Multimedia On Web Dynamics Computer Science Essay

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Multimedia is basically several types of media integrated together. Media can be text, graphics, animation, data, audio, video, etc. A simple example of multimedia is a web page on the theme of Mozart that has text concerning the composer along with an audio file of some of his music and can even include a video of his music being played in a hall.

Besides multiple types of media being integrated with one another, multimedia can also stand for interactive types of media such as video games CD ROMs that teach a foreign language, or an information Kiosk at a subway terminal. Supplementary terms that are sometimes used for multimedia include hypermedia and rich media.

The term Multimedia is alleged to date back to 1965 and was used to describe a show by the Exploding Plastic Inevitable. The show incorporated a performance that integrated music, cinema, special lighting and human performance. Nowadays, the word multimedia is used quite often, from DVD's to CD ROMs to even a magazine that includes text and pictures.

1.1 Multimedia on Web:

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It began with games and now became dynamic Web pages, interactive courses, and catalogs with sound and video. It is Multimedia; one of the fastest growing and most exciting areas in the field of information technology. Multimedia is integration of multiple types of media such as text, sound, graphics or animation, video and interactivity. The term 'multimedia' is associated with sound and video in particular. Multimedia is used to cover everything from the simplest computer based presentation to the most complex CD-ROM based reference title.

When the Web was introduced, it was all text. Soon graphics were added and opened up new possibilities. Multimedia was introduced using tools such as Java and Shockwave, which helps to display animations, play sound, and interact with them. You can experience full multimedia over the Internet or Intranets.

Multimedia gives the sizzling effect to a website, merging the fun element with serious business. The scope for creativity is boundless in multimedia development services. This has brought a major breakthrough in the field of technology and web design in the advertisement world. The use of animation and multimedia services add extra value to the market creditability. It enhances the business opportunities.

1.1.1 Text:

Text is used for presenting information and conveying ideas on screen. Text should be presented in an acceptable manner supplementing with other media elements. The font and amount of text should be comprehensible to the user. For example, you are presenting information on tourist site; information should be clearly categorized under separate headings such as place, services provided, prices, contact details etc.

Note the following points:

Conventional upper and lower case text should be used for the presentation

Use upper case only if the text has to attract the attention of user

To achieve optimal reading speed the length of text lines should be around 60 characters

The text should occupy only one-third space of presentation

Sentences should be short and succinct

Proportional spacing and shabby lines minimizes unpleasant visual effects

For PC based screen use 12 point text

Use familiar and understandable technical expressions

Use abbreviations only when that specific word is consistently repeated and should be consistent through out the presentation

1.1.2 Sound:

Sound is an extremely efficient way to deliver information. It attracts the user's attention to visually-presented information. It is used to provide extra information that cannot be displayed visually to supplement a visual signal.

Note the following points:

Volume control must be provided for all auditory interfaces, as sound cannot be easily ignored.

Select discernible sounds which are easily distinguishable from one another, and from surrounding noises.

Use pleasant, modest and uniform sound signal to designate the same information.

Incorporate User stereotype where ever possible.

Use varied audio messages as possible

Use sound when the message calls for immediate action or deals with events in time

Sound can be stored in many different formats.

The MIDI Format

The MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) is a format for transfer music information between electronic music devices like synthesizers and PC sound cards.

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The MIDI format was developed in 1982 by the music industry. The MIDI format is extremely stretchy and can be used for everything from very simple to real professional music making.

MIDI files do not enclose sampled sound, but a set of digital musical instructions (musical notes) that can be interpreted by your PC's sound card.

The weakness of MIDI is that it cannot record sounds (only notes). Or, to put it some other way: It cannot store songs, only tunes.

The positive aspect of the MIDI format is that since it contains only instructions (notes), MIDI files can be extremely small. The example over is only 23K in size but it plays for almost 5 minutes.

The MIDI format is supported by numerous different software systems over a large range of platforms. MIDI files are supported by all the nearly all popular Internet browsers. 

Sounds stored in the MIDI format comprise the extension .mid or .midi.

The RealAudio Format

The RealAudio format was developed for the Internet by Real Media. In addition the format supports video also.

The format accepts streaming of audio (Internet radio, on-line music) with low bandwidths. Because of the low bandwidth precedence, quality is often condensed.

RealAudio sounds stored in the format extension .rm or .ram.

The AU Format

The AU format is supported by several software systems over a huge range of platforms. 

AU format sounds stored in the .au extension.

The AIFF Format

The AIFF (Audio Interchange File Format) was developed by Apple.

AIFF files are not cross-platform and this file format is not supported by most of the web browsers.

AIFF format sounds stored in the extension .aif or .aiff.

The SND Format

The SND (Sound) was developed by Apple.

SND archive is not cross-platform and the format is not supported by every web browsers.

SND format sounds stored in the .snd extension.

The WAVE Format

The WAVE (waveform) format is developed by IBM and Microsoft.

It is supported by every computer running Windows, and by all the majority popular web browsers.

WAVE format sounds stored in .wav extension.

The MP3 Format (MPEG)

MP3 files are actually MPEG files. But the MPEG format was initially developed for video by the Moving Pictures Experts Group. We can state that MP3 files are the sound part of the MPEG video format.

MP3 is one of the most popular and well accepted sound formats for music recording. The MP3 encoding system combines excellent compression (small files) with high quality. Anticipate all your future software systems to support it.

MP3 format sounds stored in .mp3, or .mpga (for MPG Audio) extension.

What Format To Use?

The WAVE format is one of the major popular sound formats on the Internet, and it is supported by all popular browsers. If you desire to recorded sound (music or speech) to be available to all your visitors, you should use the WAVE format.

The MP3 format is the novel and imminent format for recorded music. If your website is concerning recorded music, the MP3 format is the choice of the future.

Playing Sounds on a Web Site

Sounds can be played "inline" or by a "helper", depending on the HTML element you use.

Inline Sound

When sound is included in a web page, or as part of a web page, it is called inline sound.

If you plan to use inline sounds in your web applications, be attentive that many people find inline sound annoying. In addition note that some users might have turned off the inline sound option in their browser.

Best recommendation is to include inline sound only in web pages where the user expects to hear the sound.

Using a Helper (Plug-In)

A helper application is a program that could be launched by the browser to "help" playing sound. Helper applications are also know as Plug-Ins.

Helper applications could be launched using the <embed> or the <object> tag.

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One immense advantage of using a helper application is that you can let some (or all) of the player settings be controlled by the user.

Many of the helper applications permit manually (or programmed) control over the volume settings and play functions like rewind, pause, stop and play.

Using The <embed> Tag

The purpose of the <embed> tag is to embed multimedia elements in web page.

The subsequent code fragment displays a MIDI file embedded in a web page.

Example

<embed src="beatles.mid" />

Using The <object> Tag

The purpose of the <object> tag is to embed multimedia elements in web page.

The subsequent code fragment displays a WAVE file embedded in a web page.

Example

<object

classid="clsid:22D6F312-B0F6-11D0-94AB-0080C74C7E95">

<paramname="FileName"value="liar.wav"/>

</object>

Using A Hyperlink

If a web page uses a hyperlink to a media file, many web browsers uses a "helper application" to play the file.

The following code fragment displays a link to a MIDI file. If a user clicks on the link, the browser will start a helper application, like Windows Media Player to play the MIDI file:

Example

<a href="beatles.mid">Play the Beatles</a>

1.1.3 Graphics or Animation:

Graphics or Animation is a powerful medium for illustrating concepts, investigating an environment, or interface transition. Use animation only when and wherever it is required. Provide adequate time to fabricate the animation sequences.

Note the following points:

An animation sequence should be short i.e. 20 to 30 seconds and is integrated with audio of supporting information

The arrangement of video or animation sequence and the total length of the sequence should be shown on a time scale

Provided appropriate user controls elements such as play, pause, replay, drag, start and cancel

If the animation or video is split into distinct stages, provide that with forward and backward controls

Design the animation or video controls which are familiar to many people.

1.1.4 Video:

Present information with short and precise video sequences accompanied with pleasant melody to uphold the attention of the user.

Note the following points:

Use high quality video as high as that of television sets to carry out users expectations

Use techniques such as cut, fade, dissolve, wipe, and overlap to avoid the users distracting from the content

To make proper use of video sequences in multimedia applications, short sequences are considered necessary as a part of a greater whole

Video should be accompanied by a soundtrack to present information pleasantly and also to give extra information

Provide controllers such as brightness, contrast, and color strength to adjust the visibility

Always show the low quality videos within a small window, so as to avoid the enthuse of the user to view it in full screen

Show the actual arrangement within the video and the total length of the sequence on time scale

Provide controllers such as play, pause, and replay to enable the user to surf through the other segments of interface

The use of multimedia features with well merged content keeps the user occupied, motivated, inspired and influenced. Product presentations, online tutorials, corporate presentations, online games, etc. can be productively presented with the help of multimedia technology. Multimedia presentations serve up as an eye toffee for the onlooker. Multimedia applications are only limited by our imagination. While working for a client you will be inevitably cultivating them incessantly as to what is possible. In most of the cases, the client's imagination for the first 90% of the project is null and too much for the last 10%.

Although multimedia design and evaluation includes a lot more than the World Wide Web, it is noteworthy to consider the size and significance of the web. With the growing technology and innovations and its potential to expand and reach the global audience, the web is one of the driving forces behind the growth of multimedia. For this cause it has to be considered as a special case within multimedia design.

Video can be stored in numerous different formats.

The AVI Format

The AVI (Audio Video Interleave) format was developed by Microsoft.

The AVI format is supported by almost all computers running Windows, and by all the most popular web browsers. It is an extremely general format on the Internet, but not always possible to play on non-Windows computers.

Videos AVI format stored in the .avi extension.

The Windows Media Format

Microsoft developed the Windows Media format.

Windows Media is a very familiar format on the Internet, but Windows Media movies cannot be played on non-Windows computer without any other (free) component installed. Few later Windows Media movies cannot play at all on non-Windows computers because no player is accessible.

Windows Media format Videos stored in the .wmv extension.

The MPEG Format

The MPEG (Moving Pictures Expert Group) format is the one of the well known format on the Internet. It is cross-platform, which is supported by all the well popular web browsers.

MPEG format Videos stored in the .mpg or .mpeg extension.

The QuickTime Format

The QuickTime format is developed by Apple.

QuickTime is a widespread format on the Internet, but QuickTime movies cannot be played on a Windows computer without an extra (free) component installed.

QuickTime format Videos stored in the .mov extension.

The RealVideo Format

The RealVideo format was developed for the Internet by Real Media.

The format allows the users to streaming of video (Internet TV, on-line video) with low bandwidths. Since of the low bandwidth priority, quality is very often reduced.

RealVideo format Videos stored in the .rm or .ram extension.

The Shockwave (Flash) Format

The Shockwave format was developed by Macromedia.

The Shockwave format requires an additional component to play. This component comes preinstalled with the latest versions of Netscape and Internet Explorer.

Shockwave format videos stored in the .swf extension.

Playing Videos on a Web Site

Videos can be played "inline" or by a "helper", depending on the HTML element you use.

Inline Videos

When a video is included in a web page it is called inline video.

If you plan to employ inline videos in your web applications, be aware that many people find inline videos annoying. Besides note that some users might have turned off the inline video option in their browser.

Best suggestion is to include inline videos only in web pages where the user expects to see a video.

Using a Helper (Plug-In)

A helper application is a program that can be launched by the browser to "help" playing a video. Helper applications are also known as Plug-Ins.

Helper applications could be launched using the <embed> or the <object> tag.

One huge advantage of using a helper application is that you can let some (or all) of the player settings be controlled by the user.

Many helper applications allow manual (or programmed) control over the volume settings and play functions like rewind, pause, stop and play.

Using The <embed> Tag

The purpose of the <embed> tag is to embed multimedia elements in web page.

The subsequent code fragment displays an AVI file embedded in a web page:

Example

<embed src="video.avi" />

Note: The <embed> tag is deprecated. The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) suggest using the <object> tag instead.

Using The <object> Tag

The purpose of the <object> tag is to embed multimedia elements in web page.

The subsequent code fragment displays an AVI file embedded in a web page:

Example

<object data="video.avi" type="video/avi" />

Using A Hyperlink

If a web page includes a hyperlink to a media file, most browsers will use a "helper application" to play the file.

The subsequent code fragment displays a link to an AVI file. If a user clicks on the link, the browser will launch a helper application, like Windows Media Player to play the AVI file:

Example

<a href="video.avi">Play a video file</a>

SELF CHECK 1.1

Define the importance of multimedia on web world?

Explain the various sound formats used in multimedia?

Give few examples of multimedia WebPages?

1.2 Planning Multimedia Websites:

Advance planning is crucial to the eventual success of a multimedia project. A systematic approach is to be documented. You need to understand different methodologies and assorted cultures of companies. The slant and style is not something that you merely follow but it is something that you select, monitor and drive and tailor as per the requirement. The approach might vary from organization to another and depends on the complexity of the project. The generally followed phases are:

Concept development

Requirements specification

Design

Prototype

Production

Testing and evaluation

Delivery

1.2.1 Concept Development:

The starting point for any project is an initial idea or concept. Estimate a rough visualization on storyboard and also cost evaluation, timelines and source of revenue to be generated. Document a legible and concise project proposal that comprise scope of project, approach, and the targeted audience. Once the client and developer have agreed in principle to go ahead with the project, a detailed content outline, schedule and budget can then be drawn up.

The client may not have a clear idea of the software used, preferences, requirements, and the goals and objectives that has to be achieved by the developer. There leads to confusion between developer, customer and user to be managed throughout, and there is much current research on how best to do this.

1.2.2 Requirements Specification:

The next phase is to create a more detailed requirement specification. The requirement specification should cover the minimum hardware and software configurations needed to run the application to meet the requirements of the intended audience and the aims of the application. This can even include content outline along with general navigational and screen layout guidelines. As the project develops the requirement specification it may have to be refined to meet the goals and objectives. In the requirements it should also be specified that when the application would be developed completely and also the total cost.

With this the client and developer comes to an agreement on the scope, deadline and deliverables of the final product. These requirements are gathered through consultation with the client and, typical end-users where ever required. This further can be used as a basis of the test specification to ensure that all the specified requirements have been met.

At this phase communication between the customer and the application producer is considered very crucial. The quality of communication is affected not only by personal communication skills, but also by the customer's knowledge on achievable end, and the producer's comprehension on the subject matter. This 'knowledge gap' can be the single most significant barrier to unambiguous communications.

1.2.3 Design:

The design document gives a picture of the organization of the content and the navigation maps. Here comes the story boarding that envisages the respective screens and sequences, which will be presented to the client to receive the feedback. This shows an estimation of total time to be spent on individual components, deliverables and cost.

1.2.4 Prototype:

At first a small portion of the product is completed in detail to test the design and production process. An outline of the application is also to be developed to test the structure and navigation. This allows the client and the end user to evaluate the product and provide their feedback to revise the product.

1.2.5 Production:

This is the most intensive phase in the development cycle. This phase includes the description of screens, menus, titles and captions, images, animations, audio and video. The proto type is refined to meet the client requirements and satisfaction.

Here the individual components are to be sourced, digitized, and processed. Integration of the elements and synchronization of images, animated objects, formatted text, audio, and video, interactivity, software installation, and programming takes place at this stage. Copyright clearance has to be obtained at this stage.

Some websites like E-commerce, education, training and audio visual entertainment products, and the production is an ongoing issue as there will be constant flow of new products and modification of the old products.

1.2.6 Testing and evaluation:

The program is tested on different platforms to review its functionality. If required, involve the end users in testing the product. The product is set for the final delivery once the developer and the client are satisfied with the product.

Smithson & Hirschheim proposed a three layer model to evaluate the quality of a system. That is Efficiency, Effectiveness and "Understanding". The first two are familiar, although effectiveness can be the source of endless debate, but "understanding" is a more problematic issue dealing with political issues and personal constructs.

1.2.7 Delivery and Support:

With CD and DVD, a "Golden Master" is prepared and sent to the disc duplicator for replication. The associated instructions should be "road-tested" to ensure that the users do not have any problems.

Check the server security and back-up provisions to deliver the product online. In case of any flaws correct the software with in predefined time-lines. This should not include any extra cost. In project plan, along with cost mention the number of days required for developing in case of any err noticed. The project would become unprofitable if the flaws are many, and that even might lead to breach of contract. Post-delivery support may be simple or complex; it's a way of making money or a liability.

SELF CHECK 1.2

Explain the step by step planning of multimedia webpage development?

Briefly explain about the testing and evaluation part?

1.3 SUMMARY

This is the first module for the multimedia web development course. This module explains various aspects used in multimedia web development and other important aspects.

In this chapter you have learnt different aspects used such as text, video, and graphics or animation methods, and also this chapter explains about the importance of the each of these aspects in development of multimedia Web.

In addition, this chapter also explains the planning of multimedia WebPages, and also this chapter explains about the design, prototype of multimedia WebPages.

Finally this chapter also illustrates the concept development and requirement specifications about the multimedia web development.

KEY TERMS

MIDI - Musical Instrument Digital Interface

MPEG - Moving Pictures Expert Group

AVI - Audio Video Interleave

SND - Sound