Should You use Legacy or Flash Media in CS5?
InDesign has had the ability to use multimedia for many versions, but CS5’s new interactive features have renewed the interest in creating multimedia with InDesign.
Prior to CS5, InDesign was able to place some media , but it didn’t support .swf files very well). In fact, while CS4 was able to support .swf’s it didn’t always work out as expected.
CS5 has expanded the types of media that you can place into InDesign, but they end going into two categories: legacy media & Flash media. If you intend to export your layout only to PDF you are able to use the legacy media or Flash media (if you are using Acrobat 9 or higher). If you are exporting to swf or Flash Pro you have to use Flash media.
Using Legacy media
Legacy media will work in an exported interactive PDF, but not in an exported SWF for FLA file since Flash does not support these types of media. The legacy video formats include: .mov, .avi & .mpg. The audio formats include: .aiff & .wav. While is is possible to continue to use these formats if you only intend to use them in a PDF, you will receive a warning when you try and place them inside InDesign CS5.
If you ignore this warning and place the file anyway, you will not be able to preview the file in the media panel. The media panel will still allow you to create a poster and some options for controlling it inside an interactive PDF, but if you try and preview your document with the preview panel your receive another warning that the media is not supported by the Flash player and it will not be shown.
Using Flash Media
The preferred media types to use inside InDesign are Flash based since they can be used in a PDF or a SWF. They include .swf, .flv, .f4v, .mp4 & .mp3. When you use Flash media you will have full control over the media when you use the media panel. You can access video cue points, pick a movie poster from a frame, control video navigation controls and more.
Converting Your Legacy Media
What happens if you don’t happen to have your media in the correct format? If you want to convert your video files into a format that Flash supports you can use the Adobe Media Encoder (AME). InDesign CS5 now ships with AME and you can use it to easily convert your legacy video files to Flash video.
- Open the AME and click “Add” to select your meda file(s)
- Choose the format (FLV|F4V)
- For more control, you can click settings button and trim the video, add cue points and fine tune the export
- Export your video
If you plan on converting lots of video, it is a good idea to add a lot of vides and batch convert them at once. Keep in mind that this may take awhile and you may want to do this overnight.
Which One Should I Use?
The obvious choice tends to be that that you should use only Flash media with InDesign since its it can be used in both Acrobat 9 and the Flash Player. However, if you want your PDFs to be accessible in older versions of the Adobe Reader you may want to use the legacy files since Adobe Reader 8 and earlier do not support Flash.