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Rick Wise
Adobe Flash CS3 or On2 Flix Pro
on Aug 20, 2007 at 10:34:22 pm

For quite a while I've used Windows Media 9 to display short (:30 to 1:00) samples of my film / video work. Now I have a client who wants to post 2-5 minute videos. Unless you have a very powerful computer, or else render the video to a very low-res image, Windows Media 9 does not seem to work very well -- jerky starts and stops.

I have been looking at Flash and there seems to be just two encoders to consider (but maybe there are more -- Sorenson Squeeze is a contender but does not include On2's latest codec): On2's Flix Pro or Adobe's Flash CS3. The problem I have with Adobe is the program is basically designed for something else -- animation. Encoding video in a player skin is a tiny part of what it does. The problem is that to try to get this to work in Adobe seems to be a huge learning curve. I've downloaded a trial version and am getting nowhere. Flix, on the other hand, seems designed to do just one thing: encode video into a Flash skin.

So I think I should get the Flix and forget Adobe. Or am I making a mistake?

Note that there are a bunch of other encoders out there, but none of them seem to render to good quality in decent size windows. They are far cheaper, and produce cheap-looking results.

Rick Wise
director of photography
Oakland, CA
http://www.RickWiseDP.com
email: Rick@RickWiseDP.com


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Craig Seeman
Re: Adobe Flash CS3 or On2 Flix Pro
on Aug 21, 2007 at 2:03:38 pm

A lot depends on your worflow. I don't have the CS3 suite so I can't speak to the ease of use. You need to consider whether you'll be doing the fully interactive Flash work or just handing off an .flv file for a designer or maybe simply just to upload/embedd in a Flash Player on a web site.

There's certainly other Flash encoding software, some of it more feature rich than Flix Pro. You don't mention whether you're on a Mac or a PC but Squeeze, which would work on either, can do good Flash encoding with On2 purchased. Episode on the Mac has great processing filters.


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Rick Wise
Re: Adobe Flash CS3 or On2 Flix Pro
on Aug 21, 2007 at 3:41:38 pm

I'm on a PC. I am in the process of trying out the Squeeze Suite on a trial basis. But my real interest is probably the much less expensive Squeeze for Flash which includes the On2 VP6, while the Suite does not. Unfortunately there's no trial version of Flash.

As for workflow, my first client in this enterprise has a flash-resistant web master so I'm stuck with handing over something he can simply drop into place. I think that means the complete package of skin with flv embedded.

If you have any suggestions for other software that will help a novice Flash user encode and embed an avi file to flash so that it plays cleanly on a web site, and can be scaled larger or smaller as needed, I would appreciate the help.

Rick Wise
director of photography
Oakland, CA
http://www.RickWiseDP.com
email: Rick@RickWiseDP.com


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Craig Seeman
Re: Adobe Flash CS3 or On2 Flix Pro
on Aug 21, 2007 at 9:01:12 pm

I'm a bit confused. I thought you had to deliver a file that "they" would compress for use in Flash. If you have to do your own Flash encoding Squeeze is a good choice. The full version includes creating the "skin" so you might give that a try (trial version). You can at least test that with Flash 7 as it shouldn't be any different as far as the code it generates. If it works you could then buy the full Squeeze with the On2VP6 (Flash 8) option.

You could just generate an SWF without player (rather than FLV with SWF player) but I take it that's not desirable.

Given today's news about Flash Player (current beta) supporting H.264, that full version of Squeeze will keep you covered there too. This might be the ultimate direction for your flash resistant web master . . . although I can imagine it may take a year from the fall release of the next flash player for market penetration to be wide enough (my speculation).


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Rick Wise
Re: Adobe Flash CS3 or On2 Flix Pro
on Aug 21, 2007 at 11:29:26 pm

Thanks for the reply. As far as I can make out, to get the FLV to play in a SWF skin using Sorensen Squeeze, one has to go to Adobe for the skin part. At least that is what their directions/tutorial seems to say without using the word Adobe -- the pictures seem to be screen grabs from Adobe. Maybe once again I am missing something here.

I have been working with Sorenson's demo version of their Squeeze Suite.

On2's Flix, on the other hand, includes skins and seems pretty straight forward.

Rick Wise
director of photography
Oakland, CA
http://www.RickWiseDP.com
email: Rick@RickWiseDP.com


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David Roth Weiss
Re: Adobe Flash CS3 or On2 Flix Pro
on Aug 22, 2007 at 4:28:04 am

[Rick Wise] "On2's Flix, on the other hand, includes skins and seems pretty straight forward."

Rick,

I've been using Flix Pro for quite a while now and I like it a lot. Its certainly nice to have the skins right there too, although only a few are worthwhile. If you get Flix make sure to spend lots of time exploring and testing with short files, you'll find its possible to make some pretty impressive web videos that you would never have thought possible. Take a peek at this: http://drwfilms.com/kill2

David

David Roth Weiss
Director/Editor
David Weiss Productions, Inc.
Los Angeles

POST-PRODUCTION WITHOUT THE USUAL INSANITY


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Rick Wise
Re: Adobe Flash CS3 or On2 Flix Pro
on Aug 22, 2007 at 4:16:51 pm

David,

Thanks for the encouraging words and the link. Unfortunately, the link demonstrates the Achilles heel of these flash files: without a robust computer, the images jerk along. At least, that what happens with your link on my computer (AMD 1593 MHz.) I have noticed that Flix Pro offers a buffering option -- this seems to help. On your link, after letting it sit for a few minutes it plays more smoothly.

I have to assume that a significant number of potential clients will be working with underpowered computers. They are not going to wait....

Rick Wise
director of photography
Oakland, CA
http://www.RickWiseDP.com
email: Rick@RickWiseDP.com


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David Roth Weiss
Re: Adobe Flash CS3 or On2 Flix Pro
on Aug 22, 2007 at 4:55:47 pm

Rick,

The golden paradigm of compression is typically, "Faster, Better, Bigger, pick any two." Most people who are interested in what I do have pretty fast connections, and so I've made a conscious decision to opt for size and quality.

I posted that link for you because it is better and bigger than what most people are used to seeing on the Web. Yes, it can push the limits of some systems, but its most likely your Internet connection that causes any issues. I could have created it with a larger buffer that would download more of the video before playing, but then it would take longer to start up. As you know, everything is a compromise.

David


David Roth Weiss
Director/Editor
David Weiss Productions, Inc.
Los Angeles

POST-PRODUCTION WITHOUT THE USUAL INSANITY


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Rick Wise
Re: Adobe Flash CS3 or On2 Flix Pro
on Aug 22, 2007 at 8:05:40 pm

Quite so, David. Thanks.

Rick Wise
director of photography
Oakland, CA
http://www.RickWiseDP.com
email: Rick@RickWiseDP.com


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