Chimera includes the following approaches for
capturing image frames and assembling them into a movie file:
The image frames can be captured directly from Chimera
or created by raytracing with POV-Ray.
Available output movie formats are MPEG-1, MPEG-2 MPEG-4, AVI MSMPEG-4v2,
See below for information on developing movie content
(often in the form of command files)
and troubleshooting problems in PowerPoint.
Recorder is a graphical interface with buttons to start recording,
stop recording, and encode the saved images as a movie file.
Several parameters can be adjusted.
- The command movie provides
access to the same features, but with keywords and arguments.
This allows integration of movie recording and content
within a single command file.
- MD Movie provides an interface for
trajectories, with the same adjustable parameters as
the other approaches.
The window size should be adjusted as desired
before recording is started, for example, with the command
During recording, operations in Chimera can be performed interactively
can be entered at the Command
Line. Frequently, however, a
command file will be used
Unless raytracing is used,
other windows should not overlap the Chimera window during recording.
The frame rate in Chimera is nominally 30/s,
but is performance-limited (may be slower depending on what is displayed
and what hardware is being used). Saving frames will slow the process
further, but this slowing will not affect the playback rate
of the resulting movie (default 25 fps).
Thus, movie playback may be faster or slower than the original process
Certain commands are especially useful for scripting continuous motion
and/or specifying movie content:
- display 2D labels, which can be faded
in or out over a specified number of frames
- move global clipping planes
- change the center of rotation
- stop all motion
- control per-model
- translate along the X, Y, or Z axis
- capture image frames and assemble them into a movie file
- specify an alias to be executed at each display frame
- interpolate from the current position to one previously saved with
- rock back and forth about the X, Y, or Z axis
- rotate about the X, Y, or Z axis
- save and name a "position" (a set of model transformations, etc.)
- scale the view
- move the clipping planes in parallel
models for motion (to move one model relative to another)
- make models rotate about their own centers instead of a collective center
- move the clipping planes in opposite directions
- rotate about the X, Y, or Z axis
- suspend command processing for a specified number of frames
or until motion has stopped
- set the dimensions of the graphics window
Since a movie is fundamentally a series of images, many of the
tips on preparing images also pertain to movies.
a command file
in Chimera executes its contents.
Note: Executing either of the following examples "as is"
will show the content but not create a movie; the
movie-recording commands have been commented out.
See rules and tips
for constructing command files.
- 1gfl.com - fairly simple;
rotates green fluorescent protein, changes display styles. Inputs:
- 3hhr-scan.com - more elaborate;
shows combinatorial scanning results for human growth hormone. Inputs:
The movie made with this script (after removing ## from movie-recording
commands) is included in the
Chimera Animation Gallery.
some Chimera-generated movies cannot be inserted into PowerPoint
presentations, or can be inserted but will not play.
In PowerPoint 2000, only the Chimera MPEG-1 format works,
but the quality is very low. Using PowerPoint 2003 or newer is recommended.
With PowerPoint 2003 on Windows,
the Chimera AVI MSMPEG-4v2 format is recommended.
Although a movie in this format can be inserted into a presentation,
it may play as a black rectangle.
To remedy this, try reducing the video acceleration in Windows Media Player
(instructions are for Media Player 10.0, but should be similar for other
After PowerPoint 2003 has been restarted,
the movie should play correctly within the presentation.
We have not tested movie playing in PowerPoint 2007.
A more drastic alternative to the last two steps above is to move the
slider in the Video Acceleration panel in the Performance
tab to None.
- start Windows Media Player (for example,
by right-clicking a movie icon and choosing Play with Media Player)
- right-click the top bar of the Windows Media Player window
and choose menu entry Tools / Options...
- click the Performance tab in the Options dialog
- click the Advanced... button in the Video Acceleration panel
- turn off Use video mixing renderer
Video acceleration in Media Player is not the only potential source of trouble.
If the problem persists, see the following information from Microsoft:
UCSF Computer Graphics Laboratory / February 2008