Videos loading but pausing in the middle?

Hi all!

I am hoping someone can help me.  We have hired an outside company to build elearning courses for us in Articulate and I just got Articulate on Monday so I am not really sure how everything works yet.  In a majority of our courses, we include video and for some reason when we test the video on our store network the videos take a long time to load and pause frequently throughout the duration of the video.  If we do a test course with only video in it, there is not an issue - the video plays fine.  Any ideas?  The set-up we have for the courses doesn't allow for the pre-loader to be added but we may have to reconfigure if we can't figure anything else out.

Thanks!

Carrie

9 Replies
Justin Wilcox

Hello and welcome to the forums! It sounds like your videos are simply too big. That could be related to the dimensions you are using and also the audio/video bitrates you are using. Here's an article on best practices for using Flash movies in Presenter:

http://www.articulate.com/support/presenter09/kb/?p=76

In it  you will find a link to a handy Flash video bitrate calculator:

http://www.adobe.com/devnet/flash/apps/flv_bitrate_calculator.html

Also, I'm not sure if your store network means you are playing the content on a local network drive. If that's the case, that's not really supported:

http://www.adobe.com/cfusion/knowledgebase/index.cfm?id=d9bbd9d4

You want to make sure you are viewing content on a web server via a valid http address.

Phil Corriveau

Hi Janine.  Although h.264 is a great video format, it can take a very long time (as you've experienced) to encode the files.

Generally speaking, when I need to encode multiple videos in this format, I prefer to let the encoding job run overnight.  But one thing that can improve the encoding speed is to choose single-pass encoding instead of multi-pass encoding (if your software supports it).  However, it will still take a long time and the quality can take a hit when doing this.

As for file size, 35MB is very large for a two-minute clip.  It will take some trial and error on your part, but you might first look at reducing the dimensions of the video, as well as lowering the video's bitrate.  The audio quality could probably be reduced as well.

When dealing with video on the web, you will almost always have to make some kind of compromise between quality and performance for your users.

I hope that info kinda helps.  Let me know if you need more detailed info.

-Phil

Phil Corriveau

The advantage of MP4s (specifically the h.264 codec that works in Flash) is that they can be very high quality (almost broadcast quality) and very scalable, but slow encoding times can be an issue.  For the end user, they tend to be more processor-intensive to run.  Also, the entire MP4 must be downloaded before it can play.

One advantage with FLVs is that they can play via progressive download--so the entire file does not have to downloaded before it plays.  From my experience, the encoding times should be much quicker with FLVs. 

Although the quality is not as good as MP4s, I find that the FLV quality is more than good enough for our needs. But that is truly a subjective opinion on my part

Phil Corriveau

Your biggest challenge is obviously your users' connection speeds.  I think that FLVs are probably the way to go for you.  In addition to greatly reducing video file sizes, you might look into using a custom preloader.

This Articulate blog entry I wrote a long time ago addresses the reduction of wait times for users.  Although it's three years old, the concepts still hold true today, and discusses how a preloader works.  Since this article was written, Articulate Super Hero James Kingsley has developed a Bulk Articulate Preloader ($50) that appears very easy to implement and has gotten good reviews from the Articulate community.  For its ease of use and effectiveness, I think it's a very fair price.

Here's a link to a recent thread regarding custom preloaders--including James' preloader.