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Alex S., CEO of CLICK.NET Web Design
Developing a multimedia CD/DVD

     Creating a multimedia CD/DVD is a complex task. The immense undertaking associated with producing a video, creating animation, designing graphics, or recording narration is compounded because of the hierarchical make-up of this medium.

     A CD/DVD, as of this writing, can hold about 650 MB/4,7 GB of information. This sounds like a lot until you start putting in video, full-colour graphics, and high-quality sound. For example, the amount of video a CD/VD can hold depends upon the size of the video window, the colour depth of the video, the frames per second, and the compression ratio used. Higher-quality video will take up more space than lower-quality video; however, you can get good-quality video in a 320 by 240 pixel window at 15 frames per second. A 30-second piece of video using the above equation combined with other digitizing parameters will take approximately 5,016 KB of space.

Planning

     This is perhaps the most crucial stage of the entire project. Suffice to say, the more effort expended at this point, the better the final product. During this stage, the following needs to be done:

  • analysis of your target; primary and secondary audience (e.g., entry level knowledge required, age, education, computer literacy, disabilities which need to be considered, and the environment where your audience will most likely be using the CD/DVD).
  • analysis of your program content; e.g., what the users need to know versus what is nice to know, what comes first, second, and third.
  • analysis of how best to present the content; e.g., animations, video, text, narration, simulation, and interactivity.
  • analysis of the medium best suited to the content; It may be that a linear video is a more appropriate medium for your content than an interactive CD/DVD.
  • analysis of how the program will be used; e.g., self-study or classroom presentation.
  • analysis of types of computers your audience will have available -- This will have a bearing on the format in which you develop your CD/DVD, that is, Macintosh and/or IBM.
  • talent and technical support needed; e.g., instructional designer, producer, video production crew, actors, graphic artist, and programmer.
  • development of a budget and timelines; A highly interactive CD/DVD can take a year or longer to complete.
  • funding;
  • development of the team; CLICK.NET Web Design has in-house designers, producers, directors, graphic artists, video and audio technicians, and photographers.
  • project timeline; e.g., milestone dates, completion dates.
  • software analysis; e.g., analysis of the most suitable software to develop the final product.

Production

     The design and development process includes flowcharting the macro and micro designs (interactivity), researching for content accuracy, scripting the video, narration and textual information, storyboarding animation and video, designing graphics, auditioning and casting on-camera talent for video segments, shooting the video segments, and designing templates for your computer program.

Research

     It is essential that the content for your CD/DVD is accurate. This stage is important for the script, narrations, graphics, and animations which may be created for the project.

Scripting

     Who writes the script depends upon the content specialist and the type of script being written. If you are creating dialogue or narration for a video, you may want to hire a professional script writer. (This should be kept in mind when the budget is being created.) If the script will be textual information accompanying a diagram on the screen, you may feel comfortable writing it yourself. CLICK.NET Web Desig personnel write and revise scripts for clients. They have also worked successfully with script-writing classes on campus.

     Scripting is one of the areas where the content specialist must spend a lot of time. This is especially important if the CD/DVD contains video segments. If the script isn't accurate, the video won't be accurate. It is much easier and cheaper to change the words on paper than it is to get the actors, crew, and locations together for a re-shoot.

     Checking the accuracy of the script can be tricky if there is a lot of interactivity. The content specialist must take the time to read the complete script for each path, checking for accuracy. Since there may be numerous revisions to a script, it is wise to use the header or footer notation in your word-processing package and date each variation.

Storyboarding

     This is an essential step before shooting video. The storyboard is simply a hand-drawn visualization of every scene that will be shot. It combines the information from the script and flowcharts into a visual hard copy that the director can view during shooting. The storyboard indicates when there will be close-ups, wide-angle shots, long shots, etc. When your flowchart follows multiple paths, a storyboard is critical to help maintain visual and narrative continuity from one scene to the next.

Text

     Using straight textual information is easy in that it is relatively simple to reproduce and place within the program; however, text is difficult to keep concise, informative, and interesting.

Graphics and animation

     Graphics can give the CD/DVD a special feel. They can lighten up a dry topic or illuminate a difficult and complex one. Your graphic artist must know what you are aiming for in your CD/DVD. Your graphic artist must be aware of the pedagogical aspects involved in the CD/DVD.

     Graphics designed and developed in 16-bit, will work well on most machines. Those designed and developed in 32-bit, thousands of colours will not always translate well to lower-end machines (which can only display in 8-bit). The 16-bit graphics also use more memory. This is a consideration as you have a finite amount of space on your CD/DVD.

     Graphics can be scanned, drawn, or captured from your video. They can be revised, manipulated, and improved in graphics programs such as PhotoShop. If you are scanning a graphic, please ensure that you have clearance from the copyright holder. This is especially important if you plan to market your CD/DVD.

Video and narration

     This, like the other components of the CD/DVD, entails a great amount of pre-production detail including research, flowcharts, script, and storyboard. Tasks also include auditions for the actors, casting the parts, rehearsals, scouting for locations, obtaining props, set decoration, costuming, transportation, lighting, and shooting.

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