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Make Flash Video Work For You

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Back in ancient times (circa 2002), we all dreamed of web TV. No, not that stupid Microsoft set top box… but the capacity for “real” video on the web.

We pined for low bandwidth, glossy video “goodness” delivered, on-demand, right to our PCs. Ladies and gentlemen, I’m not going to claim that golden time is now (that’d certainly be absurd)… but we’re on the right track.

Back before their titanic “fusion” into the super-mega-unstoppable-colossal-golem of creative software known as Adobe, Macromedia sparked this revolution. Which is not to say they’re completely responsible for the rise of web video… but more than anyone else, they’re driving the technology.

Leveraging codecs by Sorenson and On2, Macromedia introduced us to flv with Flash 6. In its own right, simply control over such media within Flash via Actionscript was revolutionary. Additionally, the quality was astonishing given its relatively small size. With its already vast the penetration into the web, one thing was clear: the porn industry was going to love this… oh, and that maybe web video had finally come of age. No more tinny whines and inconsistent audio, no more awkward, blocky compression blemishes.

Ok, that’s enough gushing over Macromedia. It was the practice of utilizing the power we’d been given by this technology which created fads like YouTube. That said, let’s applaud the limits which have been stretched by innovators already utilizing video on the web. Macromedia didn’t exactly make it easy for folks to utilize this format… built in methods include relying on the overpriced Flash Media Sever for streaming or simply offering a progressive download. Canned options impose such limits as creating swfs which hard link directly to flv and “skin” files (which provide the GUI) for each and every video posted. Ouch.

We thirst for a little more flexibility in our interface design, we ache at the thought of revising hundreds of swf files for a site structure revision and we want scripting, damn it! Luckily, none of this was barred… it’s just that the path wasn’t exactly illuminated… or even navigable; most especially for those unfamiliar with Actionscript.

For now, unless you are an Actionscript developer, I see no way to efficiently embed flvs into your site’s infrastructure (barring services like blip.tv, etc.) So, maybe it’s time to take up that torch? For more information, check out my recent article at FlashNewz on how to embed an flv into a Flash application with Actionscript. This is the method employed by the likes of Google, YouTube, Yahoo and the lot. If it’s good enough for them, it’s good enough for me… until a better comes along, of course.

Maybe, some day, Adobe will buck up and make this a bit easier on the rest of us. One can hope. They did, after all, recently deliver on a longstanding promise to release Flash Player 9 Beta for Linux.

Make Flash Video Work For You
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