Fractal eXtremeFXMovie Player Plug-in Author Help

Fractal eXtreme Movie Player Plug-in Author Help

The basic command to embed a Fractal eXtreme Zoom Movie in your HTML document is the embed command, as follows:

<EMBED src="movie.fxz" width=320 height=240 type="video/x-FractaleXtremeZoomMovie" PLUGINSPAGE="http://www.cygnus-software.com/fxmplugin/">

You pretty much need the whole thing. In particular, don't try omitting the "type=..." field or else Netscape users will not be able to view movies hosted on most web servers. Also don't omit the "PLUGINSPAGE=..." tag, or else people viewing your page won't know how to get the plug-in required to view your beautiful zoom movies!

Src is obviously the name of your zoom movie, and width and height are its playback size.

The width and height do not need to be the same size that the zoom movie was originally rendered at. In fact, for faster downloading and better viewing, we recommend that you render zoom movies at a lower resolution than you plan to display them at. If you plan to display zoom movies at 320x240, you should probably render them at 160x120, or even lower. Very high quality is maintained during playback, especially in the center, because of the multi-level mip-mapping.

Because of the compression method used, the raw movies saved out by Fractal eXtreme do not stream off of the internet very well. The movie doesn't play properly until the entire movie is loaded. To avoid this unsightly problem (black lines and squares on your movie until it finishes loading), let the movie load into your web browser and then use the 'Save As' command in the popup menu to save it back out. A newer compression scheme, that supports streaming playback and decreases the file size, will be used. A new version of the stand alone Fractal eXtreme Zoom Movie Player that can handle this new format can be downloaded from the downloads area.

There are many other tags that you can use in the EMBED command to control the playback of zoom movies. They are:

  • ZoomSpeed - set the starting zoom speed in zooms per second. The default is 2.0. One 'zoom' means one doubling of the magnification.
  • OverlayText - specify text to be printed over top of the movie while it is playing. The viewer can turn this text off if they wish.
  • ShowControls - specify whether the control panel is initially visible. This defaults to "true", and it is recommdended that this be used sparingly, to avoid confusing users who might otherwise never find the popup menu.
  • ShowNumbers - specify whether the numerical information starts out visible. Default is "false".
  • StartPaused - specify whether the movie starts out paused. Default is "false".
  • NoSave - specify whether the viewer can save the movie to their local disk. Defaults to "false".
  • ColourCycling - specify whether the movie should start with colour cycling on. Default is "false".
  • ColourCycleSpeed - specify starting colour cycle speed, in colour bands per second. Default is 40. You can specify negative numbers to start colour cycling reversed.
  • ColourCycleGranularity - specifies the minimum number of colour bands to cycle the colours. Normally this is one, meaning that every position of the colours is potentially used. If you set this to two then that means that the colours will always be cycled an integral multiple of two colour bands. This is useful if you have a palette which consists of alternating stripes, since the colour cycling effect would otherwise be rather annoying. The default is one.
  • TextColour - specify the colour of the overlay and numeric text. Uses the standard HTML colour syntax of "#RRGGBB" where R G and B are hexadecimal digits. Default is "#FFFFFF".
  • EaseInAmount - specifies how much to gradually slow down the movie playback at the beginning of the movie. Default is 2.0. See ease-in/ease-out.
  • EaseOutAmount - specifies how much to gradually slow down the movie playback at the end of the movie. Default is 2.0. See ease-in/ease-out.
  • EaseInZooms - specifies how long the ease-in period should be at the beginning of the movie. Default is 1.0. See ease-in/ease-out.
  • EaseOutZooms - specifies how long the ease-in period should be at the end of the movie. Default is 1.0. See ease-in/ease-out.
  • StartPause - specifies how long, in seconds, the movie should pause whenever it gets back to the beginning. Default is zero.
  • EndPause - specifies how long, in seconds, the movie should pause whenever it gets to the end. Default is zero.
  • LoadPause - specifies how long, in seconds, the movie should pause when it first starts loading. Default is 0.25 seconds.
  • MaxZoomReduction - specifies how close to the max-zooms the movie player should get before reversing direction. When movies are played at a higher resolution than they were created at, the last frames of the movie tend to look very pixellated. This lets you let you render a few extra frames and then hide them from your viewers. If you play your movies at double the recorded size you should generally set this to one. If you play your movies at triple or quadruple the recorded size you should generally set this to two. Only integral values are allowed. The default is zero.
  • ShowLoadStatus - specifies whether the "Frame x of y" text is displayed while loading zoom movies. This defaults to on and we strongly recommend that you leave it on for most movies. It is intended that this would only be turned off when zoom movies are being used as secondary decoration on a web page, not when they are the central attraction.
You can also add in a lot of standard HTML tags that are used with images, such as:
  • align
  • vspace
  • hspace
For more information, consult your HTML documentation.

Ease-in/ease-out

It is rather jarring to the eye if zoom movies change instantly from full speed zooming in to full speed zooming out. Therefore, the zoom movie plug-in does ease-in and ease-out by default. The beginning (ease-in) and end (ease-out) of the movies can be controlled independently, and the amount of ease-in and the duration of ease-in can also be controlled.

EaseZooms is the number of zooms that are affected. For instance, if you set the EaseInZooms to 2.5 that means that when the movie player is 2.5 zooms away from the beginning of the movie it will begin slowing down.

EaseAmount is how much, in total, the movie will be slowed down over that range. For instance, if you set the EaseInAmount to 2.0 that means that the time spent on the last 2.5 zooms (or whatever EaseZooms you have specified) will be doubled. ie; the 2.5 zooms will take as much time to play as 5.0 zooms would normally take.

The ease-in and ease-out amounts default to 2.0 and the ease-in and ease-out zooms default to 1.0. This makes for a very gentle and pleasing change of direction.

Miscellaneous

Zoom movies that are very long or high resolution (the rendered size is what matters) can use up a lot of memory. If you have several zoom movies on the same page, this may tax the ability of some computers to properly display the page. Additionally, if you have many movies playing simultaneously on your web page these movies may interfere with the proper behaviour of the viewer's web browser. It is easy to end up in a situation where the browser is barely getting enough CPU time to process commands to browse away from a page (pausing the movies at this point will fix the problem).

To calculate the memory requirements for your zoom movies, take the number of zooms, multiply by the rendered width and the rendered height. Then add a few megabytes for the browser, the plug-in and miscellaneous static data. For instance, a fifty zoom movie at 160x120 takes 50x160x120 = 960,000 bytes. A one hundred zoom movie at 320x240 takes eight times as much, and would probably cause problems on some machines.

If you have multiple zoom movies on one page you should probably use the same palette for all of them. If you don't, then not all of the movies will look their best simultaneously on a 256 colour display. Whichever one is active (whichever one you last clicked) will load its palette, and the others will have to make do.

We strongly recommend that you put a link to our help page from your Movie Player Enhanced web page, especially if you default to having the controls invisible.

If you have a lot of zoom movies that you want to post on your web page then you should download fxmconvert.exe This is a command line app which lets you go "fxmconvert *.fxz" and thus compress into web streaming format a whole directory of zoom movies. Although there are no known bugs in this program, backing up your zoom movies first is probably a good idea. Remember: recompressing your zoom movies will make them smaller (and thus make them load faster), and will avoid black lines and squares when loading.

You can take a look at some sample pages using the movie player plug-in.

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