Adobe Animate can incorporate digital video footage into web-based presentations. The FLV and F4V (H.264) video formats offer technological and creative benefits that let you fuse video together with data, graphics, sound, and interactive control. FLV and F4V video let you easily put video on a web page in a format that almost anyone can view.

How you choose to deploy your video determines how you create your video content, and how you integrate it with Animate. You can incorporate video into Animate in the following ways:

Stream video with Adobe Media Server

You can host video content on Adobe® Media Server, a server solution optimized to deliver real-time media. Adobe Media Server uses the Real-Time Messaging Protocol (RTMP), a protocol designed for real-time server applications such as streaming video and audio content. You can host your own Adobe Media Server, or use a hosted Flash® Video® Streaming Service (FVSS). Adobe has partnered with several content delivery network (CDN) providers to offer hosted services for delivering on-demand FLV or F4V file video across high-performance, reliable networks. Built with Adobe Media Server and integrated directly into the delivery, tracking, and reporting infrastructure of the CDN network, FVSS provides the most effective way to deliver FLV or F4V files to the largest possible audience without the hassle of setting up and maintaining your own streaming server hardware and network.

To control video playback and provide intuitive controls for users to interact with the streaming video, use the FLVPlayback component, Adobe® ActionScript®, or the Open Source Media Framework (OSMF). For more information about using the OSMF, see the OSMF documentation.

Progressively download video from a web server

If you don’t have access to Adobe Media Server or FVSS, or your video needs are for a low-volume website with only limited amounts of video content, you can consider progressive downloading. Progressively downloading a video clip from a web server doesn’t provide the real-time performance that Adobe Media Server does; however, you can use relatively large video clips, and keep the size of your published SWF files to a minimum.

To control video playback and provide intuitive controls for users to interact with the video, use the FLVPlayback component or ActionScript.

Embed video in the Animate document

You can embed a small, short-duration video file directly into the Animate document, and publish it as part of the SWF file. Embedding video content directly into the Animate SWF file significantly increases the size of published file, and is only suitable for small video files (typically less then 10 seconds in length). In addition, the audio to video synchronization (also known as audio/video sync) can become mis-synchronized when using longer video clips embedded in the Animate document. Another disadvantage to embedding video within the SWF file is that you cannot update the video without republishing the SWF file.


When you try to publish your FLA with H264 video content on a layer that is neither a guide layer nor a hidden layer, a warning message appears that the platform you are publishing to does not support embedded H.264 videos.

Control video playback

You can control the playback of video in Animate using the FLVPlayback component, by writing custom ActionScript to play an external video stream, or by writing custom ActionScript to control the playback of video in the Timeline for embedded video.

FLVPlayback component

Lets you quickly add a full-featured FLV playback control to your Animate document and provides support for both progressive downloading and streaming FLV or F4V files. FLVPlayback lets you easily create intuitive video controls for users to control video playback and apply pre-made skins, or apply your own custom skins to the video interface. For more information see The FLVPlayback component.

Open Source Media Framework (OSMF)

The OSMF enables developers to easily choose and combine pluggable components to create high-quality, full-featured playback experiences. For more information, see the OSMF documentation

Control external video using ActionScript

Play back external FLV or F4V files in a Animate document at runtime using the NetConnection and NetStream ActionScript objects. For more information see Controlling external video playback with ActionScript.

You can use video behaviors (pre-written ActionScript scripts) to control video playback.

Control embedded video in the Timeline

To control playback of embedded video files, you must write ActionScript to control the Timeline containing the video. For more information see Control video playback using the Timeline.

The Video Import Wizard

The Video Import Wizard simplifies the importing of video into a Animate document by guiding you through the process of selecting an existing video file, and importing the file for use in one of three different video playback scenarios. The Video Import Wizard provides a basic level of configuration for the import and playback method you choose, which you can later modify for your specific requirements.

The Video Import dialog box provides these video import options:

Load external video with playback component

Imports the video and creates an instance of the FLVPlayback component to control video playback. When you are ready to publish the Animate document as a SWF and upload it to your web server, you must also upload the video file to either a web server or Adobe Media Server, and configure the FLVPlayback component with the location of the uploaded video file.

Embed FLV in SWF and play in timeline

Embeds the FLV into the Animate document. When you import video this way, the video is placed in the Timeline where you can see the individual video frames represented in the Timeline frames. An embedded FLV video file becomes part of the Animate document.

note: Embedding video content directly into the Animate SWF file significantly increases the size of published file, and is only suitable for small video files. In addition, the audio to video synchronization (also known as audio/video sync) can become mis-synchronized when using longer video clips embedded in the Animate document.

Embed H.264 video in timeline

Embeds H.264 videos into the Animate document.  When you import a video using this option, it can be placed on the stage to be used as a guide for your animation at design time. Frames from the video will rendered on the stage as you scrub through or play the timeline. The audio for the relevant frames will also be played back.


  •  When you try to publish your FLA with H264 video content on a layer that is neither a guide layer nor a hidden layer, a warning message appears that the platform you are publishing to does not support embedded H.264 videos.

Video formats and Animate

To import video into Animate you must use video encoded in the FLV or H.264 format. The Video Import Wizard (File > Import > Import Video) checks video files that you select for import, and alerts you if the video might not be in a format that Animate can play. In the event that the video is not in either the FLV or F4V format, you can use Adobe® Media® Encoder to encode the video in the appropriate format.

Adobe Media Encoder

Adobe® Media® Encoder is a stand-alone encoding application employed by programs such as Adobe® Premiere® Pro, Adobe® Soundbooth®, and Animate for output to certain media formats. Depending on the program, the Adobe Media Encoder provides a specialized Export Settings dialog box that accommodates the numerous settings associated with certain export formats, such as Adobe Flash Video and H.264. For each format, the Export Settings dialog box includes a number of presets that are tailored for particular delivery media. You can also save custom presets, which you can share with others or reload as needed.

For information on encoding video in the H.264 or F4V format using Adobe Media Encoder, see Using Adobe Media Encoder.

The H.264, On2 VP6, and Sorenson Spark video codecs

When encoding video using Adobe Media Encoder, you can choose from three different video codecs with which to encode your video content for use with Animate:


Support for the H.264 video codec was incorporated into Flash Player beginning with version 9.0.r115. The F4V video format which uses this codec provides a significantly better quality-to-bitrate ratio than previous Flash video codecs, however, it is more computationally demanding than the Sorenson Spark and On2 VP6 video codecs released with Flash Player 7 and 8.

note: If you need to use video with alpha channel support for compositing, you must use the On2 VP6 video codec; F4V does not support alpha video channels.

On2 VP6

The On2 VP6 codec is the preferred video codec to use when creating FLV files you intend to use with Flash Player 8 and higher. The On2 VP6 codec provides:

  • Higher quality video when compared to the Sorenson Spark codec encoded at the same data rate

  • Support for the use of an 8-bit alpha channel to composite video

    To support better quality video at the same data rate, the On2 VP6 codec is noticeably slower to encode and requires more processor power on the client computer to decode and play back. For this reason, carefully consider the lowest common denominator of computer you intend your viewing audience to use when accessing your FLV video content.

Sorenson Spark

Introduced in Flash Player 6, the Sorenson Spark video codec should be used if you intend to publish Animate documents requiring backwards compatibility to Flash Player 6 and 7. If you anticipate a large user base that uses older computers, you should consider FLV files encoded with the Sorenson Spark codec, as it is much less computationally demanding to play back than either the On2 VP6 or H.264 codecs.

If your Animate content dynamically loads Flash Professional video (using either progressive download or Adobe Media Server), you can use On2 VP6 video without having to republish a SWF file originally created for use with Flash Player 6 or 7, as long as users use Flash Player 8 or later to view your content. By streaming or downloading On2 VP6 video into Animate SWF versions 6 or 7, and playing the content using Flash Player 8 or later, you avoid having to recreate your SWF files for use with Flash Player 8 and later versions.


Only Flash Player 8 and 9 support both publish and playback of On2 VP6 video.


SWF version (publish version)

Flash Player version (required for playback)

Sorenson Spark


6, 7, 8


7, 8, 9, 10

On2 VP6

6, 7, 8

8, 9, 10


9.2 or later

9.2 or later

Tips for creating Adobe FLV and F4V video

Follow these guidelines to deliver the best possible FLV or F4V video:

Work with video in the native format of your project until your final output

If you convert a precompressed digital video format into another format such as FLV or F4V, the previous encoder can introduce video noise. The first compressor already applied its encoding algorithm to the video, reducing its quality, frame size, and rate. That compression may have also introduced digital artifacts or noise. This additional noise affects the final encoding process, and a higher data rate may be required to encode a good-quality file.

Strive for simplicity

Avoid elaborate transitions—they don’t compress well and can make your final compressed video look “chunky” during the change. Hard cuts (as opposed to dissolves) are usually best. Eye-catching video sequences—for instance showing an object zooming from behind the first track, doing a “page peel,” or wrapping around a ball and then flying off the screen—don’t compress well and should be used sparingly.

Know your audience data rate

When you deliver video over the Internet, produce files at lower data rates. Users with fast Internet connections can view the files with little or no delay for loading, but dial‑up users must wait for files to download. Make the clips short to keep the download times within acceptable limits for dial‑up users.

Select the proper frame rate

Frame rate indicates frames per second (fps). If you have a higher data rate clip, a lower frame rate can improve playback through limited bandwidth. For example, if you are compressing a clip with little motion, cutting the frame rate in half probably saves you only 20% of the data rate. However, if you are compressing high-motion video, reducing the frame rate has a much greater effect on the data rate.

Because video looks much better at native frame rates, leave the frame rate high if your delivery channels and playback platforms allow. For web delivery, get this detail from your hosting service. For mobile devices, use the device-specific encoding presets, and the device emulator available through Adobe Media Encoder in Adobe Premiere Pro. If you need to reduce the frame rate, the best results come from dividing the frame rate by whole numbers.

Select a frame size that fits your data rate and frame aspect ratio

At a given data rate (connection speed), increasing the frame size decreases video quality. When you select the frame size for your encoding settings, consider frame rate, source material, and personal preferences. To prevent pillarboxing, it’s important to choose a frame size of the same aspect ratio as that of your source footage. For example, you get pillarboxing if you encode NTSC footage to a PAL frame size.

Adobe Media Encoder makes several Adobe FLV or F4V video presets available. These include preset frame sizes and frame rates for the different television standards at different data rates. Use the following list of common frame sizes (in pixels) as a guide, or experiment with the various Adobe Media Encoder presets to find the best setting for your project.

Dial-up Modem NTSC 4 x 3

162 x 120

Dial-up Modem PAL 4 x 3

160 x 120

T1/DSL/cable NTSC 4 x 3

648 x 480

T1/DSL/cable PAL 4 x 3

768 x 576

Stream for best performance

To eliminate download time, provide deep interactivity and navigation capabilities, or monitor quality of service, stream Adobe FLV or F4V video files with the Adobe Media Server or use the hosted service from one of Adobe’s Flash Video Streaming Service partners available through the Adobe website. For more details on the difference between Progressive Download and Streaming with Adobe Media Server, see “Delivering Flash Video: Understanding the Difference Between Progressive Download and Streaming Video” on the Flash Developer Center website.

Know progressive download times

Know how long it will take to download enough of your video so that it can play to the end without pausing to finish downloading. While the first part of your video clip downloads, you may want to display other content that disguises the download. For short clips, use the following formula: Pause = download time – play time + 10% of play time. For example, if your clip is 30 seconds long and it takes one minute to download, give your clip a 33‑second buffer (60 seconds – 30 seconds + 3 seconds = 33 seconds).

Remove noise and interlacing

For the best encoding, you might need to remove noise and interlacing.

The higher the quality of the original, the better the final result. Although frame rates and sizes of Internet video are usually smaller than those of television, computer monitors have much better color fidelity, saturation, sharpness, and resolution than conventional televisions. Even with a small window, image quality can be more important for digital video than for standard analog television. Artifacts and noise that are barely noticeable on TV can be obvious on a computer screen.

Adobe Animate is intended for progressive display on computer screens and other devices, rather than on interlaced displays such as TVs. Interlaced footage viewed on a progressive display can exhibit alternating vertical lines in high-motion areas. Thus, Adobe Media Encoder removes interlacing from all video footage that it processes.

Follow the same guidelines for audio

The same considerations apply to audio production as to video production. To achieve good audio compression, begin with clean audio. If you are encoding material from a CD, try to record the file using direct digital transfer instead of through the analog input of your sound card. The sound card introduces an unnecessary digital-to-analog and analog-to-digital conversion that can create noise in your source audio. Direct digital transfer tools are available for Windows and Macintosh platforms. To record from an analog source, use the highest-quality sound card available.


If your source audio file is monaural (mono), it is recommended that you encode in mono for use with Animate. If you are encoding with Adobe Media Encoder, and using an encoding preset, be sure to check if the preset encodes in stereo or mono, and select mono if necessary.

Tutorials and examples

The following video tutorials and articles provide detailed explanations of creating and preparing video for use in Animate. Some items show CS3 or CS4, but still apply to CS5.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License  Twitter™ and Facebook posts are not covered under the terms of Creative Commons.

Legal Notices   |   Online Privacy Policy