Flash video n' related stuff

Blog moved!

Jul 3, 2009 Author: Lisa Larson-Kelley | Filed under: Announcements

Time to trim a bit of fat, so I have moved my blog to a new, more affordable host. When you see this post, it means the transfer is complete! If you see any weird stuff with the blog, missing links, etc. please let me know with a comment so I can get it fixed before the old host is bye-bye. Thanks!

UPDATE: Oh, and it seems that I have lost all of the registered users. So you’ll need to sign up again so I have your info. Thx!

Adding captioning to Dynamic Playlist example

Jun 24, 2009 Author: Lisa Larson-Kelley | Filed under: Books & Articles, Resources, Tutorials & Code

I’ve had several questions recently about how to add closed captioning to the Dynamic Playlist code in my tutorial on Adobe Developer Connection. I answered a comment on the article, but its not easy to find — so I thought I’d post it here to make it a bit easier.

Yes, this is pretty easy to implement, but is a bit nitpicky. Here’s how you do it.

Just add the URLs of the timed text files to the XML data for each video, like so:
<vid desc=”Popeye for President, Title and Credits”
ttURL=”myTTfile.xml” />

Then, in the initMediaPlayer function, you’d just add it as an additional attribute (ttURL) in the ‘for’ loop so it can be loaded for each video as it’s clicked, like this:

Add these three new lines of code at the end of the initVideoPlayer function:
myVid.autoRewind = true;
myVidCaptioning.source = tileList.selectedItem.ttURL;
myVidCaptioning.flvPlayback = myVid;

And finally, replace the listListener event handler with the following:
function listListener(event:Event):void {
myVidCaptioning.source = event.target.selectedItem.ttURL;
myVidCaptioning.showCaptions = false;
myVidCaptioning.showCaptions = true;
myVid.autoPlay = true;
The trick here is to hide then show the captions, so you clear out the data from the previously-selected video. It’s a bother, but this should take care of it.
Then, go into your FLA and drop an FLVCaptioning component onto the Stage, and give it an instance name of myVidCaptioning. Publish, and watch (and read) your videos. 🙂

Hope this helps… if you have any trouble…

download the example code here (video files omitted; you can grab them from the original tutorial files or change the XML to point to your own).

Another option, of course, is to insert embedded cuepoints into your video files for your captions, then use the onCuePoint event handler and display them in a dynamic text box. This is a more custom approach, but the timed text file approach above conforms more to usability standards. Your call. 🙂

Flashbelt: Fantastic conference, with a wake-up call

Jun 12, 2009 Author: Lisa Larson-Kelley | Filed under: Industry News, Rants & Ramblings

I had the privilege to present a session earlier this week at the FlashBelt conference in Minneapolis. It was my third year in a row being a part of this fantastic conference that is a labor of love for its organizer, Dave Schroeder. I had to leave the conference early this year, so I missed a lot of the social mixers and, most notably, the keynote that has unfortunately cast a pall on this year’s conference. (See http://bit.ly/PY4ty for all the gory details.)

Because I feel I know Dave well, and I was one of the female speakers at this conference, I feel the need to weigh in.

I’ve been speaking at tech conferences for several years now, often as one of only two or three female speakers. So I’ve experienced my share of misogyny, but also of proactive inclusiveness. I’ve had the perennial conversation with many of the conference organizers: “How do we get more women involved?!” They all say they can’t find females who are willing to stand up and speak. It is truly a chicken-and-egg problem. It stands to reason that a woman may not want to show up, let alone speak, if she feels she’ll be putting herself out there to be disrespected or objectified. It’s not easy being a woman in a field dominated by men, and in some cases, boys.

I know Hoss.  I’ve presented at conferences he’s been a part of several times. And, yes, he does seem to get a pass. “Aw, yeah, that’s just Hoss…” I’ve heard that more than once. To that point, let me share a couple of personal experiences I’ve had interacting with him.

My first encounter with Hoss was at the conference where I presented for the first time, with my female business partner. The sessions had just let out and there was a rush for the elevators. My partner and I were the last to get into a crowded elevator, and Hoss was the next in line. We squeezed back to make room for him, and he got a big grin and shouted to everyone within earshot… “Yeaaaah, I’m ridin’ with the LADIES!” and proceeded to press himself against us. We were of course disgusted and embarrassed, but as first-time speakers we didn’t want to make too much of a fuss. As women so often feel they have to do in business, we snickered and laughed it off. And just kept our distance.

The next time I crossed paths with him was a couple of weeks ago at another conference. Again, I was in an elevator, but this time I was there with my husband and 7 month old daughter. I had mentioned the previous elevator experience to my husband, so he was surprised when a quiet, respectful Hoss got in, nodded to me and smiled at our baby. We had a short conversation and he was on his way. This is the “teddy bear” Hoss that Dave refers to in his public apology, one that has a daughter of his own. (Based strictly on this interaction, who would have guessed he was on his way to show off his “orgasmatron”?)

So, yes, Dave should have been aware of the tone and content of Hoss’ presentation prior to inviting him to speak. But not for a second do I believe he would consciously condone discrimination, objectification, or abuse of a female attendee or speaker. I had to bring my daughter with me to this year’s conference and he bent over backwards to make things easy for us (you don’t see many babies at tech conferences, believe me). FlashBelt has always been the most gender-inclusive conference of its kind. I honestly believe that the reason this was sparked at THIS conference was primarily BECAUSE there were so many women in attendance. It would truly be a disservice to single out FlashBelt as “the” sexist conference. Dave has a big heart, and he just got a big lesson in trusting those who he thinks of as friends.

I tell you all this not to ratchet up the buzz, but to hopefully become part of a bigger solution. This stuff is always under the surface. The women know it; the men know it. It’s incidents like this that can raise consciousness, help trigger action and foster change. Let’s hope that’s the real take-away from this year’s FlashBelt.

If anyone has ideas to bring about a more gender-blind Flash community, please bring ‘em on. It’s 2009, already!

Thanks to everyone who chose to attend my FMS talk at FlashBelt this year instead of sneaking next door to see Grant Skinner! 🙂

I hope you all got something useful from the session, and really did walk away feeling empowered to take the dive into FMS development.

As promised, here are the slides and files from the presentation. Please let me know if you have any questions I didn’t answer.

SLIDES (PDF, sorry about the large file size)


Special thanks to the fantastic Influxis team for their great blog posts and examples on both DVR and Dynamic Streaming. (If you need FMS hosting, you’ll want to call these guys. Seriously.)

And kudos also to David Hassoun for his comprehensive articles and sample code (most of which I relied on heavily in my presentation).

Thanks again, and see you next year, Minneapolis!

Developing a Rich Video Player for Flash: Resources

May 11, 2009 Author: Lisa Larson-Kelley | Filed under: Resources

Just wrapped up a three-hour workshop at Streaming Media East here in NYC on building video players for Flash. Thanks to everyone who attended for staying alert for the full three hours — what a marathon! As promised, here are the resources for the talk; some links, and the example source code:

Presentation file

Dreamweaver example

Prebuilt player examples

Flash examples

Dynamic Streaming examples

Adobe.com: Flash Media tools

Strobe media framework

Adobe Developer Connection: Dynamic Streaming overview

Adobe Developer Connection: Dynamic Streaming ActionScript guide

Flash Media Live Encoder

Video Validator utility

Web Video Bitrate Starter

Me, on Twitter

If you have any outstanding questions or comments, feel free to comment and I’ll get back with you as soon as I can.

Flash CS4 Video Training

Apr 16, 2009 Author: Lisa Larson-Kelley | Filed under: Resources

VTC Flash Video box shotBack when I first started learning web technologies (ages ago!) I found VTC videos. I’m a visual learner, so they really helped me get a handle on new concepts.

Well, they are still around and going strong, with lots of new titles covering current software and technologies — including, of course, Flash Video!

Michael Hurwicz has put together 8+ hours of video training walking you through the basics (and more) of deploying video using Flash CS4. He gives you self-paced tutorials on encoding, deployment options, using SWFObject embedding, cuepoints, metadata, preview images, buffering captioning, video effects and more — in both AS2 and AS3. New CS4 features such as text-to-speech and pixel-bender effects are even covered. It starts out with the very basics so you can understand concepts such as progressive vs. streaming, and takes you all the way through more advanced player creation tasks such as instantiating components.

It’s a bit more expensive than a book, but much less expensive than a training course. At $99 I think its a great value, especially if you are a visual learner like me. The first three chapters are free, so check it out:


Tweet, tweet!

Apr 9, 2009 Author: Lisa Larson-Kelley | Filed under: Announcements, Resources

I resisted valiantly, but I’ve finally given in. The FMS engineering team signing up was the last straw.

I’m now on Twitter.


I’ll be tweeting on miscellaneous Flash news, tips, tricks, etc. as well as day-to-day updates. But I won’t be telling you what I had for breakfast, I promise.

Did I help? If so, please donate to March for Babies!

Mar 23, 2009 Author: Lisa Larson-Kelley | Filed under: Rants & Ramblings

It’s that time of year again; my annual pilgrimage back to Michigan for the March for Babies walk. My family walks every year in memory of my niece Jessica, who left us too early at age 2, nearly 11 years ago.

So, if I’ve helped you sort out a video problem or pointed you in the right direction, consider giving a couple of bucks to Team Jessica. Just click on the widget in the sidebar to the right!

Thanks 🙂

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Anarchy at Flash on the Beach

Mar 16, 2009 Author: Lisa Larson-Kelley | Filed under: Announcements

FOTB is going punk, as you can see from this year’s banners (just there, down and to your right)… so get ready! This year is going to be as jam-packed as ever with great speakers, inspiring content, and, of course plenty of beer and chips.

Soooper-dooper early bird tickets go on sale May 18, and be sure to sign up for the newsletter for reminders and updates:

It’s a bit earlier this year, Sept. 20-23rd, so the weather in Brighton should be great. Since I missed it last year, I’m really looking forward to it. It’s one of the few conferences I’ll be speaking at this year, since I now have a little one in tow. 🙂 Hope to see you there!

Attention Women: FitC wants you!

Mar 13, 2009 Author: Lisa Larson-Kelley | Filed under: Announcements

In their ongoing effort to encourage more women to get involved in the Flash community (an initiative near and dear to my heart) the organizers of Flash in the Can are sponsoring a contest to send 100 women to FitC Toronto.

FITC Toronto 2009 (website)
The Design & Technology Festival
April 25-28, 2009 // Hilton Toronto. Canada

So, if you are one of those talented, underrepresented women, tell them so in a video post or Flash animation WHY you want to go to FitC Toronto!

To Enter, just complete the form and send them the link to your video. The first 100 entries they get will receive a free festival ticket to FITC Toronto 2009! It’s that easy!

Don’t miss out; FitC Toronto is a world-class event. I’m regrettably missing it this year, but you, GO! REPRESENT!

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Flash Video for Professionals book
Our book, Flash Video for Professionals, is now shipping! This is the book we always wanted to have by our side when developing Flash Video applications. It takes a holistic approach -- from concept, to client interaction, to application architecture. With code examples in AS2 and AS3, you can get started right away (and ease your transition from one version to another). We cover all aspects of Flash video including encoding, using the components, creating your own custom players, filters and transitions, buffering issues, hosting choices, and more.
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