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FAQs & Troubleshooting

By March 22, 2021September 24th, 2021No Comments

Top 3 FAQs

What do validation errors mean and how can I fix them?

When your project fails validation, it means there’s one of 3 settings missing that will stop the published project working properly.

  • Either you don’t have one Start island set
  • or one of your islands does not have a Default choice
  • or one of your islands does not have a timing set for its choices.

To fix the, go to your Story Map to see where the errors are.

If you have no Start island set or more than one, it will show an error message at the top left of screen, like this.

You need to set only one island as your Start, so that the Stornaway.io player knows where to begin. It may be that you have deleted the original start island, or that you have set more than one island as your start – either way, you need to choose the one that you want. You can find the Start checkbox near the top of the sidebar, underneath Name and Description.

If that message isn’t shown, then the problem will be with one or more of your islands missing a Default choice or a Choice Timing.

Look to see which of your islands is highlighted in Red with an exclamation mark at the bottom right, like this:

Select that island and open the sidebar, to see where the error is showing.

It will tell you whether you need to add a default choice by saying “One of the choices must be set as default.” in red above the choices.

Or it will say “A time of display must be set” – telling you that you should put a number of seconds into the “Display X s from end” box.

As shown in these screenshots:

What if I can’t set a Default because my choice is an External URL?

One of the choices needs to be a default, but currently you are unable to edit the default box if the link is to an external URL. We’ll change this in future.

In the meantime, the way to make your project validate is to set another choice as a default.

So if you only have one choice/button on this island, then just create another choice, leave it unlinked, make it the default and hide it by ticking the Hide checkbox.

If you have any problems, let us know at support@stornaway.io

Can you explain 'bandwidth'? And how much do I need?

Bandwidth can mean different things in different contexts. In this case, it concerns video which is delivered over the internet as data. The amount of data transferred is called bandwidth, and that we are charged for. Using more bandwidth is a good thing, as it means that you have more viewers watching your story.

Stornaway.io not only provide the best interactive storytelling tools, we also provide our beautiful interactive player and hosting and streaming of your video at the highest quality available to your viewers, without showing ads over your story.

A short interactive story like this one by DUNE Productions for the Landes School of Design for example, could be played 100,000 times within the 1TB allowance of a Studio account. As we all know from our own YouTube browsing, not everybody who starts a video watches the whole thing, so we don’t just measure a simple total number of people who viewed briefly – bandwidth measures what’s actually watched.

99% of Stornaway.io creators never hit their bandwidth limits. If you’re in the lucky 1%, we’ll be in touch in plenty of time. If you know you’re presenting to a really big audience, get in touch – we have different options to suit you.

When my trial expires, do I still have access to my projects?

When your trial expires, your project will be visible to you when you’re logged into Stornaway.io. Because of the ongoing cost of hosting and streaming video bandwidth in our beautiful player, it won’t be available publicly if your trial has expired and you have not yet subscribed. If you’ve published your project to YouTube, it will still be available there.

If you think you’ve created something great and you want to keep it public in the Stornaway.io player but can’t afford to at the moment, get in touch – we have some options for students and non-commercial projects.

1. Settings for Choices and Islands

Can I start playing from the middle of the story rather than having to go from the start every time?

Yes! Play from here is your friend. You can find it near the top of the Sidebar for every island and tab, just under Name and Description.

When you have published your story, there’s a Public URL for every island – you can find it just next to ‘Play from here’ in the sidebar. This is a link to that specific island, so you can provide links that let viewers jump straight to an island.

This lets you share an individual island on social media, or make a list of links on a web page or create a playable visual map of your story (see our example here)

Can I preview my story in a separate full screen tab as well as in the pop-up player?

Most of the time, the pop up player is the best option – but there are other times when you want to preview in fuller screen, and see it like the published player.

Yes, you can open it in a new tab. Depending on the device you’re working on, you do that by:

Windows: Ctrl+click on “Play” or Right click “Play” and choose Open in New Tab from the menu

Mac: Command+click on “Play” or Ctrl+click and choose Open in New Tab from the menu

Mobile: Hold your finger on “Play” until options appear and then choose Open in New Tab

How do I make the Stornaway.io player wait until a user makes a choice instead of automatically moving on?

ChoosePause at endin the styling section in the sidebar (see picture).

This will freeze frame on the last frame of the video file you upload, and wait for the user to make a choice.

Another way to do this is to create a separate menu screen with a still or moving image:

  • To make a still image menu, create a separate island for the menu, and upload a still image as the island’s Poster Image.
  • To make a moving image menu, create a separate island for the menu, and upload a video to it. Then make one of the island’s choices to loop back to the start of the same island itself, set it as default, and hide that choice by ticking “Hide” next to its onscreen text field. The island will then loop until someone makes one of the other choices.

Pause At End

How do I make a button that links to a web page or product?

Choose External URL from the “Links To” pulldown menu in the sidebar (see picture below).

Add a link and tick the box to say whether you want the link to open in another tab. If you are embedding the video, choose this.

You can use any kind of URL to a web page, PDF document, social media account, etc.

For instance, you can just link to a regular web page like https://www.stornaway.io/examples

Other examples of URLs you could link to:

  • Social media platforms allow you to create a URL with the message pre-written (e.g. this link – see more details in the “How do I share to social media” question, below).
  • Use mailto: before an email address (eg mailto:hello@stornaway.io) to make it open a new email to that address.
  • Some e-commerce platforms (like Shopify) allow you to specify a product with an Add To Cart command in the URL. Some need you to set this up.

 

How do I make a button that shares a message to social media?

Choose External URL from the “Links To” pulldown menu in the sidebar (see picture below).

Enter a link using one of the pre-written message formats listed below for Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn.

Tick the box to say whether you want the link to open in another tab (If you are embedding your project, set it to open in a new tab).



To create a pre-written Tweet with a custom message, use the format:

http://twitter.com/share?text=your+words+separated+by+plus&url=yoururlhere&hashtags=yourhashtag

For example this link creates a Twitter post that says, “Get started with the amazing Stornaway” and includes a link to the video with #interactivefilm as a hashtag.

(There should be no line break in the link, even if the browser is showing you one here)

Facebook and LinkedIn no longer allow the pre-writing of custom messages the way Twitter does.

 



To create a pre-written Facebook post, use the format:

https://www.facebook.com/sharer/sharer.php?u=yoururlhere

For example, this link creates a Facebook post that autofills the image and link to your story.



To create a pre-written LinkedIn post, use the format:

https://www.linkedin.com/sharing/share-offsite/?url=yoururlhere

For example, this link creates a LinkedIn post that autofills the video player.


How do I create invisible clickable hotspots?

Invisible clickable hotspots can be created in the same locations as our buttons. These will let you design graphic/animated buttons in your video. You can then make that part of the frame clickable in Stornaway
This also lets you create clickable areas, people or objects in your video – like the dog with the bone in the demo video on our home page.

Another example would be using a split screen hotspot to make each of these three people clickable. Or see the example of animated buttons at the bottom of the page.

How to make clickable video hotspots

To create a clickable hotspot in your interactive video, choose “Hide the text to create hotspot” in the sidebar of a Story Island.
Our recommendation for starting with clickable hotspots:
Most people arrange their buttons left-to-right on screen. For this, we recommend you use the Left-right Split style with Central Text and Area Overlay.
This will divide the screen left to right into as many choices as you have.
This means that if you have 2 choices, the screen will be split vertically into 2 clickable areas. The left side will be an invisible clickable area for Choice i, and the right side will be an invisible clickable area for Choice ii.
If you have 3 choices, the screen will be split vertically into thirds – Left for Choice i, Middle for Choice ii and Right for Choice iii.
And if you have 4 choices, the screen will be split vertically into quarters in the same way.
For Top-bottom choices, you can choose the Top-bottom Split style.
And to split your screen into 4 quarters, you can choose the Quadrant split screen style – the trick with this is to remember to choose a Location (eg Top-left) for each of the choices.
Below is an example video that’s been made with animated graphic buttons created in the video itself in Premiere.  Invisible clickable hotspots have been created over the top of the buttons and cassettes using Stornaway.
When a cassette is clicked, the next island’s video starts, making it seem that clicking the cassette has triggered the person in the video to select that tape.
This video is silent, but creators often use a sound at the beginning of the next island to add extra feedback to the button being clicked.

If you have any questions or suggestions about this, please let us know at support@stornaway.io

What size should button images be?

We recommend using invisible clickable hotspots rather than button images if you’re making videos for the web. Our button image feature was designed for TV and game engine workflows. On browsers in smaller screens like mobiles, the button images don’t resize proportionally to stay in the same space.

For web video, invisible clickable hotspots will give you a much nicer experience on all screen sizes.

Hotspots let you create graphic buttons exactly where you want them in your video or image, and then in Stornaway made clickable invisible hotspots over the top of the button area. The graphics in your video or image will act like buttons – and resize proportionally on any large or small screen size.

See the “How do I create invisible clickable hotspots” section above for more details and recommended settings.

If you do want to use Button images for TV or game engine workflows.

As above, be aware that these will not resize with different screen sizes. The size of button images should be the same size that they’d be on the screen at a full 1920×1080 HD image. They will appear in the positions that our normal buttons would appear, according to whichever button style you chose.

So for example with our default ‘bottom buttons’ style, with 2 choices, button images of 450x150px will appear about the right size in place of the text buttons. That’s always a good starting point for you to test with – make them bigger or smaller. 

You can use a transparent background in a png or a gif image, and add invisible margins to nudge their positions.

Another good way to decide the right size for you is to mock them up in a 1920×1080 Photoshop image, place them where you want them to be, and use Crop to see how big they need to be as individual button files.

The “selected”  button is the image that will appear when the user clicks the button.You can upload jpg, png or gif, including animated gifs.

How did you make the dog with the bone in your demo video?

See “How do I make invisible clickable hotspots?” above

Why does my player skip back to the previous island?

This is probably because your don’t have a default choice set on this island.

Check the choice settings and make sure one of your choices has the default box ticked.

If you have external links, they default box is disabled, so you will need to set another choice as default (you can set it to ‘hide’ if you want. See Help question on this below).

Setting a default if you only have one external link

If you don’t have a default choice, the player will skip back and the validation of your project will fail.

So one of the choices needs to be a default, but currently you are unable to edit the default box if the link is to an external URL. We’ll change this in future.

In the meantime, you need to set another choice as a default. If you don’t have another choice (ie one or more external links are the only buttons for this island), then just create another choice, leave it unlinked, make it the default and hide it by ticking the Hide checkbox.

If you have any problems, let us know at support@stornaway.io

2. Publishing and Embedding

Where can I publish my Stornaway.io stories?

Stornaway.io is flexible and open, so you can publish your stories to Stornaway’s amazing player, to your own site, to YouTube (currently in Beta) or to other compatible platforms and to applications like Powerpoint which support embeddable players.

Your own site
For a  fully-featured and custom-designed experience, you can publish to your own site using our powerful Stornaway player and streaming platform. Different streaming packages are available – see Pricing for more details.

YouTube
Make interactive video stories in Stornaway.io and publish them direct to YouTube with interactive links, to reach their huge global audience of 2 billion monthly users. Currently in a Private Beta period – contact us here if you’d like to join the Beta.

LMS (Learning Management Systems) 
Stornaway.io projects can be embedded on LMS pages, and included in the SCORM packages that LMS systems and eLearning authoring tools use to exchange data and track learners’ outcomes. We are working on further integrations with LMS standards – please get in touch if you’d like to know more.

Powerpoint
Take your presentations to another level by embedding Stornaway.io interactive video stories into Powerpoint slides, for streaming playback. Download Microsoft’s Web Viewer Add-in to embed web pages – and then just copy the link to your Stornaway project, to play the whole story within a slide, while online.

Unity and Unreal – for Mobile, Steam, Consoles, VR
We’re working on a Unity publishing tool that will let you take your projects into Unity and Unreal for publishing to any of the platforms they use – get in touch to find out more.

Compatible VOD platforms
Stornaway.io was designed as a universal authoring tool, and we’re working towards integrations with major VOD platforms. If you’re a producer looking to publish to a 3rd party platform, we can solve your storytelling and delivery problems – contact us for more details.

Where is the link to my published story?

In the Export page, after you have clicked “Publish”, you will see a button marked “View Your Published Story”, which is linked to the URL for your project – clicking it will open the page with your project’s video player, starting from your Start Island. Copy the link to this page to share with anyone.

How do I embed a Stornaway.io story?

Stornaway.io allows you to embed your story on any web page, just like a YouTube or Vimeo player.

When you publish a story in the Stornaway player, “Enable Embedding” is ticked by default.

After publishing, go to your player page and click the Share Video button underneath the player (see 1 in picture below).

A popup box will appear with the Embed code (see 2 in picture below).

Select and copy this, and put it into any web page, or any platform that allows you to insert HTML or iFrames like YouTube and Vimeo embed codes.

If the code doesn’t show in the box when you click the Share Video button, it’s because you’re not logged into Stornaway.io as a collaborator on this project. This code is not visible to the public.

Can I make a cover / loading / thumbnail / poster image for my project?

Thumbnail/Poster Image
It’s worth thinking about using thumbnail/poster images for the videos. When the project loads, it will either show the first frame of the video, or the project “Poster Image” that you can upload to the Project Settings (which you can find in Settings > Edit Project).
Upload a nice 1920×1080 jpg image to your project, so that when the user loads the player they see a welcoming cover image with a friendly static image that encourages them to click play.
For example:

Can I have a sample embed code to test?

Absolutely! This is the embed code for the Getting Started video:

<div style=”position: relative; padding-bottom: 56.25%; height: 0; overflow: hidden;”><iframe style=”width: 100%; height: 100%; position: absolute; top: 0; left: 0;” src=”https://player.stornaway.io/embed/8d0a2822″ frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen=”allowfullscreen”></iframe></div>

How do I share my story on social media?

1. How to share your Stornaway.io story on social media

When you publish your story, it will be given a unique public URL.

For example:
https://player.stornaway.io/watch/2e7fa24e

Just copy & paste this into Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook.

Twitter and LinkedIn will let people play your story directly in the timeline. Facebook will link to it or open it in an overlay, depending on whether it’s in desktop, mobile or app. Instagram still doesn’t let you use links in posts, so everyone uses the link in the account’s profile and says, “link in bio”.

 


 

2. Making a button in your Stornaway story that posts a message on social media

If you want to include a link in your video that shares a message to Twitter or Facebook, you can make a button link to an External URL (see FAQ above) and then use a URL that creates a pre-written post – see instructions below:

To create a pre-written Tweet with a custom message, use the format:

http://twitter.com/share?text=your+words+separated+by+plus&url=yoururlhere&hashtags=yourhashtag

For example this link creates a Twitter post that says, “Get started with the amazing Stornaway” and includes a link to the video with #interactivefilm as a hashtag.

(There should be no line break in the link, even if the browser is showing you one here)

Facebook and LinkedIn no longer allow the pre-writing of custom messages the way Twitter does.

To create a pre-written Facebook post, use the format:

https://www.facebook.com/sharer/sharer.php?u=yoururlhere

For example, this link creates a Facebook post that autofills the image and link to your story.

To create a pre-written LinkedIn post, use the format:

https://www.linkedin.com/sharing/share-offsite/?url=yoururlhere

For example, this link creates a LinkedIn post that autofills the video player.

Watching in full screen

On some devices, full screen buttons make the video play in a way that interferes with the interactivity.

So our player page plays the video to fill the width of the browser, and the embed code makes our player fit whatever web page section it’s embedded into.

You can make your browser window full screen by clicking the maximize button on the top bar of the browser (top right square icon on Windows, top left green icon on Mac).

What file format can I export my project in?

Interactive films and videos can’t be exported as a single video file.

They are a collection of mp4 video files connected by a playlist and code which shows onscreen buttons and hotspots over a video player.

Think of an interactive project as more like an app than as a video file.

They therefore presented in Stornaway.io’s interactive video player, which can be viewed on the web or mobile, and shared as a URL or embedded onto any web page – just like a YouTube or Vimeo player.

Stornaway.io stories can also be published to YouTube using YouTube interactive links, and can be exported to compatible platforms – ask us for more details.

See also details of other compatible platforms.

How can I make a map or list that links to individual islands?

Each island has its own specific public URL

In the Sidebar for each Island, you will also see a link to the Public URL for each individual Island variant. You can share this to share each Island, letting your audience jump right into the middle of your story. You can share these as links in social, or as a chapter list on a website, or find more creative uses for them…

For example, you can see here how a link from each Island was used to make a playable clickable map of Life Moves Pretty Fast, which lets you jump into any part of the story – just click any location to start from there.

Life Moves Pretty Fast interactive film playable map

Click to open the playable map in a new tab

When I link one Stornaway.io project to another, it takes ages to load?

If you link to a Stornaway.io project from inside a Stornaway.io project, it currently needs to have a different word at the start of the URL. So if your main video has player.stornaway.io as its URL (as is normal), then any buttons inside it that link to other Stornaway.io videos need to use studio.stornaway.io.

If you replace the word player with the word studio in your button links, it should fix this problem.

And if you replace the word watch with the word embed in the middle (as above), you’ll get a simpler player without the white page and wording underneath, which should work better if you’re linking in an embedded player.

So instead of (for example)
https://player.stornaway.io/watch/abcd1234
use:
https://studio.stornaway.io/embed/abcd1234

Can I make my Stornaway.io player autoplay?

Browsers are strict about autoplay now (developer.chrome.com/blog/autoplay) and they mute autoplaying videos to avoid sites with noisy video spam ads, meaning Stornaway videos would start muted if set to autoplay, so we haven’t added this yet, sorry. We’re planning some custom overrides soon.

Why does a video look more washed out than the original file?

Chances are that your file has a colour setting called “HDR” or “Hybrid Log Gamma” or “BT2020”.  This will probably be a setting that you can change in your video app or editing software.

This is a setting that’s meant for High Dynamic Range (HDR) TVs. If it looks OK on your computer, tablet or phone, then that means your device can play it and make it look OK on its screen, but Stornaway needs to convert it to a regular web colour setting for everyone else, and that’s causing a shift to make it washed out.

The correct correct colour setting to use is Standard Dynamic Range (SDR) Rec709 or sRGB.

On a Mac, you can see what setting your file has by opening it in Quicktime and choosing “Window”>”Show Movie Inspector” (see screenshot below).
On Windows or Linux, you can use VLC to see the same information by clicking “Window”>”Media Information”

To fix it:
In the app or software you’re using to edit your files, see if you there’s an easy setting in your project or export that lets you change it from HDR or HLG or BT2020 to SDR or Rec-709 or sRGB. This should export files that Stornaway can read OK. If it’s an app with an HDR setting such as iMovie or 剪映, you will need to turn off the HDR setting.

If you’re having trouble doing this, let us know and tell us what software you’re using at support@stornaway.io

How to see HLG or RGB colour settings causing video to be washed out

3. Pricing, Subscriptions, Bandwidth

If I publish a project, do I have to keep subscribing to keep it online?

If you pause/cancel your subscription, your projects stay viewable in our Story Map and Preview player but they will be no longer be viewable on our Stornaway.io player/embedded on your website or social platforms.

Our monthly and annual subscription plans are designed to make it easy and affordable for you to upgrade and downgrade as you need. We also offer other bespoke solutions for one-off projects.  Just contact us for more information.

Our YouTube publisher lets you export interactive videos crafted in Stornaway.io to YouTube.  YouTube’s interactivity is much more basic than Stornaway.io’s fully featured and beautifully designed player but the ad-funded hosting on YouTube means that your projects can be streamed for free and reach the wider YouTube audience.

If you have any questions about this, contact us for more details.

Can you explain 'bandwidth'? And how much do I need?

Bandwidth can mean different things in different contexts. In this case, it concerns video which is delivered over the internet as data. The amount of data transferred is called bandwidth, and that we are charged for. Using more bandwidth is a good thing, as it means that you have more viewers watching your story.

Stornaway.io not only provide the best interactive storytelling tools, we also provide our beautiful interactive player and hosting and streaming of your video at the highest quality available to your viewers, without showing ads over your story.

A short interactive story like this one by DUNE Productions for the Landes School of Design for example, could be played 100,000 times within the 1TB allowance of a Studio account. As we all know from our own YouTube browsing, not everybody who starts a video watches the whole thing, so we don’t just measure a simple total number of people who viewed briefly – bandwidth measures what’s actually watched.

99% of Stornaway.io creators never hit their bandwidth limits. If you’re in the lucky 1%, we’ll be in touch in plenty of time. If you know you’re presenting to a really big audience, get in touch – we have different options to suit you.

When my trial expires, do I still have access to my projects?

When your trial expires, your project will be visible to you when you’re logged into Stornaway.io. Because of the ongoing cost of hosting and streaming video bandwidth in our beautiful player, it won’t be available publicly if your trial has expired and you have not yet subscribed. If you’ve published your project to YouTube, it will still be available there.

If you think you’ve created something great and you want to keep it public in the Stornaway.io player but can’t afford to at the moment, get in touch – we have some options for students and non-commercial projects.

How do I pause my subscription?

We know that production starts and stops. Get in touch and we can pause your account until you’re ready to get going again.