound and Video Activity

Grading Criteria:

  • Main screen includes a menu containing at least three separate buttons with mouseover effects.
  • Each button on the main screen leads to a new screen.
  • One of the new screens contains a button that plays a sound effect when clicked on.
  • One of the screens has a short clip of narration that plays automatically when the screen loads.
  • One of the screens contains an embedded (not hyperlinked) digital movie file. In addition, movie does not play automatically, but only after input from the user.
  • Each screen includes a button that leads back to the main screen.
  • If using PowerPoint, the show does not advance except through the use of the buttons.
  • Student's name included somewhere on the main screen.