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Simulating Video

Although Flash can display video directly within Flash Player, there are times when you’ll be looking for a more artistic effect than straight video can provide. Converting video to a sequence of bitmap images to create a short frame-by-frame animation is a very effective technique to simulate video and gives you some flexibility to modify the imagery. Although this process can be laborious and relatively low-tech, the rewards are enormous. When you work with bitmap sequences, you can use the Trace Bitmap command to convert them to vector shapes. In the process, you can reduce the number of colors and shapes to create stylized images with posterized effects or delete background shapes to isolate dramatic silhouettes. You can better integrate these short sequences into your Flash movie without being limited by the rectangular boundaries of a direct video. It is also a way to simulate video if you are creating content for Flash Player 5 or earlier.

To create sequential bitmaps from a video:

Import a video file, and embed it in your Flash movie.

You eventually will be importing the same number of bitmap images as you have frames of video, so take care not to import too long a video segment. If possible, reduce the frame rate of your video by using a video-editing application such as Adobe Premiere.

Change the dimensions of the Stage to fit the dimensions of your imported video.

Choose File > Export Movie.

The Export Movie dialog box appears. This dialog box lets you choose a file format and destination folder.

Click New Folder to create a new destination folder.

Enter a name for your exported image files.

From the Format pull-down menu, choose PICT Sequence (Mac) or Bitmap Sequence (Windows) (Figure 2.27).

Figure 2.27. The Export Movie dialog box for the Mac (top) and Windows (bottom). The Format and Save As Type pull-down menus give you the choice of export file types. Choose PICT sequence for the Mac or Bitmap Sequence for Windows.

Click Save.

The Export PICT (Mac) or Export Bitmap (Windows) dialog box appears.

Click the Match Screen button to make sure that the width, height, and resolution numbers match your Stage at screen resolution (72 dpi).

From the Color Depth pull-down menu, choose the appropriate bitmap level. 24 bits is the color depth for millions of colors.

In the Options section, check the Smooth (Windows) or Smooth Bitmap (Mac) checkbox (Figure 2.28).

Figure 2.28. The Export PICT dialog box for the Mac (top) and the Export Bitmap dialog box for Windows (bottom).

Click OK.

Flash exports a series of bitmap images and appends a numerical extension to the filenames to keep them in series.

Open a new Flash file, and import the first of the images you just created. Flash recognizes that this first image is part of a sequence (Figure 2.29) and asks you whether you want to import the entire sequence.

Figure 2.29. The warning dialog box. Click Yes to import the entire sequence.

Click Yes.

Flash places each bitmap in a new keyframe and aligns them all in the active layer (Figure 2.30).

Figure 2.30. After you import a bitmap series, each image is placed in a separate keyframe and also is saved in the library.



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