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Using Blockbuster to play a movie without DMX

Using blockbuster in standalone mode is designed to be fairly easy and intuitive. To start blockbuster with a movie file open and ready to go, simply type blockbuster, replacing with the actual name of your movie, of course.

GUI Overview

Blockbuster running on Mac OS X. Blockbuster has two distinct elements in its user interface. The first is the "Control GUI" and the second is the "Canvas". These will be described in detail below. Both respond to user interactions. The name of the currently playing movie is displayed in the title area of the GUI elements.

Lauching without a movie

NOTE: If you start blockbuster up with no arguments, it prompts you for a movie file to load, because the control GUI is never displayed without a Canvas to control.

Control GUI overview

The control GUI is divided into three areas, mainly for aesthetics. To keep our descriptions readable, we will discuss one section at a time.

GUI main controls

The top area has 8 buttons and one text label. The first two buttons are general GUI behaviors:
Quit : exits blockbuster
Open: presents a File Open dialog to choose a new movie to play

The next four buttons are convenient shortcuts for positioning and resizing the canvas and image, as follows:
Center: Position the image center in the center of the canvas without resizing either the image or the canvas.
100% : Resize the image displayed to the actual size of the movie frames as stored on disk, without resizing the canvas or moving the image center position.
Fit: Resize the image to the current canvas size, while fitting the entire image on the canvas. This will move the image to the center of the canvas.
Fill: Resize the canvas to fill the current computer display.

The Info button displays a small dialog showing the Window (Canvas) size and position, the native movie size on disk, and the currently displayed size and position of the image.

The Hide button hides the control GUI. To show the control GUI when it is hidden, right-mouse click on the Canvas window.

Movie playback controls

The middle area is all about controlling playback of the movie.

1) The stereo checkbox tells blockbuster whether to display the movie in stereo mode. If you do not have stereo hardware, enabling stereo will make the movie flicker uncomfortably. If the movie is not stereo, then enabling stereo will result in undefined behavior.
2) Goes to the first frame of the movie.
3) Steps backwards one frame
4) Plays movie backwards
5) Stops movie playback
6) Plays movie forward.
7) Steps forward one frame
8) Goes to last frame of movie.
9) Sets the target playback speed in frames per second (FPS). For large movies, you might not be able to meet this playback speed.
10) Displays the actual current playback speed in FPS.
11) Frame slider: Scroll easily to a position in the movie with this slider.
12) Displays the current frame number shown in the canvas.
13) If the scrub checkbox is clicked, then the images in the canvas will update as the slider is dragged. If not checked, then the movie image is not updated until the frame slider is released.

Movie playback behaviors and miscellany

The bottom area contains six controls:
1) If you clidk "Save Image" then you are asked for an image name to save. The image that is saved is the current frame from the movie, not zoomed, cropped or otherwise modified. So this is not a "screen capture."
2) Here you can set the zoom factor.
3) IF the movie has multiple levels of detail (mipmaps), then you can choose which one to display here. A higher level of detail means lower resolution at the same pixels, so is blurrier, but plays back faster.
4) IF the pingpong checkbox is enabled, when played, the movie will play to the end, then play backwards to the beginning, then forwards to the end, etc.
5) If "loop" is checked, then when played the movie will play to the end and immediately start again at the beginning, repeating once.
6) If the "Forever" checkbox is checked, then the movie will play all the way to the end, then loop to the beginning again and again until stopped.

Canvas behaviors and controls

The mouse and keyboard can control the image and GUI. The keystroks only work when the Canvas has the mouse focus, so you might need to click on the GUI first before they take effect.

If you press 'h' or '?' you will see the following helpful reminder:

Panning - press the left mouse button and drag the mouse to pan over the image.
Zooming - press the middle mouse button and drag forward/backward to zoom in/out of the image.

The following keyboard commands are recognized:

Right/Left arrow - advance/backup by one frame.
Shift + Right/Left arrow - advance/backup by 20 frames.
Control + Right/Left arrow - advance/backup by 1/4 of movie length.
Home - jump to the first frame, center the image and set zoom to one
End - jump to the last frame in the movie
Spacebar - play/pause
c - center the image in the window
f - zoom image to fit the window (minify only)
m - hide/unhide the mouse cursor over the movie window
l/L - increase/decrease the current level of detail displayed
q -- quit
r - play in reverse
z/Z - zoom in or out
1 - (the number 1) set zoom to 1.0
+/- - increase or decrease the frame rate
i - display the GUI panel (interface) if it was hidden
? or h -- print this menu
Esc - exit Blockbuster