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SWF file created with MP4 in Camtasia. Is it necessary for file sharing?

Posted on 2013-11-06
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Hello,

I occasionally use a program called Camtasia to make short videos. Each time I create a new MP4 video, a second file of the type .swf is created which has the same filename with "_controller" added.

For example, if I create the following:

    abc.mp4

a second file:

    abc_controller.swf

also appears.

Two questions

1) What is the purpose of the .swf file?

2) If I want to share the mp4 file with someone (eg via Dropbox), do I also need to give them the .swf file in order for them to watch the video?

Thanks
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Question by:Steve_Brady
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Accepted Solution

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Joe Winograd, EE MVE 2015&2016 earned 2000 total points
ID: 39629369
Hi Steve,

Answers to your two questions:

(1) SWF is an Adobe Shockwave Flash file. The <abc_controller.swf> is a playback viewer/controller that is created by Camtasia to provide a viewer and playback controls on the videos, such as play, pause, fast forward, and rewind. The video file itself that is controlled by the SWF controller may be an FLV, F4V, or MP4 file.

(2) The SWF controller file is not needed, as the user may use another media player to view and control playback of the MP4 file. So it is not necessary to include the controller SWF file – you may send (e.g., via the cloud) just the MP4 file.

As a side comment, you must be using an older version of Camtasia, as TechSmith has moved away from SWF (and FLV – Adobe Flash Video) files. Here's a very interesting post from the Camtasia folks discussing why Camtasia Studio no longer produces SWF (or FLV) files:
https://feedback.techsmith.com/techsmith/topics/camtasia_studio_support_of_mp4_swf_and_flv_file_formats

As you can see in this two-year thread, it has ignited a storm of controversy (you need to click the "View more..." link at the bottom several times to see the whole thread, which has a comment from as recently as three weeks ago). Camtasia then tried to bash SWF a bit with the article, "Why SWF Is Not Actually a Video Format":
http://www.techsmith.com/tutorial-camtasia-why-swf-is-not-a-video-format.html

Fascinating stuff! Regards, Joe
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Author Closing Comment

by:Steve_Brady
ID: 39630959
Thanks for the great answer Joe. It's just what I was looking for.
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LVL 55

Expert Comment

by:Joe Winograd, EE MVE 2015&2016
ID: 39631003
Steve,
You're welcome. Always glad to help...or at least try to. :)   Regards, Joe
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