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Old March 16th, 2004, 09:56 PM   #1
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Web Video Using Flash MX

I must be doing something wrong.
I've imported a 3 min. Windows Media video (11MB - Premiere Pro conversion for broadband) into Flash MX 2003 using a Flash frame rate of only 15fps. When I "publish" the Flash .swf movie, it turns out to be 45MB and looks no better than the Windows Media file. I thought Flash video was supposed to be a better way to publish video for the web. Can anyone shed some light on this?

Dan
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Old March 17th, 2004, 05:35 PM   #2
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Every time my Flash programmers (who have recently started using MX) ask me for a movie the specify that they want QuickTime rather than AVI. I haven't read up on it much myself, but could it be that Flash is better at one than the other?

-Kris
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Old March 17th, 2004, 06:27 PM   #3
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FlashMX Video Programmers in DC?

Kris,

I live in the DC area. I would greatly appreciate calling one of your FlashMX folks in an attempt to better understand Flash and Video. If you feel that it wouldn't be too much of an imposition, I would love to email one or more of these folks with some quesionts. If they're willing to receive my emails, simply include them in your reply to my personal email address dangutwein@comcast.net

Thanks,
Dan
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Old March 17th, 2004, 10:54 PM   #4
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Compression depends on the codec you use. The best for Flash I believe is Sorenson Flash (something like that). Assuming it's as good as sorenson3 (pro version of the codec), windows media player 9 codec looks better to me.

Flash I think only handles quicktime formats, so it might be converting your movie into another format (adding generation loss).
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Old March 17th, 2004, 11:08 PM   #5
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Dan,

I'm wrestling with that issue right now myself.

Actually, I've published quite a bit of Flash video on the web. The past two corporate training courses I shot were exported from FCP as uncompressed 10-bit QT movies, then compressed in Cleaner 6 using the Sorenson 3 codec. When I import into Flash, the file size doesn't just increase in the amount equal to the size of the imported file, it actually doubles or triples the amount of the imported file. Bizarre.

Still, we've continued to use it since, despite being really large files, they start playing almost immediately and tend not to stall out like other players. We tested it earlier by loading a 3.5Mb embedded QT file (embedded directly in the HTML page) and then testing the same file embedded in Flash at an inflated size of 9.7MB.

Don't ask me why, but on the machines we used to test, the large Flash file consistently won out over the QT file. Bizarre.

Still, I'm sure there has to be a way around this and that it is possible to avoid the inflated sizes in import.

The biggest obstacle, in my opinion, and what would solve all the problems if overcome, is finding a suitable "true" preloader for Flash video. I've only seen one example where the preloader starts playing the video after a set percentage (10%) loads...in cases where the Flash movie is embedded in a separate clip.

As you may or may not know... if you want to be able to fast forward or rewind a movie, you have to embed the movie in a separate clip and then load that clip into the movie with the controls. Problem is, when you do this, it negates the percentage-based preloader.

Anyway... as I said, I'm digging like crazy right now to find a solution and will let you know what I find.
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Old March 18th, 2004, 11:26 AM   #6
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Someone came back from a conference saying Sorenson Squeeze is the way to go for Flash. They ran out and bought me a copy, but haven't needed any video for Flash since so all I really know is rumors and gossip. The vast majority of our work is Real Media because they host our thousands of hours of archives.

-Kris
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Old March 18th, 2004, 12:38 PM   #7
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Sorenson and Preloaders

RE: Sorenson --- I don't think it should be necessary to preprocess a video with Sorenson before importing into FlashMX, it has Sorenson built in as I understand it.

RE: Size --- I've had the very same problems with size that John describes, and this, of course increases the cost of server space for me, which could quickly become a problem.

RE: Preloaders -- I have used "percent" calculating preloaders with regular vector-based Flash movies and they work correctly. I haven't even tried to use one when creating a .swf from an imported video clip. I'm wondering if you put the clip directly on the main timeline (rather than into a Flash "movie-clip" symbol), if the preloader will work predictably?

RE -- Playback control -- I have created .swf movies from imported video (placed on the main timeline) that have successfully used "tape transport-like" buttons that do everything for FF, FR, RW, P, S, Pause, and "skip to next chapter" -- and this alone makes the larger .swf video worth the effort -- the skip-around buttons are really fun to use and are worth the effort if you're doing educational Flash movies! However, I haven't done this with videos nested withing "movie-clip" symbols.
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Old March 18th, 2004, 06:03 PM   #8
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Dan... Sorenson Squeeze is separate. Since I already had Cleaner, I just use that and encode with Sorenson 3. However, if you'll dig around some of the forums, you'll find that Squeeze is limited compared to products like Cleaner. I'd bet the quality of compression I'm getting with Cleaner is better, simply because I have more methods of fine-tuning.

Preloader... yes, if I put the film in the main timeline, it will work as it should, however that will increase the initial download time of the main file. By pulling in an external swf with the movie content, this allows you to keep the same "monitor" clip, ready to pull in whichever content you tell it to, plus it is loaded independently of the main timeline.

Playback control... hmmm, if you've found a controller, that allows full customization and full controls, plus includes a percentage preloader that can pull independent clips... you've stumbled on a goldmine. Even the guys at Macromedia were stumped on that request. Mind if I ask you where you found it?
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Old March 18th, 2004, 07:02 PM   #9
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Flash Video controls

John, sorry if I misled you. I don't have a percent preloader for a .swf video that also works with the movie controls. I've never tried to put the two together. Over the weekend I'll try to create one of those really big .swf movies from an imported QT move and I'll add the playback controls. Then I'll see if my percent preloader will work when added to that.
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