Seems like you are burning a lot of calories with that background image. It’s HUGE, 1280 X 1580. While it does add an extra flare, can you really afford the bandwidth? Seems like you should be able to do better than 1MB for that image. I agree with Tracknut, that’s very heavy, even for such a large image. Flash may not be the best way to present that image. Since clarity is not paramount, have you tried various .jpg compression to see what you’d get?
Or, just using a jpg image, cut it in half, fade the bottom edge to white (the bottom half of the page is almost white anyway) and set the CSS to norepeat for the image. Or, perhaps with a little imagination you could create an image 20% that size (and edges that look alike) and just tile the background instead. That would cut nearly 750KB.
Then as far as your Flash banner goes, how much of the graphics are bitmaps and how much are vector? For example is that airplane a bitmap that’s being scaled or is it vector? What about the wispy clouds? You are also using an image as the background for the Flash document (the clouds), this I’m sure is a bitmap, right? Since you are striving for a transparent look anyway, no need to duplicate the clouds, they are already in your <body> background. Leave a white stage and then set all your animation on that (vector graphics only).
Then when you place the <object> on the html page, you already have
<param name="wmode" value="transparent" />
so the background clouds will show through.
As it is now, because you are using a background image in the “planeflash3.swf”, there’s a visable edge to the banner, which distracts from your transparent look.
You are also loading 5 small images in the gallery. For starters, they may not be visible when the page loads because they are down at the bottom (but they load anyway). Then even when a viewer scrolls down, 3 of them are hidden. A small Flash gallery using dynamically loaded images will not load the image until the viewer clicks a thumbnail.. or description.. or something. Saves you a little anyway.
But you’ve got a huge background image and a very large banner. Because of that you are using up nearly all the bandwidth to download those.
Eye for Video www.cidigitalmedia.com
There is no doubt left that this is the most helpful forum in the world. Thank you so much for looking at my problem with such detail!
I have to read it all completely and understand what you've said, eyeforvideo, and I will post as soon as I have re-read, understood and tried out all the potential solutions that you have suggested...thank you, again...
I first decided to take a critical look and decide which images really needed to be transparent and which didn't. I decided that the clouds and the blue gradient behind could be easily merged into a low-size jpeg, and that nearly saved an MB of space. The next thing I did was to merge the flash effect and the jpeg, so that my transparency issue was solved and also this resulted in even smaller a file size than before. I also let go of a few clouds in the effect, and twisted and warped only 2 shapes again and again till I had different-looking clouds. Then I turned off interlacing on all the .png's and this also led to a phenomenal decrease in the file size...