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Mixed Information types. Multimedia Internet Communication Lecture 6. Multimedia ?. When various media types combined into single coherent object Examples - text, database, stills, animation, graphic, video, audio Communication links use channels which can be shared by different media types

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mixed information types

Mixed Information types

Multimedia Internet Communication

Lecture 6

Multimedia ?
  • When various media types combined into single coherent object
  • Examples - text, database, stills, animation, graphic, video, audio
  • Communication links use channels which can be shared by different media types
  • Recent advances in computer/communications has significantly expanded possibilities for multimedia use
  • Multimedia not unique to computers - e.g. children’s story tapes/books
multimedia examples
Multimedia examples:
  • Sound + Video
    • advs: familiar concept, effective
    • disadvs: familiarisation = contempt , …TV/cinema, passive etc.
    • digitisation: various transfer + synchronisation methods
  • Sound + Image
    • e.g. slide show + audio commentary/music
    • advs: portable, flexible, simple
    • disadvs: needs preplanning, lacks movement
    • digitisation: straightforwardtransfer + synchronisation not critical
multimedia more examples
Multimedia - more examples
  • Hardcopy Image + Text
    • e.g. picture album, brochure
    • advs: familiar, simple, portable
    • disadvs: lacks movement, content inflexible, copying (?)
    • digitisation: design important
  • Sound + Text
    • e.g. language learning pack
    • advs: easy to use, familiar
    • disadvs: selected replays difficult, lacks visuals
    • digitisation: more effective links+flexibility, easily added visuals
selection of media
Selection of media
  • The examples given indicate the diversity available
  • Long history of traditional uses of mixed media types
  • Some mixtures and styles of mixing are more recent
  • Digitisation tends to present more options, but opens up more complex design issues (HCI)
  • Availability of information in a particular form often means inclusion but……
  • Selection and design should reflect delivery purpose and user preferences/needs
linkage between media types
Linkage between Media Types
  • Traditional links between media types used in an application tend to be retained in digitised formats
  • Use of single device (computer) often simplifies linking and synchronisation
  • Two forms of links
    • different types present for ‘automatic’ viewing
      • e.g. text with an inserted picture (in-line link)
    • explicit optional link from text to a musical soundtrack
      • external hyperlink
  • Not particularly problematic - except for some cases of audio/video transmission
  • Even ‘off-the-shelf’ broadcast packages have difficulties with attaining ‘lip-synch’ quality
  • Audio can by ‘synched’ to the beginning of frames but constraints relating to channel capacity and hardware/ software affect performance
  • Audio and image/text synchronisation is much easier
    • image change(s) at specific point(s) in audio track
multimedia issues
Multimedia Issues
  • Vary depending on application
  • Core issues:
    • access
      • how achieved
      • how regulated
    • cost restrictions
    • equipment constraints
    • awareness ?
    • Bandwidth conflicts ?
    • Timeliness
    • Confidentiality
    • Socialising
another core issue content
Another core issue - content
  • Content control:
    • regulatory control (law and professional code of conduct)
    • code of practice (self-imposed/conditions of access)
  • IRC/Chat Forums can reach over international boundaries
  • Local rules (e.g. Video conferencing/Closed Group forum, discussion board)
  • Parental control packages
interface requirements
Interface requirements
  • Computer/Internet based Multimedia is ‘open’ to many platforms and environments via standards
  • Standards can be open, proprietary, or from other sources
  • Some inconsistency
    • e.g Media player, RealPlayer, QuickTime
  • Min requirements can specify
    • Screen size
    • Colour depth – no. of bits
    • Sound sample processing - sampling rate – sample size
    • Video resolution, frame rate
    • Video capture/audio standard etc.,
    • Internet connection/network
usage implications computer based
Usage implications (computer based)
  • Technical capability to achieve planned service needs to be considered
    • E.g video links need to have appropriate bandwidth and machine/peripheral availability
  • Cater for average and ‘peak’ activities
  • Specialist technical support
  • Testing and training
  • Costing
  • Many available
    • Streaming
    • Audio
    • Video
  • International standards
  • Based on XML
    • Mark-up elements for
      • Media types
        • Audio, Video, Text, Image
      • Synchronisation and sequencing
        • Parallel and sequential playback
      • Layout
        • Specified screen area use for individual media types
example smil file slideshow
Example SMIL file (slideshow)



<layout type="text/smil-basic-layout">

<root-layout width="320" height="240" background‑color="black"/>

<region id="title_region" left="0" top="0" width="320" height="240" />

<region id="pix_region" left="0" top="0" width="320" height="240" />






<text src="example1.rt" region="title_region"/>

<img src="example1.rp" region="pix_region" fill="freeze"/>


<audio src="example1.rm"/>




example file details
Example file details
  • File created by Real Slideshow using
    • .rt file - various text elements
    • .rp - a sequence of pictures
    • .rm - encoded audio file
  • Other tools create different styles
    • Basic elements stay the same
  • Mixed media is not new
    • Educational use for decades
  • Computers make it more useable
    • Easier to construct and maintain
  • Streaming allows most mixed media to be delivered easily over the Internet
  • Broadband allows greater use of video
multimedia on the web
Multimedia on the web
  • Many sites available to demonstrate streamed multimedia
    • See assessment
  • Some academic literature available via IEEE digital library at
    • http://www.computer.org/multimedia/