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Guidelines on Image Capture

Under the Support Initiative for Multimedia Applications (SIMA), two projects were funded under the general heading Report and Guidelines on Image Capture; Evaluation of Image Capture Pathways for Multimedia Applications (University of Aberdeen) and The Use and Capture of Images for Computer Based Learning (University of Bristol).

The first project forms part of an ongoing joint research program by the University of Aberdeen and the Robert Gordon's University investigating the choices of appropriate hardware for image capture in relation to image quality. The report provides guidelines on system specification for image capture for developers of multimedia application in higher education and recognises that the quality of the image source is as important as having suitable hardware if high quality digitised images are needed.

The second project is a continuation of work carried out under the Information Technology Training Initiative (ITTI) for which a report on The Use and Capture of Images for Computer Based Learning has recently been published. The document is divided into two sections. The first section reviews evidence supporting the view that illustrations enhance learning. The second section discusses the issues involved in the capture, manipulation, storage and delivery of photo-realistic images for both analogue and digital systems for use in the creation of computer based learning material.

Under SIMA, this second report will be extended to evaluate a range of image capture cards (primarily for the PC although Apple Macintosh options will be included) and provides recommendations of purchase to the academic community. Advances in multimedia are fast and the technology is rapidly changing especially within the areas of still and moving image capture. Standard still image capture cards such as the range of cards from Truevision and Screen Machine I and II from FAST Electronics, while still available, are being overtaken by the development and introduction of a new range of boards. The new cards tend to provide a number of functions, namely, video capture and playback and graphics acceleration as well as still image capture. The new boards all vary slightly offering different combinations of functionality and various add-ons and options. Currently the majority of new style cards are available for the ISA Bus but over the next three to four months we will see the introduction of many PCI based equivalents as the hardware base for PCI grows. Some companies may also offer VL Bus based cards.

The project is evaluating a number of standard still image capture cards, new style ISA cards and one or two PCI based cards that are currently available. The other sections of the report will be updated and extended to include changes in the technology. Software tools for the automated manipulation of digitised images and optimization of palettes for use of multiple images on 256 colour displays will also be bundled with the report.

Useful references

Robinson, P (1993) The Digitization of Primary Textual Sources Office for Humanities Communication Publications, Oxford. Number 4.

Steele, M, Arnott, M, Williams, D, & Heath, S Evaluation of Image Capture Pathways for Multimedia Application Produced as part of the SIMA project run by the Advisory Group On Computer Graphics (AGOCG).

Williams, PJ (1994) The Use and Capture of Images for Computer Based Learning Material Produced as part of the ITTI Initiative.

For further details on SIMA and to obtain reports please contact:
Dr Anne Mumford
Computing Services
Loughborough University
LE11 3TU

For further details on ITTI products and how to obtain them please contact:
Mrs Jean Burgen
Level Six
University House
S10 2TN

Dr Jane Williams
Multimedia Resources Unit
Educational Technology Service University of Bristol