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Old August 5th, 2008, 12:31 PM   #1
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Flash/WMV/H.264?

I'm working on a new website/blog and I'm trying to figure out the best workflow for getting sample footage on it. What are you guys using to encode with? I've been looking at the new H.264 version of Flash as well as Microsoft Expression. Any help here would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks,

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Old August 5th, 2008, 01:08 PM   #2
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The efficiency of H.264 combined with the wide availability of Flash players makes this new combination very interesting. Previously I'd go QuickTime (H.264 also) for best quality, but now that Flash supports this codec, I'd say go that route.

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Old August 5th, 2008, 02:53 PM   #3
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I generally use the On2 VP6 codec with Flash. 3rd party plugins make Flash video playlists and embedding very easy with Wordpress based sites. I still prefer Quicktime, but I always worry that someone out there on Windows won't have it installed.
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Old August 5th, 2008, 05:04 PM   #4
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If you use Quicktime Pro to encode your video into H.264, your website visitors won't need Quicktime installed to view it, just the current Flash Player - even on Windows.

(It also looks good too - better than On2's native VP6 Flash encoding!)
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Old August 5th, 2008, 06:13 PM   #5
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So by using H.264 in Compressor, all I would need to do is resize the clip and upload it? What about file extensions? The H.264 is going to be .mov and I'm currently using .flv. Will this be an issue?
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Old August 5th, 2008, 07:33 PM   #6
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Hey Chad,

Take a look at these H.264 files that were ported to Flash (best viewed with Flash 8 or higher):

http://www.photosinaflash.com/media/

The clip labeled "TV Spot 1" - I think the final file was less than 5MB when pushed up to the web-server. For a file that small and considering the run-time - it's really pushing the limit of what Flash is capable of - lots of motion and tons of quick stills that last only a fraction of a second, which means the player barely gets a chance to really decode it properly - but it still looks great!

Compared to the "old" method of pushing out a QT file the Flash method is just... stunning. However like anything else it also depends on a good encode; I've never found default settings for any encoder to be ideal for any delivery method so play around with your clips and see what works best.

As Martin points out Flash gives you the most browser-capable viewing options and, if you create a high-bitrate version of your encodes you could use them to port over to BR later.
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Old August 6th, 2008, 05:38 AM   #7
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I would recommend the Flash/h.264 Route. Here is why. Flash is by far the most wide spread "video player/plugin" for the web. Second if someone does not have it its download is tiny compared to most. Sadly it has been bloated by the google tool bar as of late but even with that it is about 5MB last time I checked. Quicktime/Itunes is up to 70MB or so. Windows Media is fine for the windows people but the mac people need to find a tool called Flip for mac which isn't easy for the non tech savvy at times. Next I suggest it because of the power of the video players out there programmed in flash. They are very powerful allowing you to build play lists, stream live feeds, track amazing stats, etc. I work with the JW FLV player and Wordpress. I have written a plugin that allows the easy adding of videos to a wordpress blog with a single line of code. It then uses the options you set on its options page to generate all the code needed for the people to see the player with your video. If they are out of date it even asks them to upgrade so they can see the video :) (Flash needs to be @ 9.0.115 or higher to see h.264) Following that it keeps amazingly detailed stats in terms of who watched what and for how long and which parts of the video are the most popular.

If you want to see my plugin/flash/ and a h264 file in use you can check out this page one file is h264 and the others are flv but they are labeled
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Old August 6th, 2008, 06:04 PM   #8
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I'm really enjoying this thread!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Martin Mayer View Post
If you use Quicktime Pro to encode your video into H.264, your website visitors won't need Quicktime installed to view it, just the current Flash Player - even on Windows.

(It also looks good too - better than On2's native VP6 Flash encoding!)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chad Dyle View Post
So by using H.264 in Compressor, all I would need to do is resize the clip and upload it? What about file extensions? The H.264 is going to be .mov and I'm currently using .flv. Will this be an issue?
Hi Martin.

I guess I'm basically asking the same question as Chad. I use Compressor to make my web H.264 movies because it gives such great quality. So, after exporting my H.264 QuickTime movie from Compressor, if I then changed my file extension from .mov to .flv and upload it to my site, would it play as a Flash movie on an up-to-date Windows browser even though it's still in its QuickTime "wrapper"? I.e. will the latest Flash players ignore the QuickTime wrapper and still play it anyway?

The movies on my site are currently QuickTime but I'm becoming increasingly aware that a lot of Windows users don't install (and perhaps don't WANT to install) the QuickTime player on their PCs.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert Lane View Post
Take a look at these H.264 files that were ported to Flash (best viewed with Flash 8 or higher) ...
For a file that small and considering the run-time ... it still looks great!
Robert, it does look great! Did you encode it with Flash CS3?
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Old August 6th, 2008, 07:27 PM   #9
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Not quite. If you want to use H.264 go for it but leave the file extension as is. If it follows the specs as set out by adobe it will then play. It just requires Flash 9.0.115 on the desktop.

Quote:
Originally Posted by David Knaggs View Post
I'm really enjoying this thread!.... So, after exporting my H.264 QuickTime movie from Compressor, if I then changed my file extension from .mov to .flv and upload it to my site, would it play as a Flash movie on an up-to-date Windows browser even though it's still in its QuickTime "wrapper"? I.e. will the latest Flash players ignore the QuickTime wrapper and still play it anyway?
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Old August 6th, 2008, 07:43 PM   #10
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Thanks for the heads-up, Josh. I've got a friend with a Windows PC who can test it out for me. I'll just make sure he's got the latest Flash player installed.
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Old August 7th, 2008, 05:32 AM   #11
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No worries, on the plugin page of mine that I linked to it will check if they have 9.0.115 or higher before playing and if they do not it will ask them to upgrade so they can watch the h.264 video.
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Old August 7th, 2008, 08:16 AM   #12
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To confirm what's been said:

(a) it doesn't matter whether you rename the H.264 file suffix from .mov to .flv or not - the Flash Player looks inside the file to determine its format, not relying on the suffix at all, and

(b) no, you can't treat this file the same way as a QT file embedded in a webpage and hope Flash Player will play it instead of Quicktime Player. You have to specify and embed it as a Flash file, using a player in your webspace such as the JW FLV media player.
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Old August 7th, 2008, 08:33 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Martin Mayer View Post
To confirm what's been said:

(a) it doesn't matter whether you rename the H.264 file suffix from .mov to .flv or not - the Flash Player looks inside the file to determine its format, not relying on the suffix at all
Yes but I think it would not be wise to start renaming file extensions when there is no need. It will most likely cause headaches when the files get downloaded for local viewing and would then attempt to open the wrong player on your desktop. Also, it is best to encode to .mp4 which is a subset of .mov. It is the officially supported container. The reason being when using .mov it is possible to turn on some features that may not be fully supported or supported at all by flash.
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