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Carl Endres
Flash files questions
on Sep 27, 2010 at 2:24:15 am

Hi, I do most of my animation in after effects and I just completed a web video project in AE. The video will ultimately be posted on a businesses website homepage.

Here are a few hopefully easy questions that I have...

1) I exported the video out of AE as a FLV file.. everything looks good and plays well

2) I imported the FLV into flash so I could add player controls to the video.

3) I then published the video and I now have 4 files
-the original FLV video , an HTML file, and 2 very small SWF files ( one was for the skin, one was a very small size SWF file.

My questions are these...

1) I have to now turn these files over to my client who hired me to do the video so that she can post them onto their website (I have no involvement in the maintance of their site. What type of directions should I give to her since the video will now be out of my hands? I ask this because I would assume the html info is all referencing locations of files on my computer. Does she have to change anything in the code?

2) I'm assuming she needs to upload all 4 files to their server. Is this correct?

3) I would also like to ensure that when the video is posted on their homepage that you see the first frame of the video when the visitor goes to the page, and not some black screen with a play button. Is there anything special I need to do for that to happen?

Any help would be appreciated. Thanks in advance - Carl

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Mike Smith
Re: Flash files questions
on Sep 27, 2010 at 8:37:42 am

You can hand those four files over to your client.

If you open the html file, you will see how your video opens.

Your html / swf file are probably not referencing any other files on your computer - unless you used actionscript to load files into your swf.

Your settings in your Flash file will determine whether your video file autoloads (so you see the first frame) and autoplays - which some websites do, though some web usability writers regard as not good practice.

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Brodd Nesset
Re: Flash files questions
on Sep 27, 2010 at 9:00:21 am

If may add a few things:
- The option of having a so called Poster Frame for the video, is set within Flash, using the Component Inspector. Click on the video or control strip on Stage, open the Inspector and on its menu you will find this option. This setting is stored in the main .swf-file.
- The main .swf, the video control .swf and the .FLV should go into the same folder on the client's webserver. This point is to mirror the folder structure you have used yourself, and keeping everything in one folder is kind of default.
- The HTML-file does not contain any visuel design whatsoever, and is just a template for loading any standard .swf. A less experienced designer can copy this code and paste it into a more compelling design, or use it just to be on the safe (i.e. 'standard compliant') side. The client will very likely have done this before (i.e. used .swf in some form), and have their own way of doing it which works well for them. Swf with video is no different than any plain .swf. The only thing they need is the visual size of the main .swf in pixels, and the instructions to keep all theee assets in one folder of their own choice.

Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted.

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Carl Endres
Re: Flash files questions
on Sep 28, 2010 at 12:46:37 am

Thanks Mike and Brodd for your replies. Maybe I could followup with a question or two.

1) When I imported this FLV (remember it was not created in Flash)I than picked the skin, I only see one thing in the flash project file... the FLV player component. Its like the FLV plays when I test, but I dont actually see the FLV in the library. So Brodd, I was unable to find that feature you mentioned for poster frame, because I couldn't access the component inspector for the actual movie...only the video playing component. Perhaps I'm just getting mixed up, or maybe I don't see it because it was just imported into flash, rather than created in flash.

2) One other somewhat strange thing that has me scratching my head is this... When I test the movie.. it plays fine, I have to expand the window to see the player controls. But when I publish preview the HTML, The video plays... but you don't in anyway see the player controls. Any idea why this is, or do I maybe have a problem.

In anycase, thanks to both of you and if you can help on the above followup questions I would appreciate it - Carl

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Brodd Nesset
Re: Flash files questions
on Sep 28, 2010 at 7:22:55 am

OK, here's what I would do:

1. Place the FLV you've created in the designated folder.

2. Open Flash, create a file with a Stage big enough to accomodate the video - and perhaps some extra (to your taste). Save this in the same folder as above (important!)

3. In Flash, from the File menu, choose Import Video. Locate your FLV. Do not choose any of the options like 'play in the Timeline' etc. Choose a Skin / video playback controller. There are many variations on these; some are overlaid on the lower end of the video, some will stick to it outside, along the lower edge. For the latter option, you do need to have a Stage taller than the video to be able to see and interact with it!

4. The video will appear on Stage as a black rectangle. Move it around at will. You can even put other stuff around it.

5. Click on this black rectangle, open the Component inspector and set the options. I think they are pretty self explanatory, but some may need some experimenting. Note that you for instance have the option of hiding the control by default. This may explain why you don't see it at first. It will appear when you roll over the video, and disappear again when you roll off.

6. Experiment, i.e. preview with Ctrl + Enter (not Return).

7. Save. And Export. Upon export only, you will see 'your' .swf appear in the folder. The folder should now contain:
- Your FLV
- Your Flash-design as an .FLA-file.
- Your Flash-design as an .SWF-file.
- (Depending on your Export settings) A wrapper for the latter as an HTML-file.
- The video playback control as an .SWF (if you use an older version of Flash you may need to locate this manually)

8. When everything looks okay you will pass on to your client everything but the .FLA-file, and the HTML only as an option or template.

Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted.

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Carl Endres
One final question(s) if I may
on Sep 28, 2010 at 12:27:12 pm least for now :) Thanks again Brood for being so descriptive in your reply. Your workflow description was exactly what I was doing except I didn't make the stage large enough to accommodate the external player control.

The last question I have is this... my direction to the client will simply be to make sure all the files are placed in the same file folder when she goes to actually build the web page that will accommodate the video. BUT when importing the video there is a message at the end that says... "Before exporting and deploying your .swf you may need to update the URL in the component inspector to refer to the videos final location on the web or flash media server.

-I know the client does not have flash, I also have no idea what the directory name will be that she chooses to place the file into. So I really can't do that for her ahead of time. So is this going to cause problems since she won't be able to change the URL address since she doesn't have Flash? My guess is that she uses Dreamweaver or something like that to build the site. Maybe the URL will all change automatically when she imports into her web design program, but I just wanted to double check.

-When she does go to place the video... what file does she actually import to html page? The FLV or the smaller SWF.

Again thank you for all your help - Carl

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Brodd Nesset
Re: One final question(s) if I may
on Sep 28, 2010 at 2:20:39 pm

This would for sure give your client huge problems! I can't explain why this has happened at your place, but to fix it you can actually type and indeed erase in the Inspector's URL field. It should be: theNameOfMyVideo.flv
Nothing more, i.e. any full path description must go. It should now (still) fetch the video, and always look in the same folder as 'itself' for it, wherever it's being placed in a larger structure.
Check that it works, of course.

Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted.

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