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Typically, FLV files aren't for watching directly. They're for authoring in Flash to create a final SWF file, which includes the player controls and is what's uploaded to your web site.
I have to agree with Jim on this one. You may be able to preview the flv in Adobe Bridge...if not, go ahead and try embedding it into a swf to see if it plays correctly. FLVs simply do not play well with "standard media players" such as Windows Media Player or Quicktime.
You might try this free desktop flash player.
Thanks for your feedback. After receiving Jim's comment, I took imported my FLV file into Adobe Flash and tried to export it as an SWF but I did not see an obvious way to do this. Instead Flash asked me to select from a menu of choices of how the final product would be used. I selected Progressive Download and it exported an .fla file.
Is there any easy way to use an Adobe product to convert to the swf file? I am not allowed to download any plug-ins or third-party software at my workplace. I am also brand new at creating flash files so some of the explanatory text in the Adobe help files is a little difficult for me to understand.
For local playback, I like Media Player Classic. It's an extremely lightweight and versatile player--it's great because there is no installer. You just run the EXE. Even better, it will play back just about anything that you throw at--AVI, QT, MPEG of all flavors, and FLVs.
However, if you're looking to distribute and playback via the Internet/intranet, you'll need something like JW FLV Player. It's an easy-to-configure FLV player that can be embedded into websites.
>Is there any easy way to use an Adobe product to convert to the swf file?
Not really. In my experience, Flash is less than intuitive. I really had to dig into the manual to get things working.
>some of the explanatory text in the Adobe help files is a little difficult for me to understand.
Look up any words you do not understand. Do not read past any words you don't fully understand until you've looked them up and gotten them defined. www.onelook.com is a good web resource for such things.
The overall direction the answers took here seem off the mark. Colin's post #5 seems most to the point you need.
Heather, the flv is (I think) what you want from Premiere.
The swf you want is a player, that you embed in a web page. The flv is also copied to the web, and the swf player plays the flv.
I used a particular flv player and had not used Flash itself to set an flv up. Recently I did, and found that it was far from intuitive. But it works well. I was surprised to find that they (or some authority I was reading at the time) recommend against putting regular video into the swf itself (which you can do - I don't recall why they recommend against it) - they suggest using the flv format and playing with a swf flv player.
Colin identifies a non-adobe player in post #5.
To me Flash can be extremely confusing. It needs many components to work properly. For the most effective Flash file I ever made I used the preset in Premiere Elements called "Flash preset for YouTube". Made the file, posted it to You Tube and it worked and played flawlessly. You would have to work with your web person to make sure that this would work for them. Most updated browsers have their own Flash plyer built in.
As has been said before, you need a separate Falsh Player on your computer to play your .flv file. You may have a perfectly legitimate .flv file but no way to play it. I use the Applian FLV Player but there are many of them.
> Most updated browsers have their own Flash player built in.
You are referring to browser plugins to play swf files, not flvs. Browsers do not have plugins to play flv. (They could I suppose, but there are too many parameters - not contained in the flv file - to do it. I wonder if any do that....)
At the end of the week its looking rather confusing with some of the
discussions flipping back and forth between SWF and FLV files. For
video, the Flash Video format, which will give you a file with a FLV
extension is the typical choice.
If you have one of the CS3 suites that include flash, you it will
probably default to that player for previewing on your desktop. In the
OP's case it appears that Windows Media Player is leaping in, and giving
unsatisfactory results. The Media Player Classic
http://sourceforge.net/projects/guliverkli/ has been suggested as a
replacement for desktop viewing of flv files and there is another from
I'd go with the Media Player Classic as its quite the invaluable tool.
Flash Video is becoming popular because is non platform specific and
nearly all browsers have flash decoders built directly in to them.
Additionally, on the web site side, there are many free flash players
can are a snap to embed into your web site. Flash Video is also popular
because its begins to play before the entire file is loaded. Typically,
after about 10% is streamed out, your browser will begin to play the
file. On a broadband connection this often looks like instantaneous
I've always associated SWF files with animation files. I don't know
enough to say whether it could or could not be used with video, but one
has to assume that the FLV flash video format exists because it will
give superior results for video.
The easiest way to use flash video out of Premiere is to use the
presents in Adobe Media Encoder. I've found the 512K preset to provide
good results. I have a crap 384K connection at work that I use as my
test for anything I put on the web in flash video to check for quality
and speed. You can alter the preset to push the size up to 640x480 with
the 512K preset without the file becoming total crap, but obviously the
320x240 size on the preset will give a better quality. The flash encoder
included in Premiere is the standard encoder from ON2 and it only offers
single pass encoding. One could spring from the Pro version from ON2
which allows 2Pass encoding and this will give a decent quality boost.
Unfortunately, the Pro version will not interface directly with
Premiere, which seems odd as there product is already being used in
Media Encoder. Clearly On2 is missing the chance to sell untold numbers
of upgrades to Premiere users here. Currently to use the On2 Pro the
best route is to export a DV-AVI from a winbox or a QT Animation from a
Mac and import that to the On2 Pro Encoder. But I digress.
An .flv file is a flash video file. An .swf file is a flash video player file that has a flash video file embedded into it.
It is the combination of the player file (the .swf) and the video file (the .flv) that allows browser plug-ins to play the video content.
A browser can display an .swf file that doesn't have an embedded .flv file, but of course, there won't be any video. A browser cannot display an .flv file unless that .flv file is embedded in an .swf file.
Any media player that can play an .flv file is duplicating the functions that would otherwise be handled by the .swf file.
If a given program produces an .swf file, it has already produced the .flv file that gets embedded into it.
I agree with Jeff on all points but one, and it's really just a matter of semantics, I suppose: FLVs aren't always and don't necessarily have to be "embedded" into a SWF for playback. Many times (in fact, I'd say more often than not), the SWF file simply calls the FLV file via a network address (Internet or otherwise) for playback within the SWF. They are, in this case, two separate entities. In almost all situations I can think of, this makes the distribution of Flash video far more versatile and effective.
In light of that, and to oversimplify things, I like to think of the SWF as the television, and the FLV as the TV show. The FLV file is the actual content, and the SWF is the apparatus upon which the content is viewed. The metaphor gets a bit stretched when you deal with embedded FLV content...
That fact of the matter is that Flash video--FLVs or MP4s or whatever--has little to nothing to do with Flash as an authoring platform. In fact, I think "Flash video" is a bit of a misnomer, and kind of misleading. Flash is all about creating and distributing content that is largely vector-based, so it's lightweight and high-quality. Plus, it has the ability to be all interactive--you know, that thing that just drives all the kids wild these days :P An FLV is a series of raster images--in other words, it's video. It was obviously the merging of these two that have lead to Flash quickly becoming the most popular and prevalent way of distributing video on the web. Given the original concept of Flash content though, it's easy to understand viewpoints like Raymond's, in that Flash/SWF means animation. To an extent, this is correct, but it's the marriage of Flash and video content where the magic all happens.
>An .swf file is a flash video player file that has a flash video file embedded into it.
>an .swf file that doesn't have an embedded .flv file, but of course, there won't be any video.
I think what you wrote Jeff needs clarification. The .flv does NOT need to be embedded in the swf.
Flash warns you against embedding because of likely sound sync issues.
A swf can quite nicely "call upon" and use a flv like it was progressive download. The swf will also (of course) play the video within its boundaries.
All the Flash videos I have delivered are more like set of files, .js, .swf, .flv and .html
EDIT: Every time I walk away for some minutes during writing a post, somebody else is "taking my spot" :)
I think this is getting really confusing now. FLV files being streamed
over the web are indeed supported by most browsers. If this were not the
case, Youtube would not exist.
Well there you go! And now that you mention it. The On2 Pro encoder does
have the option to exporting a player with a SWF extension along with
your video configured to autoplay it. For most purposes this seemed most
useful when one wanted to distribute the video on perhaps a CD, but no
reason the same could not be easily placed into an html doc.
I did not make the SWF Player connection because I never really thought
about the exact file format of the players I use on my web site. Like
most people, I simple acquired a free player and put it on my site.
I therefore stand clarified on the SWF issue.
And I stand corrected on the "embedded" issue. A better description might be that an .swf file is "partnered" with an .flv file, either by embedding or by linking.
Bottom line here is that the standard web distribution model is to pair the .flv from Premiere with an .swf from whatever program you choose. Whether the .flv is embedded or not will be one of the authoring options.
So with the .flv, you're half way there. Next you need to 'author' the .swf. I suggested Flash because it's part of the Adobe suite (so you don't have to buy anything else).
One could author the swf themselves, or, there are many web flash
players avail that can be had. Their allure is that they have taken the
extra steps to put attractive formating and controls into the product.
Many are available for free and can be tracked down with a quick google.