loading swf files faster on my website

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by NJMAN, Nov 29, 2007.

  1. NJMAN

    NJMAN TPF Noob!

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    I posted this in the General Shop Talk section, but I want to post it here also to see if I can get some different views.

    I have a question for anyone who knows about optimizing swf flash files for websites. I have a 15 MB flash slide show on my website which displays my portfolio.

    It was created with an automated program, so I dont have the actionscript source code, and there arent any options that I know of to optimize the size while creating it, except to degrade the image quality. It has about 25 embedded images at 800x500 72 ppi, and its set to music. The mp3 is embedded at around 5 MB.

    Its only meant for high speed users. But it takes at least 3-4 minutes to load before playing, even for high speed dsl or cable. I've tested it on both.

    Does anyone have any tips on how to load this faster, or make it start playing while its loading, or maybe how to reduce the file size in some way, so that it loads faster. How do some of these other pro photog sites do it? Do they store the image info in an xml file and link the mp3 externally?

    My images look very sharp in the slideshow right now, so I dont want to do anything to reduce the quality. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

    NJ
     
  2. Digital Matt

    Digital Matt alter ego: Analog Matt

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    You have a 5mb mp3 in it? I think that's 99% of your problem. In my opinion, I hate being forced to listen to music, but if you must have it, you can certainly compress it more than that, and consider just making a short loop.
     
  3. NJMAN

    NJMAN TPF Noob!

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    Thanks for the input Matt. I know some people dont like music with slide shows, so I am definitely going to look into the option of turning it off.

    I believe I did see an option to compress the mp3 somewhere in the program, so Im going to check that out again.

    So, Im guessing that I should be looking at the internal working of the flash file first before publishing, rather than looking for javascript or some other code to load a bloated swf faster?
     
  4. Digital Matt

    Digital Matt alter ego: Analog Matt

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    There is no code to make a big file load faster. The only way is to make the file smaller. Do you actually have flash? There are lots of options in flash for compressing not only music but also jpgs. You can shrink the size of that a lot and still keep very high quality. Looping a short 10-20 second piece of music and compressing it as an mp3 would certainly help a bunch also.
     
  5. NJMAN

    NJMAN TPF Noob!

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    Im using a program that automates the writing of actionscript code according to how I answer prompts in a wizard. However, it allows the me to view and edit the source code if I wish. Im just not too familar with flash code. I think its worth checking out some compression techniques in flash and see where that gets me.

    Thanks again.

    NJ
     
  6. JerryPH

    JerryPH No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    No, you don't want to compress the MP3, you need to lower it's quality. Most average MP3s are encoded at 128k. You should not need to be pushing CD quality sounds through a website, its illogical.

    Lower it to the lowest acceptable quality level that permits that 15MB file to sound reasonable... not great, but REASONABLE (that file size by itself is incredible, becuase I have many CD quality songs that are under 5 minutes in length that are under 5MB!).

    Consider shortening the song and creatively looping it. Also load a PRE-loader that displays a % number to completion, that helps some.

    IMHO, if its over 500K, its still too big. Not everyone has a high speed connection to the net... and if this is a commercial site, you can be "boring to death" away many potential customers as well as your users as they wait for all this stuff to begin streaming before it starts being visible or audible.

    99% of the inetnet surfers are going to go to another site if they do not get the interaction they think that is supposed to happen within 5 seconds. Thats not something I made up, its a documented fact... just as is that 80% have no audio or have their audio turned off.

    Another fact... my personal choice is that anytime I hear audio on a website displaying a slideshow, the first thing I do is turn off the volume. I'm there to look at the pictures, not be impressed by music. The ONLY exception to this is video. If you look at all the pro sites out there, 99% do NOT use music. That should be a strong hint for you.

    Hope that helps some! :D
     
  7. kundalini

    kundalini Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Personally, I will mute the music of a slideshow within the first few notes if it doesn't force an emotion. Typically, that hook will be high energy.

    Throw us a bone, what's your link? Then I could give a fair assessment if it works for me.
     
  8. NJMAN

    NJMAN TPF Noob!

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    Thanks for the detailed reply Jerry. I agree, not everyone likes music to go with a photo slide show. I now have a Music Off button that can be clicked, as well as buttons for 3 different song choices.

    The music that I have was carefully selected to help relax the viewer while they view my portfolio. Its more fitting for a slide show of this nature (portraits specifically).

    I am aware of the documented facts that you mentioned, but I also want to give the viewer a choice too. Thanks.

    If you really want to see/hear the slide show, here is the link:
    ...

    The music starts right away. So, click the "Music Off" button if it bothers you. Let me know what you think.
     
  9. Digital Matt

    Digital Matt alter ego: Analog Matt

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    Personally I would ditch the music. It did not relax me. The pounding drum intro actually scared the **** out of me.
     
  10. NJMAN

    NJMAN TPF Noob!

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    LOL, sorry about that. I should have warned you to turn down the volume first. Thanks for your feedback. Much appreciated. :)

    NJ
     
  11. NJMAN

    NJMAN TPF Noob!

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    By the way, I did some work on the coding, so that the images load fast, and the music streams as it plays.
    Did the slide show load and start fast? I was aiming for 5 seconds or less.
     
  12. Sideburns

    Sideburns TPF Noob!

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    take the music out. I don't know anyone that would want to listen to it...and I know when I work on photos or I'm browsing the internet...my iTunes is always on. It's very annoying to try and listen to two songs at once. It takes away from the professionalism of your website I think...and 5mb is a HUGE mp3...
     

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