Adobe ditch FLV support in CC 2014

I’m currently going through the process of updating my Creative Cloud applications to CC 2014. I wasn’t aware that the release was even due until I received an email from Red Giant telling me that the latest update of their popular suite of After Effects plugins was fully compatible with the latest release of Adobe CC 2014 announced TODAY. Odd that. Given that I have a Creative Cloud panel, winking away in my task bar throughout the working day, Adobe appear reluctant to use it to actually promote their own products.

So I check out my CC panel and sure enough there’s a host of new software packages to update. First thing I thought I’d do was to check out After Effects’ release notes – I click the “What’s New” link under the After Effects CC 2014 icon in my Creative Cloud Panel and fire up a webpage. Hmmm. Not much to see so far. So I dig a little deeper and click “See full release notes”. At the bottom of a list of sections similar to what I’d just read I hit a tantalisingly tiny link titled “show all” and lo, a few more sections drop down, the last of which is called “Miscellaneous updates” – I can’t resist. Click! There, tucked away at the bottom, I read the following:

• You cannot export to the following formats in the 2014 version of After Effects CC. However, you can still import these file formats into After Effects.
FLV/F4V
MPEG-2
H.264
WMV
SWF

Now that was news! No FLV export from After Effects. Adobe are killing off FLV. Surely not. They must be passing that over to Adobe Media Encoder CC 2014. So I head back to my task bar and rummage around for the necessary link in my CC panel. I arrive at a page listing various features and notice a refreshingly optimistic bullet point.

• Broad format support

Sounds good, but it didn’t have any further information. I noticed in the “Learn Media Encoder” panel a blue button labelled “LEARN NOW”. Half expecting a broken link, I chanced my arm and hit my mouse button. I arrived at fresh page, headed by a thumbnail and the line: “New features summary (2014)” CLICK! I arrived at a page containing the following:

Removal of FLV and F4V export formats

Starting with the June 2014 release, Adobe Media Encoder will not include Flash export capabilities, and thus you will not be able to export projects to FLV or F4V formats.

You can use previous versions of Adobe Media Encoder if you want to export to FLV and F4V formats.

You can however still import FLV and F4V files into Adobe Media Encoder.

Well, that settles it. Adobe are killing off the FLV, they’ve buried it away in the small print, but the world’s most ubiquitous video format is no more. At least as far as Adobe are concerned.

The meaning of this? Search me! Admittedly, Flash is dead on the desktop, but it’s very much alive off-line. Digital signage, touchscreen kiosks, even app development using Adobe Air. It’s not unusual especially in quite locked down or content managed situations to be asked to embed small videos on Flash’s timeline. Not anymore though. Only FLVs can be embedded on the timeline.

I’m particularly lamenting the demise of the embedded cue point. Although other formats may offer superior compression, they don’t support cue points!

I guess there are a million online utilities and applications available to help me convert video to FLV if I really need to. YouTube for instance, but it does beggar belief that Adobe should stop supporting such a widely used format without even a hint of a press release. Unless…

Since Adobe switched to the cloud as a means of distributing products, an interesting thing has happened. Software pirates can’t be arsed updating their cracks and warez along with Adobe’s regular releases. Effectively making it very difficult for people to maintain the latest version of software illegally. There have been a couple of really significant features released recently that weren’t saved for a full version release but were instead pushed out through an automatic Creative Cloud update. For example:
Illustrator – Rounded corner editing – very cool feature.
Edge Animate – JS code embedding, Audio support
Flash – Mobile Device Packaging

Scanning through the various feature updates released across the platform today, either Adobe are out of ideas or are releasing as few new features as possible with full version releases of software, in an attempt to foil pirates and more regularly push exciting new product features directly to their customers via the CC panel.

Adobe certainly have a history of dropping features only to re-instate them further down the line. Remember animated gif support being dropped from Photoshop? Outrageous! What about Flash’s Motion Tween Panel and Projector export, both dropped recently – both reinstated in CC 2014.

Either way, I can’t help but feel annoyed. I remember looking forward to software releases. Nowadays I dread them, I could lose as much as I gain.

Talk of the Devil! A little red notification panel just winked up in the top right corner of my monitor. Apparently I have eight software updates to make in order to get my Adobe products up-to-date. Must dash!

Comments

makc
Reply

Holy bananas! Big news indeed.

Robert Reinhardt
Reply

I would disagree that Flash ( Player ) is dead on the desktop. You can’t do any live streaming across the board without Flash Player on desktop. Sorry, HTML5 doesn’t have a native streaming format yet, and the future of MPEG-DASH is that it will take a while–at least another 12 to 24 months–for that tech to permeate to the adoption levels that Flash Player has on desktop.

Patrick Wall
Reply

Thanks for the comment Robert. I think I was talking more about the Flash desktop platform as a whole. As someone who makes a living almost exclusively producing Flash, I haven’t done any paid Flash work for the desktop since the middle of last year (a live streaming job). Still plenty of work out there on other devices though. Don’t get me wrong, when it comes to video, Flash certainly isn’t dead yet, which makes it all the more peculiar that Adobe would kill off FLV so abruptly. Any ideas? It seems madness to me.

Lisa Larson-Kelley
Reply

The real question here is: have they eliminated support for any codecs? FLV is just a container format, which would support VP6 and the older Sorenson Spark (legacy used by AMS for webcam encoding in the browser). VP6 is not as efficient as H.264, but it does let you do alpha channels (if anyone is still doing that these days?) I’m on a flight now and haven’t upgraded yet so haven’t had a chance to do the research yet…

Patrick Wall
Reply

Personally I think the real question is how useful is embedding video on a timeline? I work with a number of market leaders in digital signage. Without naming names “Europe’s largest” rely on an infrastructure which is pretty much a Heath Robinson affair of rag tag old PCs, in weather-sealed casings sitting in shopping centres all around Europe. Networks like these take years as well as a lot of time and money to develop and update. Some of these machines are ancient. Incongruous as it may seem, the marketing revenue being generated by these companies is staggering. In my experience, pretty much all video displayed within dynamic compositions in these kinds of locations require video clips (10-30 seconds) to be embedded on the Flash timeline. As far as I’m aware this can only be achieved using FLV. It strikes me that these commercial territories have slipped off Adobe’s radar and are no-longer deemed to be lucrative. Although this sector generated £millions, they have a relatively low software licensing yield. Who cares if the industry courts huge clients and generates big bucks if Adobe don’t get a slice of the pie they aren’t interested. It strikes me that instead of focusing on real world usage, Adobe focus on sales. Why worry about 500 developers around the world who have to embed FLVs on the timeline when instead Adobe can sell 500 licenses to one client? However the more revenue generated by any given sample of designers the more stable market place.

Tom
Reply

Hi, I just got into using AE, recently, figured out how to export as SWF and FLV. Now I can’t do it with this new AE cc version.

Is there a way to export it as anything at all that can be later converted to SWF? I don’t get it, what are we supposed to substitute SWF file to play automatically on a website with? And if there is something to substitute it with, what is it and how do I do it.

I don’t really understand Media converter yet, so if I need that, please explain each step.

In the meantime, I’m just going to take a frikkin’ screencapture GIF of the movie.

Thanks for any help.

Tom

Patrick Wall
Reply

I feel your pain Tom. You hit the nail on the head. If you don’t have Flash knowledge. What do you use? I think you’ve given me an idea of my next blog post. I don’t think animated Gifs are the solution though. There are lots of free third party tools that will convert video to FLV formats if you’re desperate. If you’re on a Mac try Handbrake for example. Watch this space!

makc
Reply

@Tom you could create ogv and use tag )) so html5 much cool

makc
Reply

(that was <video&ht; tag, even this comment form hates it 🙂

Tom
Reply

Thanks Patrick.
I’ve been looking at converters so that’s something i might do, but now am learning more about the ogg file and HTML5.
I find Flash Pro a bit finicky, but was liking using AE, once I got over the humps, and think I’ll continue to use it. But now I’ve just jumped into Edge Animate, since it seems to be able to generate the JS & HTML pretty good so far, but I’m still think I want to do more more with AE.
Thanks for the tips, I’m making progress now.
Tom

Patrick Wall
Reply

I agree Edge Animate and After Effects are very cool. Flash Pro is an eccentric piece of kit, worth sticking with. Good luck!

kris
Reply

Holy Smoke – I needed the FLV for seamless looping videos for a museum exhibit. What is adobe thinking! FLV on the timeline compiled in a swf runs smoother, has less CPU overhead, and is smaller than mp4. I’m super pissed.

Patrick Wall
Reply

Yes, annoying. Although you can still use legacy versions of the media encoder, it’s a pain. I’m often doing similar things. When you want a compact portable file embedding small FLVs can be really useful.

Craig
Reply

Flash is certainly not dead on dekstop. I produce dozens and dozens of flash ads a month for various companies. They are very slowly moving toward HTML5 but flash is certainly here on websites for a few more years. I just keep an install of Flash CS6 and CC together, so I get Media Encoder CS6 and CC, thus getting the latest whilst having the old ME to render flv’s when I need.

Patrick Wall
Reply

I agree – I’m surprised that I wrote such a thing. Not dead yet although Adobe treat it like it died years ago.

James Deane
Reply

Hey –

I work in streaming media and we have “mostly” moved on to h.264/AAC encoding for live video streaming – it’s so much easier to manage, and with the tools we use, we always have a backup in MP4 container rather than the messed up F4V container.

We did however come across a client recently that wanted to edit their Adobe Connect files and then re-up them with lower 3rds and bumper videos. The free version of Adobe Connect only exports and accepts the FLV format. I had to start digging into the issue, and finally found a solution to the problem: http://blogs.adobe.com/kevinmonahan/2014/01/29/revert-to-a-previous-version-of-premiere-pro-cc-or-any-creative-cloud-application/

CC allows you to install any previous version of applications, all the way back to CS6. If you really need to keep using FLV, then you can use the instructions above and have a rolled back version of PPro and Encoder running on your rig.

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