What is Narrator?
Narrator is a suite of tools that can be used to create audio productions of texts involving one or several voices--and to export those productions as audio files.
Here are five features that we feel make Narrator a great program:
- Actors: Create voices to bring texts to life, and assign them in the right places.
- Casting Assistant: Assign (and create) actors automatically.
- Export to Audio File or directly to iTunes: Take a presentation with you.
- Chapters: Segment and organize parts of your text to be exported as individual tracks..
- Import Common File Types: Open .RTF .DOC and .HTML files with Narrator.
Configure, Organize, and Assign Actors
Narrator uses Actors (voice synthesizers provided by Mac OS's VoiceOver utility)--several regular and "Novelty" voices--to make characterization possible. The voices are configurable in a number of different ways, making the possibilities for unique and lively characters nearly endless.
Characters are parts that actors are configured to play.
At the most-basic level, Narrator uses a system of flags to indicate specific points within a text that a character should start speaking. For a text (like a screenplay) that involves dialogue, characters in Narrator can be created to portray specific characters within a text.
Characters are organized in a list on the left-hand side of the window.
Each of the voices Narrator uses is configurable in the following ways:
- Rate: how fast an actor reads text.
- Pitch: how high or low the pitch of the actor's voice is while reading text.
- Inflection: the amount that the actor's tone of voice will modulate (or vary) when speaking the text. Minimal inflection produces a monotone voice; the maximum amount produces a voice that is significantly varied.
- Volume: how loud (or soft) an actor reads.
For more information on using characters in Narrator, see the following articles:
- An Introduction Voices, Actors, and Characters
- Why isn't my text read out loud when I paste it into Narrator?
Narrator's Dictionary settings make it possible to specify how Narrator reads specific pieces of text. For example, if your text uses the abbreviation Capt. for Captain, Narrator can be instructed with the Dictionary to read Captain Hook for Capt. Hook.
There are different ways to assign characters in Narrator. One way is to automatically assign the characters using theCasting Assistant, a service that automatically assigns (and creates) characters based on text cues within the text.
For more information on how the Casting Assistant works (and how to use it), see this article.
Chapters: Instant Organization
Narrator provides a system of chapters that texts can be organized into. A chapter within Narrator (as a chapter is within any story) is a logical segment of text. Chapters are exported as a single audio file or (when exporting directly to iTunes) audio track. Chapters can be named, renamed and rearranged as-desired within the chapter list.
Export to Audio File--or Directly to iTunes
Audio productions can be exported to file or directly to iTunes in 128-kbps, AAC-encoded audio. At this point, anything iTunes can do with an .AAC file, your productions can do, too.
iTunes track information (such as Artist, album, genre, and default playlist) can be configured within Narrator preferences, so that, once preferences have been set, Narrator can export each chapter of a presentation (representing, for example, chapters of a book) to a single playlist, in-order, to either be synced with an iPod, burned to a CD, or played in-order within iTunes.
For more information exporting audio productions from Narrator, see the following articles:
- How can I save the speech output to an .AAC sound file?
- How can I export the speech output directly to iTunes?
- How can I change the size of .AAC or .M4A (iTunes) files exported from Narrator?