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Repurposing Existing Content

Repurposing Existing Content

You can always start from scratch, and the tips and tricks in this article should help you to get off to a good start. However, one of the strengths of Flash is that you can reuse content across platforms—you just can’t use everything anywhere.

For the “2001” animation, we began by asking ourselves, “Can we get our original animation to work on a mobile phone?” From the beginning, we considered the length of the animation a challenge. However, the original animation itself met several key criteria that are important for an animation created for desktop systems to work on mobile devices, including:

  • Character animation that changes only a small region of the screen
  • A majority of medium shots and close-ups, and only few panoramic scenes
  • Limited full-screen motion
  • Full-screen pans that can be removed without affecting the content
  • A simple background
  • Repurposing of symbols, which facilitates optimizing the animation

Our project proves that it is possible to port a two-minute animation to a mobile phone. It still has a significant file size of just under 300K. Thus it may not be suitable for distribution over a 2 or 2.5G network, but that was not our target in this case.

When deciding on whether to repurpose content, you need to consider whether the content will play on a phone and whether it will fit within any file size constraints, among other specifications that you may need to meet.

You will get a head start when you’re able to repurpose well-suited content. Even then, most likely you will still have some work ahead of you to make it run on a mobile phone.

While our original “2001” animation was deemed well-suited for mobile devices, it was far from perfect. It was created as a streaming animation for the desktop. While file size mattered at the time of creation, the most important measure was to keep the file size small enough that people with dial-up connections could access it without problems. That required much less optimization than the memory constraints you’ll face on Flash Lite–enabled phones.

We actually didn’t face too many performance issues; we just had to do some tweaking, such as removing a full-screen pan of the vending machine and replace it with a static cut. In that sense, the original animation was really well-suited for repurposing.

Our two biggest issues were sound and memory.