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InDesign's high-quality typography and layout tools go beyond print. In InDesign CS4: 10 Things to Know About Interactive PDFs, David Blatner explores interactive PDF files and the techniques used to add movies and sounds to them. In addition, David explains how to avoid common pitfalls and reveals some tricks for making eye-catching documents as efficiently as possible.
Video files are big, sometimes really big, so if you embed a few 100 MB movies into your PDF, your PDF file is going to get pretty huge. Now, let me offer you a different option. If the person looking at your PDF has a web access, you could let them stream the movie across the Internet instead. Let me show you how. I'd like to place the movie right down here in this blank space between these frames. So I am going to choose the regular Frame tool and just drag out at on an area, doesn't matter what size, right now. To turn this into a movie, I will just go to the Object menu, choose Interactive, and then choose Movie Options.
Now I was clever here and I copied the URL to my clipboard for the movie that I want to place in here. So I will click on Specify a URL, select that, delete it, and paste in the URL that I want to use. And the next step is very important. I am going to click on Verify URL and Movie Size. InDesign literally goes across the web, finds the file, grabs it's name and how big it is and makes sure that it can access it when it needs to. The Poster is what is going to show up in PDF while the movie is not playing and in this case, I am going to Choose a Movie Frame as the Poster itself.
The first frame of the movie is blank, but you can see that as I drag this little handle across, I get a different image along the way and you can also use your arrow keys to get just the right frame you want. That looks pretty good. I will click OK and it makes that my new Poster. I will click OK and you can see that the image is brought in to the frame. Technically, I should say that the movie has been placed inside a Movie Frame which is place inside the graphic frame that I drew. Because the image was actually placed disproportionately, I need to stretch it out to 100%. And I will show you what I mean. I am going to choose the Direct Selection tool and click on the image and you can see that the scaling was all messed up.
So I am going to have to set this back to 100%. I now need to set the Movie Frame to be the proper size, so I will choose Object>Fitting>Fit Frame to Content. The Movie Frame is the proper size but now the Graphic Frame around it is still the wrong size. So I will switch back to Selection tool, select the outside Graphic Frame and do the same thing. Object>Fitting>Fit Frame to Content. That's great. I now have a Graphic Frame which is containing the Movie Frame, which is containing the movie itself, but the movie is sitting out on a server on the web. And there are all sorts of interesting techniques that you can achieve by targeting images or movies on a web.
For example, I might want to put a banner right up here. Let's say each week I have a different sale at my store, 10% off, 20%-30% off, whatever and I want that current week sale offer to be placed inside this frame but the problem is, is this is a PDF file and that PDF file is already on my customer's machine. So whenever they open that PDF, I want it to show that current week sale. Can I do that? Sure, I just take my ad and I turn it into a movie. In this case, One Frame movie, the movie just shows that one frame and then I put that movie in here, right now, here is the movie that I want to be targeting, so I am going to select this text out of here and copy it to the clipboard and one more time, run to that same routine, select to the frame, Interactive, Movie Options, come over here, specify the URL, paste it in, verify it, it grabs the size and in this case, the poster is going to be From the Frame, so it should be that first frame of the movie, click OK, and there it is.
Now because I want the PDF to always go out and grab the most recent movie, I need to click Play on Page Turn. So as soon as that page shows up, it goes across the web, grabs the movie and places it in here. Click OK, and it shows up in InDesign, let's go ahead and try the PDF. I am going to export this to the Desktop with Command+E or Ctrl+E on Windows, save it as a PDF, click Save and let's go ahead and turn-on Interactive Elements, otherwise we won't get any of our movies, click Export, and I am only going to be exporting this one page, just page 6, just so that this export goes a little bit faster in this demo.
It opens it up in Acrobat and we get our dreaded Manage Trust for Multimedia Content alert. This is a very annoying dialog box, it always shows up, but it's not a big deal, all you have to do is click Play and Acrobat goes out and starts playing the movie. In this case, it just starts playing this movie right here, so it went across the web, grabbed the most current ad and placed it into the PDF. If I go back to Fit in Window, with a Ctrl+0 on Windows or Command+0 on Mac, you can see that the movie is down here as well, and if I click on that, it starts to play. I will click on it again, just to stop it and you get the idea, you can play and stop these movies, but this movie will automatically play, as soon as, the PDF opens in Acrobat.
And unfortunately, there is just no way I know of, to get Acrobat to stop showing you that dreaded alert dialog box, but if you can live with that, then this is a great way to stream your content into your PDFs.
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