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Multimedia System – Multimedia Authoring

A Multimedia System is a system capable of processing multimedia data and applications. A Multimedia System is characterized by the processing, storage, generation, manipulation and rendition of Multimedia information. A Multimedia system has four basic characteristics:

  • Multimedia systems must be computer controlled.
  • Multimedia systems are integrated.
  • The information they handle must be represented digitally.
  • The interface to the data presentation of media is usually interactive.

Challenges for Multimedia Systems

The key issues multimedia systems need to deal with here are:

  • How to represent and store temporal information.
  • How to strictly maintain the temporal relationships on play back/retrieval
  • What process are involved in the above.
  • Data has to represented digitally/Analog/Digital Conversion, Sampling etc.
  • Large Data Requirements | bandwidth, storage,
  • Data compression is usually mandatory

Desirable Features for a Multimedia System

  • Very High Processing Power
  • Multimedia Capable File System
  • Special Hardware/Software needed
  • Data Representations
  • Efficient and High I/O
  • Special Operating System
  • Storage and Memory
  • Network Support
  • Software Tools

Components of a Multimedia System

Now let us consider the Components (Hardware and Software) required for a multimedia system:

Capture devices – Video Camera, Video Recorder, Audio Microphone, Keyboards, mice, graphics tablets, 3D input devices, tactile sensors, VR devices.

Digitizing Hardware – Storage Devices, Hard disks, CD-ROMs, DVD-ROM, etc.

Communication Networks – Local Networks, Intranets, Internet, Multimedia or other special high speed networks.

Computer Systems – Multimedia Desktop machines, Workstations, MPEG/VIDEO/DSP Hardware, Display Devices, CD-quality speakers, HDTV, SVGA, Hi-Res monitors, Colour printers etc.

  • Multimedia Applications include:
  • World Wide Web
  • Hypermedia course ware
  • Video conferencing
  • Video-on-demand
  • Interactive TV
  • Groupware
  • Home shopping
  • Games
  • Virtual reality
  • Digital video editing and production systems.

Multimedia Authoring

Multimedia authoring is the process of creating multimedia application. During authoring, you might need to organize the elements of your multimedia project, create user interface and designing interactivity. These can be achieved through the use of authoring programs/tools.

Features of Authoring Tools

  • Basic features
  • Editing and organizing features
  • Programming features
  • Interactivity features
  • Performance timing and playback features
  • Cross-platform and internet features


There are 3 types of authoring tools and they are as follows:

  1. Card and page based tools 
  2. Icon based- event driven tools
  3. Time based tools