Creating .AVI Files on the PC Flash

If you want a quick-and-dirty 100-percent raster-based video version of your Flash movie, and you use the PC version of Flash, then you can export your Flash movie as a Video for Windows (.AVI) file. If you want the best video quality for output to videotape, you should not use this method for rendering video. Flash doesn’t support interlaced video and won’t create the smoothest possible video content directly. This export file format is used primarily for digital video intended for computer playback, not NTSC playback. Choose Export Movie from the File menu. Select a folder (or create one) to store the .AVI file, type the filename, and click Save. You will then see the Export Windows AVI dialog box with the following options.

Adjust the values of the Windows AVI settings to accommodate your playback needs.

Adjust the values of the Windows AVI settings to accommodate your playback needs.

Dimensions
This property enables you to scale your .AVI movie. If you wish to scale the movie’s width separate from the height, uncheck the Maintain Aspect Ratio box for this property. This may be necessary if you need to accommodate nonsquare pixel formats such as DV or D1.

Video format
The drop-down menu associated with this property enables you to choose a bitdepth for the .AVI movie. For serious video work, you’ll want to choose 24-bit color or greater.

  • 8-bit color: Limits the rendered movie to 256 colors that are determined on the fly by Flash.
  • 16-bit color: Limits the movie to 65,536 colors; also known as High Color in Windows or Thousands of Colors on the Mac.
  • 24-bit color: Enables the movie to use full RGB color (16.7 million colors); also known as True Color on the PC or Millions of Colors on the Mac.
  • 32-bit color w/ alpha: Enables the movie to use full RGB color and store an alpha channel for compositing effects. Not all video codecs can store alpha channel information.
  • Compress video: If this option is checked, you are given the option to select a video compressor (codec) after you click OK on the Export Windows AVI dialog.
  • If you do not check this box, Flash generates uncompressed video frames, which can take over 1MB of file space per frame. In general, you do not want to use uncompressed video, as it takes very long to re-render uncompressed video into the hardware codec used by your video setup.

  • Smooth: Using the smooth option antialiases the Flash graphics. This adds more time to the export process, but your .AVI file looks much better. If you just want a rough .AVI movie, then uncheck Smooth for faster exporting.

Sound format
This drop-down list enables you to specify the audio sampling settings. If you didn’t use any audio in your Flash movie, then choose Disable.

Video compression
When you’ve chosen the options you need, click OK. If you specified Compress Video, you’ll see the dialog shown below:

Choose the proper video codec for your video output hardware, or select a software based codec for computer playback and distribution.

Choose the proper video codec for your video output hardware,

In the Video Compression dialog, you can select a software- or hardware-based codec to use for the .AVI movie. By default, Flash chooses Full Frames (Uncompressed).

This option is the same as deselecting Compress Video, which forces Flash to render full-frame video. Because you probably want manageable file sizes, choose the codec you need to use for your video hardware. If you want to simply review your Flash work as an .AVI movie, use Cinepak or Indeo codecs. Adjust the codec settings as necessary for your needs. Smaller files and lower quality will result from using compression qualities less than 100 percent, the use of keyframes, and datarate limiting. For high-quality rendering using hardware-based codecs, make sure that the hardware codec (such as MJPEG or DV) is set to 100 percent compression quality with no keyframes or data-rate limiting. Click OK.

Flash then exports an .AVI movie file to the folder you specified earlier. Depending on the length of your Flash movie and the video codec used, the export process could take less than a minute or many hours. Unfortunately, Flash doesn’t give you an estimated time for completion like Adobe Premiere or After Effects does. When Flash has finished exporting the file, you can view the video with Windows Media Player or with the software that your video hardware uses


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