Video Streaming Flash Media
Embedding Streaming Flash Videos
In this section of the videohosting tutorial, we're going to explain about progressive downloading your Flash media files. With Flash, it is also posssible to run your own web server (see streaming servers), but for most smaller to mid-sized websites, progressive downloading will work just fine.
Flash file formats: .FLV and .SWF
There are two Flash file extensions (Flash video formats) you could use: .flv and .swf. What's the difference?
(1.) A .flv (Flash Video) file is basically a video stream of images and audio sound. If you are running a streaming server, this would be a good way to go. The upside of this is that any part of the file may be accessed by the end user at any time without having to wait for it to download. But here again, running a streaming server is expensive.
(2.) A .swf file (also a Macromedia Flash Format file) is a complete audio-video file with scripts and more. This would work best for HTTP (progressive) downloading, also called "psuedo streaming". The video clip will play as soon as a portion of the file is downloaded, but the end user will have to wait to access the latter portions of the file (no fast-forward possible) until the entire file has been completely downloaded. This is what we will be mainly talking about. It's a simple, inexpensive, and easy way to stream your media. .SWF is not an acronym officially, but some have claimed it stands for "ShockWave Flash" or "Small Web Format".
Converting Videos to .SWF Files
To start, you must first convert your .avi or other video file format to .swf format using a movie file conversion utility software. There are many different conversion utilities you can buy, and even a few for free. It all depends on your preference as well as your budget. See the video hosting resources page for some possiblities of freeware and shareware software. When you decide on one, follow its instructions and save (or export) it in .swf format. When the video conversion is complete, you'll have a usable Flash video file to embed into your web page.
Next we will look at html code for how to embed Flash videos into your web page.