I missed the announcement, but Flash MX Professional 2004 is out, and the hands-down best feature is Flash Video.
Most of us are familiar with Real, Windows Media, and QuickTime – the three primary streaming video packages available today. The problem with each of these is that they play video in boxy rectangles, just like TV and movies.
Flash Video apparently is treated just like the other vector graphics in Flash, and the results are stunning. Effects like wiping in video under a pencil eraser, seamless integration with sharp vector-based graphs, and more have all been done in the few weeks Flash has been out. I visited many of the sites in the Flash Video gallery (I highly recommend the IBM and Ben and Jerry’s examples), and never – not once – did any presentations skip. That impressed me. I’m on broadband, but I’m usually not that lucky.
Of course, you need some artistic skill, which I have (some, I mean – not nearly enough), but it looks like in the right person’s hands, the new version of Flash may just be a scalpel and chainsaw at the same time.