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Converting a QT to SWF.. I just don't get it!

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Wesley Blokker
Converting a QT to SWF.. I just don't get it!
on Dec 21, 2010 at 3:24:27 pm


I have a small problem here I hope you guys can help me with.

A few of our customers ask us if we can deliver a .swf video file, which, I have learned, is a Shockwave Video. We used to make these files in Video2SWF for mac which is a really crappy program that's very slow and you are never sure of the out coming results.

Now more recently we've bought Sorenson Squeeze. This program can make a .SWF in a professional - lot's of controls flicks and switches - kidna way. Which, as an editor, of course I like. Honestly, what man doesn't like buttons and switches huh?

But what Sorenson actually does isn't very clear to me and this is where I rely on your guidance. Rather than coming up with a solution I'd like to understand the progress, but in a simple explanation because my technical english is by far not as good as my regular english.

Sorenson Squeeze gives me a .swf a .flv or .mp4 and a .html. The HTML and SWF are very small and the FLV or MP4 seem to be containing all the data.

Why does he do this?
Can I send just the FLV / MP4 to the customer because SWF is just a container that these FLV's and MP4's fit in?
Should I send all three files?
Why oh why is this so hard?
And how come Video2SWF got me just a swf where as Sorenson gives me three files?
Any more I should know?

I hope you guys/girls can help me out.

It would really help me out as it seems to me the demand for .swf is really growing here in Holland.

(Dutch answers would be even nicer!)

Cheers and lots and lots of thanks in advance.
Love CreativeCow.


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Craig Seeman
Re: Converting a QT to SWF.. I just don't get it!
on Dec 21, 2010 at 5:51:53 pm

I only have Squeeze 5 and not 6.5 as I primarily use Episode so I'm not sure if there's been any changes in Squeeze but certainly Flash and SWF history hasn't changed.

SWF video generally is self contained using the very old Sorenson Spark codec (aka Flash 7) and is absolutely abysmal quality by today's standards. You'd need a much higher data rate (hence larger file size) to match the quality of more recent codecs.

FLV is generally On2VP6 codec (aka Flash 8). The quality is very good although has generally been superseded by H.264 except for the use of alpha channels for the most part.

H.264 .mov, mp4, f4v (Flash's own exension) and other extension all work in Flash.

These days web folks create their own SWF player for the Flash video content. Some commonly used ones are:
Some people adept at Flash create their own custom players with interactivity in Adobe's Flash tools.

Generally H.264 with .mp4 extension is the closest we've come to a universal codec. The video file will work in Flash, Silverlight, Quicktime, Windows Media Player 12, HTML5

H.264 .mov (Quicktime) should also work in all of the above as well (although I haven't tested WMP12 for example). I know it will work in Flash and Silverlight.

If you have an H.264 .mov there's no need to re-encode (and cause quality loss) to use in Flash. If you have other Quicktime sources you'd generally get the best quality relative to data rate using H.264 .mp4

You can send the client H.264 .mov or H.264 .mp4 and they will work in any modern built SWF Flash Player.

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Wesley Blokker
Re: Converting a QT to SWF.. I just don't get it!
on Dec 21, 2010 at 6:15:37 pm

Thanks for the info. That really helped as it confirmed What I thought.

Ill give it a test with the client and we'll see what happens.

Tnx mate.

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Chris Blair
Re: Converting a QT to SWF.. I just don't get it!
on Dec 22, 2010 at 2:53:37 am

Don't feel bad if you're confused. Flash in general and flash video in particular is a pretty confusing subject. Adobe hasn't helped things over the years by giving it's web browser plugin and its authoring program the same name. Nor have they helped by not differentiating between the original SWF vector based format and the newer FLV, video based format.

SWF isn't technically a video format or codec, it's a vector (math-based) shockwave flash object. So if you see an embedded (all in one) .swf video file, it will typically contain the video file embedded within the player interface that shows up on a web page. Some programs allow you to encode a video to .swf without a player interface, but there is absolutely no good reason or advantage to doing it that way. Years ago, some web authoring programs worked better with .swf files because .swf was created first and was originally used for the aforementioned vector based animations. So web authoring programs supported it more broadly than FLV.

So videos encoded using .swf were easier to load in authoring programs while flv files were problematic. Of course...that's not the case anymore. Despite this we STILL get requests from web designers for .swf video files.

The HTML you're getting from your encodes is just a web page with the SWF interface embedded which then calls or loads the flv (or .mov or f4v or mp4) video file. You can copy and paste that code into a webpage, or you can link to the HTML page as a popup on your website.

According to Adobe's website...flash video a broad term for the container format for video and has been the format used for Adobe Flash Player versions 6–10. The official video file extension has been .flv for as long as I can remember. Flash Video content can still be embedded within SWF files but I believe it can only work that way with flv's.

Modern flash players can load and use FLV, F4V, MOV, or MP4 and possibly others.

There is little reason to encode videos using the .swf extension anymore. Except when a web designer stuck in 2004 asks for one.

Chris Blair
Magnetic Image, Inc.
Evansville, IN
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