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Back Next Contents Digital Video for Multimedia: Considerations for Capture, Use and Delivery

Introduction

The power of todayís personal computers, and the recent establishment of the MPC (Multimedia Personal Computer) III standard, have increased the ease of digital video capture and the use of motion video within teaching and learning. Motion video is made up of a series of still frames played at a speed of 25 frames per second. However, although still frame or image capture is now relatively straight forward, motion video capture is more complicated than capturing individual frames and playing them together in a sequence.

Digital video can be divided into two main areas:

  1. That which has been captured/digitised from an analogue video source, e.g. VHS tape, camcorder, live video feed
  2. Animations created entirely in the digital domain, e.g. using software packages such as 3D StudioTM and LightwaveTM

In each case the resulting video may subsequently be viewed in the analogue or digital domain.

There are, of course, many examples of video which combine these two areas. These include television adverts and programs such as Babylon 5, which makes extensive use of Lightwave, films and many CD-ROM programs.

What this Report is About

The work presented here is concerned solely with video from analogue sources and investigates considerations for its capture, use and delivery for multimedia applications. It focuses on the PC (Windows) platform as this reflects our experience. Other platforms will be mentioned where possible. Our investigations are presented in two formats: much of the theoretical information is presented here; other information including examples of digital video files, as indicated in the relevant sections, can be found at the following World Wide Web site: http://www.ets.bris.ac.uk.

The work forms part of the activities of the Multimedia Resources Unit which specialises in the digital capture, storage and network distribution of resources such as still images, video and sound, for use in electronic documents and technology enhanced teaching materials.

The report is divided into a number of sections:

Section 1: Video and learning:

Considerations and suggestions on when to use video as an aid to learning.
In some instances video may not be suitable, or the desired effect may be achieved using alternative techniques that do not place high demands on computer hardware. Some alternatives will be suggested and discussed

Section 2: Digital video: issues and choices

Digital video makes great demands on storage space and memory and there are therefore a considerable number of technical issues that need to be considered before and during the course of capturing digital video. Guidelines and tips for capturing and editing digital video are provided.

Section 3: Digital Video on Trial

A practical examination of the technical issues involved with digital video capture.
A series of video clips has been prepared illustrating the results of using various compression/decompression algorithms and changing other parameters during video capture and preparation.

Section 4: Scenarios

Three examples of the use of digital video and capture techniques within teaching and research.

Section 5: The Future

This section reports on the most recent advances in digital video since the projectís inception
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