One of the courses / subjects / modules I lecture on focuses on Interactive Multimedia taken by around a hundred or so third year students. Each year the very first slide I present asks the question “What is Multimedia?”. Given that classes for the second semester will commence once again next week I thought of asking this question to all those out their within the blogosphere to see what you regard multimedia to be. The word cloud (created using this generator) below is perhaps one simple example of multimedia in action where by one can provide a list of words resulting in an image being generated based on the frequency of those works. Perhaps if I received a good few comments I could create an updated word cloud that better reflects what “Multimedia” is today!
The classical definition would be something along the lines that multimedia combines a mixture of content such as text, images, video, audio, animation and interactivity. Has the definition for what multimedia is changed? given that we are now living in a world where technology is ubiquitous.
What about Smart Televisions? Televisions used to be very much a passive from of information transmission focused on the visual and auditory senses. Smart Televisions of today can be controlled by gestures, the media that is accessible is no longer just a broadcast that you must tune into, but can now put the user in control with on demand content and online interactive media. If you want you can even control it using your smartphone along with other things such as the lights and heating throughout your home. Its probably safe to say that we are living in the age of “the App” in that for more or less anything you can think of their is an “App” out their in cyberspace just waiting for you to download.
The video below is of the LG booth at CES 2013, featuring built in cameras for gesture control and microphones to enable voice commands. It will also recommend TV shows and movies based on your viewing habits. Many people have full HD televisions at present 1920 x 1080 (2K), but we have seen in recent times 4K resolution TV’s becoming available to the consumer (though they do have a price tag of 20K+). Higher resolution TV’s – such as 8K are also in existence such as the Sharp 8K TV demoed at CES 2013.
Speaking of television / film what about the world of 3D such as Plano-sterioscopic Imaging or even the IMAX experience. My most recent experience of an IMAX screening was seeing The Hobbit at Cineworld Dublin just a few weeks ago. It was great seeing the film for a second time, but even better seeing it on a much larger sized screen than what you would usually find at a cinema. By far the best IMAX experience in my opinion was that of the BFI IMAX just around the corner from Waterloo station in London due to the spherical shaped screen and SPL of the speaker system.
As you all probably know The Hobbit was recorded using 5K Red Epic Cameras mounted in pairs on a set of rigs (to capture the 3D effect for the left & right eye), allowing one to change the interocular and convergence on the fly during the shoot. The recorded frame rate of 48fps has been the standard in IMAX since the format came out (it still of course falls short of the refresh rate of the human eye). One issue of course is that the sets had to be over saturated for the recorded footage to have the correct colour grading. The footage of course was all captured digitally and written on to 128GB Cards.
Our smartphones now make extensive use of touch screen technology as well as voice and facial recognition. The current year will see our mobiles evolve to having flexible screens, ushering in a new era in mobile and content interaction.
Multimedia of course isn’t just limited to something being on a computer screen, what about the blending of lasers such a light harp and midi technology, see the example below of Jean Michel Jarre playing the Second Rendez-Vous.
Is the term Multimedia used too much? especially as so many of our devices allow us to consume various forms of media and interact with same in a myriad of ways. Not too long ago the use of a number of different forms of media was seen to be something new and novel, now however it seems that whether its our TV’s, mobiles, tablets, computers or even our cars we are consuming and interacting in ways which a few decades ago would have been science fiction. Will we all be connected with devices similar to Google Glasses within a few years?
What about Books? Are books those strange typically rectangular objects made from trees that contain words printed double sided nearing the end of their lifespans. eBook readers are becoming ever more popular. If you take a look at this article dated 14th Jan 2013 you will see that libraries are now starting to throw out their “books” and go for an all digital system. Are the days of carrying a school bag to school stuffed with as many books as you could squeeze in numbered? Schools are even getting rid of their books with some purchasing iPads for every student (such as the Essa Academy with 840 pupils).
Has the future already arrived? In the mid to late 1980′s & 90′s we saw PADD’s being extensively used in both Star Trek the Next Generation and Star Trek Deep Space Nine. Is Multimedia still a term that has meaning in this day and age where it seems that more or less every device we use has a number forms of media and means of interaction.