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  1. #1
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    Embedding auto-play Flash video

    Hi -

    I am relatively new to web development and have a couple questions regarding embedding Flash video. I have a customer who wants a short 30 second video to loop on the front page of the site. During the playing of the video, the end-user should have the ability to click on a website menu item and start to traverse the site.

    I have taken a sample AVI file and successfully converted it to both FLV and SWF. I have uploaded these files to an existing Google Pages account that I maintain. I have successfully used html object and embed statements to autoplay and loop the video (the SWF - can't get the FLV to work). But I do have a couple questions:

    1) Should I use SWF or FLV and why? It seems like I can successully play the SWF using object and embed, without the need for any special software. Should I instead be using the FLV for some reason? Would I need any special software to support this?

    2) What user compatibility concerns (if any) should I be concerned about? If they have Flash installed, will this work pretty consistently (I do understand formatting inconsistencies between IE, FF, etc.... just not sure if Flash video is an additional can of worms to be concerned about)

    3) I expect this to be relatively low volume (not sure exactly what that means yet, but this is for a small local landscaping business). Should I host the SWF/FLV video on Google Pages (is that OK?) or should I be looking at somewhere else? I have reason to store it on an external site.

    4) Google Pages has a 10mb limit. Suggestions as to what host I should use if I need to go beyond 10mb.

    5) I am assuming at this point that displaying a 30second HD-resolution video would NOT work for many end users. I am thinking we should stick with non-HD until the hardware/bandwidth catches up for most end-users. Is this the correct thinking?

    6) The video would be recorded with sound. but I would want the video to be muted, unless the end-user clicked on a "Turn Sound On" button. How would I implement this?

    7) I found a free AVI to SWF/FLV converter. Is there a noticeable quality difference between AVI->SWF/FLV converters?

    I would appreciate any help you could provide...

    Thanks,

    Tom K.

  • #2
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    Bump.... any input on any parts of my note above?

  • #3
    Supreme Master coder! _Aerospace_Eng_'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TomKirk23 View Post
    Hi -

    I am relatively new to web development and have a couple questions regarding embedding Flash video. I have a customer who wants a short 30 second video to loop on the front page of the site. During the playing of the video, the end-user should have the ability to click on a website menu item and start to traverse the site.

    I have taken a sample AVI file and successfully converted it to both FLV and SWF. I have uploaded these files to an existing Google Pages account that I maintain. I have successfully used html object and embed statements to autoplay and loop the video (the SWF - can't get the FLV to work). But I do have a couple questions:

    1) Should I use SWF or FLV and why? It seems like I can successully play the SWF using object and embed, without the need for any special software. Should I instead be using the FLV for some reason? Would I need any special software to support this?
    Use an swf file that can play flv files or find a ready made flv flash player
    2) What user compatibility concerns (if any) should I be concerned about? If they have Flash installed, will this work pretty consistently (I do understand formatting inconsistencies between IE, FF, etc.... just not sure if Flash video is an additional can of worms to be concerned about)
    Its fine. If they have at least Flash Player 8 installed it will work
    3) I expect this to be relatively low volume (not sure exactly what that means yet, but this is for a small local landscaping business). Should I host the SWF/FLV video on Google Pages (is that OK?) or should I be looking at somewhere else? I have reason to store it on an external site.
    If google allows it then why not. The amount of bandwidth used also depends on the file size of the flv file.
    4) Google Pages has a 10mb limit. Suggestions as to what host I should use if I need to go beyond 10mb.
    There are free hosts out there but many don't allow hotlinking. The real question is if this is for a business why are you even using Google pages? Get some real hosting. You can get hosting at a dollar a month.
    5) I am assuming at this point that displaying a 30second HD-resolution video would NOT work for many end users. I am thinking we should stick with non-HD until the hardware/bandwidth catches up for most end-users. Is this the correct thinking?
    Well the main issue will be file size. An flv player can use progressive streaming which will start playing the video without having to wait for the video to download completely. You could use a streaming video but it costs a lot to get a streaming server
    6) The video would be recorded with sound. but I would want the video to be muted, unless the end-user clicked on a "Turn Sound On" button. How would I implement this?
    Don't create your own player especially if you are a beginner which it sounds like you are. You'll spend way to much time trying to learn to create a custom player.
    7) I found a free AVI to SWF/FLV converter. Is there a noticeable quality difference between AVI->SWF/FLV converters?
    It depends on the converter and the original quality of the video. Flash 8 Pro and up do have FLV Encoders as separate applications.
    Premade FLV Player
    The url seems to be blocked not sure why. Search for JW FLV Media Player in google to find it.
    12 dollars a year hosting
    Free Riva FLV Encoder

    Does your customer not have their own hosting?
    Last edited by _Aerospace_Eng_; 09-09-2008 at 03:41 PM.
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  • #4
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    Mr. Aerospace -

    1) The video is just one small portion of a job that I am otherwise completely comfortable with. I am using the SmugMug.com development environment, which is perfect for this app. SmugMug has built-in hosting, but not for autoplay video. For 1 video for a low-volume site, I am just trying to understand the difference between Google Pages and "real" hosting.

    I am going to build the separate "real" hosting charge into the proposal and use it if I feel I need it. I am not sure how to determine if Google Pages is "sufficient" - I may use the cheap hosting to be safe and not have to worry about it.

    2) Given that the video is one small portion of this job, I am not looking (now) to completely dive in and understand all intricacies of SWF, FLV, etc. I am also not in a position to rationalize purchasing the complete Adobe toolset (would love to at some point) - I am using cheap or free tools to get this up and running.

    My situation: I have a 3.5mb AVI that is about 30 seconds in duration. I am using the SUPER converter to convert the AVI to a SWF or FLV (I will also look at the Riva product). I understand that I can change to bitrate and dimensions of the video to make it more efficient, etc. I have figured out how to implement the resulting SWF using object/embed (haven't gotten the FLV to display). I want the video to autoplay on the homepage. I want to have the option to display start/pause/mute controls, etc. I want this to work consistently on a wide variety of equipment without concern.

    My related questions:
    (a) I do not know the difference between SWF and FLV and the pros/cons of each. Does it really matter which I use? Your recommendation?

    (b) How do I get the start/pause/mute controls to display?


    3) I am not going to do progressive streaming. What is the largest size SWF/FLV (or the largest bitrate... or largest dimension video..) that will reasonably work when accessed from an average American household. The client wants a "large video" to autoplay and loop on the homepage.

    I want to push back and say that we can reasonably autoplay and loop a 30second video of dimension (for instance) 320x240 (or whatever). I will also be warning the customer that he may not be happy with the resulting quality regardless. I am just looking for a rule-of-thumb size (video dimension) that we can go up to with good quality.

    4) What symptoms occur at user workstations when too large a video is driven to their PC? What happens? Does it just hang and hang, attempting to load? or does it revert to lower quality?

    5) For sound... I am going to recommend that the video be silent. I will implement optional background music via www.deezer.com (or something similar). Can I assume that it would be difficult/impossible to have the music stay on (without interruption) when navigating between pages? I am leaning toward limiting sound to homepage only.

    Thanks for your time and patience... Much appreciated.

    Tom K.

  • #5
    Supreme Master coder! _Aerospace_Eng_'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TomKirk23 View Post
    My related questions:
    (a) I do not know the difference between SWF and FLV and the pros/cons of each. Does it really matter which I use? Your recommendation?
    They are not the same thing. FLV is an actual video file that needs an swf file to play it. Did you search for what I told you to search? That will solve most of your problems including question b.

    (b) How do I get the start/pause/mute controls to display?


    3) I am not going to do progressive streaming. What is the largest size SWF/FLV (or the largest bitrate... or largest dimension video..) that will reasonably work when accessed from an average American household. The client wants a "large video" to autoplay and loop on the homepage.
    I don't think you quite understand what I meant. Without a streaming web server, progressive streaming is your only choice. This is how flash plays flv files.

    I want to push back and say that we can reasonably autoplay and loop a 30second video of dimension (for instance) 320x240 (or whatever). I will also be warning the customer that he may not be happy with the resulting quality regardless. I am just looking for a rule-of-thumb size (video dimension) that we can go up to with good quality.
    320x240 is okay. You can get decent quality if you opt in for a bigger file size. Flash will be able to play it and the user would hardly notice unless they are on dial up.

    4) What symptoms occur at user workstations when too large a video is driven to their PC? What happens? Does it just hang and hang, attempting to load? or does it revert to lower quality?
    It doesn't revert unless you built a player to do so. The video will keep trying to buffer but with flash this isn't really and issue. Check out sites like youtube or google video. Look at how their players work meaning look at how it loads the video and plays. Those sites do use flv files.

    5) For sound... I am going to recommend that the video be silent. I will implement optional background music via www.deezer.com (or something similar). Can I assume that it would be difficult/impossible to have the music stay on (without interruption) when navigating between pages? I am leaning toward limiting sound to homepage only.
    You could use a frame but those get messy or you could have a popup window with the audio in it. My advice don't use background music. Its annoying and it will only drive your users away. Don't autoplay the music either. Give your users a way to stop/play the music as well.
    Bottom line is, don't take on more than you can chew.
    ||||If you are getting paid to do a job, don't ask for help on it!||||


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