although I assume that it has something to do with embedding the videos
You assume right.
Try your luck with one of the many swf2video converters out there.
I have a rather large flash video
Next Time consider using a better suited tool (After Effects/Premiere)
Unfortunately, an swf2video converter will not solve the quality problem, since the quality is bad when exporting at any time (even just testing the movie), so it will always be bad before I import it into such a program. What I was asking for in this question was help on finding the best way to import a non-audio MP4 or FLV to a flash document, that results in no/little loss to image quality. I am not worried about action script, as this whole thing is timeline based (I know, not always the best idea, but for what I am attempting to achieve, this is the best route so far), but I am not sure I quite understand how importing other video files into a flash doc works. I have read up on most of the training material, but would appreciate if anyone has a bit more clear of an answer.
Also, an swf2video converter doesn't solve the second question either, at least not one I have found. I dived under the covers of most of these, and it seems like every single one is nothing more than a stage for playing the swf, and records a screen recording and publishes a new file type from that recording. Again, same thing I can do with Camtasia, same quality too.
Sorry to repeat me, but Flash is simply not up to the task you have in mind.
1.Long (>30 secs) Timelines combined with videos/Animations will most definitively get out of synch.
2.Precompressed videos will look even worse than the original (which you already learned)
3.You are in a constant danger of Flash crashing the longer your timeline gets and the more videos you embed, at this point simply scrubbing the timeline poses a high risk of getting flash to crash and destroying your complete work.
Believe me when I say you would be better advised to import all these videos and Audiotracks into after effects/premiere/Premiere Elements and then export it for youtube purposes.
If you absolutely must use Flash:
Set a ll the video instances bitmapSmoothing property to true and see if that improves the quality.
so if video1 starts on frame 1 and video2 starts on frame 155
insert the following Lines of Code at keyframes 1/155
video1.bitmapSmoothing = true;
video2.bitmapSmoothing = true;
//and so on for all videoinstances
I see what you are saying, and yes, I was actually about to make a note that I have discovered the problem is when I scale the video that I imported down (going from about a 1280x720 recording to 460x2something), so I was actually about to ask how to get the smoothing in there. I appreciate your help on that.
Now, an additional question in response to your answer.
I once attempted to pop the swf into after affects, but any inner timelines (i.e. the hands spinning on a clock that was animated inside of the clock symbol) do not show up when I import the entire swf to after effects. Am I supposed to instead be importing the fla (is that even possible?) Or perhaps you have some other suggestions? I have also never used premier, although I do have the entire CC suite.
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1.Seperate all your video material from your (vector based) animation material.
2.If you want to animate/draw in Flashmake a seperate fla for every major animation (like Clock.fla and then import the Clock.swf as asset in AFX)
3.Make a project in AFX and place your imported assets/videos/audio like you would do in flash
4.any actionscript will not work in after effects
Awesome, thank you, I was able to go with the smoothing property, my high end machine was able to render the video with decent quality, and the upload to youtube has been successful (and I've tested the processing on such a large file to youtube, and it takes a day or so, but it eventually gets to 1080). However, your walkthrough and suggestion for using AFX will definitely be helpful for the future, thank you.