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Help me choose

The best format to choose depends on the end purpose and audience of your movie.

High quality
Small file size
Interactive objects
iPad, iPhone
Suitable for the Internet
Limit(minutes) 15-20 None None None None None 15-20

1. Flash(SWF)

In general, the best option is Flash format. Compared to other formats, Flash is advantageous in several regards: a smaller file size, high quality playback, allows end-user interactivity.

Flash is an extremely popular format for playing animated video, particularly over the internet. The Flash player plugin is installed in virtually all internet browsers, so this format is widely compatible with PC and Macs.

However, you should be aware that exporting in Flash format also has its drawbacks. We only recommend the export in Flash format option if your movie is less than 20 minutes in length and a maximum of 8 minutes per scene.

More in-depth explanation from Adobe :

That being said, if your movie is longer than the recommended length for exports in Flash format yet you wish to export this in Flash format, it is still possible to do so — please see the link below to find out exactly how this can be done. In general, we advise that you do not create one overly long movie — instead, try to divide your movies into smaller 'sections' or 'chapters'. These smaller, individual movies can then be 'linked' together to give the appearance of a single movie if so desired.

How to link your movies together to give the appearance of a single movie

2. MP4 - Flash Player - recommended for longer movies

For movies that are longer than 20 minutes, the export in MP4-Flash Player format option is often a better choice compared to Flash. The drawback is that MP4 does not allow for end-user interactivity.

3. MP4 - HTML5 Player - recommended for longer movies, iPad, iPhone

The above two options both employ Flash to playback your movie. Since Flash is not supported on iOS devices, you must export in MP4-HTML5 Player format if your movie will be watched on an iPad or iPhone. The export in this format also allows your movie to be watched on any device, including PC, Macs, tablets, and cellphones.

The drawback is that interactivity is not supported. The export process will create one video file, which is played using the VIDEO tag in HTML5.

See also