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Wiktionary, the free dictionary.
Multimedia is media that uses multiple forms of information content and information processing (e.g. text, audio, graphics, animation, video, interactivity) to inform or entertain the (user) audience. Multimedia also refers to the use of (but not limited to) electronic media to store and experience multimedia content. In fine art it is a synonym for traditional mixed media as well as technological new media (ArtLex, NWD). The term "rich media" is also synonymous for interactive multimedia.
Multimedia may be broadly divided into linear and non-linear categories. Linear active content progresses without any navigation control for the viewer such as a cinema presentation. Non-linear content offers user interactivity to control progress as used with a computer game or used in self-paced computer based training. Non-linear content is also known as hypermedia 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 interaction with the presenter or performer.
Multimedia presentations may be viewed in person on stage, projected, transmitted, or played locally with a media player. A broadcast may be a live or recorded multimedia presentation. Broadcasts and recordings can be either analog or digital electronic media technology. Digital online multimedia may be downloaded or streamed. Streaming multimedia may be live or on-demand.
Multimedia games may be played in person in an arena with special effects, with multiple users in an online network, or locally with an offline computer or game system.
The various formats of technological or digital multimedia may be intended to enhance the users experience, for example to make it easier and faster to convey information. Or in entertainment or art, to transcend everyday experience.
Enhanced levels of interactivity are made possible by combining multiple forms of media content. Online multimedia is increasingly becoming object-oriented and data-driven, enabling applications with collaborative end-user innovation and personalization on multiple forms of content over time. Examples of these range from multiple forms of content of web sites like photo galleries with both images (pictures) and title (text) user-updated, to simulations whose co-efficients, events, illustrations, animations or videos are modifiable, allowing the multimedia "experience" to be altered without reprogramming.
In 1965 the term Multi-media was used to describe the Exploding. Plastic. Inevitable., a performance that combined live rock music, cinema, experimental lighting and performance art.
Word usage and Context
Since media is the plural of medium, the term "multimedia" is a pleonasm if "multi" is used to describe multiple occurrences of only one form of media such as a collection of audio CDs. This is why it's important that the word "multimedia" is used exclusively to describe multiple forms of media.
The term "multimedia" is also ambiguous. Static content (such as a paper book) may be considered multimedia if it contains both pictures and text or may be considered interactive if the user interacts by turning pages at will. Books may also be considered non-linear if the pages are accessed non-sequentially. The term "video", if not used exclusively to describe motion photography, is ambiguous in multimedia terminology. Video is often used to describe the file format, delivery format, or presentation format instead of the form of information content such as moving illustrations or still pictures. Multiple forms of information content is often not considered multimedia if it doesn't contain modern forms of presentation such as audio or video. Likewise, single forms of information content with single methods of information processing (e.g. non-interactive audio) are often called multimedia, perhaps to distinguish static media from active media.
Usage in Various Fields and Areas
Multimedia finds its application in various areas including, but not limited to, art, education, entertainment, engineering, medicine, mathematics, business, and scientific research. Below are the several examples as follows:
In Engineering, especially in mechanical and automobile engineering, multimedia is primarily used for designing a machine or an automobile. This lets an Engineer view a product from various perspectives, zoom in on critical parts and do other manipulations, before actually producing it. This is known as computer-aided design (CAD).
In Medicine, doctors can get trained by looking at a virtual surgery or they can simulate how the human body is affected by diseases spread by viruses and bacteria and then develop techniques to prevent it.
Mathematical and Scientific Research
In Mathematical and Scientific Research, multimedia are mainly used for modelling and simulation. For example, a scientist can look at a molecular model of a particular substance and manipulate it to arrive at a new substance.
In the Arts there are multimedia artists, whose minds are able to blend techniques using different media that in some way incorporates interaction with the viewer. One of the most relevant could be Peter Greenaway who is melding Cinema with Opera and all sorts of digital media.
In Education, multimedia is used to produce computer-based training courses (popularly called CBTs) and reference books like encyclopaedia and almanacs. A CBT lets the user go through a series of presentations, text about a particular topic, and associated illustrations in various information formats. Edutainment is an informal term used to describe combining education with entertainment, especially multimedia entertainment.
In the Industrial sector, multimedia is used as a way to help present information to shareholders, superiors and coworkers. Multimedia is also helpful for providing employee training, advertising and selling products all over the world via virtually unlimited web-based technologies.
Multimedia Messaging System
The Multimedia Messaging System, or MMS, is an application that allows one to send and receive messages containing Multimedia - related content. MMS is a common feature of most cell phones. An electronic multimedia encyclopedia can present information in better ways than traditional encyclopaedia, so the user has more fun and learns more quickly. For instance, an article on World War II can include hyperlinks to articles on countries involved in the war. When users click on a hyperlink, they are redirected to a detailed article about that country. In addition, it can include a video on the Pacific Campaign. It can also present maps pertinent to World War II. Hyperlinks let a user access information in a non-linear fashion as opposed to print materials which are essentially linear. This can speed-up learning and improve the user experience, when added to multiple elements such as pictures, photographs, audio and video. (It is also said that some people learn better by seeing than reading and some others by listening).
In addition, multimedia is heavily used in the entertainment industry, especially to develop special effects in movies and animation for cartoon characters. Multimedia games are a popular pastime and are software programs available either as CD-ROMs or online. Some video games also use multimedia features.
Multimedia applications that allow users to actively participate instead of just sitting by as passive recipients of information are called Interactive Multimedia.
In Europe, the reference organisation for Multimedia industry is the European Multimedia Associations Convention (EMMAC).
An observatory for jobs in the multimedia industry provides surveys and analysis about multimedia and ITC jobs.
References, Sources, and Notes
Applications of multimedia
- Business Presentations
- Computer Simulations
- Governmental Services
- Nonprofit Services
- Professional Training
- Software Interface
- Spatial Temporal Applications
- Virtual Reality
- Multimedia literacy
- How Web-animation works from howstuffworks.com
- Multimedia: From Wagner to Virtual Reality
- Multimedia Career Scope Ebook
- Multimedia workshop
- Wiki about multimedia technology