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One of the most transformative events in the history of the web has been the introduction of video through Flash. Flash changed the nature of video online almost overnight. The ease at which Flash allows video to be created and deployed over the web is directly responsible for the recent explosion of online video. In showing how committed they are at easing the delivery of online video, Adobe has given Dreamweaver the capability to insert Flash video or FLV files directly into your site, even if you don't own or even understand Flash itself.
Before we start using Flash video on our site, it's worth discussing how those FLV files are created. Almost every video creation and editing tool now has the capability of exporting FLV files. So if you're a video editor, you should be able to create FLV files from your favorite source editing program. If you're not, Adobe ships the Adobe Media Encoder with many versions of the Creative Suite and Flash. If you don't have it, you can download a free 30-day trial at adobe.com.
We need to create two FLV files from one large QuickTime movie source file. We'll use the Media Encoder to create the files at the right quality for our site, and trim one into a shorter segment. So I've launched the Adobe Media Encoder and this program actually has a very deceptively easy interface. The reason I say that is if all you want to do is encode some movies, it's amazingly easy to just add files to the queue, hit Go and be done with it. But this application has a wealth of features just under the surface and we're going to take a look at a couple of those.
So I'm going to right over here to the Add button, click on that and find the source file for my FLV file. So we want to go to the 15_04 _ assets directory and I'm going to find this podcast_teaser.mov. I'm going to click Open and we've added that one to the queue. Now if that was found with the default settings, I could just go ahead and click Start Queue and it would create my files for me. However, you do want to very carefully inspect what's going on here. Notice for example that our preset is actually going to create an F4V file.
Well, that's the new media format for Flash Media and it supports the high definition encoding. Now that's certainly above and beyond what we need for ours and it's not as comparable with some of the older Flash Players. So I'm going to grab the pulldown menu for Preset and I notice that I have a ton of F4V presets, and some FLV presets just below that. For my FLV presets, I'm going to choose Web Large NTSC Source (Flash 8 and Higher). So these presets give you an idea as to which version of the Flash Player you're targeting. I'm going to go ahead and choose Web Large, and now I can see that I have an output file.
Now if you click this, you not only get to name the file, but you get to choose the directory for it as well. So go ahead and click the output file, and inside the 15_04 folder, find the _video directory, and I'm going to click this one podcast_teaser_LG for large. I'm going to click Save and again if I'm ready to go, I could just start to queue at this point. Now let's say I do need the separate version of this, maybe one that is shorter in length and maybe a lower file quality. Perhaps you needed a lower file size on a particular FLV file, or maybe you just need a shorter segment.
It's not uncommon to have to create several different FLV files out of the same source file. Rather than adding it to the queue again, notice that we can highlight this one and we can just choose Duplicate. When we do that, we get another entry in the queue and it starts off with exactly the same settings. So I can click the output file, and this time I'm going to change the name to _MD for medium .flv and Save. Now I've mentioned the fact that I need some slightly different settings here. So I can also grab the preset and this time, choose Web Medium.
Now I didn't see anything here on our presets about shortening the length or customizing our video at all. So I'm going to go to this preset and instead of just grabbing the pulldown menu, I'm going to click this link. When I do that, I get an entirely different interface and this one is incredibly robust. Now it would take us a lot longer than we have in this particular video to go over every signal setting here. So I want to hit some of the high points for you. One of the things that we can do over here in the upper left-hand corner is shorten our movie. So we can change the endpoints and we can change the out points of our movie.
So if I wanted to make this movie about half the size that it was before, just as a teaser clip, I could go ahead and choose exactly where to end that movie. The other thing that I could do is check all of my settings. I could check the encoding settings that I was using, the file type and in this case, if I click on the Video tab, I can see that that default settings is going to resize that video. I don't want that. So I'm going to uncheck that and make sure it's using the source size. I'm going to click OK and that's going to be kind of concern. I need to go up to my other preset, click on that and check my Video format as well.
I see that one is resizing too. So don't take any of that stuff for granted. I'm going to uncheck that so that I get source size, click OK, and now I'm ready to go. So once you have all of your settings, you can just click the Start Queue button and it's going to go ahead and begin to encode those movies. As your movies are encoded, you'll see a preview down here other than the movie itself and you'll get a progress bar that lets you know how far long it is. It moves surprisingly quick, especially on faster machines. But if you're queuing up a lot of videos or some really big videos, you may want to make sure you have a little bit of time to kill as you're waiting for these videos to encode.
Now once the Media Encoder is finished, I'm going to go ahead and close it. I'm going to go back in the Dreamweaver, and I want to open up that _video folder and when I do that I can see right there are my two FLV files, large and medium, and now those are ready to be used in my site. The Flash Media Encoder is an amazingly powerful tool. But it's simple enough to use and comes with enough presets to deliver high-quality video regardless of your experience level. Now that we have our FLV files, we're going to tackle integrating that video into our site in the next movie.
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