Flash Videos for the Web Using Adobe CS3
COW Library : Adobe Flash Tutorials : Abraham Chaffin : Flash Videos for the Web Using Adobe CS3
Flash Videos for the Web Using Adobe CS3
This tutorial is designed to explain the various methods of creating Flash Video Files using different applications in Adobe CS3. It will explain many of the settings available and not available contrasted with the other applications in Adobe CS3. This tutorial will show how to create your Flash Video Files using Dreamweaver, After Effects, and Flash.
Right off the bat you may ask why is this tutorial necessary, it seems like Adobe CS3 makes creating and embedding SWFs so easy there should be no confusion. Well in fact there is a lot of confusion when it comes to embedding SWFs using Adobe CS3. The main reason is that there are so many ways to do it. Each method of creating these files from each application provides different options, skins and settings that the other applications don't have.
The main confusion in the process is all the skins each program in Adobe CS3 use to wrap your video in when it creates the SWF. Adobe After Effects doesn't have any skin, Dreamweaver has a unique set of skins but doesn't allow you to not have a skin, and Flash creates a third set. More confusion comes when wanting to change different settings in the video such as auto play, or auto hiding the video controls. We will cover some of these differences in this tutorial.
Using Adobe After Effects to Export FLVs or SWFs
If you want more control over your SWF and/or a skin with controls for your video then you need to choose to export your video from After Effects as a FLV file. Choose from the File menu > Export > Flash Video (FLV)… This brings up the Flash Video Encoding window and gives you much more settings to choose from than the other method of just exporting directly to a SWF. Four tabs of settings are given: Encoding Profiles for setting the quality and format of your FLV; the Video tab for choosing the codec, fps, and data rate; Audio tab for setting the audio quality; and the Crob and Resize tab to resize your video. This method is definitely for the users who want more control over their final product.
Tip: For best quality always precompose your layers before you export to Flash from After Effects.
Basic Overview of Creating Flash Videos Using Adobe Flash
Using Adobe Flash CS3 to create the SWF is the best way to go, in my opinion. Creating SWFs is what Flash does. The ability to do it in other programs in CS3 are just bonus features to those applications and not the core of the program.
Flash is a powerful program and this tutorial is not designed to show you all the settings in Flash for creating Flash Videos. It is an overview of the methods and contrasts the programs in the CS3 bundle that are used to create Flash Video. Adobe Flash as an application is by far the #1 way to create SWFs for playing video on the way and gives you the most flexibility over the video player controls and look of the skin.
When importing a video into Flash CS3 if the video is not a FLV file it will be converted by Flash and a FLV file will be created. To import your video file into flash go to the File menu > Import > Import Video. Select your video in the Import Video window and choose next, and then select your deployment method. The next window is the skinning window; it is here that you can choose different functions available to your user for playing your video, pausing, showing captions, blowing the video up to full screen, lowering the audio, or scrubbing. In this window you can also choose to not have any skin for your video, or have it lay over or under your video. Select next and then finish completing the process.
Once the video is embedded in your Flash project there are additional parameters available to change the settings to your video and its skin. With the video selected open the parameters window by going to the Window menu > Properties > Parameters. Here are the additional controls for choosing to autoPlay or not, auto hide the skin while playing, setting the initial volume level, setting the alpha level for the skin and other useful settings. There's also settings here that can were available in the previous window such as changing the color of the skin, or switching the skin all together.
Importing Flash Video into Dreamweaver
Dreamweaver CS3 has the ability to both import SWFs and FLV files and embed them into your HTML document. Importing SWFs into HTML files is what it excels at, importing FLV files and creating the SWF file automatically is a bonus feature and not recommended unless for some reason you love the skin only Dreamweaver CS3 has or you do not have Flash.
This tutorial was designed to help clarify the different methods of embedding and creating Flash Video for the web using Adobe CS3.