Posted on October 23, 2006
Flash video tutorial
I created an 8-page handout for the Flash video workshop we conducted in Rousse, Bulgaria, last week. You can get the PDF file (titled Flash and Video) and try it out yourself. I made a few edits after we tested the handout with our 15 workshop participants.
The handout explains how to take a finished video file, convert it to the FLV file format, and import it to Flash. It’s specific to Flash 8 because it uses the Flash 8 Video Encoder (which comes with Flash 8). Using Import to Stage, you can select from a variety of controllers pre-built in Flash. It’s quite easy!
The handout also explains how to create a separate Flash interface that allows your users to choose from multiple videos and play any one of them. If you don’t want that part, then all you need to read are pages 1-3 and page 8. You could have your video online by this afternoon!
The format of our workshop was this:
Day 1: Two hours of lecture (one hour by me, and one hour by Regina McCombs, a multimedia producer at the Star Tribune newspaper in Minneapolis).
Day 2: In teams of three, participants went out and shot video in the morning. In the afternoon, they edited the video in Adobe Premiere.
Day 3: Participants exported their video, encoded FLVs, and built a Flash interface to display the videos. They presentd their finished work at 3 p.m.
Some trainers like to give students a Flash template to work with. I rarely do that in a workshop, because I think the participants get more value if they can create something from scratch in the Flash application. I don’t teach them everything about Flash (that can’t be done in one day!), but I try to give them some confidence so that they can learn more on their own in the future. Even if they are not artists, they can use the Text tool and script some buttons for interactivity.
In this handout, I also explain how to load external SWF files into a master SWF. That’s rather advanced, but for some people, it’s the primary function they want to learn.
Update (Oct. 26): Bryan Murley of Innovation in College Media tested my handout and created a nice, clean example of what you can do with it. You won’t see a video until you click one of the four yellow buttons. Each button plays a different video. I get some starting and stopping on DSL at home with his video, but maybe the frame rate (or the data rate) was set too high.