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What are video codecs, and how do I use them to create walkthroughs in Chief Architect?
A codec is a program that allows you to both record and play digital videos. The name “codec” is short for “coder-decoder”, which basically means that when a video is recorded, the codec will compress the individual images that make up the video into a single file. Then, when the video is played, the codec decompresses the file and shows the individual images as a video stream.
It is not unusual to have multiple codecs installed on a given computer, and in Chief Architect you can specify which codec you want to use when recording a walkthrough. Please note that in order to appear as an option in Chief Architect’s Preferences, it must support encoding.
Finding additional video codecs can be difficult, unless you know the publisher of the codec. Information about the many codecs being published can be found on sites such as Wikipedia, Codecs.com, Codec Guide, or the site of the video codec owner/publisher.
Many codecs are published and copyrighted by software developers who develop video editing software. This means that these copyrighted codecs are only available for people who have purchased their software and the codec is installed along side the software. However there are also many free codecs, referred to as open source or patent free codecs.
One codec that works well with Chief Architect is Xvid. Xvid is a MPEG-4 video codec for PC that works better for Chief avi files than the default codecs installed with Windows. Information about Xvid, including download instructions, can be found on Xvid's website https://www.xvid.com/
It is always best to research any codec you wish to install to find who published it and how to obtain it. Many sites may offer a download for a codec that contains additional unwanted or malicious software. Only download a codec from sources that are verified or approved by the codec's developer or publisher.
When sharing a video file you will need to make sure that the recipient can play the video. This generally requires that their system have the same video codec installed that was used to encode/compress the video file. To ensure this, include a copy of the codec for your recipient to install.
If you encounter trouble playing a walkthrough back in a particular media player, then you may want to try opening the walkthrough file using an alternate player. Most users report good results with using the VLC media player, which is available for both Windows and Mac operating systems.
There are a number of ways that you can share a video that you have created with others.
File sharing services such such as Dropbox, Microsoft OneDrive, or Google Drive, can be a good way to provide a fast and effective way of delivering a file.
You can also upload videos to services like YouTube or Vimeo which allows the recipient to watch them in their web browser.
It’s a good idea to become familiar with whatever service you choose to use before trying to share your files with clients.
Chief Architect, Inc. provides this information for information purposes only. The third party information present in this document was verified at writing, however it is subject to change.
The information in this article is not intended to be an endorsement for the products or companies listed and listing these products and companies is for your information only, we will not provide any support for these products.
If the software is unable to find the specified codec one of the following messages will appear:
If any of these errors display, then it may be necessary to choose a different codec in Preferences.
For information on recording walkthroughs, see the article "Using Walkthrough Paths", linked in the Related Articles section below.
If you receive a warning message in Microsoft Windows of, "Cannot play back the file. The format is not supported." in Windows Media Player, please see this Microsoft article which addresses how to resolve the error.