16 April 2007
Note: This article applies to Adobe Flash CS3 Professional. For the latest information—and especially if you are using Flash Professional CS5—please refer to the updated version of this Quick Start tutorial, Using Adobe Media Encoder CS5.
Adobe Flash CS3 Video Encoder is a stand-alone video encoding application that lets you encode video in Adobe Flash video (FLV) format. The FLV format lets you easily incorporate video into a web page or Flash document in a format that can be viewed using Adobe Flash Player.
This quick start covers the following topics:
Flash video is an integral part of the viewing experience, not a separate pop-up window that plays video externally and interrupts the experience. Flash treats Flash video as a media type; you can layer, script, and control video like any other object in a SWF file.
Flash Video Encoder lets you encode video files in either the On2 VP6 or Sorenson Spark video codecs. A codec is an algorithm that controls how video files are compressed during import and decompressed during playback. You can use Flash Video Encoder on a computer that does not have Adobe Flash CS3 Professional or other Adobe Creative Suite 3 software installed.
You can batch-process multiple video clips when you use Flash Video Encoder on a dedicated computer for video encoding.Batch processing produces an expedited workflow. For example, you can add, reorder, and change the encoding settings of files in the batch processing queue while Flash Video Encoder is encoding video files.
Note: The Flash Video Encoder can encode a video only if the following conditions are met:
When configuring encoding settings, you can select individual files and specify different settings based on the type of video format and quality required for each file, or you can select multiple files and specify the same settings for all of them.
Tip: You can also add files to the queue by dragging files directly into the list.
Flash provides several pre-configured encoding profiles that you can use to encode your video. In the Encoding panel, you can select an encoding profile to determine the level of compression to be applied to the video clip.
The encoding profiles are based on the Flash Player version for which you intend to publish content and the data rate at which you want your video content to be encoded. If you choose an encoding profile using Flash Player 8or later, the On2 VP6 video codec is used to encode the video. If you choose an encoding profile using Flash Player 7 or earlier, the Sorenson Spark video codec is used to encode the video.
You can specify a destination folder in which to save the encoded FLV file relative to the folder containing the source video clip. Follow these guidelines when specifying a destination folder:
Tip: You can specify a folder in which to save encoded files using the Flash Video Encoder Preferences (Edit > Preferences).
Flash Video Encoder starts encoding the first file in the video encoding list. While a file is being encoded, the Status column of the video encoding list provides information on the status of each video:
If you exit and restart Flash Video Encoder, or if you stop and restart the queue, a dialog box appears that lets you select the file to encode.
Note: The encoded FLV files will not be in the same folder as the source videos if you specified a new location in the Flash Video Encoder Preferences dialog (Edit > Preferences) or if you specified a new location in the Output filename field in the Encoding Profiles tab in the Flash Video Encoding Settings dialog (Edit > Encoding Settings).
Flash Video Encoding Settings let you create custom video encoding settings to manage bandwidth, cuepoints, and video size and length.
Note: When editing multiple videos at once, you are not able to create or edit cue points, crop a video clip, or trim the length of the video; you must perform these actions separately on each video, or load a Flash video encoding profile which already contains these settings.
In addition to the predefined Flash video encoding profiles, you can save and load your own custom encoding profiles. Creating your own custom encoding profiles helps maintain consistency across videos when you want to encode several video files with the same settings. For example, if you were encoding multiple videos and each video had three versions (small, medium, and large) you could create an encoding profile for each quality level.
The previous steps created and saved a new custom encoding profile. Depending on the settings you specified before saving the profile, an XML document similar to the following may have been created:
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8" standalone="no" ?> <FLVCoreSettings version="1"> <Version>2</Version> <EncodeVideo> <VideoCodec>vp6</VideoCodec> <VideoDataRate>700000</VideoDataRate> <Deinterlace>false</Deinterlace> </EncodeVideo> <EncodeAudio> <AudioCodec>mp3</AudioCodec> <AudioDataRate>128000</AudioDataRate> <AudioChannels>2</AudioChannels> </EncodeAudio> <CuePoints> <CuePoint> <Time>0</Time> <Type>event</Type> <Name>cp1</Name> <Parameters> <Parameter> <Name>videoid</Name> <Value>vid0135</Value> </Parameter> <Parameter> <Name>presenter</Name> <Value>Speaker A</Value> </Parameter> <Parameter> <Name>publisher</Name> <Value>Publisher B</Value> </Parameter> </Parameters> </CuePoint> </CuePoints> <Trim> <In>0</In> <Out>10000</Out> </Trim> </FLVCoreSettings>
The previous XML document specifies that the video should be encoded with the On2 VP6 video codec at 700 kbps, use the MP3 audio codec at 128 kbps (stereo), include a single cue point with 3 custom parameters, and crop the video at 10 seconds.
Note: The previous XML document doesn't show an exhaustive list of possible options. Some additional nodes may be present depending on other options, such as if the video should be resized, or cropped, or if a custom video frame rate was specified. Also, if the video was encoded without audio or video streams, certain nodes may not be present in the encoding profile XML document.
Cue points cause the video playback to start other actions within the presentation. For example, you can create a Flash presentation that has video playing in one area of the screen while text and graphics appear in another area. A cue point placed in the video starts an update to the text and graphic, while they remain relevant to the content of the video.
Each cue point consists of a name and the time at which it occurs. Cue point times are specified using the format 00:00:00.000 (hour:minute:second.millisecond).
Note: In addition to embedding cue points within the encoded FLV video clip, you can create cue points using the FLVPlayback component. Using this component, you can create a cue point that is not embedded in the video clip itself, providing greater flexibility in triggering events. For more information, see the information on the FLVPlayback component in the Using ActionScript 3.0 Components and the ActionScript 3.0 Language and Components Reference.
Note: You can add cue points to a single video only. You cannot select multiple videos and assign cue points to each of the videos.
To locate a specific time, drag the playhead to the point in the video where you want to embed a cue point. The video preview window lets you visually identify points in the video at which to insert a cue point. You can also use the elapsed time counter (located beneath the video preview window) to locate specific points in time at which to embed cue points.
Tip: For greater precision, you can use the Left and Right Arrow keys to move the playhead in millisecond increments. To do this, select the playhead, and then use the arrow keys to further adjust its position. The left or right arrows move the playhead by one thousandth of a second (0.001). Holding the Shift key down while pressing the left or right arrow keys moves the playhead by a hundredth of a second (0.01), and pressing the Ctrl key while pressing the left or right arrow keys moves the playhead by two tenths of a second (0.2).
Flash Video Encoder embeds a cue point at the time indicated by the counter beneath the video preview window, and populates the cue point list with a placeholder for the name of the new cue point and the elapsed time at which the cue point is located (this is the time during playback when the event will be triggered), and displays a pop-up menu that lets you select the type of cue point to embed.
A cue point marker is displayed on the slider control at the point where the cue point was embedded. You can use the cue point marker to further adjust the placement of the cue point. For greater precision, you can use the Left and Right Arrow keys to move the cue point marker in millisecond increments. To do this, select the cue point marker, and then use the arrow keys to further adjust its position.
Note: Only one cue point can be embedded at a specified time code within the video clip.
Note: Adding additional keyframes can lower the overall quality of a video clip. For this reason, navigation cue points should only be used when users will need to seek to a particular point within the video.
Parameters are a set of key-value pairs that you can add to the cue point. The parameters are passed to the cue point event handler as members of the single parameter object.
The Flash Video Encoder also supports loading and saving cue points to an external XML file which makes it easy to define cue points with the same attributes in several videos. This can be very useful if you are encoding the same video with several different quality levels and don't want to redefine the same cue points in each file.
The previous steps created a new cue points XML file and saved it to your computer. Depending on the cue points you specified before saving the file, an XML document similar to the following may have been created:
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8" standalone="no" ?> <FLVCoreCuePoints version="1"> <CuePoint> <Time>0</Time> <Type>event</Type> <Name>slide1</Name> <Parameters> <Parameter> <Name>id</Name> <Value>value</Value> </Parameter> </Parameters> </CuePoint> <CuePoint> <Time>5000</Time> <Type>event</Type> <Name>slide2</Name> <Parameters> <Parameter> <Name>param1</Name> <Value>value1</Value> </Parameter> <Parameter> <Name>param2</Name> <Value>value2</Value> </Parameter> </Parameters> </CuePoint> <CuePoint> <Time>20000</Time> <Type>event</Type> <Name>slide3</Name> </CuePoint> </FLVCoreCuePoints>
The previous XML document identifies three cue points. The first cue point occurs at 0 seconds and contains one custom parameter, the second cue point occurs at 5 seconds and contains two custom parameters, and the third cue point occurs at 20 seconds and does not contain any custom parameters.
Tip: Instead of editing cue points information in the Flash Video Encoder directly, you can export the cue points XML document to a file on your hard drive, edit it using a text or XML editor, and then import the cue point XML file back into the video encoder.
The cue point file loads and populates the cue point list with the cue points specified in the file.
Warning: When you load cue points from a file, any cue points you may have created in the cue points list are replaced by the cue points in the file.
Note: Only one cue point can be embedded at a specified time code within the video clip. If you attempt to import a cue point XML file with multiple cue points defined at the same timestamp the Flash Video Encoder will display a dialog box informing you that the XML file is in an invalid format.
Flash Video Encoder provides the following editing options that let you crop and trim video clips before encoding them:
Cropping lets you alter the dimensions of a video clip. You can eliminate areas of the video to emphasize a particular focal point within the frame, such as highlighting a character by removing unwanted imagery or backdrops.
Resizing lets you modify the width and height of the video frame. You can specify a frame size in pixels or as a percentage of the original image size.
Trimming lets you edit the beginning and ending points (the in and out points) of a video. For example, you can adjust the trim of a video clip to begin play back 30 seconds into the full clip, removing unwanted frames.
Note: If you resize a video clip's frame size, and do not select the Maintain Aspect Ratio option, the video may become distorted.
The video preview window lets you visually identify beginning and ending frames where you can trim the video clip. You can also use the elapsed time counter (located in the Trim section of the dialog box) to locate specific points in time where you can trim the video clip.
For more information about the FLVPlayback component, please see the following resources:
Also check out the Flash Video Encoder documentation.
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