Storyline Video - Animation syncing

Feb 10, 2015

Hopefully someone can help me with this. I have uploaded a video into Storyline 2, and I am trying to sync object animations with the video. I place the objects exactly where I want them in the video. When I hit play, sometimes the animation is correct, sometimes its off by a second or more, so I move it to its new time. Press play again, now it may be right, or it may be off a second or more in the other direction. Another way to say this is if I move the playhead to the 30 second mark, it will play from that point. If I then move it again to the 30 second mark, the video will play from a different point than it had previously. This makes it very difficult to properly sync animations. Has anyone else experienced this issue? Any idea how to fix it? Thanks!

12 Replies
Walt Hamilton

This is a pretty well know problem.  The ONLY accurate method of playback is to preview the slide from the beginning. If you even move the seeker in the preview, it will throw the timing off between the video and other actions on the timeline. Even if you preview from within the editor from the beginning, the timing is not reliable. As you have found out, starting the preview from some place on the timeline brings strange (and seldom wonderful) results.

To check your timing accurately, you have to watch every second of the slide from the beginning from the preview. Of course, if you are willing to settle for being accurate within 10 or 12 seconds, there are lots of workarounds, and I'm sure you will inundated with them :)

Greg Sevcik


Thanks for you help. I am creating several ~ 5 minute long video clips. Each video is a single slide. The purpose is to demonstrate how to use a piece of customized software on an iPad. I did a video screen recording, but I also am adding animated "highlight boxes" at specific times to show the user when and where to click. This method requires precise timing, and it looks like Storyline is not going to be able to provide that to me with the method I am employing. Do you have any other suggested ways of demonstrating these learning tasks in Storyline?

Walt Hamilton

Greg, I think you can do what you want.

The thing to remember is that SL is not changing your timings. What happens is that when you try to start a preview in the middle of a timeline (or use the seekbar to jump ahead in a timeline) SL attempts to calculate where every item would be.  It is a noble endeavor, but SL just doesn't have enough fingers and toes to do math that complicated, so things jump into and out of the timeline SEEMINGLY at random.  REMEMBER: the timings haven't changed, they just appear to change.

If you preview using the preview button, and view from the beginning without jumping ahead, things will show up at the same time every time.

I think what you want to do is to set timeline triggers (show lightbox when timeline reaches 55.5 secs).  You can use lightboxes, or layers, either of which pause the base timeline.  You can set them pretty exactly, and they won't change.

Rule of thumb: Never start preview from playhead if timing needs to be more accurate than about 10 seconds.  Always start from the beginning, and if you want real accuracy, start from the preview button.

Greg Sevcik

Hi Mike,

Yes I am still having the issue when using the preview slide option. Stacia mentioned that the only way for the "preview slide" to be accurate is if I watch the entire preview without interruption. Perhaps that is true, but it seems impractical to have to sit through an entire video presentation in order to try and catch timing issues. If I have 10 animations at the back end of the video, I must sit through the entire preview, then when the animations start appearing, I can't pause the preview, lest the animation timing once again not be accurately reflected. So I have to let all the animations play out while frantically trying to jot down notes (move this one 1/4 second forward, move this one 1/2 second back, etc). That's difficult to do accurately. Then, I go in, make the adjustments, watch the whole thing again, and repeat.

Perhaps there is a best practice I am not following here, but the inaccuracy and inconsistency of previewing animation syncs is an enormous time drain for me, and I suspect many other users. Since this is apparently a well known issue, can we expect a fix anytime soon?



Walt Hamilton


One thing I have learned about timing things with videos:

Open the video in a video editor. (Even Microsoft's free MovieMaker works.)  Use it to find the exact time in the video you want an event to occur, and transfer that time to the event in SL.  In Movie Maker (or LightBox free version), I can advance the video frame by frame, and it will give me the time to the .01 of a second, and the time line never slips out of sync.

Two caveats:

1. You may have to do some math. If the event occurs at 25 seconds into the video, and the video starts 10 seconds into the slide, your time for the event is 35 seconds.

2. MovieMaker reports time in minutes and seconds, while SL reports only seconds, so you have to do that conversion.

Still, since I discovered this, I watch each video once, record and enter the times, and I'm done.

A side note is that VLC is my favorite free video player, but it reports time only to the second, which isn't always accurate enough.

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