Streaming Video using Flash
Flash is a very serious force in the world of streaming video. This is the format we recommend most strongly.
Flash uses two main formats: .swf for standard Flash files which are used in web pages, and .flv which is a special Flash video format. flv files can be called from within swf files. As of late 2008 Flash also supports H.264 files, which is a significant leap forward.
Flash has the disadvantage of being expensive. To get the most from this format you need to own the Adobe Flash authoring program. As well as being pricey, there's a lot to learn (although if you have experience with video editors you will pick it up quickly).
On the plus side, if you can afford it and you're prepared for a steep learning curve, Flash will give you power and flexibility beyond your wildest dreams! Custom controls and menus, interactive video and animations, advanced integration with web pages... the sky is the limit.
Flash also has the huge advantage of having the most widely-supported cross-platform player. It is such a common plugin that almost everyone has it.
Macromedia Flash uses a codec called the Sorenson Video Standard Edition to make Flash files. It's very important to note that there is another version of this codec available called Sorenson Video Professional Edition. The professional version is much better, resulting in higher quality video and smaller file sizes.
To use the professional codec you need to purchase a specialist coding application called Sorenson Squeeze — see www.sorensonmedia.com for details. This is a better option than exporting directly from Flash, so even if you own Flash, Squeeze is worth considering if you want the best results.
For more information see the following pages:
That's the end of this tutorial. If you have any questions or comments, please post a message in the video forum.