Videos in FM-generated PDF books (prior to Flash EOL) won't play

Explorer ,
Jan 15, 2021

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We have a large number of technical documents (manuals, mostly) that include short video tutorials in the digital editions of the FM-generated PDFs. For the past several years, we have used FM12 (and still do) to easily add these tutorials to the FM files. According to one expert, the problem is that FM12 uses a Flash standard to convert the videos for import into FM. As of this year, Flash is dead and none of our users are able to use the video tutorials in manuals created in the past, even though most use Windows media player or other common player, NOT Flash. This is a huge problem for our users. At this point, it appears that the only solution is to upgrade FM to the current version. I have no idea how FM now handles video content. But the bigger problem is how can we support our customers who have these older manuals (some created in just the past year) and need to use these tutorials. Are they left high and dry, too?

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PDF output, Technical Communication Suite

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1 Correct Answer

Explorer , Jan 19, 2021
Tom Emhart Explorer , Jan 19, 2021
This issue has been resolved. Thanks for help from Jeff Coatsworth and Rick Quatro. Jeff noted using the Hypertext function. Rick, who helped us create FM templates that optimize the digital PDFs of our document, pointed me to the message URL function.The solution requires changing links (or creating links) in the FM documents to hypertext using the following command:message URL followed by the location where the video file is located.For example, for a document that I would supply on a USB driv...

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jan 15, 2021

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You could either (a) move all your videos online to a place like YouTube or other video hosting service and link to them in your existing docs or (b) package up all your video files and install them with your PDFs and have links to the file location where you've deposited them.

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Explorer ,
Jan 15, 2021

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Unfortunately, our manuals are not available on line (company policy). The second part of your response is pretty much what we do already. In addition to the interactive links to tutorials in the manuals, we also supply all of the tutorials, as well as others not included in the manual, in a separate folder that is included with the manual as it is supplied to the customer (document set USB card with the machine that includes all manuals in the for the machine). For those who are using the digital version of the manual, the links to the tutorials make it easy for users to see tutorials on the same page as the written instructions. This link is set up in the FrameMaker file. This is what I'm trying to restore. For now, at least, I need to find a solution for customers who have our digital manuals but can no longer play the tutorial links.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jan 15, 2021

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Ok, but (a) YouTube can be private (set your uploads to be unlisted & just use the private link to reference them) and (b) my advice about packaging your video content presumed you had converted them all from .swf files to .mp4 files already. Then you just fix your links in FM.

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Explorer ,
Jan 15, 2021

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I wish it was that simple. The original video files are mp4, and FM acknowledges that in the "Convert from" dialog box that appears. Something happens, however, when FM generates the pdf book (I use "Save as PDF", which is the only generation option that creates the interactive pdf). I'm told that the older FM versions use a Flash standard when the referenced video is inserted into the FM file. I guess, then, that when you open the pdf and click the link to a tutorial, Acrobat thinks that you are telling it to open a Flash file. Interestingly, in the past when I've tested these links, the open as mp4 files in VLC (the media viewer app that we use). Not sure that helps. I am hoping that we can find a way around this Flash standard conversion in FM12 that I have.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jan 15, 2021

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That sounds like you're trying to import by reference - I'm saying just create a hyperlink to the location of the video.mp4 file - when you click the link in the PDF it should launch whatever default player for mp4 they've got installed.

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Explorer ,
Jan 15, 2021

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I should have thought of that! Not the most elegant solution, but one that would work. The only issue with this solution is that the hyperlink launches another app outside of the book and getting back to the book might not be as simple as just closing the app when the video is done, especially if the user has other apps open on his/her device. That solves the problem with future books, but it still leaves me with no solution with users who already have the books with the embedded links.

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Explorer ,
Jan 18, 2021

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Jeff, I used the Hypertext command to create an Open Document link and made sure that I was in the root of a drive (which would be the case when the digital document is published and distributed. In the same location, I added a folder, Video_Tutorials, which contained an mp4 file. In the command, I used the following: openlink Video_Tutorials/VPRD-Dip.mp4

FM warned me that the file was not a FrameMaker file; however, I clicked OK, and then saved the file as a PDF (using the Save as pdf command). In the resulting pdf, there clearly is a link (mouse changes from hand to finger), but when clicked, nothing happened. Am I missing something?

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jan 15, 2021

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I guess, then, that when you open the pdf and click the link to a tutorial, Acrobat thinks that you are telling it to open a Flash file.

Does disabling Use Flash Player for playing 3-D and multimedia content in Preferences > 3-D & Multimedia (in Acrobat and Reader) make a difference?

flash.png

 

~Barb 

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jan 15, 2021

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Only a bit surprised that's still an option in Acrobat Pro DC 2020.013.20074,
but very much surprised that being enabled appears to be the default.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jan 16, 2021

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@Bob_Niland:

 

Right?

 

~Barb 

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Explorer ,
Jan 18, 2021

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That option does not appear in the verson of Acrobat that we have (2015 Classic (release)  Version 2015.006.30527). When I click Preferences > 3D & Multimedia Options, the first entry I see is "Enableplaying of 3D content".

 

 

 

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Explorer ,
Jan 18, 2021

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That option, however, does show up in Reader. Before unchecking it, clicking on the link only opens up a Flash window with no video. If I uncheck it, nothing happens when I click the video link.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jan 18, 2021

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I suspect that you might need to use something like Shlomo's TimeSavers (http://www.microtype.com/timesavers.html) to enable the content in the PDF - I never stick movies in my PDFs, so I don't have direct experience with this.

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Explorer ,
Jan 19, 2021

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This issue has been resolved. Thanks for help from Jeff Coatsworth and Rick Quatro. Jeff noted using the Hypertext function. Rick, who helped us create FM templates that optimize the digital PDFs of our document, pointed me to the message URL function.

The solution requires changing links (or creating links) in the FM documents to hypertext using the following command:
message URL followed by the location where the video file is located.

For example, for a document that I would supply on a USB drive that includes a folder the contains all or the video that I have referenced in the document, the command is:

message URL Video_Tutorials/[media content file name]

When the document is generated using the Save as PDF function, the hypertext text or object is an interactive link that opens the media content in an external media app, such as Windows Media Player, or VLC...

File names and folders cannot have any spaces.

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