IIMS 94 contents
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Multimedia resourcing

Don Sforcina
Color Computer Systems, Western Australia
Recent technological advances will dramatically change the way we compose, produce, distribute and present interactive multimedia. This paper describes the latest advances in video compression, hard drives, optical disks, CD-ROM, VideoCD, RISC based computers and networks. Multimedia resourcing defines the usage of these new technologies for distributing digital media resources via mass storage devices and high speed data networks. The paper concludes with a description of an Australian designed multimedia storage and distribution system called MEDIA-FLEX.


Release of digital video compression technologies using MPEG, JPEG, DVI, fractal, wavelet and other techniques will alter the predominantly still image or 'slide' based multimedia display formats. These will be replaced by dynamic full motion, full screen, full colour imagery that when combined with the already well established digital audio technology will spawn many new interactive multimedia application areas. In order to take full advantage of these new digital video technologies the types, sizes and speed of computers, mass storage devices and data networks have also been upgraded and enhanced.

Now 100 Mb/s local digital data highways are a reality. No longer will an isolated desktop computer produce the best results for multimedia presentations. Networked systems that have implemented new technologies are becoming available for the new breed of professional multimedia specialists. Those with video production and communications experience instead of just computer know how will be better placed to take advantage of these new technologies for multimedia.

New digital media technologies

Defines availability and usage of MPEG, JPEG, DVI, fractal, wavelet digital video compression technologies and how in combination with digital audio, still image displays will be a thing of the past.

Advances in mass storage devices

Covers the changing face of hard drives, magneto optical drives, CD-ROM drives, VideoCD, DAT drives and their associated improvement in interface technology with the introduction of FAST SCSI-2 and SCSI-3.

New computer platforms

Over the next 12 months several new more powerful Personal Computers will make their debut. The Pentium, Power PC, SGI Indeo and others will be released bringing with them capabilities for manipulating video in real time. A brief look at each new computer will define the important attributes of each for the multimedia area.

Making the connection: networking

Centralised multimedia databases can be accessed via Ethernet or ISDN communication links. New 100 Mb/s networking technologies such as fast Ethernet and FDDI will make the usage of digital video and digital audio complete by allowing ultra high speed transfer of data. The introduction of public superhighway data networks and interactive TV will further add to the resource choice for multimedia professionals.

Putting it all together: Multimedia Resource Facilities (MRFs)

Multimedia Resource Facilities (MRFs) with an integrated approach to interactive multimedia using these new technologies is both viable and necessary in the educational and commercial environments. The design and development of MEDIA-FLEX reflects how advances in technology will create a shift in the emphasis we place in multimedia training and implementation of systems.

Future implications

The full impact of digital technologies won't be felt for a year or two in the multimedia area but when it hits, multimedia will be a zoo of technologies with trained personnel required to operate the equipment. No longer will a good working knowledge of QuickTime be sufficient for multimedia production. It will be performed by those who have a mixture of skills in conventional video production methodologies and computers. Networked multimedia authoring systems will become the norm. The interactive multimedia environment will be the slave.

Author: Don Sforcina, Managing Director, Color Computer Systems P/L, 288 Alexander Drive, Dianella WA 6062. Tel. 09 375 3018

Please cite as: Sforcina, D. (1994). Multimedia resourcing. In C. McBeath and R. Atkinson (Eds), Proceedings of the Second International Interactive Multimedia Symposium, 500. Perth, Western Australia, 23-28 January. Promaco Conventions. http://www.aset.org.au/confs/iims/1994/qz/sforcina.html

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