June 5, 2019
Adding Recorded Voice to a Captivate Project
June 5, 2019
Adding Recorded Voice to a Captivate Project
Newbie 5 posts
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Should I add voice over to my Captivate Project?

Learning theory strongly supports the addition of audio such as voice-over to eLearning.  In Captivate, there are a number of methods to do this.  In this post, I cover Recording a voice-over, directly to Captivate.  As a general principle however, if eLearning is to be available to a multitude of devices and browsers, it is prudent to ensure that the eLearning would be sufficient even if the audio fails to play.  Additionally, some learners may be deaf.  So, my preference is to design eLearning such that audio is an enhancement to the presentation, but not essential.

How can Voice-over be Added to a Captivate Project?

As noted, Voice-over can be added to a project in a number of ways:

  1. Importing recorded speech audio files; this may be done if tools outside of Captivate are being used.
  2. Recording a voice-over. This is the focus of this blog post.
  3. Generating a voice-over from text. I will cover text-to-speech voice-over in my next blog post.

It should be noted that these methods are not mutually exclusive.  You may wish to use text-to-speech recording for a preliminary client review and then add a voice recording for the final project.  The client review may change some components of the eLearning so, final voice addition should be the last step in the production process.

Since background music is sometimes used in eLearning, I’ll touch on how to add background music so that it can play concurrently with a voice over without interfering.

What follows is a step by step for adding audio in two-parts:

  1. Adding a Background Soundtrack
  2. Recording a Voice-over for a slide

A. Adding a Background Soundtrack

For background music, you will want to make sure that you are within copyright rules.  This music may be purchased or free.  I use music that is royalty-free for distribution; you do not pay to distribute the music with your project.

Audio and Speech can be managed from the Audio main menu.

To add background music, select  Audio >Import to > Background.

Which opens the following Adobe Sound Gallery.

Select and Open one of the files to import the soundtrack.  Here, I have selected a default soundtrack that comes with Captivate:  Loop Acoustic Mellow.

To complete the background sound, set the attributes in the “Background Audio” window:

Select Loop Audio and Stop audio at end of project.

In order for the background sound not to interfere with any voice-over, Select Adjust background audio volume on slides with audio. Depending upon the voice-over, this should be set to a value between 10 and 15%; here it is set at 13%.  Save and Close.

Should you wish to remove the background audio from the project, this can be done through Audio > Remove > Background.  And to limit the size of the project files, also remember to remove the background music object from the Library as well.

B. Recording a Voice-Over: Step by Step

Process Overview – the steps include

  1. Write a script
  2. Set Recording Settings (including mic calibration)
  3. Record Voice-over
  4. Adjust the Timeline of the objects relative to the voice-over.

The step by step for Recording a Voice-over follows:

1. Write a script.

For application software training, I often use the instructions in the Text Captions.  However, the script can also be typed into the Slide Notes.

The Notes attached to a slide can be viewed in the panel at the bottom of the workspace.  To display the Slide Notes panel, select Window > Slide Notes and the panel should appear as below. To add notes, select + and “Enter slide note” text in the field provided.

2. Set recording settings

Select Audio>Settings

  • Select the Audio Input Device that you wish to use. The options available in your computer are listed in the menu.
  • Here I have selected the Realtek® Microphone.
  • For audio settings, I use Constant Bitrate, Near CD Bitrate (96kbps). You can choose a Bitrate based on the quality you require.

    • The first time that you use the microphone, click Calibrate Input and then Auto calibrate.
    • When you press Auto calibrate, the process begins immediately.  Read a test paragraph into your mic.  As you do you will see “Checking Input Level” message (vs. Not Calibrating as seen above) and continue speaking until the message is updated to “Input Level OK” indicating the calibration is complete as seen below.

      Click OK to exit the screen.

3. Record voice-over.

You are now ready to record voice-over.  Remember to read slowly.  Also pause just before and after speaking the script text for the slide; this provides a buffer on either side of the voice recording to help align with slide activity. You can record on a continuous basis. However, recording on a per-slide basis allows for easier editing should the script or slide change.

  • Bring up the slide for the scripted recording and
  • If using Slide Notes, the display by selecting Window > Slide Notes
  • Select Audio > Record to > Slide

The Record and Stop buttons appear in the upper left-hand-corner of the window.

  • Click the circle to begin Note:  If you have not calibrated, you will be asked to calibrate and following this the countdown to recording will immediately follow.
  • You will receive a 3 – 2 – 1 countdown and recording will begin
  • Remember to pause at the beginning and the end of the voice-over recording
  • Click the square to stop. After ending recording the screen will appear as below.
  • Click Save
  • Select Yes to extend the display time to match the audio.

4. Adjust the timeline.

Typically, the length of time that a slide is displayed is extended to accommodate the length of time of the voice-over.    As such, once the voice recording is complete, you will want to play the slide: Select Preview > Play Slide

Use the Timeline to adjust the timing of objects relative to the voice-over.  It should be noted that for slides with interaction, an object waiting for an action does not necessarily pause the voice-over.  So, it is particularly important for the voice-over to be aligned in the timeline.

Adding silence at the beginning and end of the voice-over allows for objects to appear on the user’s screen before the voice description starts.  If the pause is insufficient, you may want the voice recording to start slightly after screen objects appear (as is the case in the example below).

In my next blog, I will discuss an alternate option for adding voice-over using the text-to-speech capabilities provided through Captivate and the free add-on from NEOSPEECH.

2021-08-17 16:09:43
2021-08-17 16:09:43

Hi, I hope if there’s anyway in adobe captivate to let learners record voice as in “chatting apps” ether with saving or not(it’s possible in JavaScript or action script). I think this is very important specially when learning languages or even ask learner to say something. I tried with some JavaScript codes but couldn’t work. If there’s any suggestion I’ll be happy. If no way I hope they can add this tool in the future. Thanks a lot

's comment
2021-08-18 07:49:05
2021-08-18 07:49:05
's comment

Feel free to enter a feature request. You find the form in the dropdown list when clicking your avatar.

2019-06-07 23:30:00
2019-06-07 23:30:00


2019-06-06 20:31:33
2019-06-06 20:31:33

Wow.  This is very helpful.   I agree with you that “Learning Theory strongly supports the addition of audio such as voice-over to eLearning”.

I am looking at converting UPK content to Captivate for ERP implementations.  The eLearning units all start with background music then fade for the voice-over instructions.  During testing simulations, background music plays while the learner is working.

So, this was most helpful. I understand how to do it. Screen shots really help.

Thanks again.


2019-06-06 07:33:36
2019-06-06 07:33:36

In my career as university professor I learned from my students that AUDIO is very important for the majority of learners. To cope with disabled, you can use Closed Captioning, which is well designed in Captivate. You seem to find audio not so important. Moreover the quality of audio is very important, much more than the quality of graphics.

I didn’t see anything new in this ‘tutorial’. The most important workflow: trying to improve the quality of the clip with the (limited’ editing functionality of Captivate is not described.

What should be avoided in almost all cases, is Background audio!  It can be nice for a game, but not in combination with useful audio like VO.

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