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Codecs (compression-decompression) are used to encode images, video, and audio to a specific format such AVI or MOV. Windows has a standard set of codec settings, but machines will generally have several third party codecs installed from various software applications.
Codecs vary widely in implementation and version, even between different machines. A codec of the same name might work on a certain machine and fail on another.
Some codec settings appear to be more robust than others, for example Cinepak Codec by Radius or Intel Indeo Video R 3.2.
Some of the codec settings may not work properly because of several factors such as the inability to support 16-bit images or it may not support exporting to AVI format. Even if a codec is listed when exporting an animation in ArcScene, that codec may not be valid for exporting to video. Please see the codec manufacturers website for relevant information relating to a particular codec setting.
For example, the Microsoft RLE codec was made for MS Windows 95, a legacy system. A particular codec setting may not function properly if it does not support AVI or MOV formats.
If certain codec settings are not allowing for the export of an AVI, the recommendation is to use one of the codecs that can complete the AVI export or alternatively, consider using QuickTime MOV export.