About exporting an animation to a video file

Animations can be exported to Audio Video Interleaved (.avi) or QuickTime (.mov) files.

Sometimes animations need to be exported using a custom resolution that is less than or greater than the viewer or the application size (depending on your choice of what to export). The width and height for the video resolution can be set when exporting, as well as options for reducing distortion in the output video when setting a different resolution than the viewer or application size. You can record the entire application rather than just the viewer and enable off-screen rendering so you can continue with your work without unwanted windows appearing in the exported video file.


To export to QuickTime files, you'll need the latest QuickTime Player installed with the QuickTime authoring option. Visit http://www.apple.com/downloads to download the latest QuickTime Player.


Exporting an animation to a QuickTime file is not supported on the Windows Vista platform.

Compression properties

When exporting animations to video files, you can select from a variety of compression properties, such as the compressor/decompressor (codec) and data rate. These properties are available on the Video Compression dialog box when exporting to .avi files and on the Compression Settings dialog box when exporting to QuickTime video files.

The properties that are exposed on compression dialog boxes for Audio Video Interleaved (AVI) and QuickTime (QT) depend on the type of codec. Not all properties may be available for different codecs. Codecs are required programs that read and write animation videos. The two different video formats, AVI and QuickTime, require different sets of codecs. Microsoft Windows has several codecs that can be used for exporting AVI files. When exporting to QT, QuickTime Player installs codecs. Additional codecs may reside on a machine when certain programs are installed and if third-party codecs are added. All the codecs available on a machine are listed in the codec list on the compression dialog boxes for AVI and QT.

It is possible that some codecs may fail to export video files. Codecs vary widely in implementation and versions on different machines. A codec of the same name might work on one machine and fail on another. This can happen for a number of reasons, such as an incompatible operating system, outdated or corrupted codec, or issues with graphics card drivers.

Some of the properties available with different codecs




Once a codec is selected, the video can be exported at different qualities ranging from 1 to 100. The quality setting is directly proportional to the resolution and the video file size. A quality value of 100 allows lossless compression to be used if available in the codec.

Frames per second

The number of video frames that will be displayed in the exported video per second. On the Video Compression dialog box for exporting AVI files, the Key Frame every 20 frames option refers to frames per second.

Frame duration

The duration of each video frame, in milliseconds.

Keyframe rate

The frequency with which keyframes are inserted into the video.

Color depth

The number of bits per pixel in each video frame. This defines the color or grayscale resolution value to be used when exporting the video.

Data rate

The maximum number of bytes of data per second in the video. This can be used to adjust for hardware limitations during video playback.

Descriptions of some of the properties available with different codecs

Some of the properties, such as color depth, keyframe rate, and frame duration, may not be applicable while exporting AVI files.

When exporting AVI files, the Configure button on the Video Compression dialog box allows you to configure a codec by setting some of the codec properties if they are available for modification.

When exporting AVI files, the About button on the Video Compression dialog box provides information about the codec.


  • Play the animation a couple of times to make sure it is correct and has the desired effects before exporting it.
  • To obtain quality videos, export animations with a shorter duration to test different codecs and use different compression settings.
  • Avoid opening other applications while exporting videos. This can cause unwanted artifacts to appear in the exported video. You can also check the Enable off-screen recording option on the Options dialog box, accessed via the Export animation as video dialog box so you can continue working while the export is processing in the background.
  • In ArcGlobe, you should fully or partially cache some of the larger datasets before exporting the animation.
  • Exporting longer-duration videos may take awhile; make sure you turn off screen savers or display settings.
  • To improve the quality of exported videos, you can change the graphics card settings, such as color quality, and other performance settings, such as anti-aliasing and anisotropic filtering.

Published 6/7/2010