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Macromedia Introduces Flash Video Kit

In an attempt to bridge the gap between Web developers and rich media content producers, Macromedia this week introduced the Flash Video Kit. Bundled with Studio MX 2004 with Flash Professional, the kit features an extension for Dreamweaver that’s aimed squarely at a segment of Macromedia’s market that had yet to make the leap to streaming media.

"We realized that a large portion of our user base is made up of HTML experts who don’t know Flash Video and don’t have time to learn it," says Chris Hock, Macromedia’s director of product marketing. "But people who use Dreamweaver want to integrate video into their HTML pages." The Flash Video Kit will be included for free with Studio MX Professional with Flash Professional; existing Studio MX Professional with Flash Professional users can purchase the kit for $49.

The Flash Video extension gives users of Dreamweaver (which is included in Studio MX) an additional option in the application’s Insert menu, allowing them to select media, choose streaming or progressive download, select from six different skins, and specify whether the Web page viewer will need to click on a "start" button or whether the video will start playing automatically when the page loads. The FLV file is then embedded into the HTML page. With only six skins to choose from, the extension doesn’t give users all of the customizability that makes full Flash Video so appealing to rich media content creators, but Hock says Macromedia will publish articles in its development center to help HTML editors "migrate out" to full Flash Video applications. (That’s a shrewd marketing move on Macromedia’s behalf–it’s hard to think of a more natural new market for Flash Video than Web developers, and it’s hard to beat something as simple as a Dreamweaver extension as a hook to pull them in.)

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