Making Enhanced CDs
Making Enhanced CDs

1  Making Enhanced CDs
2 What's an E-CD?
3 The Content
4  Encoding the CD
5 Autorun
6 Burn It, Test It, Press It

Page 4 — Encoding the CD

The first step in creating an enhanced CD is encoding the audio.

Get your songs together and burn an "Open Audio Session" on your CD. If you need some help with general CD-burner and/or software questions, referance "Do You Want To Burn a CD?" CD-burning article. I couldn't have said it better myself.

CAUTION: After you make your open audio session CD, please listen to it thoroughly.

After you burn the audio portion of the CD and check it, it's time to make the data portion.

But how much space do you have to work with?

First, realize that a blank CD has 740MB of space, which will hold about 60 minutes of audio. So calculate from here. If you have 40 minutes of songs, then you've got two-thirds of the 740MB taken up with audio, or around 493MB. That leaves 740 minus 493, or 247MBs left for other stuff. You should assume that you have more like 200 to 220MBs left, though — always leave 20 to 40MBs as a buffer to make room for the indexing voodoo that occurs behind the scenes.

To encode the data portion of the disc, you can try Director, QuickTime Pro, simple HTML, or Flash.

Flash has become a popular multimedia tool because it's easy for non-programmers to learn, is relatively cheap, and creates standalone executable files that usually work. For those who are a bit more adventurous, and have a bit more money in the bank, Macromedia Director will give you an even greater amount of control. But both programs will allow you to connect your CD to the Web.

When it comes time to start your E-CD project, DO NOT use the best computer you can find. Chances are that if you create something on your 5000 GHz Windows 2000 machine, people with older machines won't be able to view the finished product. So it's smart to use a good middle-ground machine when you are creating your E-CD.

If you are fortunate enough to own Macromedia Director, then you can create a robust, interactive data session that automatically takes over the whole screen, implements Flash, HTML, QuickTime movies and tons of other goodies. This is the program you can use and love. If you are making a Director application to put on your E-CD, you really only need one version of Director. Just make sure you author your program (on either platform), save it as a .dxr file (not standalone) and then use Mac and Win stub projectors to run it.

I usually put my main movie in a separate folder, too. Do not make your entire program into a stand-alone projector. Trust me, it will take months to load on a user's computer. When you burn the data part on your CD, it's going to end up right at the outer edge of the CD-ROM, an area that takes longer to randomly access than the inside part, so even if it works all right on the empty CD you just burned, chances are when you get it replicated, you'll notice a huge time lag. Do I sound like the voice of experience? I am.

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