Macromedia has announced a video kit that lets Macromedia Studio MX 2004 with Flash Professional users more easily add video to their Web sites.

Video is added using a Dreamweaver MX 2004 extension and can be viewed with Macromedia's Flash Player rich client software.

"Basically, if you want to put Flash video on your Web site, this kit will allow you to do it quickly and easily using Dreamweaver," said Mike Downey, technical product manager for Flash at Macromedia. Video is being used in applications such as sales and marketing videos as well as in advertising, he said.

Online video explosion

"We are seeing a real explosion of video on the Web," said Greg Stern, vice president of developer relations, Macromedia: "Macromedia recently surveyed Web professionals and the majority are already planning to add video to their sites: 70 per cent want to use Dreamweaver to embed Flash Video on the sites, and 74 per cent want to build interactive video applications with Flash MX Professional 2004."

Macromedia's kit makes video more of an integrated part of the development process rather than just grafted, add-on functionality, said analyst Paul Palumbo, research director at AccuStream.

"Essentially, what they're doing is sort of expanding or decoupling the linear nature of what is video or adding video to the Internet and making it into an integrated process in terms of the production workflow," Palumbo said. Through the kit, applications can be developed enabling users to navigate through a video rather than just watching it, he said.

Contenst and prices

The kit ships September 1. It features four components: a Flash Video extension for Dreamweaver; a special version of Sorenson Squeeze that converts common video file formats into Flash Video format; a free 15-day trial of the Flash Video Streaming Service, enabling use of streaming video without installing it on a customer's own servers; and an introductory guide to deploying video online. The Flash Video Streaming Service is being provided by VitalStream and also includes real-time reports for monitoring audience viewing habits.

Customers who purchase or upgrade to Macromedia Studio MX 2004 with Flash Professional and who register online by September 30 can receive the video kit for free. The kit also will be available to existing Studio MX 2004 customers for £59. Other options for receiving the kit are online.

Macromedia on Tuesday also will highlight use of online Flash Video use by companies including Adidas, The Discovery Channel, and