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Authoring Video with Flash or Dreamweaver

After choosing a delivery option, you next must choose which authoring tool you will use to integrate video playback into a browser: Flash or an HTML editor such as Dreamweaver.

Inserting video directly into Dreamweaver is ideal for situations in which you want to put video onto your site quickly and easily with no interactive elements beyond simple video controls (play, stop, pause, skip ahead, and skip backward). See Figure 4.

Figure 4

Figure 4 Flash FLV file inserted into Dreamweaver with a built-in video playback interface

Authoring your video projects within the Flash application itself provides you with the widest number of options and greatest level of control, including adding interactivity, selecting from a wider range of custom interfaces, layering video with other Flash animation, and synchronizing the video with text and graphics.

If you decide to author in Flash, you have several options for controlling video playback:

  • Use the FLV Playback component. New to Flash Professional 8 is the FLV Playback component. This nifty component enables you to easily create intuitive video controls (called skins in the Flash documentation) for users to control video playback. You also have the ability to easily create and apply your own custom skins to the video interface. FLV playback provides support for both progressive downloading and streaming FLV files. Refer to Figure 2 for an example of one of the prebuilt Flash 8 skins. Later in this series, I dedicate an entire article to the FLV Playback component.
  • Use video behaviors (prewritten ActionScript scripts). Refer to Figure 4.
  • Use ActionScript. You can play back external FLV files in a Flash document at runtime using the NetConnection and NetStream ActionScript objects.
  • Control video playback in the Timeline. You can also write custom ActionScript to play or stop a video, jump to a frame, or control video in other ways (see Figure 5).
Figure 05

Figure 5 Flash video playback with custom-made buttons using drag-and-drop, prebuilt ActionScript (behaviors)

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