Flash video, which usually has file extensions .swf or .flv, is the file format used for most streaming video you come across on the Internet, at sites such as YouTube, Hulu, etc. Many computer users would like to be able to take such Flash video clips and convert them to other video formats, such as avi or mpg. Changing the format gives the user more flexibility both in terms of playback of the video (instead of having to use a Flash player, one can play a video on devices such as iPods and iPads that don’t support Flash), and using the video in editing programs.
There are many programs that will do this. Some cost money, some are freeware, and some have free trial periods with partial functionality, and then require you to pay. Each works a little differently, with slightly different ways of acquiring input and specifying output.
To get a feel for the process, let’s look at three of these programs as examples of how to convert Flash video:
* Converter Pro *
1. Open Moyea SWF to Video Converter Pro.
2. Click “Browse” and select the Flash file that you wish to convert.
3. Click the “Export” tab, and select “Video with alpha.”
4. Select your preferred specifications on the “Profile” screen, such as quality, bit rate, frame rate, etc. Many of these have automatic settings if you are not knowledgeable about these matters and just want to go with the common defaults.
5. Click “Convert.
* FLV Encoder *
1. Open Riva FLV encoder
2. Under “Input,” click on “Browse” to find the Flash file you wish to convert.
3. Under “Output,” click on “Browse” to find the location where you wish to place the finished product.
4. Change the extension on the output file name from .flv to .avi or .mpg or whatever format you wish to convert to. (The default is to convert to Flash, but you’re converting from Flash to something else.)
5. Under “Video” and “Audio,” choose your preferred settings as to frame rate, bit rate, sampling rate, etc. Check the box for “Enable Audio.”
6. Click on “Encode.”
* Save2pc *
1. Open Save2pc.
2. Go to YouTube, find the video you want to convert, and copy the URL.
3. Paste this URL into the “Link” box on Save2PC.
4. Use “Download To” to adjust the output file folder, and “Save As” to adjust the file format as desired.
5. Adjust the video and audio settings as desired.
6. Click on “Download,” then “Start.”
With these programs or other software-and there are indeed many more options-you should easily be able to convert Flash files to the format of your choice.
One point to keep in mind though, if your motivation for converting is to improve quality, conversion won’t achieve that. It’s true that Flash is a fairly low quality format, and something like avi is much better, but by converting you just get a low quality avi. When a format is compressed and leaves out information, you don’t magically add information by converting to a better format.