Shira Player User Guide (version 1.4.5 and up)

Shira Player User Guide (version 1.4.5 and up)
Shira Player User Guide (version 1.4.5 and up) 2012
Written by Peter Ihnat
Wollongong University Science Centre & Planetarium
Shira Player (or just Shira) is a variation of the Stellarium astronomy simulator software intended
for planetarium and educator use. It supports both mirror dome and truncated full dome systems.
Since it is based on Stellarium Shira shares most of its features. This user guide will only describe
the extra features available in Shira – for other settings and operations refer to the Stellarium
FAQ, user guide and forum. Note that Shira Player Pro which is not covered in this guide is
available for multi-projector use. Refer to
1. Shira is designed to be used with two screens, one for the Control Screen which is normally
the laptop screen or computer monitor and the other for the sky projection. This has the
advantage of keeping all menus away from the projected sky which would otherwise
interfere with a professional show.
Control Screen
2. Shira allows you to play pre-warped full dome video and images with a fade from sky to
fulldome media and vice versa.
3. Shira allows you to display normal images and videos simultaneously on the projected sky
with the following features:
 The images and videos are warped in real time
 Each video or still can have a different size, position and orientation on the sky
 Each video or still can be locked to the dome or sky. For example if locked to the dome
the sky can be moved and the media will stays fixed to the dome; if locked to the sky
the media will move with the sky
 Media can be faded
 The size, position and orientation of all media can be saved as a Presentation file and
recalled any time to re-run the show
4. Shira allows video landscapes to be displayed.
5. Shira has a Record Mode.
Shira Player User Guide (version 1.4.5 and up) 2012
For reliable operation Shira requires the following:
Operating System:
Graphics Card:
Windows 7/Vista/XP
Intel Core i5 minimum
NVIDIA/Quadro series or ATI Radeon/FireGL series graphics
card with 512M memory
Some possible setups:
Shira is a Windows only application. The latest exe file can be downloaded from
Double click the file to run the installer and follow the on-screen instructions. Two of the features
in Shira require registration otherwise a watermark will be displayed. Except for the watermark
Shira is fully operational and can be registered at any time.
Shira Player User Guide (version 1.4.5 and up) 2012
If you are installing Shira for the first time you will need to run the program so it creates its own
config.ini file. As with Stellarium the config.ini file holds all the settings so Shira operates exactly
the way you want it to. If you are updating to the next version of Shira un-install the old version
first. There’s no need to save the old config.ini file since un-installing Shira doesn’t delete the file.
However just to be safe you can make a copy of it. In Win7 it’s found here:
Since Shira operates over 2 screens connect the projector to your computer or laptop and set
Windows for extended desktop. Refer to the Appendix for details on how to do this. Double click
the ShiraPlayer icon to run it. Don’t worry if the windows overlap the 2 screens, we’ll fix this later.
If you don’t have a projector available the Appendix describes how to test Shira using just a single
Once Shira is running you can access the Menu Windows by using the function keys. The available
windows are:
Help window
View Options
Media Manager
Record Manager
F12: Script Console
The Menu Windows are the same as found in Stellarium except for F7 the Media Manager and F8
the Record Manager which are new to Shira. All windows can be moved and re-sized. There is also
now a Control and Preview Window which is permanently open. Its size can only be changed by
modifying two lines in the config.ini file (see Appendix).
Shira has a shortcut feature where it’s possible to right click anywhere in the Control Screen and
select a Menu Window from the list.
Like Stellarium many of the important settings can be changed using buttons in the Menu
Windows and saved in config.ini by clicking “Save Settings” in the Configuration Window (F2).
Other settings can only be modified by making changes directly to the config.ini file.
Two important changes needed to the config.ini file are setting the resolutions of the Control and
projector screens. Refer to the Appendix which describes where to find the config.ini file and how
to modify it.
Shira Player User Guide (version 1.4.5 and up) 2012
New Functions in Shira:
F3 selects the Find Window. This has an extra feature called Move. If it is unchecked and you
search for an object Shira will highlight it in the projected sky. If you check the Move box Shira will
find the object and move the sky so the object is centred in the projected sky.
F4 selects the View Options Window.
The Sky tab in this window has options for changing the size of the Moon and Planets.
Here’s an example with very large planet sizes:
Shira Player User Guide (version 1.4.5 and up) 2012
The Markings tab allows you to display current information such as the date, time, location and
properties of a selected object.
In the Landscape tab Shira has an extra option which allows video landscapes to be displayed in
addition to the normal still landscapes available in Stellarium.
Shira Player User Guide (version 1.4.5 and up) 2012
Put your landscape video files in the C:\Program Files\ShiraPlayer\landscapes folder. To try this
feature you can download a sample landscape video file from the following link. Note the file is
quite large:
A totally new feature to Shira is the Control and Preview Window. This window is permanently
available and allows you to control what is actually displayed by the projector. It has six buttons
one of which closes Shira (Exit).
Fade On/Off button:
Operating this button gives you the ability to fade up or fade down the images being projected.
For normal operation leave it depressed.
Shira Player User Guide (version 1.4.5 and up) 2012
Apply button:
You can make changes such as positioning images, videos, showing constellations, etc and these
will appear in the Preview Window. When you are happy with the preview click the Apply button
and the changes will appear in the projected view.
Real Time button:
If this button is depressed then all changes to the Preview Window will occur simultaneously in
the projected view.
Night View:
This button displays the Control Screen in a reddish colour. The actual colours can be modified by
editing the config.ini file.
Lock Mouse-Key Client button:
Depressing this button locks the projected view of the sky. This prevents the sky being moved
accidently with the mouse or keyboard strokes.
F7 selects the Media Manager Window. This introduces many new features.
Shira Player User Guide (version 1.4.5 and up) 2012
The Register Module button allows you to enter your registration details to remove the watermark
which appears when you display some media. Just enter your registration details, exit Shira and rerun it.
Same as Stellarium. “fsc” files are the Shira Player scripts that are same as Stellarium Scripts with
added some other functions. Select a “fsc” file and “Apply Favorite” button of the bottom page.
Shira Player User Guide (version 1.4.5 and up) 2012
This tab displays a list of pre-warped videos found in a specified folder. You can set the name of
the folder in the config.ini file in the section called [main]. For example if you have your fulldome
shows in the folder C:\FullDome look for the media_path parameter in the config.ini file and set
it as follows:
= C:\FullDome\
To play a video just highlight it in the list and use the transport controls at the bottom of the tab.
This is similar to the Video tab except you can display individual fulldome images. These images
need to be located in a folder called ‘panorama’ in your media_path folder. In the previous
example the fulldome video files were located in a folder called C:\FullDome\.
Create a folder in C:\FullDome\ called panorama and place your fulldome images there. In other
words put your fulldome images in the C:\FullDome\panorama\ folder.
Flat Presentation:
This tab implements a very powerful feature where multiple non-warped (flat) images and videos
can be displayed on the dome. Not only are they warped on the fly but it’s also possible to change
the size, position and rotation of each video and image in real time. Set the folder where your flat
images and videos are located in the config.ini file. Look for the flat_media_path parameter and
set it to the required folder. For example if your media is in C:\FlatMedia then set the
flat_media_path parameter as follows:
= C:\FlatMedia\
If you highlight a media item in the Media Browser window it will appear in the small preview
window. You can set its size, rotation, position (azimuth and altitude) and also whether it will
appear fixed to the dome or fixed to the star field. If ‘On Dome’ is selected it means you can move
the stars but the media stays where it was positioned relative to the dome; ‘On Sky’ means it will
move if the stars are moved.
To display the flat media just drag it from the Media Browser window to the blank area at the
bottom of the tab.
Shira Player User Guide (version 1.4.5 and up) 2012
As you adjust the settings you can view the media’s position, size and orientation in the Preview
window. Note that the media may or may not appear in the projected sky depending on how you
have set the Real Time button in the Control and Preview Window and also how you have set the
Fade In/Out button in the media’s Properties box. Videos will have an extra tab which contains
standard transport buttons.
You can drag many images and videos into the blank area at the bottom of the Media Manager
tab. The sliders allow you to position them the way you prefer for your show. When you are happy
with the arrangement click the middle button near the top of the Media Manager Window to save
the settings in a Presentation file. Next time you need to run the show you can re-load the settings
using the right hand button.
Shira Player User Guide (version 1.4.5 and up) 2012
Another feature of Shira is the Record Manager.
The Record Manager Window is used for recording the projector display as a movie file. To record
a movie click "Select File" button and enter a filename. Then click the "Record" button to start
recording You can pause the recording anytime. The "Stop" button stops recording.
There is an option for changing the movie's frame rate in frames per second. Note the max rate is
15 frames per sec.
Appendix (FAQ)
Shira Player User Guide (version 1.4.5 and up) 2012
Where does the name Shira come from?
Shira is the name of the star Sirius in Islam’s holy book the Koran. Shira Player or just Shira is part
of the Shira Project developed by Asaf Yurdakul ( ).
For more details refer to the following web site:
How do I ‘extend’ the desktop in Win7?
Hold the ‘windows’ key on the keyboard and tap the P key. This will open the following window:
Select the third option to extend the desktop.
You should also set the desktop to black. In Win7 right-click the desktop and select Personalize. At
the bottom there's an option to change the Desktop Background. In the Picture location dropdown
box select Solid Colours, etc.
Shira Player User Guide (version 1.4.5 and up) 2012
How are the screen resolutions changed in Win7?
Right-click a blank area on the desktop and select Screen Resolution. This will allow you to set the
laptop (1) and projector (2) resolutions separately (they don’t have to be the same).
How do I make changes to the config.ini file?
As with Stellarium the config.ini file holds all the settings which allows Shira to operate as
required. Some settings can be changed using the Menu Windows and then clicking the “Save
Settings” button in the Configuration Window (F2). Other settings can only be modified by making
changes directly to the config.ini file.
To make changes directly to the file first close the Shira program. Open the config.ini file by either
accessing it here
or by selecting the config.ini item in the ShiraProject folder located in Windows’ Start menu.
The file will open in Notepad allowing you to make changes. Notice that parameters are grouped
according to function.
Shira Player User Guide (version 1.4.5 and up) 2012
When you finish editing the file save the changes and then close the file before re-running Shira.
Since Shira saves changes to the file when it closes you shouldn’t have the file open in Notepad at
the same time.
How do I set the Control Screen & projector resolutions in Shira?
Shira adjusts its screen sizes by using parameters set in the config.ini file.
Under the [video] settings you'll see the default settings:
= 768
= 768
= 1024
screen_l is the width of the Control Screen.
screen_w is the width of the Projector screen.
screen_h is the height of the Projector screen.
For example if your computer monitor or laptop is 1920x1080 and the projector is 1920x1080 then
screen_l = 1920
screen_w = 1920
screen_h = 1080
Note that for optimum ease of use it’s best to have the Control Screen resolution as large as
possible otherwise menus won’t fit on the screen. 1920x1080 is preferred.
Control and Preview Window
The size of this window can be adjusted by inserting two lines into the config.ini file. For a window
size of say 400x400 insert the following lines under the [video] settings:
= 400
= 400
Shira Player User Guide (version 1.4.5 and up) 2012
Note, don’t make the window too small otherwise the buttons will overlap.
The projector isn’t displaying anything
Depress the ‘Fade On/Off’ button in the Control and Preview Window.
How can I test Shira without a projector?
If you don't have a projector or second monitor available but still want to test/setup Shira you can
display the output as two small screens sitting side by side on the desktop. For example if your
desktop is 1920x1080 you can fit two 900 wide screens comfortably side by side. Use the following
screen_l = 900
screen_w = 900
screen_h = 900
Note however with small screens some of the Menu Windows will appear larger than the Control
Screen and may be hard to navigate.
What media types are supported by Shira?
avi, mpeg, mpg, mp4, wmv, mov, flv and vob.
jpg, png and bmp.
How do I setup Shira for truncated fulldome projection?
In config.ini look for the [Projection] settings & set the following parameters:
flag_use_gl_point_sprite = false
= false
= false
= ProjectionFisheye
= disk
= none
Now let’s assume the computer or laptop resolution is 1366x768 & projector resolution is
1400x1050 (replace with your own values). Under [video] settings in config.ini if you set
= 1366
= 1400
= 1050
You’ll have a projected sky with a diameter of 1050 pixels.
Shira Player User Guide (version 1.4.5 and up) 2012
Changing screen_h to 1400 results in a sky diameter of 1400 pixels and truncated at the bottom:
To truncate the top of screen insert the line
screen_t = -350
after the other screen parameters. Note: 350 is the difference between 1400 & 1050:
So the final settings would be
= 1366
= 1400
= 1400
= -350
Shira Player User Guide (version 1.4.5 and up) 2012
How do I setup Shira for mirror projection?
Edit config.ini as follows:
Under [Projection] settings set the following parameters:
flag_use_gl_point_sprite = false
= false
= false
= ProjectionFisheye
= disk
= none
Under [video] set the screen settings to match your computer & projector. For example if your
Control Screen & projector resolutions are both 1920 X 1080 set the following:
= 1080
= 1920
= 1920
Then set the Mirror Dome parameters as required by your system. Here's an example of
[spheric_mirror] settings used at Havens Foundation, Evansville, Indiana, USA:
= 180
= 3.0
flag_use_ext_framebuffer_object = false
= false
= false
= 2.67
= 0.37
= 10.6
= 0.3
For a more complete discussion on setting up mirror dome projection refer to:
Shira Player User Guide (version 1.4.5 and up) 2012
A complete view of Shira’s Control and projector screens in operation:
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