Including videos on a web site


A client of mine produces small movies and videos for his clients. He wants to put some samples of his work on a new web site we’re developing.

There won’t be a lot of traffic/downloads per day.

I don’t know the size (or length) of the files yet but I think most are ~5 mins and one or two are perhaps 15 minutes.

I’m thinking that conversion to FLW might be the best way to go as it’s a pretty common format for browsers to ‘read’ and it ‘streams’ without needing a streaming server.

3 questions:

  1. Is this the best approach

  2. Is there a very rough rule of thumb for size of file to length of movie

  3. Is FLW the better format for this approach (vs SWF)?

Thanks in advance,


There’s no such file format as FLW, it’s FLV

An FLV needs a video player swf embedded in the page to play it back - browsers won’t directly display the FLV.

  1. yes
  2. depends on resolution/framerate/codec etc but if you reckon on 500kbit/sec for a youtube size player you won’t be far wrong.
  3. You need both FLV and SWF. It’ s a better way of doing it than embedding the video purely within a swf only.

Thanks Eastcoast.

A couple of numpty follow-up questions then.

Why have both FLV and SWF?

How can they both be presented as options at the same time without adding a choice box, two players on screen etc

Thanks again,


There is no choice between the two - the swf is the visible interface in the page, containing the playback logic e.g buffering time, what to do on playback finished etc, and the control graphics, and it displays the video. It can be a very small file that will load and display straight away. It’s more memory efficient as the memory used to process the large video file is freed once playback of the external file finishes, and means that presentation and logic of video are independent of the video file, in a similar way that a css file can control image embedding and display. The swf connects to the server and loads the FLV which will typically be a large file. The FLV file alone would not be viewable in the page on it’s own. If you embedded this directly in the page then the browser would likely offer to download it as it’s not a file format that it can understand, it’s specific to flash.

Thanks Eastcoast.

That should be enough for now.