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Hour 17. Using Video > Optimizing Video

Optimizing Video

Two topics relate to optimization: optimizing performance and optimizing download speed. Although these are, indeed, two different topics, in the case of video, they're often related. That is, a video file with many detailed frames tends to be large (so it downloads slower), and it also tends to perform worse because there's so much data that needs to be uncompressed and displayed onscreen. The topic of playback performance is discussed in greater detail later in Hour 20. For now, let's talk about how to make video files small.

It may seem obvious that the reason to keep Flash movies small is to minimize download time. However, because Flash can stream (meaning that the movie starts playing before it's entirely downloaded), you don't need to worry so much about the entire movie's download time, rather just the pause before playback begins. For example, if a movie takes 2 minutes to download, that's only “long” if the movie's playback time is 10 seconds. Conversely, a 2-minute download for a movie that plays for 2 minutes isn't long at all considering it will start playing after only a 12-second pause (later frames are downloaded while the user watches the first frames). I calculated the preload using the following formula:


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