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How To Convert An Old Flash File Into A Video File In 2019

This blog post is about how to convert an old Flash file (.fla) into a video file (.mov/.mp4).

This blog post is NOT about how to convert an old .swf file (compressed Flash video file). I have left a small note about that at the bottom of this blog post.

Summary for the TLDR people

  • You will need to download and install trials of Adobe Animate and Adobe Media Encoder.
  • Open the old Flash file (.fla) in Animate, then click Export > Export video. This will then automatically launch Adobe Media Encoder (on an older computer be prepared to wait 30 seconds to a minute for Media Encoder to open!).
  • Choose the Format and Preset you want in Media Encoder, and then press the green triangle play button to encode.

Introduction

I had an old Flash file from 2003 I wanted to share with my friends. Given Flash is deprecated now I knew I wanted to convert the Flash file to a video file. Here is how I did it…

What you will need:
You will need a computer which you can install applications on. If you can’t do that on your computer, you will need someone to install the following trials on your computer for you:
Adobe Animate
Adobe Media Encoder

(Note: Once you install one of the above, Adobe Creative Cloud manager will be installed along with it. Creative Cloud has a one-click install functionality which is super handy).

How to convert an old Flash file into a video file

  1. Open the .fla file in Animate
  2. (You may get a warning like I did about the fact that your old .fla file uses ActionScript 1.0 which is no longer supported. In my case the ActionScript the Flash file used was so minimal that this didn’t stop me from being able to successfully export the file to a video file.)
  3. (If you have music in your Flash file it may not play when you export it to a video file unless you take the following steps…
  • Click on the first keyframe of the layer with the audio:
  1. Click File > Export > Export video
  2. Choose your Export video settings. I chose to increase the Render size because screen resolutions are much better since 2003! (Make sure ‘Convert video in Adobe Media Encoder’ is ticked). Click Export. On an older computer be prepared to wait 30 seconds to a minute for Media Encoder to open.
  3. What happens now is Animate will make a uncompressed .mov file of your Flash file, but you will still need Media Encoder to compress it into an .mp4 file.
  4. Once Media Encoder launches you will see your .mov file in the Queue. Before pressing the green triangle play button to encode, you will probably want to choose a Preset for your .mov file. Click ‘Custom’ under Preset which will launch Export Settings. Then click the drop-down next to Preset under Export Settings. Because I wanted to upload my video file to YouTube I chose the Preset ‘YouTube 1080p Full HD’. Click Ok.
  5. Click the green triangle play button to encode.
  6. Test your video file.

Converting an old .swf file (compressed Flash video file) into a video file

As I also had the .swf file as well as the .fla file, I did try converting my .swf file to a video file first. Truth be told, I tried a bunch of search results specifically for this (some freeware options, some dodgy-looking options that I would have rather not tried!) and none of the results were satisfactory for me. Some were able to convert the visual part of the Flash file but not the audio.

There is an official Adobe article on importing .swf files into Animate but there are a lot of limitations. But give it a try if you are desperate and you only have the .swf file.