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Exporting swf at 400x225 from larger footage

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Ian Smith
Exporting swf at 400x225 from larger footage
on Dec 11, 2009 at 7:58:56 pm

I'm new to using After Effects (using CS4). I'm attempting to create a swf from video footage edited in Premiere Pro.

I also attempted to do this the best way I know how, being relatively new to the Adobe CS4 suite.

I edited a 720x480 widescreen video in Premiere Pro. Here's the kicker... some of the footage I was given was in such a low resolution it couln't even fill the canvas without losing clarity. Fortunately, the final output is going to be for web video, and only needs to be 400 pixels wide.

SO, I was thinking... I'll just edit this in Premiere and export a cropped swf file. I don't think Premiere can create an swf. This is where After Effects steps in.

I'm aware that it is simple to export a swf file, quick and simple. However, I need to get the swf to that final cropped image size.

So, beginning with a composition in After Effects at 720x480 Square pixels, I pull my video in. Everything looks good, now I need to crop it down.

I changed the composition canvas settings to 400x225 and scaled the imported ('uncompressed' or word, AVI) down to 64% and I am looking at my video cropped and ready for export.

I export to swf, and the final swf is much larger than my canvas size, and shows all the excess video that I wanted cropped out.

Any help would be greatly appreciated!

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Brendan Coots
Re: Exporting swf at 400x225 from larger footage
on Dec 11, 2009 at 9:49:20 pm

First of all, AE is a horrible tool for outputting compressed files. It should only be used for outputting final master-quality files. As such, you shouldn't export your SWF from there, but rather output an uncompressed video and use a different tool for the compression. More on that later.

Secondly, you shouldn't be outputting a video to SWF unless you really mean to. If it's video as in video footage and/or motion graphics, you should be outputting to FLV, Flash Video Format. The SWF format was solely designed to hold raster graphics, such as those created in Illustrator or Flash (think cartoons - everything is large, solid flat chunks of color). It does NOT support motion blur, video footage etc. and has a very specific use. If you need a SWF because it's going on the web, FLVs are embedded into a web page in a very similar way and appear to the user as a SWF file, it's just the "proper" format for flash-based video. Just about every video you see on the web (such as YouTube etc.) is an FLV, not a SWF.

There are a lot of free video converters out there that do FLV. Almost all of them allow you to crop the video prior to output, and this is the route I would suggest you go (unless you really HAVE to have a SWF file). You would open the oversized video you output from Premiere, set the cropping in the conversion program to what you need, and render out an FLV file. The best free converter I've used is the Riva FLV Encoder (ignore the reviews, most of those people don't know what they're doing and/or had totally false expectations). It's a great program, spyware free and I've used it to convert many dozens of videos.

Brendan Coots

Splitvision Digital

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Ian Smith
Re: Exporting swf at 400x225 from larger footage
on Dec 15, 2009 at 2:08:48 pm

Thank you Brendan for your response to my post! Your information is very useful. I will have to check out the converter you mentioned.

I somehow overlooked that you posted this response before I found my solution, and am just now reading it (after I have gotten it to work). - However, your information is correct!

I will post my results for forum purposes:

In response to previous post response,... Yes, It was always my understanding that if I wanted video for the Web that it would need to be exported to an FLV. You helped clear up for me as to why.

I have used Premiere to export an uncompressed video and sent through Adobe Encoder where I then converted the file to an FLV.

I was able to crop the video using 16:9 restraints on crop.
I changed the Output Tab = Change Output Size
Upped my settings for a cleaner resolution FLV, bitrate around 2,000.

I now have an 2 minute long flv at about 16MB, 400x225 playing perfectly within an automated Flash Player. That being, a SWF playing my FLV file.

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