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How do I stream a large flash movie

A demo flash movie made for a CD needs to be on the web.



1:34 pm on Feb 14, 2002 (gmt 0)

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I have a large (3.5 MG) flash movie that has been shipped on a CD. The company wants it put on their web site. The movie was made 2 years ago by a consultant.

I placed it on the web, but it takes a long time to begin due to its size. Can I stream an existing flash movie or do I need to rebuild it. Due to it's size, this could be a big job for me ( I haven't used flash!).

Thanks for the help!

1:58 pm on Feb 14, 2002 (gmt 0)

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I think this falls under the "Oh ick" category in the unofficial webmaster tasks book. Right next to airbrushing individual ivy leaves (don't ask).

Flash movies can be optimized and broken down in to smaller movies that play sequentially or on event. This, however, takes some experience with Flash.

If you're under the gun I'd farm it out to a Flash guru. That shouldn't be too hard. They're everywhere. Look at the work they've done and if it's up to snuff - that's who I'd go with. It will come out stellar and you shine as "the problem solver".

If you - personally - have the luxury of a learning experience, you can dissect the movie and do this yourself at your leisure. If the client is breathing down your neck, this is not an option.

Frankly, I'd probably try to talk the client out of the entire 3.5 meg experience, depending on what can be optimized and what can be used online. (Maybe do the Reader's Digest version?) They can always package the CD and send as a mailer. They don't necessarily need to choke their viewer's bandwidth with it. Again, it depends on how much of it can be whittled down.

You'd be surprised what you can live without under the circumstances.


10:15 am on Feb 20, 2002 (gmt 0)

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I'd second the pursuing the Flash guru or re-architecting the movie.

In addition to saving your users on bandwidth... If it was created over two years ago, there are likely actionscript chunks that can be rewritten for the newer controls/plug-ins. This will help the size of the movie as well as reduce compatibility issues going forward.

Hope that helps,

9:09 pm on Mar 23, 2002 (gmt 0)

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The virtual host must have a stream server configured and have an active stream key file assigned to your account (some hosts may give you a "shared" key) Then follow these steps:

FTP your encoded RealAudio or RealVideo files (files with the .rm and .ra extensions) in binary mode.

Use any text editor to create a metafile containing the URL to the RealAudio or RealVideo file. For example:


Save the metafile as a text file with the .ram extension. For example:


Then FTP this file in ASCII mode (because it is a text file.)

In your HTML document, reference the metafile in a hyperlink. For example:

<A HREF="filename.ram">
<A HREF="http://yourdomain.com/path/filename.ram">

You can use relative or complete paths.


9:18 pm on Mar 23, 2002 (gmt 0)

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If you know anything about director, you might try importing that flash movie into Director and making it stream that way.

It has been a year or two since I have messade with streaming Flash. But, if I remember correctly I had some Flash movies on cd I was able to retro fit to stream by importing it into director. Like the rest said, If you have time to play with it.

9:47 pm on Mar 23, 2002 (gmt 0)

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I think the newest (just released) version of flash can stream other formats (like Quicktime) so I wonder if it can stream an older flash movie in the same way? I haven't had a chance to get the new Flash, but I do know other flash folks who are working with it, including some who were beta testers, and haven't heard anyone mention this, but it could be one thing to look into. Keep in mind that not many folks have downloaded the newest player yet, though.

In terms of breaking it up into other/smaller movies, that's do-able if you have the original .fla files, but usually can't be done very efficiently or easily if all you got from the client (or all they got from the original developer) was the .swf. We've ended up rebuilding older movies when no .fla was available, and yes since there's some newer actionscript stuff sometimes the files can be much smaller...but sometimes it's harder to re-create something from a .swf than to just build an all new .fla from scratch!

Either way, it sounds like a bit of work...make sure the client understands that it's not just a five-minute task like sticking up a new GIF and may cost them some $$s to you or to an outside vendor for either rebuilding/breaking apart time or time spent figuring out how to get the streaming to work efficiently.

11:27 pm on Mar 23, 2002 (gmt 0)

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WebmasterWorld Senior Member brotherhood_of_lan is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

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I am not terribly into flash, but perhaps a frame by frame approach could solve a few problems.

If you are no good at flash, and can't remake it, then your only non-paying answer is to try scaling it down....

Can you optimise each frame of a flash movie??? I do not know.

If you can, then optimise each frame, maybe cut out a few frames, and if you chop 50% of the file size off, then thats 50% less to deal with

Its worth a shot if its do-able

12:33 am on Mar 24, 2002 (gmt 0)

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Maybe you don't even need to do very much, depending on how the movie is structured.

I don't know about earlier versions, but Flash5 will (or at least can) save the elements in a movie in the sequence they are displayed. If a particular graphic is shown the first time in frame 200, then the frames 1-199 can be shown to the user without the need to load that particular graphic. The same principle is applied recursively to sub-movies in the same file. This feature is a simplistic form of built-in streaming capability.

So, if you're lucky, then the file is just stored in an older format where that wasn't possible. In that case, loading it in Flash5 (or newer) and saving it in the current format might already produce much better results. You can also profile the movie, which will show you exactly where the bottlenecks are.

If that doesn't help, then you'll have to dissect it intelligently as already recommended by others, or pay someone else to do it. It's also quite likely that at least part of those 3.5M are the consequence of unnecessary redundancy or oversized resp. unoptimized graphics. In that case, building a shortened "light" version of the same thing might be the appropriate solution for the web.