Module 9. Technical equipment in multimedia projects



Evaluation Criteria:

Recognize the performance of technical equipment in multimedia projects, identifying their specifications and justifying their skills in relation to the requirements of the environment and the needs of the projects.

Evaluative Learning Standards:

1.1. Being able to identify the performance of computer equipment in multimedia projects.

1.2. Being able to recognize the technical and operational features of the applications for image processing, 2D animation, video editing and authorship.

1.3. Being able to justifie the use of certain image, audio and video file formats for cameras, scanners, microphones, audio lines and video players, suitable for multimedia projects.

1.4. Being able to values the needs of users with different degrees of accessibility and the technical requirements of the various means of exploitation and the output options of multimedia applications.


Processors, memory, hard drive, optical recording and playback units, graphics card, display and peripherals.

We enter the last module and the most technical of all. For this section, we will study what we are going to work on and save our multimedia projects. The first case is to analyze the processor and the motherboard of our computer, which will be, on a professional level, on which we will work on the projects. We usually refer to it as the CPU (central processing unit) and it is a huge chip that is the brain of the whole computer, managing everything it can do. It is dedicated to a series of processes or operations, such as reading the instructions (fetch), decoding the data, executing an algorithm or recording internal processes (writing to a word processor, playing a Music or creating a video). Another aspect that we have to be clear about is that of memory. Any fan knows that the best is "the bigger the better", but we already know that it is more important "the faster we access the information, the better. We have two types of RAM memory (the speed with which the information processes the computer will be related to the "short-term memory" or RAM that the motherboard and the processor can have) and the ROM, the memory in which projects are saved. We can have hard drives to save or use drives digital optics to record them.The latter, even being more modern, will eventually fall into disuse in front of the recording on cards or even in cartridges. Then comes what we really can't ignore. A good graphics card with the last or almost the latest available chip and codecs a day is essential for our work. If a project enters our inbox and we are not up to date, we may find that we cannot do the job and lose it. The screens, without being as decisive as in the past, must also conform to the latest standards, both for work and for our comfort and health (visual and ergonomic). Finally, peripherals such as printers to obtain material versions (paper or 3D) and scanners or graphic tablets to insert and enter information into projects (drawings, images or designs created with digital pencils) should be taken into account to perform our graphic works and audiovisual And then we have the smartphones ...

Technical performance of computer equipment for multimedia productions.

In part I have already mentioned it in the previous section. We have to use fast and efficient hardware, with a lot of memory capacity (both memories) and a commendable data refresh rate.

And, on the other hand, the software. An image editor like Photoshop or GIMP, a video processor and various players, converters from one format to another, etc. Each job, in addition, will have a need for what we will use programs (more and more applications are called, confusing them with programs for use in tablets and mobiles), graphic tablets for drawing scanners and 2D and 3D printers. Anyway, you have to keep up with the new stuff.

Performance of storage systems.

Everything we produce should be stored safely and in full capacity. It is less and less advisable to use compressors of any kind when saving work. Then it will be seen. If it is necessary to use it for a DVD or for Internet, it will be essential that the work "weighs" little, but to work we must have the original and the editable elements to the maximum of quality. From the magnetic tapes of the 60s and 90s of the last century to the hard drives of today, an important stretch has been taken. We must also remember that working online with other operators of the same company (producer) that we may require to work "in the cloud", more specifically with systems such as NAS and SAN (no, it is not a joke) that refer Network Attached Storage and Storage Area Network. In both cases, the computers we work on are networked, either internal to the company or on the Internet itself. The difference is that the first covers the storage we have as a physical unit and the second provides a network to which the data is dumped to the server.

Analyzing what interests us, we have to take into account the storage capacity (as much as possible, within the needs of the project), the performance (so that a performance consumption raised by the mere fact that there is no need is necessary many peripherals and CPUs connected), reliability (being able to access the data whenever needed), recoverability (so that when the storage devices are damaged, it is possible to recover the data) and, the one that seems most important to me during the Work sessions, access and speed when having the data at our disposal.

Benefits of scanners, printers and graphic tablets.

The scanner is a device that collects information in 2D and 3D and then create a digital copy to work with. In the case of 2D it is as simple as a photocopier and offers us a digital document that is the copy of what you have photographed line by line. Now we have Apps that use mobile photography to create fantastic JPG reproductions of what is captured. Normally, they are, in any case, office peripherals in which we photocopy the images on paper that we want to work or keep. The 3D scanner is much more complex. It can be done with a lot of mini cameras inside a cubicle in which we place the object and with it, the computer manages to have all the data it needs to create the 3D version of the object or person. Remember the animations of the first long Disney movies, in which actors were recorded and then have those frames as a reference for animation. Nowadays it is possible to create 3D images without molding (for example for animation) with plans, in the same way that an architect would work. The next peripherals we have to study are printers. Again they can be 2D or 3D. The 2D case is already analyzed when we work with the RGB (monitor) and CMYK (printer) formats. 3D printing uses a plastic powder that cakes and is projected according to the plane of the computer. Finally, graphics cards are devices in which with a stylus on a sensitive surface (either the table or the monitor) we can draw and provide the data for the computer to work with them. It is not different from the computer mouse, but the ease of drawing is exponential. One thing off topic. You have already heard me say a lot of times that "a paper does not exist until we photograph it." I always tell you so that you have a copy of what is given to you and that if you lose the paper nothing happens. For your multimedia productions it is the same; Do not forget to make copies. A file that is only saved on one device does not exist until you have copies in other formats and other devices. Don't forget the recoverability ...

Performance of computer applications for multimedia.

The software used to work the images, the video and the audio will determine the quality of our work. Be it a program or an application (which, in the end, is more or less the same), we have to think about its characteristics. For starters and what seems worse to me is the compatibility. In many places you will see that you work with MAC and Photoshop, when you could do the same with a PC with Linux and with GIMP. The producer's need is that workers have been trained in the former and rarely in the latter. Also, and that must be denounced, it is pure snobbery by some. Anyway. For the rest, what you want to get out of the editing software must meet standards so as not to encounter difficulties that throw your work on the ground.

That said, I encourage you not to stop, if it is your way, to try to create the software for your productions. Thus began all the pioneers of 3D animation and today they are the leading companies in the sector.

Image, audio and video file formats suitable for multimedia projects.

This was already discussed in the fourth block, but we will remember the standards. For image, JPG is a compressed format, but almost the only one that many photographers offer as an edited final product. For audio WAV or MP3 (without compression and with compression). For AVI and MP4 video (again, without compression or with compression).

Characteristics of the destination media that condition the technical options of the project: screen sizes, audio and video conditions and requirements for use and accessibility.

We also saw them in previous blocks. It is a conditioner for our work. For example, this web page is edited to be viewed in 4: 3 when I am writing it in a 16: 9. I know that it is adjusted by HTML and CSS to almost any format, but I also know that in the institute we don't have many large monitors, so I prefer to have a good version in the smaller format, knowing that it will look somewhat worse in The largest. The problem will be if, in the case of a multimedia production, we opt for the most technologically advanced version when potential customers do not have such equipment. It is a commitment that we must take, despite creating works of less technical capacity. In the case of audio and music, the problem is even greater. You see, in the 80s the commercial digital audio for home equipment appeared. When the MP3 appeared in the 90s it was like a substitute that could be put into low capacity equipment (the first mobile phones with memory and iPods or MP3 players). It seemed a standard for solving a problem and that little less would disappear when the storage capacity (and transmission via the Internet) grew. The consumer did not react as expected and preferred to have more songs on the same device than fewer songs and more quality. Therefore, we must consider how our music recordings sound in MP3, because, although we have equipment that cost thousands of euros in the recording studio, our customers may listen to the music on their mobile, with in-ear headphones. Anyway. The same goes for audiovisual works, mainly what is sold on Blu-ray and DVD, regardless of whether they are formats that are practically dying in front of the streaming access offered by platforms such as Netflix or Yomvi. In all cases there is compression, so we need to be compatible with codecs and that we are up to date with all types of formats used. The important thing is always that our works are accessible to its public and our customers and be willing to change the business model whenever we see that we are not in the way that potential customers use. Everything will change a lot and it is not acceptable to stay in less fertile models. I finish by thanking you for everything and hoping that we could take the first steps in audiovisual production in the best possible way. See you guys!

Versión en Castellano