In a previous life, I used to make Flash movies. In fact, for most of my graphic design (and yes, the video work as well), I still use Flash on a regular basis, but the biggest problem with Flash-based content is that unless it’s a still image, it’s virtually incompatible with any other editor. You can’t just dump a Flash animation into a video editor like Final Cut Pro or Sony Vegas and have it work, it just doesn’t work like that. Even After Effects, another Adobe product, has issues with Flash content, nested movie clips, and so on. I’ve searched for years to find a way to efficiently move my Flash content away from its vector-based roots to something I can actually use.
Enter Newgrounds and their new Swivel tool, unleashed today.
As it would turn out, founder Tom Fulp had the same problem, but in a different way. Newgrounds launched nearly fifteen years ago with Flash movies and games and a specialized portal that allowed users to upload their own perverted content years before YouTube was a glint in some PayPal executives’ eyes. It doesn’t take any time at all to download a Flash movie and virtually every web browser on the planet had a Flash player installed, making it the perfect “video” format in those pre-broadband days. Flash forward to now and the number of devices that can display Flash is shrinking exponentially by the day. Tom also needed a solution to convert that Flash content to something people can use today, so the Newgrounds team put together a Swivel, a powerful tool that allows you to convert SWF content to h.264 quickly and with a plethora of options to assist you. For content that might be a little trickier in regards to pre-loaders or other programmed Flash knick-knacks, you can set the encoder to manually record on your command. Since the end result is just an MP4, you can carve it up how you see fit.
While Tom is excited to be able to take the bulk of Newgrounds’ content and convert it to formats that will work on mobiles, I’m ecstatic for its potential in productivity. As a test, I converted a work-in-progress I’d started some six years ago and simply stopped working on. You can download the tool – for free! – at the link below!