Converting MP4 to SWF

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1 Overview

1.1 Technical background

The human eye can perceive between 10 and 12 pictures in a second. Modern TV shows 24 pictures per second. This gives the impression of video. This is called Frames Per Second or FPS.

If you were to store 24 pictures, for every second, that would make videos exceptionally large. Instead, they record 1 picture and then store the data of what changes between frames. So if there's very little movement, very little extra data needs to be stored. This can make videos a lot smaller in size. Animation uses this capability.

The instructions of HOW to store the differences is called Encoding. You also need instructions on how to draw the differences called Decoding. Collectively a set of instructions is called a Codec (Coding - Decoding). (Up to 2:30 is a very easy to understand summary then it gets quite technical).

There are many many codecs available.

International standards are working towards a simple universal standard for video. MP3 became an international standard for Audio. MP4 is becoming the international standard for video. Whilst not all that new (it came out in 2001 and was heavily revised in 2003), its adoption has not been as widely accepted as other video formats.

With the advent of modern browsers playing video, MP4 is fast becoming the codec of choice.

MP4 videos going forward will be the video format playable in all browsers, but if you are trying to play video in older browsers FLASH video is still the way to go.

1.2 Start

For more details on what works and what doesn't try

So if you do have an MP4 video, what can you do to make sure it'll play in your older browser. Short answer, convert it.

There are free tools available, but one in particular is something we found exceptionally useful.

1.3 Conversion Software

First you need your MP4 video to convert. Put it somewhere handy on the desktop. This process also facilitates numerous file conversions.

Now you need a converter. Here is a great free one.

Free-video-to-flash-converter 5big.png

As you install that software, please just watch out for the extra tool bars and optimisation software that you don't need. You can decline them, but please be careful.

1.4 Conversion

DVDVideoSoft do provide a step by step.

You install the tool. When installed, open it, then you can drag and drop all your MP4 videos into the main window.

In the bottom left make sure "FLV" is the output type and leave the size setting at "original quality". Click convert in the bottom right. Your converted videos will output to your My Documents > My Videos folder.

Please note that this tool is not a bxp tool but is very handy when supporting older browser and backward compatible content.

1.5 Further support

If you do need a hand going through this tool and how it works, we can indeed help. We may need remote access to your machine to get you going, which would involve using TeamViewer or similar tool to remote control your machine.