Features – Fireworks Video Help Page

The UKFR feature archive spans nearly a decade during which web standards and video encoding changed frequently. This is reflected by a diverse range of video and file types. This page lists the common types of video used on UKFR which may help if you are having playback problems. However, it is fair to say that some codecs are simply too old and you may have to admit defeat!

The term “codec” in this article refers to a file used by your PC/Mac to encode or decode video. Different video formats require their own “codec” which you need to download and install before your computer can recognise and play the video.

Update 2014: Because some of the older video files in the archive are difficult to open or play on many modern systems, we are currently in the process of removing these with a view to republishing them on YouTube. If you find any references to video but the actual file is missing please bear with us. We’ll embed the republished YouTube clip once it is available.


ZIP Files

Bandwidth allowances were very restrictive when UKFR started and as a result many files were compressed as ZIP files. This was done to encourage people to download the file once (and play on their PC) rather than trying to stream it on demand in their browser.

Most PCs and Macs these days come with built-in software to uncompress ZIP files. If yours does not, you will need to download a program to do this – there are many free ones available.


Multipart ZIP files with a. EXE part

Some of the huge video files caused a problem with readers on a slower connection. So, to try and help them, some files were split into multiple parts. During the site update in 2011, most of these were “rejoined” back together, but in case any remain, simply download all the parts and run the .exe (PC only).

The running of any executable file from our site is entirely at your own risk. We haven’t run these files for many, many years and cannot vouch for their stability, safety or compatibility on your system. If in doubt, don’t – wait until we republish the video on YouTube.


UK only content

Missing video links or links replaced by “UK content only” (or similar) messages reflect clips that are currently only available to readers in the UK. This is due to old bandwidth limits placed on UKFR by its former webhost. This will become redundant as we republish video on YouTube to make it available to everyone.


Windows Media (.WMV) video

Back in the “old days” compressing video was problematic. The arrival of Windows Media Encoder was a godsend because it allowed previously huge clips to be made small enough to upload and share. Today, video is usually encoded in platform-independent formats but there was a time when the majority of internet surfers were PC users. Windows Media thus became the standard video format for UKFR since the site was authored on a PC and 99% of viewers were PC owners.

Playing WMV files shouldn’t be a problem on a PC, and Mac users will also be able to play these clips with a suitable player. Google “Playing wmv files on a mac” or similar for help. Mac users will be pleased to know we intend to republish all the video on YouTube through 2014 and beyond.


DivX video files

UKFR went through a brief period using a video format called DivX which at the time offered significant improvements over Windows Media in both quality and file size. Unless you have the DivX codec installed, playing these files can be a pain. It is suggested you try the official DivX site for a suitable codec to download or simply wait until we republish the material on YouTube.


MPEG video files

This refers to one of the original versions of the universal MPEG format which in those days was not particularly suited to on-line video as the files were quite large. There aren’t many MPEG files in these features and you may need to experiment with different video players to get them to work. As above, we’ll look at getting these up on YouTube at some point.


AVI video files

Old video clips using the .avi file format would have been encoded on an early Windows XP computer. Good luck!


“Dial up” and “Broadband” video files

Back in 1999 broadband was not commonplace and most home internet users had to “dial up” to connect using a modem. These connections were very slow. When broadband started to become common, UKFR made sure that readers still using dial up were not left out. So many old features have two sets of identical clips labelled “Dial up” and “Broadband” which simply refers to the file size – and therefore the quality – of the clip. By today’s standards, “Dial up” clips are crap and “Broadband” clips less crap ;)


Flash video files

More recent features offer in-page video in flash format. Although encoded to web standards at the time (2007-2009), the embedded player is nonetheless quite old now and has not been updated since the features were uploaded. Any problems playing these clips are nearly always browser related, so if you have problems try a different browser and/or a different computer. Or, wait until we republish on YouTube.


If you still require help after reading this article please feel free to ask in the UKFR forum.

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Established in 1999, UKFR remains independent from the fireworks trade and does not sell fireworks.