Custom Preloader question

Hello everyone.  I'm using a custom preloader (the xml version) for my presentation right now.  I can't tell if it's working, though.  I downloaded Fiddler 2, but that doesn't help since I'm just loading the player.html file from my CD.  I'm not publishing it to the internet.  However, when I load the player.html file on my Mac, it's slow and choppy.  I'm assuming this is due to each slide containing a swf and it takes awhile to load.  So I thought a preloader would be perfect.  I can't tell if it's working, though.  It looks a little faster, though not as fast as I'd like it to be.  It could just be my wishful thinking, though.

Does anyone know how to test if the custom preloader is working if it's not published to the web and it's just being viewed from the .html file on a CD?  Here is my code:

<!-- Originally Created by Philip Corriveau modifed by James Kingsley -->
<preloadinfo>
<!-- logo max size is 244x75px due to flash 6 it must either be a .swf or a .jpg-->
<logo>InUseStand.jpg</logo>
<files>
<!-- list your files to be preloaded -->
<file>data/swf/fm_SmartStand.swf</file>
<file>data/swf/fm_Intro.swf</file>
<file>data/swf/fm_SafetyNotes.swf</file>
<file>data/swf/fm_Warnings.swf</file>
<file>data/swf/fm_LCDDisplay.swf</file>
<file>data/swf/fm_Operation.swf</file>
<file>data/swf/fm_Harness.swf</file>
<file>data/swf/fm_Transferring.swf</file>
<file>data/swf/fm_Ambulating.swf</file>
<file>data/swf/fm_Accessories.swf</file>
<file>data/swf/fm_HarnessLaundering.swf</file>
<file>data/swf/fm_ChargingBatteries.swf</file>
<file>data/swf/fm_EmergencyLowering.swf</file>
</files>
</preloadinfo>

116 Replies
Gerry Wasiluk

Hi!  I use HTTP Watch and watch to see if the videos are loading into cache when the course starts.  Works well.

Often have to remember to clear my cache when testing so the videos re-download and are not "stuck" in my browser cache.

BTW, how long are your SWFs?  Are they narrated?

If the videos are over 30-60 seconds, I like to use FLVs instead as long SWFs can become choppy or out of sync.

If you use FLVs, the relative path in the preloader code has to change like this example (put a "../" in fromt of data):

../data/swv/[flv file name]

Tammy Smith

Wow!  Those are some great tips!  Thank you very much, Gerry!!   Almost all of the swfs I'm using are over 60 seconds long.  Do I just use Adobe Encoder to change them to FLVs?  I don't think there's a way for me to do that directly in flash...  I think you can only really publish them as swfs.  I've used encoder to make other real-time videos into FLVs that Flash can read, but I've never tried taking a swf and making it an FLV.  Is Adobe Encoder the best option for this?

And I'll try HTTP Watch soon.    Does this work on a Mac, too?

Gerry Wasiluk

Hi!

HTTP Watch works with IE and FireFox.:

  • Windows XP, Vista or Windows 7 (x86 and x64)
  • Internet Explorer 6.0 - 8.0 & 9 RC or Mozilla Firefox 2.0 - 3.6 & 4.0 Beta 12

Hopefully someone can chime in with a Mac program that can do the same.

Articulate Video Encoder doesn't translate a SWF into an FLV.  If it could, you probably would not want to do that as the resulting FLV may or may not be degraded in quality.  Far better to use a higher quality format in another file type if its available for the conversion.

There are other video converters out there.  Perhaps Brian can chip in here.  I'm wondering if something like Format Factory might work.

Best.

Tammy Smith

Thank you very much for the HTTP information, Gerry!

I've done some research on getting a flv file from a flash file, and it seems like many people save as a .mov file and then convert that to a .flv file using Adobe Media Encoder.  However, when I publish a .mov file, it doesn't look nearly as good as the swf file.  I've tried messing with the settings many times and it still looks bad.  Maybe I'm not using the right settings...  Do you know the best way/settings on exporting a flash file as a .mov file?

Nita  Venter

Hi Tammy, not sure if this will help or not. Here is a free video converter and you will be able to see the bit rate etc. Although we use Adobe After Effect and Premier Pro on our originals to preserve quality, the hamster soft is a great quick easy to use tool http://videoconverter.hamstersoft.com/

Tammy Smith

Hi Nita.  Thank you very much for the link!   Does that video encoder accept Flash files?  I'd love to go straight from my Flash file to a .flv file, but I don't know how to.  I looked at that sight and googled my question but I couldn't find any answers.  Do you know if Hamster can take in a Flash file and export it as a .flv file?  Not a lot of converters accept Flash files.

I did save my flash file as a .mov file and then tried to convert that to a .flv file using Articulate Video Encoder, but the quality was a little bit worse than my swf file.  I thought the .mov file looked fine, but when I went from that to a .flv file using Articulate Video Encoder, it was a little fuzzy.  I don't know if that's from my Flash to .mov conversion or my .mov to .flv conversion that's the problem.  I'm leaning toward .flv conversation simply because the .mov file looks very similar in quality to my swf file.  Any suggestions?

Gerry Wasiluk

Thanks (?) but we really need to thank fellow Superhero onEnterFrame (James)--I'm assuming that he worked on it and whoever helped him (Phil?).

I just happened to stumble on it looking to buy another add-on this AM.

Hope to purchase it and try it later today.  Have a big project and need to get the videos preloaded.

Let me know if it works for you.

Phil Corriveau

Gerry Wasiluk said:

Thanks (?) but we really need to thank fellow Superhero onEnterFrame (James)--I'm assuming that he worked on it and whoever helped him (Phil?).

I just happened to stumble on it looking to buy another add-on this AM.

Hope to purchase it and try it later today.  Have a big project and need to get the videos preloaded.

Let me know if it works for you.


Hi Gerry.  Although James'  free XML-based preloader is a modified version of my Flash-based preloader, I was not involved in the development of the $50 version.  I don't know if this is another modification or "rebuilt from the ground up"...so I have no idea how the new version differs.  But I would also be interested to hear about how it works.

I'm especially curious how the new preloader handles all MP4s.  The biggest frustration I encountered with my preloader is that  most h.264 MP4s would preload only a portion of the file--resulting in the video needing to completely re-downloaded when the slide was reached.  It seemed to depend on which application created the MP4 file (I think Camtasia was one that worked).  I believe it has something to do with where the index section of the file was written.

Another consideration with preloaders is the sequence of the files being preloaded.  I would imagine in most cases, you would want to control which files preload first.

Tammy Smith

Thank you both Phil and Gerry for the info!  I really appreciate it!  Gerry, if you could let me know how it goes for you tomorrow or whenever you have a chance, I'd really appreciate it!!  I hope it doesn't do what Phil mentioned and just preload partially and then have to re-download when that slide is reached.  I also hope it actually preloads. lol!  I won't be on here tomorrow, but I should be back on Wednesday.  Again, thank you both for such great information, and a special thanks to you, Gerry, for keeping me in the loop and letting me know so much about this!  I can't wait to hear how this new preloader works for you.  I'll be crossing my fingers for you!

Gerry Wasiluk

Nita Venter said:

I am testing the new null preloader today and have seen an improvement with the flv loads. I have not tested the MP4 loading as yet, but will let you know how that works out.

Hmmm, so far I am seeing the exact opposite,  It is not working for me at all yet.  

Will be doing one more test early today and if it's still not working will contact Elearnign Enhanced.

Phil Corriveau

Tammy Smith said:

Hello everyone.  I'm using a custom preloader (the xml version) for my presentation right now.  I can't tell if it's working, though.  I downloaded Fiddler 2, but that doesn't help since I'm just loading the player.html file from my CD.  I'm not publishing it to the internet.

Tammy, sorry I am late to the party in answering your original question in this thread, but the custom preloader was designed for content delivered over the internet.  I'm afraid it will have no impact when presentations are played from a CD.  I'm betting the same holds true for the $50 version.
Gerry Wasiluk

Definitely not working with a second test.  When I launch the course, the usual files launch--including the replacement null.swf (that is supposed to scan the course, find the movie files and then preload them) and then the usual first three course slides (the first video is on slide 4).

From HTTPWatch: