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The Flash Guru: Delivery Costs, Dreamweaver, and More

As for localization, the most practical way is to add closed captions. This recent article should get you started. Localization usually means translating the content into different languages, says Ricther, which is difficult with video unless you shoot the material several times. "Captions are the only viable option, really," he says.

Our second question comes from Brian of Washington State University:

I’m having an issue were we are creating a webpage using Dreamweaver to play different sized videos (640x480 to 640x270, etc)… like YouTube.com. We are calling the Flash video from the Flash server. Right now our player shell forces the video to fill the area thus stretching the videos that are different aspects than the player area. Any suggestions with the code?
Here is the link to the tutorial for customizing the Dreaweaver Flash Video Player.
There is not a problem in customizing the skin look…the issue is centering different sized videos in a player that is a fixed size. This is the Flash code used in the tutorial:

function getSkinInfo():Object {
var res:Object = new Object();
res.video = {x:10, y:10, w:-20, h:-47};
res.mode = "disable"; //or "hide"
res.playBtn = {x:10, y:-30};
res.pauseBtn = {x:50, y:-30};
res.stopBtn = {x:90, y:-30};
res.seekBar = {x:135, y:-33, w:-229};
res.buffering = {x:136, y:-27, w:-231};
res.volumeMute = {x:-88, y:-31};
res.volumeBar = {x:-66, y:-33, l:51, type:"horizontal"};
res.autoHide = false;
res.bgColor = 0xFFFFFF;
res.uiMode = "stretch"; // or "center", "TL"
return res;
}

"This is a tricky one," says Richter, because you're using Dreamweaver. Richter says he doesn't know anyone using Dreamweaver to insert video into files.

Looking at the code, he recommends making the video player slightly larger than the largest video you want to play. Also, the second-to-last line of code is set to stretch the video, so it will probably always stretch to the size of the player. Try setting it to center your video rather than stretching it.

If that doesn't work, the problem is becoming too complicated because of all the configuration options. Consider using Adobe Flash to produce a new video player. If that's not an option or you don't know Flash well, Richter says, then get a video player that's readymade. He recommends the JW FLV Player highly. "The JWPlayer is probably the best one for that task," he says. It offers lots of configuration options and good documentation. Tell the player how to display the video. Most players have an option to preserve the aspect ratio.

Dreamweaver is made more for Web page creation and CSS, says Richter, and using it to embed a video player isn't one of the app's core features. "That's maybe why it's not very intuitive to use," Richter says. While Dreamweaver offers a wizard for importing video, it's isn't simple. "I've often seen people having problems when they tried something that wasn't planned by the wizard," he says. "I wouldn't recommend this method." Instead, go with Flash or a readymade player.

Submit your Flash video questions to Streaming Media’s Formats, Codecs, and Players forum, or send them directly to the author at tdreier@streamingmedia.com

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