online video

Using Flash with carefully optimized content allows broadband users to see video of decent size and quality without significant waiting time. And obviously, showing movies within the browser window offers significant advantages over systems that require the interruptions of opening new applications and new windows. One of the easiest and most effective ways to use Flash video is to present it quite simply as a moving picture without audio, as in this video of a flight of geese.

Autoplay. Since there is no sound or narration required in this video, it can be allowed to play as soon as enough content has preloaded. Unexpected sound on a Web page can be intrusive, and so normally in a video that incorporates sound we suggest including a "Play Movie" button or some user interaction so that the user can decide if and when it should begin.

Bandwidth-appropriate. But what if the user is on a slow Internet connection? Compared to static images, video files tend to be large and thus bandwidth-intensive. With the above video dialup users will see only a still image of the beginning of the video, at least until the movie has downloaded. Even the tell-tale pause and play controls only appear once the movie begins to play. In this way, Flash presents content appropriate to the user — a video for those with a fast connection and a still image for those on dialup.

Controls. With a simple looping video, there is no real need for controls to start the movie or adjust the volume. In the sample above we have included pause and play buttons that appear once playback begins, but those too could just as well have been omitted. However, especially with more distracting movies, these simple controls can be added as a convenience for users who want to stop the motion while reading the page content.

If you are wondering about video with sound, you may want to check our sample of a performing arts video.

For more on the advantages of Flash for video delivery, see Video in Flash: a new dimension in our On Point section.

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