Still Image File Formats

Media is limited to a maximum resolution of 16K (16384x16384) for PB Servers and 4K (4096x4096) for PB players. All below-listed Still Image File Formats can also be used as Image Sequences, provided SSD storage is available.

  • DDS (.dds) - Supports alpha channel, GPU-based decompression

  • PNG (.png) - Supports alpha channel

  • JPEG (.jpg) - CPU-based decompression

  • Targa (.tga) - Supports alpha channel, CPU-based decompression

  • Bitmap (.bmp) - Supports alpha channel (32 bit only!) CPU-based decompression

Video Codecs and Formats

Media is limited to a maximum resolution of 16K (16384x16384) for PB Servers and 4K (4096x4096) for PB players. While these numbers indicate a maximum value, the ability to render is limited by the hardware availability. Refer to the attachment below for examples of playback performance with Christie Pandoras Box R4 Servers.

  • HAP Codec (.mov) - HAP encoded videos in a .mov container are decoded on the GPU and can contain muxed audio. HAP videos are only recommended for use where SSD storage is available, and the media pixel resolution must be divisible evenly by 4 in both dimensions. There are three HAPencoding types supported by Pandoras Box software.
    • HAP - Recommended for videos up to 8192x8192. HAP can be used at higher resolutions depending on hardware performance.  
    • HAPq - While supported, HAPq produces media of comparable quality to HAP encoding at the expense of hardware resources and HAP is generally recommended over HAPq.
    • HAPa - Recommended for videos of any size where alpha channel is required
  • MPEG-2 Codec (.mpg2, .mpv, .m2v, .mxl) - MPEG-2 encoded videos are decoded on the CPU and are

    recommended for use when HDD storage is available. Standard MPEG-2 videos (.mpg2, .mpv and.m2v) can be encoded to a maximum size of 1920x1080, by using the Pandoras Box inline EncoderExtension, “.MXL” MPEG-2 videos can be encoded up to 4080x2160. The following encoding settings should be configured when encoding media to MPEG-2 for use with PB systems.

    • Pixel resolution which is evenly divisible by 8

    • Encoded as an Elementary video stream with no muxed audio

    • Encoded with a constant bitrate

    • Encoded with a desirable profile, based on resolution:

      • SD (640x480): Main Level; 5Mbps - 8Mbps

      • 720p HD (1280x720): High Level; 10Mbps - 14Mbps

      • 1080p HD (1920x1080): High Level; 16Mbps - 22Mbps

      • >1080p HD (4080x2160 max): MXL Level; 30Mbps - 300Mbps

  • Any DirectShow supported codec that is available to the Pandoras Box system can be used to decode video media for playback on a single system. Network-based synchronization of video media playback requires the use of either Image Sequences, MPEG-2 or HAP encoded video media.


Pandoras Box systems support two methods of playing back audio media, using an ASIO-compliant soundcard which permits audio and video synchronization or using DirectShow-based playback which does not.Regardless of the method used to play back audio, the recommended format is a Linear PCM WAV (.wav)either as a mono or stereo 24-bit or 32-bit track. Support for decoding of additional audio media formats(.mp3) is provided by system-supplied DirectShow-based audio decoders.

Video and Still Media Best Practices

The most important factor to consider while creating video media is the aspect ratio of the final output device(s). Ensuring that the aspect ratio of the output matches the aspect ratio of the media is the only way to ensure that the media is displayed as intended.

Pandoras Box software provides a “real-time” video compositor, which allows you to creatively combine video, graphic and other layer types too, for example, introduce interactive elements to your video presentation. While this functionality exists, it is often best practice to pre-composite non-interactive elements as much as possible to reduce overall system overhead during playback. An important part of pre-production should be testing content samples to confirm a full workflow and to determine how many layers can be simultaneously composited.