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2009-03-31 Introduction to Multimedia Systems

posted Mar 30, 2009, 6:31 AM by Unknown user   [ updated Mar 31, 2009, 3:49 AM by Eddie Woo ]
For further details, please refer to IPT: Intro to Multimedia Systems

1. Definition of a medium
In the broadest sense possible, a medium (plural: media) is any method of conveying data/information. The combination of different types of media is known as multimedia.

2. Seven basic media types

Advantages Disadvantages Purposes
Numbers Any sequence of digits - e.g. "3.1415923" Simplest medium and requires the least storage space Only numerical ideas can be expressed (unless the numbers represent text, in which case, the medium would be more appropriately be classified as text)
Usually used to provide statistics, and used in combination with other mediums to give the numbers meaning
Text Any sequence of symbols. which can encompass numbers - e.g. "3 point 14 15 nine two 6535" Relatively simple and versatile medium, and can be used to express a wide range of ideas and concepts It cannot provide replication of actual sounds or sights Usually used for approximate descriptions of real-life entities
Hypertext Any sequence of text that can be used to deliver new information through user feedback e.g. digits of pi Can elegantly deliver new information Has the possibility of delivering unwanted information Usually used on "interactive" displays (such as slide show presentations), and webpages
Audio Representation of sound, whether as a sound wave ("waveform"), or a sequence to represent a musical composition ("musical instrument digital interface") Can be used to capture music, as well as verbally-expressed ideas such as speech, which are considered "natural" ways of interpersonal communication
Audio data is usually capture as a waveform, which is large - furthermore, this medium cannot be used to capture sights Usually used to record speech e.g. lectures, discussions; also commonly used for entertainment and recording musical performances
Images Visual representation something, e.g. a picture of a cat Quickly captured using modern technologies such as CMOS/CCD to replicate real-world entities with a relatively high degree of accuracy
Image data consumes a lot of storage space, particularly bitmap (vector images are very small in comparison); many image data that exists would be more efficiently stored as text data
To produce 2D representations of real-life entities, to visually demonstrate an idea that would be difficult to describe accurately or efficiently with words
Animation A sequence of images (frames) that, when viewed at a high frequency (e.g. 35 frames per second) appears to be realistically moving
All the advantages of images, but with the added advantage that the content is not static, but is seen to be "moving", allowing for the creation and recreation of (the illusion of) motion
Video data is exponentially more storage-demanding than image data; no sound available (see 'video')
To record real-world events, to entertain (anime is an example of animation that is not recorded but entertains), or to explain ideas (e.g. video demonstrations and screen recordings)
Animation + audio
All the advantages of animation + the added advantage of having audio supplement
Slightly more storage space required; more equipment needed; audio and animation need to be synchronised for effective display
Any situation that requires both animation and sound, which is much more common than animation