The Animation Tool
The Tracking Analyst Animation Tool allows you to create animations of tracking data being played back in ArcMap. This allows you to distribute animations of tracking data to others without requiring that they have Tracking Analyst installed. For example, you can create a video file from your tracking data and make it available on a Web site or attach it to an e-mail. Then your audience can play the video using a standard media player (such as the Windows Media Player) and see the results without needing to learn anything about Tracking Analyst.
Output File Formats
The Animation Tool supports the creation of animations as either a single video file or as a series of bitmap frames. Creating a single video file in Audio Video Interleaved (AVI) format allows you to quickly and conveniently distribute your animation to your audience, because it can be played back with standard media players, such as the Windows Media Player. On the other hand, the advantage of creating a series of bitmap frames (BMP images) is that it provides more flexibility with your output. You could display the bitmap images using your own custom animation program or display the frames individually as images.
Playback Window, Frame Frequency, and Frame Count
The playback window, or date range, of an animation is the period of time that will be played back during the animation. Playback will begin at the start date and time specified and conclude at the end date and time specified. By default, the playback window is initially set to the current playback window defined in the Playback Manager. This is useful because you may want to use the Playback Manager to play back your data and determine the appropriate playback window for your animation.
The amount of time between each frame in an animation defines a frame frequency. Together with the playback window, the frame frequency determines the total number of frames that will appear in your output animation. The Animation Tool dialog box allows you to calculate the number of frames for your animation before you create it. This is recommended so that you don't accidentally create an animation that is unreasonably large.
For an AVI video file, the frame count is the number of frames that will appear in the video. When the video plays back, each frame will be displayed for one second. Therefore, the frame count determines the length of the video. For example, a video with 60 frames will have a duration of one minute. If you select your output to be a series of bitmap images, the frame count will determine the number of bitmap images that are created.
The frame size determines the output dimensions of an animation. The frame size is measured in pixels. The frame size is initially set to the dimensions of your map's data frame in ArcMap. The Animation Tool dialog box allows you to change the frame size for your output animation. When changing the frame size, you should be sure to maintain the aspect ratio if you want to avoid distortion in your output animation. It is important to consider the frame size for your animation because it will affect the quality of your output animation and the file size. A larger frame size will result in better image quality but will also increase the size of your output files.