Frequently asked Questions (FAQ's)
When I try to start Helium Frog it says it cannot find /skins/ or /buttons/ or "black cat" files.
When you unzipped the file, you clicked on one file in the file list and then hit unzip. This only added one file to the directory not the complete set of program files. Open the .zip file again, don't select any file, but just hit the unzip/extract button. This extracts ALL the files and places them in the correct directory.
I like Helium Frog but it keeps crashing on me?
Whilst I have made every effort to eliminate crashes, the most common ones are caused by very unresponsive disk drives. Very slow disk access sometimes makes Helium Frog hang when capturing frames. Helium Frog does not work well running across networks or from external drives. It does however work quite well from USB sticks, so this may be a good alternative method for you to try. The best method is to download the software to your desktop and use it from there.
Another thing to avoid is running other programs that access the files that Helium Frog is using.
Helium Frog has crashed whilst I'm animating have I lost everything?
No you haven't.....First my apologies let me know what happened and where and I will try to fix it. To get back to where you were, restart Helium Frog then go to the settings window. Next to the Project name box is a select button. Hit this and then browse to find your animation and load it back in. Exit the settings window and then continue working. Unless something drastic has happened you should be able to continue to add frames to your animation without too much trouble. If you want to be extra safe, use one of the "output individual frames" options in the settings window, this way you can keep a copy of each frame as a separate image just in case.
My video device is not listed in the source selection window
Helium Frog can only stream video from Directshow (DirectX) video devices. This is the standard driver format used by windows and covers most devices. Things to try are as follows:-
a) Load the supplied software that came with the device, i.e.The video transfer / editing software which is bundled with the camera, this is often based on Directshow drivers, this in turn will enable Helium Frog to work.
b) Google for your device name followed by "Directshow driver", you may get lucky.
c) Contact the supplier of the device and ask them for a Directshow (DirectX) driver.
d) Buy a capture card to interface with your PC. If you have analog outputs from your device, you can use something like a USB EasyCap (Search ebay for easycap) they start at around £10.
My camera keeps powering down and Helium Frog locks up, what can I do?
If your device is a DV camera or camcorder that has a removable tape, try removing it, or leaving the access door open. Sometimes this prevents the camera from entering powersave mode. Other devices don't power down when connected to a mains power supply or the powersave mode can be disabled or extended in the settings so it doesn't become a problem. Never disconnect a device whilst streaming from it as this can crash not only Helium Frog, but also Windows. If you do crash, you haven't lost everything as you can load your animation back in and continue. See above for details.
Is there a limit to the length of an animation?
Yes. Avi files are limited to 2GB in length. At a resolution of 1600x1200 at 15 frames per second this is approximately 9764 frames or about 10 minutes. It is good practice to film every camera shot as a separate animation so you can better edit it later. If you do exceed this limit however, Helium Frog will warn you. Just begin a new animation and piece the two .avi files together later in your editor.
Why are the .avi files Helium Frog produces so large and play back so slowly?
Helium Frog produces .avi files as Motion Jpeg (A series of jpeg image joined together). This isn't the most compressed format, but is one of the best for inputting to an editor as it doesn't degrade in quality when edited. For more information why this is so, search the net for "Interframe encoding" versus "Intraframe encoding". Most animators edit the animation, add sound and sequences in an editor such as Windows Movie Maker (included free with later versions of windows). By then compressing the movie after editing you achieve the very best quality possible from your camera. If you do want to compress you files straight after capturing, use software such as "Mediacoder" . See link from the main page, but remember if you then edit it later the final movie image quality will suffer.
The program WhatsRunning.exe doesn't work.
The most likely cause is that your version of Windows doesnt have the correct ActiveX components to run it. Visit Microsoft using this Link , download the .cab file (located near the "More Information" tab) to your desktop and double click the icon to install the required files.
During the source setup I get a continual error every time I load and the system locks up.
This may be because of the following:-
a) You have set the pin properties frame rate too high, your source device cannot cope and crashes. For more details see the user guide.
b) Your capture device is present but has driver problems. When Helium Frog loads each time it finds the device but locks up. To cure this either restore the driver or if you want to use another device, browse to the Helium Frog install directory and delete the CaptureFormatData.mt file. The program when reloaded will then not look for the last source device but wait for you to select one from the list.
Every time I run Helium Frog I get a Run-time error '-536870396 (e0000204)': Method '~' of object '~' failed
Browse to the Helium Frog install directory and delete the CaptureFormatData.mt file. Then re run Helium Frog. You will now be prompted to choose a new source device.
I cannot get the maximum resolution from my webcam.
You may not have installed the webcam driver correctly. This is particularly important for the Logitech QuickCam 9000. You must install the software BEFORE connecting the camera, otherwise windows will use its own default driver not the one designed specifically for your camera. Uninstall the camera in the control panel and then reinstall the device in the correct order.
I get an error in the source setup "Insufficient resources exist to complete the requested service"
You have another program open that is using the webcam / video source. Close the other program and then restart Helium Frog