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Newgrounds Wiki: Swivel - Flash to Video

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Swivel


Swivel is the best solution for converting your Adobe Flash movies into high-definition video. Swivel takes an SWF file and exports a video at any desired resolution, complete with audio and no dropped frames!


Best of all, Swivel is completely free and open source, made out of a desire to help the animation community. If Swivel is helpful to you, please consider showing your thanks by supporting Newgrounds!


Download


Click on your platform to download Swivel:


The latest version is v1.11

Swivel requires Windows XP or later, or Intel-based OS X 10.5 or later.

If you are on Mac OS X 10.7 (Lion) or later, pick 64-bit.

If you are not sure, pick 32-bit.


Download Swivel for Windows 32-bit

Download Swivel for Windows 64-bit

Download Swivel for OS X 32-bit

Download Swivel for OS X 64-bit


Basic Usage


For simple movies, Swivel makes converting your Flash movie quick and easy! Just follow these steps:


  1. Click the Add button next to the the Input SWFs list.
  2. Select your SWF file.
  3. Press Convert.


That's it! The default settings will export a 1080p quality MP4 in the same folder as your SWF file. When the conversion is complete, you can click the filename on the completion screen to immediately open the video in your default video player.


For movies with a preloader or other menus, you can skip these segments by changing the Start Frame and End Frame settings. Swivel shows a small preview of the selected frame so that you can ensure that you are skipping any unwanted content.


For complex movies, or if all else fails, you can use Manual mode to interact with the SWF and manually start and stop the recording when ready.


Source Settings


In the source tab, you can add the SWFs that you convert into video.


Input SWFs


The Input SWFs box displays the SWF files that will be converted into video. Click that Add button to add an SWF file to the list.


If you specify multiple SWF files, Swivel will glue them together back-to-back into a single video. This allows you to split your movie into separate SWF files, avoiding the Flash slowness and instability from working on a large file.


Clicking a file in the list will display its settings below. Each input SWF can have its own settings for Movie Duration, Render Quality, and Bitmap Smoothing.


Tip: Each SWF in the input list should have the same frame rate. Swivel sets the frame rate of the video to the frame rate of the first SWF. If following SWFs have differing frame rates, they will play at the incorrect speed in the final video.


Movie Duration


The Movie Duration setting determines when the converter will start and stop recording your SWF.


  • In Frame Range mode, Swivel will jump to to the Start Frame and start recording immediately. Recording will stop when the main timeline reaches the End Frame.


  • In Manual mode, Swivel will display the movie in a window, allowing you to click buttons or otherwise interact with it. You can then start and stop the recording manually by clicking the Record button in the conversion window.


Swivel defaults to Frame Range. starting on the first frame and ending on the last frame of the movie. If your movie has preloaders or other unwanted content, you can tweak the frame numbers to skip the unwanted content. When you change the Start or End Frame, Swivel will display a small preview of that frame on the screen.


Tip: If Swivel shows the SWF as only having one or two frames, the cartoon might be embedded inside a movie clip or have other complexities. In these cases, it is best to use Manual mode to start and end recording where you'd like.


Render Quality


The Render Quality slider controls the stage quality exactly like the Quality menu does when you right-click a Flash movie. Swivel ignores any quality settings done inside the movie itself and will draw every frame using the Render Quality setting.


Tip: Swivel contains a secret Higher and Highest quality setting. You can access it by holding down the Control or Command key and dragging the Render Quality slider. However, these settings are significantly slower and may cause artifacts in some content due to bugs in the Flash Player. Use at your own risk!


Tip: If you are converting a movie with pixel art, you may want to change the Render Quality to "Low".


Bitmap Smoothing


If the Bitmap Smoothing setting is checked, then all Swivel will automatically smooth any bitmaps. This will avoid pixelation when the SWF is upscaled to higher resolutions. If Bitmap Smoothing is unchecked, then Swivel obeys the "Allow smoothing" option in the Symbol properties of each bitmap in the original FLA file.


Tip: If you are converting a movie with pixel art, you may want to disable the Bitmap Smoothing setting.


Video Settings


In the Video tab, you can control the dimensions and compression of the video.


Output Video Name


The Output Video Name box specifies the path of the exported video. Swivel defaults to an MP4 file with the same name as the first SWF file. The extension of the video is chosen based on the Video Codec. Changing this extension may result in an unplayable video.


Video Size


Determines the size of the video. By default, Swivel gets as close to 1920x1080 as possible while maintaining the aspect ratio of the first input SWF.


If the lock is enabled, then the aspect ratio between Width and Height is maintained - when one value is changed, the other value changes proportionally.


Due to restrictions in video codecs, you are only able to choose even values for Width and Height.


Scale Mode


The Scale Mode setting determines how the content will be scaled when the aspect ratio of the SWF does not match the aspect ratio of the video.


swivel_scale.png


  • Crop will crop the edges of the movie.
  • Letterbox will display the entire movie, but with black letterboxes/pillarboxes on the edges.
  • Stretch to Fit will stretch the movie to fit the video dimensions.


Tip: You can turn non-widescreen movies into true 16:9 by using the Crop setting and setting the Output Video Size to 1920x1080.


Transparent Background


If Transparent Background is checked, then Swivel will not draw the background stage of the SWF, and will instead render a video with an alpha channel. Transparent Background requires use of the QuickTime Animation codec.


Video Codec


The Video Codec determines the compression used for the video. The default is H.264, which is good for most applications. Note that some codecs like Uncompressed AVI will use large amounts of disk space.


Video Bitrate


Video Bitrate specifies the target bitrate for the Video Codec. Higher bitrates will improve quality and reduce compression artifacts, but increase file size. If the the selected codec is lossless, the slider will be disabled.


Audio Settings


In the Audio tab, you can specify an audio track for the video and control the audio compression.


Audio Source


Audio Source specifies what to use for the audio track in the video.


  • No Audio exports a video without sound.
  • Extract from SWF mixes the audio track using the audio data inside the movie.
  • External Audio Track allows you to use an external MP3 or WAV file for the audio track.


External Track


If the Audio Source is set to External Audio Track, you can select the path to an audio file in the External Track box. WAV and MP3 files are supported.


Audio Channels


The Audio Channels setting determines whether the audio track is mono or stereo.


Audio Codec


The Audio Codec specifies the compression used on the audio. AAC is the default audio codec. Note that uncompressed formats such as PCM 16-bit will use large amounts of disk space.


Audio Bitrate


Audio Bitrate controls the target bitrate for the audio track in the video. Higher bitrates produce better quality, but increase file size.


Tip: Swivel uses the audio data from the SWF file, which is often already compressed. For the best audio quality, set the audio compression in your source FLA to Raw or high bitrate MP3 in Flash's Publish Settings.


Overlay Settings


The Overlay tab allows you to overlay a watermark onto your video.


Enable Watermark


Checking the Enable Watermark and selecting a valid image file will overlay a watermark onto the video.


Watermark Image


The Watermark Image box specifies the path to the image file to overlay on the video. You can select a PNG, JPEG, or GIF file.


Alignment


The Alignment setting controls where the watermark is positioned. When you click a position button, a small preview is shown on the right side of the screen.


Tip: Many video sites place their own watermarks in the lower-right corner, so it is usually better to place your watermark elsewhere.


Size


The Size setting determines the scale of the watermark image. The preview will update as you tweak this setting.


Transparency


The Transparency slider controls the opacity of your watermark. The preview will update as you tweak this setting.


FAQ & Troubleshooting


Does Swivel work with SWF, FLA, or XFL files?


Swivel requires the SWF file of the movie.


What platforms does Swivel run on?


Swivel is available for Windows XP or higher, 32-bit or 64-bit, and Intel-based Mac OS X 10.5 (Leopard) or higher.


Will Swivel be released for Linux?


No. Swivel requires Adobe AIR to run, but unfortunately Adobe dropped support for Adobe AIR on Linux.


What video formats does Swivel export?


By default, Swivel exports H.264 encoded video in an MP4 container. It also currently allows exporting WebM (VP8), Ogg (Theora), Windows Media Video, Uncompressed AVI, and QuickTime Animation (mov).


Does Swivel drop frames from my animation?


No! Unlike other converters which simply record your screen while an SWF is playing, Swivel takes as much time as necessary to render and encode every frame of the SWF file.


How does Swivel upscale my SWF?


Swivel will scale your movie to any resolution, including 720p and 1080p. Vector art is rendered at the desired resolution, maintaining quality and sharpness. Filters are also tweaked depending on the output resolution.


Does Swivel capture the audio in my movie?


Yes! Unlike other converters which just record low-quality audio from your microphone input, Swivel uses the sound files directly from the SWF to mix a master audio track in stereo. You can also specify an external audio track.


Does Swivel properly render nested movie clips?


Yes! Swivel should render nested movie clips and animations just as they appear in the Flash Player.


Does Swivel render filters and blend modes?


Yes! All filter types and blend modes are supported. Swivel also upscales all filters to match the output dimensions of the video. For example, if your source SWF is 640x360 but you are outputting the video twice as large at 1280x720, Swivel will change 5px blur filters into 10px blur filters.


Does Swivel work with the V-Cam or other ActionScript cameras?


Yes! V-Cam and other ActionScript cameras should work exactly as they do in the Flash Player.


Will Swivel render ActionScript effects, such as programmed particle effects?


Yes! Swivel runs the ActionScript code in the movie while rendering, so ActionScript effects should function correctly.


Does Swivel recognize sounds played via ActionScript?


Yes! Swivel should capture sounds played via ActionScript. Sound transforms such as panning and volume are also supported. Note that the sound must be embedded in the SWF. Sounds loaded from an external URL are not supported. Dynamic sound generation using SampleDataEvent is also not supported.


Does Swivel support ActionScript 3?


Yes! Swivel supports ActionScript 3 SWFs, including programmed effects such as V-Cams.


My V-Cam does not work in Animate CC2019?


Go to Document Settings and uncheck "Use Advanced Layers." This might do the trick.


Does Swivel support games?


Swivel is designed solely with animations in mind. However, if you are brave, you can try using the Manual mode, which allows interacting with the SWF while it is encoding!


What Flash features does Swivel NOT support?


Swivel will probably not work well with the following features:


  • getTimer, setTimeout, and Timers
  • Sound complete events
  • Loading assets external, such as XML or Sounds
  • Dynamically loaded SWFs (including those embedded using the Embed metadata)
  • TLF Text Fields with Linkage set to Preloader SWF
  • Stage3D


Future versions of Swivel may support more features -- particularly, items higher on the list are likely to be supported.


While converting, Swivel got stuck on a frame near the end of the end of the movie!


Swivel stops recording when the main timeline reaches the End Frame. If the movie has a stop action before that frame, then it might never reach that last frame. If this happens, you can click the Cancel button to manually signal that the movie has ended. You can also tweak the End Frame setting so that the recording ends earlier.


Swivel says that my movie only has 1 frame!


Swivel uses the main timeline to determine the frame count, so if your animation is embedded inside movie clips, Swivel can have difficulty knowing when the movie begins and ends. In this case, you can either use Manual mode to manually start and stop recording, or, if possible, edit the source FLA to extend the frame count of the main timeline.


My video is pixelated even though my movie is all vector art!


This is a known issue with certain variants of V-Cams that draw the screen to a bitmap. The V-Cam draws the screen to a bitmap at the smaller stage size instead of the actual output size of the video, resulting in pixelation. If you have access to the source FLA, you can fix this issue by changing the stage size of your animation to match the output size of your video.


My video player is having trouble playing the video files that Swivel exports.


Depending on the video and codec settings, some video players may be unable to play the video files. We recommend using VLC as your video player--VLC will have no trouble playing back the videos!


If you are trying to export a video with maximum compatibility, we recommend changing the Video Codec to H.264 Baseline.


The audio quality in my video is awful!


Swivel uses the audio data directly from the SWF file, and SWF files usually have their audio already compressed. If the audio sounds bad when you play the SWF in the Flash Player, it will sound bad in the video. If you have access to the source FLA file, you should change the audio compression settings to Raw or high bitrate MP3.


My video has weird artifacts/sounds are missing/my movie otherwise did not render correctly! What gives?


Sorry about that! You can send a copy of your SWF to mike@newgrounds.com along with a description of the problem.


Can I use Swivel for my commercial project?


Yes! Swivel is free to use for any commercial project. If it's helpful for you, consider supporting Newgrounds. Shout-outs are also appreciated!


Can I use Swivel to upload other peoples animations to YouTube?


Please do not unless you have the permission of the author. Swivel is a tool for good, not for evil!


I have a bug report/suggestion. Is feedback welcome?



Yep! Send an e-mail to mike@newgrounds.com with your feedback.


License


See the Swivel License.