Add Video or Audio to iBooks Author Files with the Movie Object

By Galen Gruman

Sometimes, the best way to present information is to show it in action or to hear someone talk about it. That’s why the ability to include video and audio files in iBooks Author’s movie object is so powerful.

To add a movie object, choose Movie in the Widgets icon menu in the toolbar or choose Insert→Widget→Movie. After you add the movie object, you add media files through the Media Browser panel. Those files need to be in a compatible format and available in one of Apple’s media-savvy apps (GarageBand, iTunes, iPhoto, or iMovie) or, for video files only, in the Mac’s Movies folder.

A video object and an audio object in iBooks Author (left), and the same objects in an e-book on th
A video object and an audio object in iBooks Author (left), and the same objects in an e-book on the iPad (right).

The Interactive pane has a handful of controls available on movie objects:

  • Start & Stop: Use the two scrub heads to change where the video or audio file starts (the left scrub head) and stops (the right scrub head). By default, the entire file plays.

  • Poster Frame: Use this slider to pick the preview image (called a poster) for a video; while you slide through the video, you see the frame for where the slider is, and that frame becomes the preview image shown in the e-book for the video. Audio files have no preview image, so the slider is inactive.

  • Repeat: This pop-up menu has two options: None and Loop. If you choose Loop, the video plays continuously in the e-book after the reader taps it to begin the playback. (You can also choose Format→Media→Loop to enable or disable looping.)

  • Controls: These icon buttons let you go to the beginning, fast-forward, playback or pause, rewind, and go to the end of the select video or audio file, so you can check out the content and verify any adjustments you make to the start and stop positions. (These controls have no effect on the e-book itself; movie objects in the e-book display their own playback controls.)

    You can also just click a video to begin playback in iBooks Author; for audio, you can use the control bar that appears in the object, rather than the controls in the Widget inspector’s Interaction pane.