The blockbuster high-resolution movie player was designed to
display very large images and movies on cluster displays. It has
standard movie playback features such as play, pause, and single step.
It supports interactive panning and zooming with the mouse, adjustable
frame rate, and movies of unlimited length.Blockbuster can take
a movie with high resolution and many frames (e.g., 4000 x 3000 pixels
and 10,000 frames) and play this efficiently on a display cluster. The
movie may not fit into main memory so blockbuster effectively
breaks an image into blocks for efficient display. The supported movie
format is SM (streaming movie), developed by LLNL. SM supports tiled
images, multiple level of detail, and several types of intra-frame
image compression. Blockbuster is scriptable.
Blockbuster can be driven by sidecar, a utility to enable remote
control of blockbuster for ease of use on powerwalls, where the
blockbuster GUI is often impractical or difficult to use.
Sidecar also allows scripting a set of "movie cues" for helping
with planned presentations.
Blockbuster is complemented by smtools
set of command line tools for creating and converting between streaming
movie files and other types of graphics images.
Limitations: blockbuster was designed for cluster
displays running the DMX X server, although it is usually now run
without DMX, as modern video cards have reached the point where a
single Nvidia Quadroplex will drive the whole wall, RAID is fast enough
to read the bytes from disk, and multicore CPUs can handle sufficent
workload to enable 20 FPS or more on a full-size powerwall movie if
blockbuster can use either Xlib or OpenGL to render movie
frames, with OpenGL as the preferred renderer. Therefore, it is
recommended that a hardware-accelerated implementation of OpenGL be
To run blockbuster
, type blockbuster
. Use the -help
option to find out about the available
command-line arguments. Full usage information is available from the
. Man pages for the smtools
are available. On the LC machines, type "use asciviz" to
add the smtools man path to your MANPATH. Further documentation is
available specific to Livermore Computing and the smtools
Help is available from the LC
The latest version of Blockbuster
is available for download
along with instructions for how to install blockbuster on your desktop
machine or viz cluster.