Syncing video and slide timeline

I am using Storyline 2, and I have read a few threads on syncing issues associated with pausing/playing videos, which were helpful with that issue.

However, my question is: how do you get a video timeline and slide timeline to sync up, in general? 

For instance, even the user never clicks the pause or stop button, if they simply just don't start the video at the time they access the slide, the annotations are still off.

Any solutions?

15 Replies
Ashley Terwilliger

Hi Stacia, 

I may not be entirely understanding your question - but if you add a video to the slide, to start when the slide starts then the timelines will be in sync (unless you enable the video controls, than the slide and the video can be paused independently of one another) - if you want to show the video controls, but stop the user from pausing the video and therefore causing elements to get out of sync, you could always put a transparent shape over the video so that the user is unable to click on it. 

Bernard Sandler

The issue is not that the video is being paused independently of other timeline objects.  The issues is that the objects on the timeline seem to slip out of sync with the video as time goes by.  This is particularly apparent when you use the seek bar to allow students to move back and forth along the video.  As a note, a solution that removes the seek bar is unhelpful.

Walt Hamilton

 What happens is that when your user uses the seekbar to move ahead or back 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. I don't know if SL will ever become mature and sophisticated enough to handle something that complex.

Bernard Sandler

I am looking forward to a substantive response from Articulate in the thread Leslie noted above.  I'm afraid that the complexity escapes me.  We are talking about objects triggered to appear based on one of two variables, position on a timeline, or based on cues embedded in the timeline (at least for my purposes).  SL should have no trouble knowing what objects should be in play at any given time.  If there is an issue that the video or audio tracks are somehow drifting in their alignment with the timeline, that is a pretty significant issue.

Walt Hamilton

I'm glad that you recognize that this is a "should" situation. 

Since the timing is correct if the slide is played uninterrupted from the beginning, I think it is a problem with calculation. "At this point, what should be on the slide, and how soon should something else show up."  For whatever reason, (even if it is as simple as two variables, as you say), it is beyond the capabilities of SL. This problem bothers me most during editing. You cannot manually choose a starting point on the timeline, or manually advance in the timeline, or the timing will be off by several seconds.

As has been pointed out, other software can do this, but here we are talking about mature software. How long it will take Articulate to reach that point seems to be anybody's guess.

J H

I'm experiencing this same issue. But I will "up" the problem, just a bit.

I have a 3:00 video. Of course, placing this onto a single slide causes problems too numerous to even bother explaining, but that I'm sure everyone here understands. So the solution was to chop it up (in Premiere Pro CC) into short :15 - :30 segments and place each on its own slide.

Each slide is suppose to last the exact duration of the video background on it, and has animations rolling over top. Yes, I'm experiencing the same issue in which skipping forward or backward in the seek bar messes up the sync between the video and the other animated elements. However, I'm noticing a far bigger problem...

My slides are set with a trigger to Jump to Slide > Next when Media Completes > VIDEONAME.MP4. And even though my videos are just :15 - :30, I have the timeline for each slide at 2:00, just to hopefully help with any other possible issues. I have the seek bar turned off on all slides, because I want them to roll through as though they are one video, and having a seek bar restart at its beginning every :15 - :30 looks horrible.

So here's my problem. I start the slide, and all is well. I skip forward to the next slide, and all is well. I skip back to that first slide again, and it takes :5 to buffer. And, as a result, it chops off the last 5 seconds of the video before jumping forward to the next. In other words, even though the slide is set to advance automatically when the media/video completes, SL seems to be calculating how long the slide should take (or how long the video is) while buffering, and begins ticking down a clock on that immediately, even though the video has not yet started.

Does that make sense? Any fixes for this bug which makes video pretty useless in SL??

Ashley Terwilliger

Hi JH, 

Thanks for reaching out here, and although this thread is a bit older it's definitely something we've shared with our QA team and they're investigating in regards the the media getting out of sync with other elements on the timeline especially when the user scrubs back and forth. It sounds like in your situation the slide is having to reload and therefore cutting off a bit of the video? Are the videos embedded on the slide or linked as web objects? 

Do you have a sample you could share with us here so that we could take a deeper look? 

J H

Walt:

I cut everything down to just 15-30 second clips, totally 3:00. Each is on a separate slide, with all but the first slide hidden from the menu (so that they will, theoretically, roll through seamlessly and appear to be a single video).

Ashley:

Each of these videos are embedded directly into the slide. It seems odd that it takes that long to buffer 15-30 second videos, which are fairly lower quality. Unfortunately, I cannot share an example because the entire SL file is rather large, with just how many videos (or video segments) had to go into the entire course, and where I have it published (a course in Absorb LMS) is proprietary and behind a password-protected login.

But your assessment is correct - it seems that the few seconds it takes to buffer the slide, due to the short video, is being counted...like the timeline on the slide is starting as soon as the buffering begins, and is therefore cutting off the end of the video. Which is odd, when the trigger for the slide to advance is Jump To Slide > Next Slide > When Media Completes...it seems that the timeline should therefore not even begin until the media begins, or at the very least that it shouldn't be cutting off the end of the media since the slide shouldn't be advancing because the media hasn't completed.

Thanks Walt and Ashley for quick replies - this community always seems awesome about that!

Ashley Terwilliger

Hi JH,

I do know that we load the content on each slide as described here, and Storyline is set up to progressively stream MP4s as detailed here. I wonder if it's the overall load of the course that is causing lagging issues and/or where or how it's been viewed? Have you tried uploading it to another server/LMS or testing it from another wireless connection? You could use one of the sites mentioned here to upload it too. 

J H

Ashley:

Thanks for the reply and all of the helpful information!

I'm actually on a hardwired connection at work, so that should be speeding up the buffering all the more. Also, I've only tried skipping backward in the menu to previously viewed slides and videos (not forward)...so those should have already been buffered into the cache/memory, correct? So they shouldn't be experiencing the lag and buffering issue each time that they are viewed, as I am currently experiencing, correct?

I actually knew about the order of the load, so I had that in mind when I built the course...placing very short 5-10 second slides (with few graphics or animations) that require the user to click forward, between many of these slides, and at the beginning of the course. My thought process being that SL would load these almost instantly and begin loading the next 2 slides, which contain 15-30 second videos. But it doesn't seem to be happening that way. Even after the video on a slide has been viewed and the course has automatically advanced to the next slide, clicking back in the menu causes it to freeze while it tries to buffer the video from the previous slide all over again, and throwing off that timing.

Ashley Terwilliger

Hi JH,

Did you allow those slides to load fully before you continued past them and then jumped back? 

I know you mentioned you're unable to share because of how large it is, have you tried to strip it down a bit smaller to see if it's the overall course load that could be the issue? We're also happy to take a look regardless of size, and you can upload directly to our Support team here which can accommodate larger file sizes. It's difficult to determine other causes without seeing it and doing a bit more testing. If you choose to share with our team please feel free to let me know and I can follow along.