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Understanding Your Thumbnail Options

Understanding Your Thumbnail Options

The greatest hurdle in adapting this application for progressive streaming is creating the thumbnails. Flash Communication Server gives you a very simple way to create thumbnails, and it grabs only the data it needs to build a small thumbnail image. Progressive video is a bit trickier.

There are basically three approaches to implementing dynamic thumbnails of progressive FLV files:

  • Attach the FLV file to a video object, scale it down, and pause on the first frame. This approach is not a feasible solution for videos of any significant length, because the file continues to load needlessly in the background, eating up bandwidth and slowing down your application.
  • Manually create thumbnails as JPEG files, and reference them in the XML file. Although this approach does require a bit more work upfront on your part, it is the most bandwidth-efficient approach.
  • Use a third-party server-side application such as ffmpeg to generate thumbnail images. This approach can be technically challenging, but worthwhile if you have more video clips than manpower.

In this article, I will briefly explain how to accomplish the first approach above, attaching a scaled-down FLV file to a video object for the thumbnail source. However, I will focus mainly on the second approach, pulling dynamic JPEG files for the thumbnails. The example files that accompany this article illustrate this solution.