Multimedia Foundations: Core Concepts for Digital Design

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Understand the core concepts and skills of multimedia production and digital storytelling using text, graphics, photographs, sound, motion, and video. Then, put it all together using the skills that you have developed for effective project planning, collaboration, visual communication, and graphic design. Presented in full color with hundreds of vibrant illustrations, Multimedia Foundations trains you in the principles and skill sets common to all forms of digital media production, enabling you to create successful, engaging content, no matter what tools you are using.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780240813943
  • Publisher: Taylor & Francis
  • Publication date: 4/3/2012
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 456
  • Sales rank: 491,340
  • Product dimensions: 7.50 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Dr. Vic Costello is an Associate Professor in the School of Communications at Elon University, where he has taught numerous courses in multimedia production since 2001. He has worked in broadcast management, corporate communications, and as a freelance technical director, video producer, and creative consultant for live-events, and awards shows. Dr. Costello is a long-standing member of the Broadcast Education Association (BEA) and has served as both Producer and Chair of the BEA Festival of Media Arts.
Norman Youngblood has been teaching courses on web design and interactive media since 2001 and has a background in information technology. He is an assistant professor in the Department of Communication & Journalism at Auburn University and the co-director and co-founder of a new university usability and communication research laboratory.
Susan A. Youngblood teaches both graduate and undergraduate web development at Auburn University's Department of English in the Master of Technical and Professional Communication (MTPC) program. Her classes emphasize research-based best practices for design, accessibility, and usability testing. She helped plan the layout of Auburn's Instruction in Design, Evaluation, and Assessment (IDEA) lab-used mostly for teaching usability testing-and consulted on the installation of Auburn's new research-oriented usability and focus-group lab. She teaches students to be advocates not only for end users but also for their colleagues and clients who have to maintain the sites that they create. Susan's research interests include competing communication needs in online environments, usability, and web accessibility. Her work has appeared in Journal of Business and Technical Communication, Journal of Technical Writing and Communication, and in the edited collection Handbook of Research on Virtual Workplaces and the New Nature of Business Practices, edited by Pavel Zemliansky and Kirk St. Amant.

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Read an Excerpt

Multimedia Foundations

Core Concepts for Digital Design
By Vic Costello Susan A. Youngblood Norman E. Youngblood

Focal Press

Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Inc.
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-0-240-81395-0

Chapter One

Understanding Multimedia

We become what we behold. We shape our tools and then our tools shape us. —Marshall McLuhan, Communication Theorist

The digital revolution is far more significant than the invention of writing or even of printing. —Douglas Engelbart, Inventor of the Computer Mouse

Chapter Highlights

This chapter examines:

* Multimedia as an extension of traditional media industries and practices

* The five elements of a multimedia experience

* Three characteristics of old media

* The new media paradigm shift

* Five principles of new media in a digital age


In 1953, legendary comedian Andy Griffith recorded a monologue about a country preacher's trip to a college town during a home football game. In this fictional tale, the preacher has traveled to the "big city" to conduct a tent meeting, but his plans are interrupted when he is unexpectedly caught up by a frenzied crowd as they make their way to a football stadium on game day. What follows is a hilarious first-person account about the culture and sport of football as witnessed through the eyes of someone who has never seen or played the game. With a limited vocabulary and frame of reference, he begins to describe the events around him using the only terms he understands. He refers to referees as convicts because of their striped uniforms. The football is called a pumpkin. And the playing surface is compared to a cow pasture that players enter through a "great big outhouse" on either end of the field. The skit, titled "What it Was, Was Football," launched Griffith's professional career, leading to a guest appearance on the Ed Sullivan show in 1954. The live radio recording remains a cult classic and is one of the biggest selling comedy recordings of all time.

At one time or another, all of us have been caught by surprise by a new experience or trend that sneaks up on us at lightning speed, challenging old ways and habits and leaving us scratching our heads in bewilderment. The country preacher's first game of football reminds me of the challenge my mother must have experienced as she learned to send an email message or open a file attachment for the very first time. She was born in the 1930s, and spent most of her life relying on pen, paper, and the U.S. postal system for sending and receiving correspondence. To her, this newfangled thing called email must have seemed like a strange and foreign idea. Perhaps you can think of a friend, grandparent, or child who has struggled finding the right words to describe social networking, online shopping, or surfing the Web. How does someone raised in the 1950s come to understand the World Wide Web? How does someone raised in the 1970s adapt to Facebook, Twitter, WordPress, and other social media channels?

For some of you, engaging in a formal study of multimedia will resemble the country preacher's first time at a football game. The landscape will appear strange and foreign to you at first, as you struggle for meaning in a sea of unfamiliar objects and ideas—even though you've probably spent plenty of time online. In time, a sense of comfort and familiarity will set in as you catch a glimpse of the big picture and develop a grasp of some fundamental concepts and rules. To begin, let's take a peek at something that you are probably very familiar with that may serve as a common reference point for understanding multimedia.

Social Media

Social media is a broad term used to describe a growing host of tools and services that enable computer-mediated interpersonal, group, and mass communication (see Figure 1.1). Social media can be broken down into many different categories of services as related to their general purpose and focus. A few of the most popular channels are included below.

* Social networking sites such as Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, etc., connect people with common interests, backgrounds, and associations. Such services provide numerous opportunities for synchronous and asynchronous communication through features such as live chatting, email, message board posting, event announcements, image galleries, embedded video, etc.

* Blogging engines such as Blogger and WordPress provide users with an online publishing tool for the regular posting of written stories or narrative commentaries. The term blog is a blended form of the phrase "web log." Blogs often focus on a particular subject or offer news and insight from a specific point of view. They also can serve as a public space for personal reflections, such as you might find in a diary or travel journal. Celebrities, media practitioners, and organizations (journalists, critics, actors, singers, authors, public relations firms, etc.) use blogs for interacting with fans, consumers, or the general public. Video blogging or vlogging (pronounced V-logging) is a hybrid form of blogging that uses video in place of a written narrative. Vlogs typically feature a headshot of the individual as he or she communicates directly to the audience through a webcam attached to a personal computer. Microblogging is a variation of the blogging concept that limits communication to short strings of text or video. Microblogging services such as Tumblr and Twitter integrate the text-messaging capabilities of mobile technologies such as the cell phone with the enhanced distribution channels of the Web and mobile apps.

* A wiki is a tool that allows users to collaboratively create and edit documents and web pages online. Wikipedia, an online encyclopedic resource founded in 2001, is one of the most popular wikis. Entries in the Wikipedia database are posted and compiled interactively by a community of volunteers from around the world. Wikipedia is based on the MediaWiki platform. Like many of the wiki platforms, MediaWiki is free.

* Content sharing sites enable the exchange of various forms of multimedia content. Commercial photo sharing services such as Flickr and Shutterfly allow users to order photographic prints, albums, cards, and other products from content uploaded by family members and friends. Video sharing tools such as YouTube and Vimeo allow users to upload video content for potential distribution to a mass audience. Other services enable users to share music, audio resources, music playlists, and channels (as with the integration of Pandora Radio's online music service into Facebook and Twitter).

* Social bookmarking services (such as Delicious) and news aggregators (such as Digg) allow users to rate and share the most popular sites and news articles on the Web.


The word media means "ways of transmission" and encompasses all of the various technologies we use to record information and transmit it to others. For example, videotape is a recording medium (singular) used for storing moving images and sound onto the physical surface of a magnetic strip. Television broadcasting and DVD (digital versatile disc) are transmission media (plural) used to deliver a video recording or live event to an audience. Likewise, printing is a medium whereby ideas are encoded as letterforms in ink onto the surface of a page, while books, newspapers, and magazines are the distribution channels or media through which intellectual content is delivered to a reader.

A medium can be thought of as a pathway or channel through which ideas, information, and meaning flow as they travel from one place or person to another. Every medium has a native form and structure through which it delivers content. A sound recording produces pressure waves that can be understood aurally through the organs of hearing. A book transmits ideas with text and still pictures. Video and film convey stories through moving images and sound. Traditional media products such as these have a physical structure that is rigid and fixed and cannot be easily modified or adapted by the user or content producer.

For more than twenty years, the Web has been the centerpiece of multimedia culture. And for many people today, it still is. However, the Web's longstanding monopoly status as the dominant distribution platform for multimedia content is being challenged by newer technologies. While the web browser remains a popular gateway to the multimedia experience, more and more, users are producing and consuming multimedia content through a growing cadre of "smart" devices and mobile media apps. Smart phones, smart TVs, tablet computers, gaming consoles, and similar devices are being touted as "multimedia-enabled" by virtue of their ability to rapidly access nearly any form of media content from within the Cloud or on the Web, through wireless or 3G/4G cellular connections (see Figure 1.4).

Understanding Multimedia

Today, much of the media content we consume is available in a variety of formats, intended to serve multiple purposes and audiences. For example, a book usually starts out as a print-only product. However, if the market demand is large enough, it may also be published in a spoken-word format and delivered via compact disc or MP3. With the right equipment, you can avoid paper altogether by downloading the e-book, a digital version of the text designed for reading on a computer screen or a handheld device such as the Kindle or iPad. The website for a bestseller may offer bonus material or value-added content to online users through a gamut of multimedia channels—featuring audio excerpts, video interviews, background stories, pictures, and more (see Figure 1.5). With such a vast sea of information and social networking potential, you can easily imagine many of the other possibilities that exist. The opportunities for shaping content to meet the diverse needs and habits of different user groups are numerous, and they are changing rapidly, as the culture of multimedia continues to grow and permeate nearly every aspect of our personal and professional lives.

Multimedia is the grand culmination of many ideas rooted in the centuries-old traditions of human communication and content production. In one sense, the meaning of all that we have ever known about the communication process, mass media, and social interaction reaches its apex in multimedia, encompassing anything and everything having to do with the multisensory exchange of information and stories within a culture. Yet, in another way, the constant influx of bleeding-edge technologies means that there is always something new to discover or learn. Old habits, processes, and workflows need to be reexamined and modified from time to time as the tools of media production, distribution, and presentation change. That said, many of the established rules and conventions used in the design process rarely lose their relevance. Good design is still good design regardless of changes made to multimedia software and delivery platforms. Understanding multimedia requires bridging the past with the present while maintaining an ever-present eye on the horizon. The second you think you have it all figured out, something is sure to change.

Evolving Media Industries

Traditional media are often defined as a set of monolithic industries with discrete practices and workflows that are proprietary to specific segments of the creative workforce. Journalists work with paper, ink, and words; photographers are the masters of communicating through the still image; graphic designers create visual illustrations and page layouts; and video producers, sound engineers, and filmmakers are the primary producers of time-based media content. This is no longer "exclusively" the case. Today, a growing number of photographers routinely shoot and edit their own video stories; graphic designers are busy retraining as web designers in order to retain a job or advance in a career; video and film have become nearly synonymous terms, having been unified (at least in part) through significant advancements in digital imaging and editing technologies; and journalists are fighting for survival as traditional products of the information age, such as the newspaper, are growing less viable in a digital marketplace driven by instant access, free content, and mobile delivery. More than ever before, media professionals are crossing historic lines that have previously defined who they are and how they produce and deliver content to consumers. What lies on the other side can be exciting or scary, depending on your point of view and ability to adapt rapidly to change.


Excerpted from Multimedia Foundations by Vic Costello Susan A. Youngblood Norman E. Youngblood Copyright © 2012 by Elsevier Inc.. Excerpted by permission of Focal Press. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Table of Contents

Section I Multimedia Foundations
Chapter 1 Understanding Multimedia
Key Terms
Chapter Highlights
What It Is.Is Multimedia!
Social Media
Defining Multimedia
Great Ideas: Using Metaphors
Great Ideas: Multimedia
Tech Talk: Hypermedia
Understanding Multimedia
Flashback: Three Generations of the Web
Evolving Media Industries
Flashback: Flashback
From Old Media to New Media
The Characteristics of Old Media
Flashback: Paradigm Shift
Large Organizations
Simultaneous Delivery
Characteristics of New Media
Five Principles of New Media
Tech Talk: Algorithm
Tech Talk: Bits: The Common Denominator
Tech Talk: Batch Processing
Tech Talk: Rendering
Chapter Summary

Chapter 2 The Computer
The Digital Revolution
Great Ideas: Communication with Binary Numbers
From Bits to Bites
History of the Personal Computer
Computer Hardware and Software
Computer Hardware Basics
Processor Speed
Flashback: Moore's Law
System Memory
The Human Interface
The Mouse and the GUI
The Keyboard
Saving and Managing Digital Files and Project Assets
Tech Talk: Mastering the File System Browser
Tech Talk: File Management 101
Digital Storage Solutions
Tech Talk: Backing Up Your Data
Great Ideas: Cloud Storage
Connecting Drives and Devices
Chapter Summary

Chapter 3 Planning and Design
Key Terms
Chapter Highlights
A Road Map
Great Ideas: Target Market and Target Audiences
The Three P's
Great Ideas: Intellectual Property
The Client and Producer
Great Ideas: Thinking Outside the Box
The Design Process
Chapter Summary

Section II Multimedia Design
Chapter 4 Visual Communication
Key Terms
Chapter Highlights
Visual Communication
Content and Form
Flashback: The Medium is the Message
Elements of Design
Tech Talk: Halftone Image
Tech Talk: Vertigo and 3-D
The Principles of Design
Perceptual Forces
Tech Talk: Rule of Thirds
Chapter Summary

Chapter 5 Multimedia Page Design
Key Terms
Chapter Highlights
Organizing Content on a Page
The Gutenberg Diagram
Breaking Out of the Box
Great Ideas: Visual Hierarchy
Chunking Body Copy
Great Ideas: The Golden Ratio
Bringing Order to Chaos
The Grid System
Tech Talk: The Anatomy of a Grid
Tech Talk: Inline and Floating Graphics
Tech Talk: The CSS Box Model
Page Templates
Static and Dynamic Pages
Fixed Layouts
Television Screen Layouts
Fluid Layouts
Chapter Summary

Chapter 6 Interface Design and Usability
Key Terms
Chapter Highlights
User Interfaces
Types of User Interfaces
Tech Talk: Motion Tracking Interfaces
User-Centered Design (UCD)
Designing User Interfaces
Components and Features
Great Ideas: Above the Fold Layout
Error Management
Will Usability Kill Creativity
Usability Testing
Making Interfaces Accessible
Great Ideas: Accessibility and the Law
Great Ideas: Accessibility and Usability

Chapter Summary

Chapter 7 Web Design
Key Terms
Chapter Highlights
How the Web Works
Flashback: A Brief History of the Internet and World Wide Web
Tech Talk: Sections of an HTML Document
Tech Talk: HTML Head Content
Tech Talk: Special Characters
Planning Site Structure and Navigation
Defining a Site and the "Root Folder”
Great Ideas: File Naming Conventions
Establishing a Hierarchy
Page Design and Layout
Ensuring Site Usability
Beginning Your Page: Structure and Title
Marking Up Your Content
Paragraphs and Blockquotes
Creating and Managing Hyperlinks
Tech Talk: Creating an Email Link
Linking Images and Adding Image Information
Creating Tables
Tech Talk: Controlling a Table's Appearance
Controlling Appearance: Cascading Style Sheets
Characteristics of Appearance
Background and Text Colors
Tech Talk: Background Images
Font Type and Style
Font Sizes
Link Characteristics
Tech Talk: Buttons and Javascript
Interactive and Multimedia Web Content
Checking Your Code and Compatibility
Uploading the Site to the Server
Chapter Summary

Section III Static Media
Chapter 8 Graphics
Key Terms
Chapter Highlights
Graphics and Images
Digital Imaging
Raster Images
Tech Talk: Color Space
Tech Talk: Compression
Vector Graphics
Display Screen Standards
Aspect Ratio
Image Rendering
Great Ideas: The Illusion of Apparent Movement
Television Standards
Flashback: The Legacy of Analog Television
Digital Television
Chapter Summary

Chapter 9 Text
Key Terms
Chapter Highlights
An Introduction to Typography
Legibility and Readability
Characteristics that Define Typefaces
Stroke, Contrast, and Stress
Weight: Regular, Boldface, and Light
Posture: Roman, Oblique, and Italic
Proportions and Letterform Parts
Categorizing Typefaces
Serif Typefaces
Sans-Serif Typefaces
Decorative Typefaces
Script Typefaces
Symbol Typefaces and Special Characters
Tech Talk: Category Characteristics
Computers and Typefaces
Great Ideas: Adding to Your Typeface Collection
Additional Text Attributes
Font Styles: True and Faux
Italics and Boldface for Emphasis
Condensed or Expanded Type
All Caps and Small Caps
Underline and Strikethrough
Font Size
Font Color
Baseline Shift
Tech Talk: Font Management
Character and Line Spacing
Kerning and Tracking
Alignment, Justification, and Distribution
Font Transformations
Some Final Tips
Limit the Number of Typefaces
Text First, Type Second
Tech Talk: Designing Text for Screen Display
Designing the Text for Screen Display
Less is More
Chapter Summary

Chapter 10 Photography
Key Terms
Chapter Highlights
Consumer Cameras
Prosumer and Professional Cameras
Video Cameras
The Imaging Chain
The Lens
Tech Talk: Focal Length and Angle of View
Tech Talk: Optical Versus Digital Zoom
The Iris
The Shutter
Great Ideas: The Image Sensor
Flashback: The Decisive Moment - by Chris Walker

Measuring Light Intensity
Great Ideas: Flash Control
White Balance
Autofocus (AF)
Manual Focus (MF)
Great Ideas: Selective Focus
Depth of Field
Aperture Size
Focal Length
Subject/Camera Distance
Exposure Modes
Automatic Modes
Tech Talk: Stitching Mode
Semi-Automatic Modes
Manual Mode
Image Stabilization
Great Ideas: Memory Cards
Downloading Images
Digital Image Management
Tech Talk: Metadata
Chapter Summary

Section IV Time-Based Media
Chapter 11 Audio Production

Key Terms
Chapter Highlights
Sound and Audio
What is Sound?
Great Ideas: Characteristics of a Sound Wave
Tech Talk: Dynamic Range
Great Ideas: Equalization
Digital Audio Sampling
Pulse-Code Modulation
Flashback: Industry Standards
Codecs and Container Formats
Sound Recording
Tech Talk: The Proximity Effect
Great Ideas: Four Reasons for Using a Professional Grade External Microphone
Balanced Audio Connectors
XLR Connectors
Unbalanced Audio Connectors
TS and TRS Connectors
RCA Connectors
Cable Management 101
Great Ideas: The Over-Under Wrap
Audio Monitoring
Audio Metering (objective monitoring)
Listening (subjective monitoring)
Chapter Summary

Chapter 12 Sound and Video Recording
Key Terms
Chapter Highlights
Motion Picture Film Recording
Magnetic Recording
Great Ideas: Helical Scanning
Tech Talk: Tape Recording Basics: Track Pitch and Speed
Professional Videotape Formats
Analog Tape Formats
Tech Talk: Composite Versus Component Color Processing
Digital Tape Formats
High-Definition Tape Formats
Flashback: DV: The Blue Book Standard
DV Formats
Two Types of Video Compression
Tech Talk: Color Sampling
Consumer Formats
Betamax and VHS
Tech Talk: Optical Disc Formats
File-Base Recording Formats
Tech Talk: Container Formats
Open Standards for File-Base Recording Formats
Tech Talk: Intermediate Formats
Proprietary Standards for File-Base Recording
Tech Talk: Recording Variables in AVCHD
Chapter Summary

Chapter 13 Time-Based Editing
Key Terms
Chapter Highlights
Nonlinear Editing
The Building Blocks of an Edited Sequence
Great Ideas: The Stand-Up
Great Ideas: Designing Graphics for Television
Continuity Editing
Tech Talk: Cutting-on-Action
The Project Folder
The Project File
Media Files and Media Clips
Flashback: NLE Pioneers
Components of an NLE Interface
Project Window
The Timeline
The Preview and Program Monitors
Great Ideas: NLE Keyboard Shortcuts
Adding Clips to the Timeline
A Simple Editing Scenario
Chapter Summary


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