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Multimedia package integration

In most cases the copyright of the original material should be preserved as much as possible. There does seem to be a focusing of multimedia material on integrating it with the WWW. Figure 4 shows an example of a possible flow of content in developing multimedia. If a WWW page is required the developer can simply use a WWW design package, such as Macromedia Dreamweaver or Microsoft FrontPage. The content, though, may have to be generated by another package such as Adobe Photoshop or Macromedia Flash. In many cases though the content must be protect against copying of the original source, thus pack-ages such as Macromedia Flash and Macromedia Director can be used to protect this against copying. These packages also support enhanced user interaction, and excellent animation facilities. As the diagram shows the designer uses Flash and/or Director to pro-duce SWF or DCR files, respectively. These can then either be integrated in a WWW page, or they can produce a stand-alone package, using Director. Flash is an excellent package in that it allows media to be broken into small parts, which can then be integrated in the whole system. Flash content is often known as a Flash movie. The actual design files for Flash and Director are stored with FLA and DIR extensions, respectively. These files are typically not distributed, and should be kept in a secure way, as they contain much of the original source content.

Figure 4 Multimedia tools (©billatnapier)

Macromedia Flash has many advantages, including:

Scaleable graphics. Flash produces graphics which can be expanded or contracted without losing the definition of the graphics content. It does this by making the content vector based, rather than in a bit-mapped format. Vector graphics are much more scaleable than bit maps.
Streamed content. Flash allows the content to be delivered in required stages. For ex-ample it is possible to transmit the parts of the content which the user requires to see first, and then load the rest in the background.
Timeline-based. Each Flash movie is created along a timeline. This allows events within the animation to be synchronized. This is especially important when audio requires to be synchronized with video/images. This timeline-based system allows different moves to run a different speeds.
Optimized for the WWW. Flash content is highly optimized for producing excellent graphics with the minimum amount of bandwidth required. This is because much of the graphics capabilities is available in the player, which plugs into the browser.
Scripted actions. Flash content can contain actions on the elements of the content, such as mouse over events on graphics, or mouse down events on buttons.