26.5. Integrating Flash with Other Technologies
Flash has proven to be such a popular multimedia format for the Web that it can now be integrated with the other web media staples, QuickTime and RealMedia.
26.5.1. Flash and QuickTime
QuickTime is a multitrack container format. Traditionally, this meant tracks for audio and video. In the evolution of QuickTime, support has been added for other tracks such as text, timecode, and (starting with QuickTime 4) Flash content.
To add a Flash track to a QuickTime movie, use the Flash authoring tool and export the file to the "QuickTime Flash" format (.mov). The resulting file is a QuickTime movie that can simultaneously play video, audio, and Flash media elements. The QuickTime 4 Player or higher is required to view QuickTime Flash files.
Another option is to export to the traditional "QuickTime Movie" format (also .mov). When exporting to QuickTime Movie, the vector Flash information is rasterized and added to the video track of the movie.
QuickTime 4 is only capable of displaying Flash 3 functionality (which means it does not recognize ActionScript commands). The recently released QuickTime 5 supports most of the functions of Flash 4.
As an alternative to using the Flash authoring tool, you can also import an existing .swf file into QuickTime Player (or Player Pro) and save it as a QuickTime movie.
26.5.2. Flash and RealPlayer
Flash 5 is capable of exporting Flash files directly to the RealMedia formats required to play in the RealPlayer. This method, called RealFlash, may make sense when publishing Flash content to a site that already relies heavily on the RealNetworks streaming system, such as a radio or news broadcasting site. It is also good for adding short animated movies and simple interactive elements to a page, not for whole site interfaces or highly interactive content like games.
Because the RealPlayer cannot play the audio portion of a Flash file, RealFlash movies are actually made up of three components: a .swf movie (stripped of its audio), a RealMedia (.rm) file containing the audio track, and a SMIL (.smil) document for controlling the synchronization of the playback (SMIL is discussed in more detail in Chapter 27, "Introduction to SMIL"). Flash 5 is capable of exporting all three components (in previous versions, you needed to use the RealMedia authoring tools to create RealFlash).
One of the current limitations of RealFlash is version support. RealServer and RealPlayer 8 can play Flash 3 and 4 files. RealServer 6 and 7 can only read Flash 2 files. You can select the Flash version using the Flash tab in the Publish Settings (in the Flash application) dialog box.
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