3.1.1 Multimedia Basics
At the most basic level, multimedia means using more than one media element. It refers to the integration of (1) text, (2) graphics, (3) animation, (4) sound, and (5) video. This integration is primarily accomplished through the use of the computer.
Multimedia is a computer-delivered electronic system that allows the user to control, combine, and manipulate different types of media, such as text, sound, video, computer graphics, and animation.
Examples of individual content forms combined in multimedia:
Multimedia is media and content that uses a combination of different content forms. It includes a combination of text, audio, still images, animation, interactivity or video content forms.
Multimedia is usually recorded and played, displayed or accessed by information content processing devices, such as computerized and electronic devices, but can also be part of a live performance. Multimedia (as an adjective) also describes electronic media devices used to store and experience multimedia content.
The most common multimedia machine consists of a personal computer with a sound card, modem, digital speaker unit, and CD-ROM. Interactive multimedia systems under commercial development include cable television services with computer interfaces that enable viewers to interact with TV programs; high-speed interactive audiovisual communications systems, including video game consoles, that rely on digital data from fibre-optic lines or digitized wireless transmission; and virtual reality systems that create small-scale artificial sensory environments.
Multimedia may be broadly divided into linear and non-linear categories. Linear active content progresses without any navigational control for the viewer such as a cinema presentation. Non-linear user interactivity to control progress as used with a video game or used in self-paced computer based training. The term "rich media" is synonymous with interactive multimedia. Hypermedia is an example of non-linear content. Multimedia presentations can be live or recorded. A recorded presentation may allow interactivity via a navigation system. A live multimedia presentation may allow interactivity via an interaction with the presenter or performer.
Why We Use Multimedia
- When we incorporate multiple media into an application, more of our senses are activated. Consequently, one of the reasons we use multimedia is to give life to flat information. Multimedia encourages users to embrace, internalize, and glean more from information because they can attack the information from multiple directions. In other words, users of multimedia applications have an opportunity to read about information, but they can also see it and hear it. As you will soon see, even smell and touch have a place in multimedia applications.
- At the next level, we add interactivity to multimedia. Interactive multimedia allows the user to respond directly to and control any or all of these media. Users of interactive multimedia become active participants in an application instead of passive recipients of information. It is interactivity that gives multimedia range
Interactive multimedia applications fall into two categories. Some are linear, while others are non-linear. With linear media, users start at the beginning and progress through a set sequence of events until they reach the end. Most digital slide shows and plays would be examples of linear media. Non-linear media leaves the order of events to the discretion of the user. An interactive CD-ROM encyclopedia would be an example of non-linear media. There is no predefined order; users can enter or exit at any point and at any time.
Though working with multiple media is not new, the growth of computer based multimedia has definitely exploded over the past few years. There are many reasons for this growth :
- Computer processing power and technology have improved, making it easier and more fun to work with media elements on the computer.
- People throughout many industries have found new and beneficial ways of using multimedia applications, thereby creating a demand for multimedia technology.
- The growth of the Web has spurred the growth of multimedia-as more and more multimedia applications are being designed for the Internet and the World Wide Web. Undoubtedly, this growth in multimedia will continue at an exponential rate as the technology continues to improve and people find more reasons to use it.