Flash can import video only if you have QuickTime 7, 6.5, or
(for Windows Users) Direct X 9 or higher installed on your computer.
If you don't have them, things might not work as expected, so you
might need to visit the Microsoft or Apple sites to download and
If you have QT on your Mac or PC, it must be installed to import the following file formats:
-Audio Video Interleave (AVI)
-Digital Video (DV)
-Motion Pictures Experts Group (MPEG)
If you are a Windows user and have Direct X 9 or higher installed,
you can also use these formats:
-Windows Media File (WMF or ASF)
-Audio Video Interleave (AVI)
-Motion Pictures Experts Group (MPEG)
Knowing the formats you can use makes life a little easier. If you
are creating the video, you know which file format to use; if someone
else is producing the video file for you, you can tell them which
format to use to create the video.
The other thing you need to do is make sure the video you are using
is as uncompressed as possible. You want to start off with a video of
the highest quality and not worry about file size too much right now.
The encoders used by Flash actually compress the file. Video that is
compressed has already lost some information, which is why video
compressors are called lossy. What actually does the compressing job
is a codec, which is short for COmpressor-DECompressor.
Importing a video with the Flash Import Video Wizard
When importing video, it is important that you closely match the
frame rate and physical dimensions of the source video. These two
values are easily obtained by opening the video in QuickTime and
selecting Window->Show Movie Info. The Movie Info window will open,
and all the information you need will be there. Matching the values
here will ensure smooth playback later on.
1. Open Flash CS3 Professional and create a new Flash Fle
(Actionscript 3.0) document. The first thing to check is the frame
rate of the Flash movie. It should closely match that of the video.
2. The next step in the process is to select File->Import->Import
Video, which will open the Import Video Wizard
The Import Video Wizard is a rather clever series of screens that
walks you through the entire video-encoding process, starting from
locating the video to actually placing it on the stage and having it
ready to play.
3. The first screen that opens - Select Video - simply asks you to
locate the video to be encoded. There are only two places where the
video can be located: in a folder on your computer or on an actual
server used to stream media. This means you have a Flash Media
Server, Flash Communication Server, or a FlashComm account with an
internet Service Provider. The other server location is a Flash VIdeo
Streaming Service, which ia a company that charges you a monthly fee
to store and deploy Flash video on the web.
4. Click the Browse button; when the Open dialog box appears,
navigate to the folder containing the video to be encoded. Click it
and then click the OK button. If you have a FlashComm or Flash Video
Streaming Service account, you only need to enter the URL where the
video file (which has to be an FLV file) is located. Click the Next
5. Now that Flash knows where the video is located, you need to
decided where it will be sent for playback. The next screen you see,
the Deployment screen, determines how the FLV file will be created.
Your choices are the following :
Progressive download from a web server: This option assumes that the
FLV file will be sitting in a directory on your web server and
playing from that server. When you select this option, Flash
understands that the video data must be streamed into the SWF file in
a slightly different manner than it would if you were to use a FMS or
FVSS. This "slightly different manner" is called a progressive
download. What happens is enough data is "streamed" into the SWF file
to enable it to play smoothly from start to finish. When that point
is reached, the video stars to play. This means there might be,
depending on the size and length of the video, a very slight delay
before the video starts to play or during playback if there is some
heavy network traffic.
Stream from Flash Video Streaming Service: This option assumes that you have an account with one of these companies.
Stream from Flash Media Server: This option assumes that the FLV file will be located in your FMS account.
Embed video in SWF and play in timeline: Essentially this option will move the FLV file into the Flash ilbrary and put the video on the main timeline or (if the video is in a movieclip) on the movieclip's timeline. In many respects, this is not recommended. When a video is placed on a Flash timeline, the timeline will expand to the full content of the video> In this case, the video will require thousands of frames to play. That m ight not seem like much, but when a SWF file loads in a web page, it won't start playing until a large portion, if not all, of the video has loaded. The other nasty aspect of this option is a corresponding increase in the size of the SWF file to accommodate the video.
Linked QuickTime video for publishing to QuickTime: You use to be able to convert the Flash movie to a QuickTime video with a Flash track. This feature is more of a "legacy" feature than anything else because Flash Professional CS3 has greatly improved the ability to export your Flash movie as a QuickTime video.
6. The next screen you come to is the Encoding panel, in which you have to decide which codec will be used to create the FLV file, the streaming rate, the frame rate, and a number of other choices that will have an impact on playback. The choices you make here will have a direct impact upon your viewer's experience.
The first thing you see is the default encoding profile. If you click the drop-down menu, you will see ten presets. If you select a preset, the settings are outlined in the Information area directly below your choice. Essentially the choice of Flash Player comes down to a choice of codec. Flash Player 7 uses only the Sorenson codec, and the new On2 VP6 codec can be used only in Flash Player 8 or higher.
The default you are looking at essentially says that the video will be playable only in Flash Player 8 or higher because it is encoded using the On2 VP6 codec. The rest of the information tells you that the video will stream at a rate of 400 kilobytes per second, and the sound in the video will be converted to an MP3 stereo format and streamed out at 96kbps.
At the top of the screen you see the first frame of the video and three sliders under it. The top slider lets you move forward and backward in the video. The two sliders under it set the In and Out points.
The top slider in commonly called a Jog Control, and if you move it to the right you will see that you can advance through the video. The other important thing that happens is the time under the image changes to show you exactly where you are in the video. This time measurement is quite precise: hours: minutes: seconds: milliseconds. This measurement will come in very handy later in the book when you create a movie that triggers events based on the current time of the video and when you create captioned video.
7. Click the Next button to advance to the Skinning panel. This allows you to choose the playback controls used to play the video. The look of the controls, such as the buttons used and the color of the controller, is called a skin. Tn this panel you actually determine whether playback controls will be added to the video.
8. Click the Next button to open the Finish Video Import panel. Carefully read the instructions and click Finish.
You will be prompted to save your Flash file. Navigate to the folder where this file is to be saved, name the file, and click OK. The window will close and you will see the progress of the video-endcoding process as well as a review of the options chosen in the Encoding panel.