IIMS 94 contents
[ IIMS 94 contents ]

Multimedia developments in Russia

Andrey S Narvsky
St Petersburg University of Ocean Technology, Russia

Our companies

I represent two Russian organisations.

The Centre for Mathematical Modelling (CMM) of St Petersburg State University of Ocean Technology was established in 1988 by the decision of the Ministry of Education of the former USSR. Now CMM is one of biggest laboratories in the University. The main direction of our activity is software development in the field of Education: interactive learning systems, electronic manuals, etc. We also provide studies for students in our computer rooms. CMM staff include about 40 highly qualified mathematicians, programmers and hardware engineers. We use IBM PC computers, RISC processors computers (Acorn, UK), FM TOWNS computers (Fujitsu, Japan) and VAX compatible computers.

New Information Technology, Ltd (NITEK) was established in 1991 as one of the first private Multimedia companies in Russia. The field of the company is Multimedia software developments - data bases of the electronic images, multiwindows graphical interfaces, images digitisation, etc. We use a special work station to produce multimedia software, which includes an IBM PC 386 computer with 720 MB hard disk, "Screen Machine" computer card to digitise video signals, audio computer card, CD ROM and laser disc players, VCR and TV sets connected with the computer, and a HP ScanJet 11 scanner to digitise the colour illustrations.

Our products

During the last 5 years we have produced electronic manuals, computer games for children and students, simulators of the controlled movement of ships, information and learning systems in Art, and many programs for scientific research calculations.

In 1991 we produced the first Interactive laser disc in Russia, "Masterpieces from the State Russian Museum in St. Petersburg". This project was under the supervision of Prof. K. Rozhdestvensky - Dean of our University. The Disc contains about 6,000 electronic images from the Museum ' collection - icons, painting, sculpture, folk art, etc. It has NTSC (American and Japanese standard) and PAL (European standard) options. With minimum hardware configuration - laser disc player and TV monitor - the disc can be used as video catalogue of the still images. If the hardware includes the computer, then the user can walk through the Museum, choose the pictures from the walls and got the text information. The special software was developed for the RISC computers. It was international project: four partners - our company, State Russian Museum, Anglia Television (UK) and Interactive Learning Production (UK) participated in it. American company Voyager signed an agreement to press and distribute the disc. The disc will appear on the world multimedia market on January, 1994 and will be followed by the CD-ROM version.

Developers of multimedia products in Russia

The number of personal computers in Russia is estimated to be about 1.5-2 million units. It is little for such big country as Russia. But this is a very fast growing market - five years ago there were no personal computers in Russia at all. About 99% of the computers are IBM PC AT 286/386/486 compatible with MS DOS and Windows 3.0/3.1 operating systems.

Multimedia makes its first steps in Russia, but there are already several serious companies - hardware and software developers in Russia.

Sverdlovsk (a city in the middle of Russia) Mechanical Plant obtained equipment from Philips to press CD-ROM discs. This Plant has the license from Philips to produce the Laser Video Disc Players "Philips-496" (PAL standard only). However, these players have no RS-232 ports and genlocks for connection with computers.

Avangard Enterprise, St Petersburg, is the only factory in Russia to produce laser disc in the Laser Vision format (SECAM and PAL standards). At this Plant a special card was developed to connect IBM PC computers and Laser Video Disc Players.

An organisation named Rubin, from the town of Penza produces the master disc and matrix for the Laser Vision disc production. Standards SECAM and PAL are available.

Research Institution of Electronics Equipment in Lvov, Ukraine, is working on projects to produce the first Russian CD-ROM drives. The most recent news from them is that Microsoft have expertised this drive and gave a good conclusion. They will begin assembly of the CD-ROM drives in the near future.

"Melodia" factory in Moscow has produced audio CD since 1985. More than 500 titles have been issued, basically dedicated to Russian classical music. The only manufacturer of audio CD drives in Russia, is "Vega" factory in Berdsk town.

Several companies in Russia have equipment for CD-ROM premastering and master disc pressing. They am Sverdlovsk Mechanical Plant, International Book, MediaMechanics, MIEM (all in Moscow), and Avangard Enterprise.

Most multimedia programs were made in Russia in the field of art and education. As I have mentioned above, our company produced the first interactive laser disc in Russia in 1991. Now we develop the CD-ROM dedicated to Architecture of St Petersburg and other multimedia titles.

Good multimedia equipment is installed in the leading museums in Russia. State Russian Museum from St Petersburg has multimedia work station including Apple computers, scanner, video camera. This museum signed non-exclusive agreement with an American company, Interactive Home Systems, to participate in the project to create the library of the electronic images from the whole world museums.

Multimedia work station in Tretiakovsky Gallery in Moscow includes ATVISTA and TARGA video computer cards and WORM maker.

Moscow Kremlin Museum and ComInfo company produced about 20 titles of the floppy books dedicated to the collection of the museum.

So multimedia came to Russia and a lot of new titles from Russian museums, libraries, photo and video archives will appear on world market in the near future.

International CD ROM project proposal

This section contains a proposal to develop an international CD-ROM title, "Olympic Games - 20 Century".

We live in the last decade of the 20 Century. It is a good time to summarise the results of our Century. Sydney will be the Olympic Games Capital in 2000. This is great possibility to develop an information system about Olympic Games history. So the idea is to develop the project within the last decade of the 20 century under the title: "Olympic Games - 20 Century". The main point is, that the project can be developed in the most by the hands of Russian and Australian children and children from other countries. The structure of the project will be developed by multimedia specialists and our companies will help to transfer the material to CD-ROMs, but children themselves will select and prepare all necessary initial materials - text and illustrations, interviews with VIPs, etc.

May be one of the main problem of our time is that people from different countries do not know each other very well. Our children will live together in the 21 century on this small Earth. We have to create the possibilities for the kids from our countries to know much more about each other than we do. In this respect what can be better than the possibility to work together on the joint project.

I suppose the project can find understanding and support from the Australian and Russian Governments. In this case it will be not only interesting commercial product to develop it, but rather good possibility for the engaged companies to make great publicity and obtain financing from the States for several years.

Technical basis

The results may be presented as CD-ROM or CDI laser discs serial together with the corresponding software for personal computers. Above mentioned discs are acknowledged now as a world wide standard storage of information. One such disc may contain about 300,000 pages of text and other kinds of information - pictures, movies, sound, etc. Information will be organised in the Hypertext mode unites text, graphics, audio and video.

The time term

The project might be divided into three main phases.

First phase: January 1994 - December 1994
During this phase Feasibility Study of the project should be developed. Such key points as the costs of the project, financing and ways to find funding both in Russia and the Australia the main topics of the work (contents), the specialists and companies to be engaged, the concrete business plan should be clarified to the end of this phase.

First materials from children can be received to make a pilot version of the first disc and to promote the idea of the whole project.

Second Phase: January 1995 - December 1998
During this phase the serial of Interactive Laser Discs should be created. First CD ROM should be developed by December 1995.

Third Phase: January 1996 - December 1999
Within this phase the results of the work should be distributed world wide.

About our experience

My companies are the leading ones in the field of interactive multimedia in Russia. Recently we produced the first laser disc on Russian Art, "Masterpieces from the State Russian Museum in St Petersburg". We work on other CD-ROM titles in education and art.

I am the author of a Russian-Dutch project to develop a joint electronic school newspaper with the fresh news from both sides. Now pupils from Russian and Dutch schools exchange information via email and the first issue of the electronic newspaper should appear in December, 1993.

About myself

I am 37 years old, and earned my PhD in 1985. Since 1988 1 have been Deputy Director of the Centre for Mathematical Modelling (CMM) of St. Petersburg State University of Ocean Technology, and since 1991, also Director of the one of the first private multimedia companies in Russia, New Information Technology, Ltd (NITEK).

In 1989-1990 I visited and worked at a number of institutions in the United Kingdom to develop the laser disc dedicated to Russian Art. In 1992 I was invited to Japan by NICOGRAPH to make a presentation about multimedia in Russia. In 1993 I received an invitation to undertake six months research work in multimedia at American Megatrends Inc., USA.

I would very much appreciate any suggestions, ideas and comments concerning my proposal to develop the International CD-ROM Disc.

Author: Dr Andrey Narvsky
In USA (effective till 31 January, 1994)
American Megatrends Inc., 6145-F Northbelt Parkway, Norcross GA 30071 USA Tel. 404-263-8181 ext. 7410 Fax. 404-246-8790 Entail: narvsky@american.megatrends.com

In Russia
Director, NITEK Ltd, and Head of the Laboratory, "Centre for Mathematical Modelling", St Petersburg State University of Ocean Technology, 3 Lotsmanskaya St, St Petersburg 190008, Russia. Tel. 812-157-2577 12544 Fax. 812-157-2533 Email: narvsky@mtu-mic.spb.su

Please cite as: Narvsky, A. (1994). Multimedia developments in Russia. In C. McBeath and R. Atkinson (Eds), Proceedings of the Second International Interactive Multimedia Symposium, 361-363. Perth, Western Australia, 23-28 January. Promaco Conventions. http://www.aset.org.au/confs/iims/1994/np/narvsky.html

[ IIMS 94 contents ] [ IIMS Main ] [ ASET home ]
This URL: http://www.aset.org.au/confs/iims/1994/np/narvsky.html
© 1994 Promaco Conventions. Reproduced by permission. Last revision: 12 Feb 2004. Editor: Roger Atkinson
Previous URL 28 July 2000 to 30 Sep 2002: http://cleo.murdoch.edu.au/gen/aset/confs/iims/94/np/narvsky.html