VoiScript Version 1.3

Scripted Audio Playback System

VoiScript is a program to synchronise display of a script with replay of an audio recording. VoiScript allows you to move around a scripted recording simply by clicking on the script. Since VoiScript also allows you to record your own voice, it is useful in many educational situations.

Download |  Operation |  Authoring |  Problems |  Feedback |  Copyright

Download and Installation

VoiScript is only available by anonymous FTP from:

Download the file called voiscriptddd.exe into a temporary directory. Then find and run the file to unpack and install.

Operation

Menus

Toolbar

Authoring Scripts

Audio Replay

Creating your own scripts for VoiScript is easy if you have some knowledge of web page authoring. A VoiScript audio script is just a normal web page encoded in HTML, but with a special kind of hyperlink used to indicate a position within an audio file.

Normal HTML to link to an audio recording would look like this:

When you click on this link in a normal browser, typically a "helper" application will be launched, and the audio will start to play back from the beginning of the file. In VoiScript, playback of local audio files (ending in ".wav" or ".mp3") are detected and trapped within the program. This prevents the helper application being launched and simultaneously allows VoiScript to have control over pausing, skipping and rewinding the recording.

To support access to starting points within a file, VoiScript supports links that look like this: <a href="audio.wav#start-time">, for example:

The above link will start replay 10.6 seconds into the file and continue until the end of the file. You can request VoiScript to replay just a given segment of file by specifying both the start time and the stop time: <a href="audio.wav#start-time#stop-time">, for example:

This link will replay just two seconds of the file at offset 10.6 seconds from the start.

Remember that these commands are only available on links referring to local audio files stored in WAV and MP3 format files.

Synchronised scripts

A synchronised script is just a set of links to an audio file in which the links themselves point to the starting point in the audio of that line of script. In addition each link must be given a unique name so that VoiScript can navigate to that line when the piece of recording referred to by the line is played.

For example, here are some lines from a script:

Notice that each line is a link and that each link has a unique name.

You can find the time of the start of each line in a script using the VoiScript 'Mark' and 'View/Marks' commands. First load your script into VoiScript making sure to include a link to start replay of the whole audio file. Then while the audio is playing, click on the 'Mark!' menu command at the start of each script line. The 'View/Marks' command will then display the name of the file and the time of the mark ready for you to cut and paste these into your script.

Style sheets

You can improve the default appearance of sychronised scripts through the use of style sheets. In particular you can remove the default blue colouring and blue underline used to indicate links. You can also add special features, for example, a change in background colour for the link currently playing.

This style sheet extract gives you some ideas:

If you put these lines before the <body> tag in your HTML code, it will cause links to be displayed in dark blue without an underline, but also for links to gain an underline when the mouse 'hovers' over them, and to have a pale yellow background when they are being used.

Hints and tips

Problems

After I start VoiScript, nothing is displayed

VoiScript uses the web page display engine that comes as part of Internet Explorer. You must have Internet Explorer installed on your system to use VoiScript. You can download Internet Explorer without charge from Microsoft.

Local audio recording does not seem to work

To record local audio you will need to have a microphone and to have made adjustments to the Windows recording controls. You can open the Windows Volume Control application by double-clicking on the loudspeaker icon at the bottom right of the screen. Then choose Options/Properties and select Recording. Adjust the volume controls and the Mute check boxes to set the input device and level. If you get a howl of feedback from your speakers when the microphone is active, ensure the Microphone input is set to Mute on the Output volume control settings.

I get "cannot open replay device" when playing back a local recording

Windows versions prior to Windows XP cannot simultaneously play back more than one audio signal at a time. Thus you can only play back your local recording when the main audio file replay is stopped. There is no such limitation with Windows XP.

Feedback

Please send suggestions for improvements and reports of program faults to SFS@phon.ucl.ac.uk.

Please note that we are unable to provide help with the use of this program.

Copyright

VoiScript is not public domain software, its intellectual property is owned by Mark Huckvale, University College London. However VoiScript may be used and copied without charge as long as the program and help file remain unmodified and continue to carry this copyright notice. Please contact the author for other licensing arrangements. VoiScript carries no warranty of any kind, you use it at your own risk.


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