Adding Flash Video to Dreamweaver 8
Sometimes you just have to wonder how the guys at Macromedia do it.
For example, web video is suddenly all the rage thanks to Flash Professional 8, those wonderful people at On2 and Sorenson and the folks at Adobe who provide the video editing software. It is enough to make a web developer’s head spin. Suddenly we are confronted with putting web video in our web pages because clients see the neat stuff the “Cool Kids” over on the Flash side of the street are doing and we get caught with a “Me too!” The guys at Macromedia must have anticipated this because they did something with Flash Video in Dreamweaver 8 that is rather amazing; they made it even easier to use. Best off all, it is free.
Prior to the release of Dreamweaver 8, the Flash Video Kit for Dreamweaver MX 2004 was a spending decision on your part if you wanted to add Flash video to your pages. Mind you, the “Kit” included a copy of Sorenson Squeeze Lite and it is still an integral FLV creation tool if you didn’t purchase either Studio 8 or Flash Professional 8. The Video Kit is now bundled with the application and is even better than the retail version of the Video Kit.
Tip: You can’t create a FLV in Dreamweaver 8. That can only be done in Flash Professional 8 or using Sorenson Squeeze Lite from the Flash Video Kit. This tutorial will assume you have been handed a FLV file.
Seriously, all you need to get into the video game is a FLV and the ability to click a mouse. Here’s how:
1. Open Dreamweaver 8 and create a new page.
2. Click the mouse and select Insert > Media > Flash Video…
When you release the mouse the Insert Flash Video dialog box opens. This is where the process of adding a video to your Dreamweaver 8 page starts.
3. Select the Video Type pop-down menu.
This is your first decision: Is the video to be streamed from your web site or through a Flash Communication Server or a Flash Video Streaming Service? Your choice will actually change the look of the dialog box because a Streaming Video requires either an RTMP address and an instance name for the video. If you don’t have a Flash Comm or FVSS account choose the Progressive Download option.
A Progressive Download isn’t as bad as it seems when you first encounter the term. The video usually starts playing after a second or two of the video loading into the Player. This takes slightly more time than the other option which starts playing immediately.
4. After you select Progressive Download click the Browse button and navigate, using the Select File dialog box, to the location of the FLV file you want to include in the page.
The video will appear in the URL area of the Insert Flash Video dialog box. Your next decision will contain an extremely pleasant surprise if you are familiar with the Video Kit.
5. Click the Skin pop down and select a skin.
If you used the Video Kit, the first thing you will notice is there are now 9 styles to choose from. Just keep in mind each skin has a minimum video width associated with it. As you can se in the image below, each skin contains specific features ranging from simple Start/Stop buttons to volume controls. What is even more interesting is these skins can be customized. The process of doing this is well beyond the scope of this article because it is rather complex. Still, the ability to add you client’s logo to the player is available.
Having chosen the skin, you really don’t have much more to do. Click the Detect Size button and the video’s dimensions are pulled from the FLV’s metadata and applied to the size of the player.
Finally you have to decide whether or not to select the “Auto play” and “Auto rewind” buttons. Selecting them, when you have controls seems a bit redundant but, if you want the movie to start playing as soon as it loads, select “Auto play”.
The last choice is whether you want your visitors to obtain the latest copy of the Flash Player which, as of this writing, is Flash Player 8. Selecting this adds a detection script to your page and, if the user doesn’t have the Flash 8 Player, he or she is redirected. This step is both optional and customizable. Deselect it and the detection script isn’t added. If you do select it, you can either use the message or add one of your own such as, “You don’t have the stuff. How about we go get it.” or something like that.
When you click OK to close the Flash Video dialog box, two swf files – one is the player and the other is the skin – are added to the directory where you saved the page. They must be uploaded to the server for the video to play properly.
Finally, can you change your mind – switch the skin or the FLV, or change and of the settings after you create the player? The answer is yes. The video will appear on your page as a gray box with a FLV icon in the middle. Click the video and the Property inspector will change to reflect the values in the Flash Video dialog box.
The Flash Video feature of Dreamweaver 8 is a solid hit on Macromedia’s part. It is both feature-laden and simple to use. If you can make a menu selection and click a mouse, you too can add Flash video to your Dreamweaver 8 pages.
Expertise: DWMX, FWMX, FlashMX, FreehandMX, DirectorMX,
Photoshop, Illustrator, Audition, AfterEffects, Premiere,
InDesign and Acrobat. Workflow and integration of the
tools in the MX Studio with an eye to working smarter
not harder. Contributions: Teacher, Lecturer, Author,
Chief Cook and Bottle Washer. Multimedia Instructor
at Humber College’s School of Media Studies in Toronto.
Author of “Director 8 with Shockwave Fast and Easy”
for Prima Tech, “Building Web Sites with Macromedia
Studio MX” and “Building Dynamic Web Sites with Macromedia
Studio MX” for New Riders. Team Macromedia Member for
Fireworks MX 2004.