I have created a website for a hair and spa business for which they want me to incorporate a video. They will be giving me the video through CD_ROM, which I have to edit for the web. I have Flash on my desktop and need to know how to edit video with it with some effects such as fade effects and a buffer animation. I aslo need to find a source for uncopyrighted music.
Ok, to break this down… 1st.. if the video is on CD_ROM with 750 to 800MB, it’s either a pretty short video (which is good) or the video is low resolution. Hopefully it’s in a file format that’s easy to edit, such as mpeg or avi.
To edit video, you really need video editing software, of which Flash ain’t. You can create animations and export them as .avi with Flash but to edit you’ll need better software. Google for Adobe or Pinnacle editing software or check out Virtual Dub as a free editor. Then you can add your Flash animations into the main video from the CD.
If you are thinking that Flash video is video edited in Flash, it's not. The Flash .flv is just a proprietary video container format. Various types of video and audio file can be placed inside that container. Once you have your video edited you can render or export that video in the .flv format with some of the newer software, or if you end up with a mpeg or wmv, you can transcode to flv with your Flash Video Encoder.
For your music, search out local bands and musicians who are often willing to contribute original music for just being named in the credits roll.
I have downloaded Virtual Dub and it looks like it will be easy to use. I am a bit confused about file extensions though and I was wondering if you could help me understand them.
What is a Flash .flv used for? Is it the final product? If I begin with an avi or an mpeg, which I will edit Virtual Dub, and add animation from Flash, in what format do I have to save the animation to be opened in Virtual Dub? And once I am finished with putting it together, do it import it to Flash and turn it into an .flv? What formats can I use to embed the video in a web page?
I am also a bit confused about how to create streaming video. What is streaming video and how to I create this for a website?
As for the various file extensions… AVI stands for Audio Video Interleave and is a Microsoft container format. Container meaning it contains both the audio and the video. It does not describe what codec was used to encode the video. Typically you would see the avi extension on video that has just been captured from a video camera and before it is edited in a video editing software. Think of it as “raw” video, video that has not been compressed. For that reason files are usually very large and unsuited for play over the Internet.... unless the file has already been compressed and exported from video editing software.
MPEG comes from the Moving Picture Experts Group, and is their set of standards for compressing video and audio (mp3) into smaller files sizes than the “raw” video. Early standards included mpeg1 and mpeg2, and now mpeg4, each generation improving on the quality verses size. Mpeg1 compressed video enough to allow it to fit on a CD. If you have video on a CD that is not an avi, it may be in the mpeg1 format. Problem is mpeg1 quality vs size is not that great. Of those standards, mpeg4 is really the only format that compresses the video enough for Internet use.
The Flash .flv format is also a container format, a proprietary format from Flash, but with great popularity. Again, since it’s a container, the extension flv doesn’t not tell you what’s inside. flv files can contain avi, mpeg, and/or mp3 files. Because of the popularity of Flash applications, over 95% of Web browsers already have the (required) Flash plugin necessary to unpackage and play the .flv files. Typically the flv format would be your final format used for Web delivery, and not the format for… say DVD or other application where video compression is not an issue.
So let’s say you want to create an intro for your movie in Flash. First choose a frame rate that exactly matches your other video, probably 29.97 or 30 fps. Match exactly the screen size of the original video, 720 X 540 (if intended for Web), or 480 if TV. Create your animation and “Export” as .avi. Then use Virtual Dub to blend and edit the various pieces together. Output as avi or mpeg without much compression, since you will still have to transcode with Flash Video Encoder, which should have come as a companion part of your Flash software. If you’ve never used it you may not even know it’s there. The Encoder will compress and resize (to say 320 X 240) the video and audio into a nice little container, the .flv which will work great for Web delivery.
You will still need to create a swf to actually place in the HTML code on the Web page. The flv does not play directly on a Web page…The swf will open the container and play the audio/video. Or Google for flv players such as http://www.longtailvideo.com/players/jw-flv-player/
True streaming video is video served up from specialized streaming servers and can include live Web broadcasts. Unless you are planning on doing a live broadcast, you do not need this very expensive means of serving up your video. Use a host that supports progressive downloading of .flv files (nearly all standard Web host packages include this).
So you would create your video and package it into a .flv and upload to your Web host. Create a Web page which has a Flash swf (the player) placed on the page also uploaded to your host. The, with a little luck, when you open the page the video plays!!!! Now wasn’t that simple..????
Since this is your first run through this procedure, it may seem like a nightmare…. but it will get easier each time you do it.
The information about the file extensions really helped my understanding of what I must do to create this video and put it on a site.
I will try the procedure as a test before I edit the actual video. What I will probably do is download or find an .avi file, encode it to .flv, and submit it to my hosting server along with the .swf. There is just another question that I need to ask; where do I need to submit both of those files in the file structure? How does the .swf know how to access the .flv?
Can I keep you posted on what I am doing with this video? I really need your help...
You can place the swf and the flv where ever you want, but remember all the paths used must be relative to the location of the html page.
I'll attach a simple vid player along with the .fla file used to create it, and an html page to illustrate how to use swfobject to place the player on the page. Test them as is, all in the same folder, then snoop around, look at both the actionscript and the html to understand how the paths relate to the location relative to the html page that you place the swf on. Also note that the html page contains alternate content (to the Flash) thanks to the use of swfobject. This alt content is simple html text and can be read by search engines and robots to make your Flash application more SEO friendly. Use the alt content to tell a story about the video you will be showing.
This video player is expecting to find a video named "video1.flv" in the same folder. After you create your first .flv, stick it in the same folder and test with this player. Then I encourage you to customize the player design to suit your own unique style. Open the fla and modify the doc size, increase it a little and place a simple rectangle (with a hole in it) in a layer above the video. You now have a simple skin. The only limitation is your imagination. Here's a couple examples of custom players. http://www.cidigitalmedia.com/video.html
Please keep us informed of your progress and if you learn something new.... pass it on!