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Spring 2009

In This Edition



buttonOther Notes

buttonWho Created These Media Formats?

buttonPowerPoint and Keynote Revisited




Attention All High School Students Get Ready for . . .

High school students—get ready the show your portfolio to reps from many of the colleges and universities on the eastern slope. If you are considering futhering your education in ART, GAME DEVELOPMENT, GRAPHICS ARTS, INTERIOR DESIGN, MULTIMEDIA, PHOTOGRAPHY, VIDEO PRODUCTION, or WEB DESIGN, you should consider attending. The 2nd Annual All Jeffco PORTFOLIO REVEIW DAY, sponcored by WarrenTech, wil be Tuesday, March 3, 9:00 am til 3:00 pm in the Founders Room. Contact your teacher for more information.


With each edition of the Multimedia Resource Center's Newsletter, we will provide teaching / learning resources. These will be on the web site but are noted in this publication to give them more attention.

Free FLV Downloader
Video DownloadHelper

Kigo Video Converter
Apple iMovie HD 6


Google Video

NPR Podcast

For much more information and list of podcast libraries that could be used in your class- room please go to Creating Podcast


Other Notes

iMovie 08 revisited

[iMovie 08]

I have long been a critic of iMovie 08. I have pointed to its many short comings in comparison to iMovie 06, which, in my opinion, is a much stronger application. (see: "iLife 8"—a real step backwards!) However, I have finally found two features that make iMovie 08 worth keeping on your computer.

I recently video taped ,in HD, a speaker at our school. This was to be a quick podcast which was to be placed on the school's web site. Since there was to be little or no editing, I wanted to record directly to a computer saving all the import time. I tried with FinalCut Pro, FinalCut Express and iMovie 06 to no avail. Finally, in desperation, I tried with iMovie 08. To my surprise, it worked instantly.

When I viewed the footage, I realize that the speaker moved from a darker area to a more lit area and the exposure varied greatly. I knew that there had to be some corrections. I discovered another great feature, iMovie 08 has a exposure/color corrector. I was able to finish the project in about half as much time.

If you would like to produce a quick HD podcast of a lecture, a lab, a workshop, a concert or any other event at your school, I would suggest that you use iMovie 08. Record directly to the computer's hard drive, make slight corrections and publish the podcast.

I would still give Apple, Inc. this advise for creating iMovie 10. Take the best features from iMovie 06—the time line; the clips, themes, media, editing and chapters; the open source ability to use third party plug-ins and the ability of import and edit Flash video —add these features from iMovie 08—the HD importing and editing; the direct to computer HD import and the exposure and color corrector —and voila, the best free video editor. Come to think of it, with a few changes and additions this could make an outstanding new FinalCut Express.

I haven't had the chance to use and experiment with the newly released iMovie 9, but I will report on it soon

Slide Share

[Slide Share]

"So I followed your directions, created some fantastic slide shows. After I use them in my classroom, what do I do, delete them," you ask?

Why not share them. You could offer your presentation to other teachers in your building. You might place in on a school server and offer it to other instructors in the district. If you would like to put it before a larger audience put it on SlideShare.

SlideShare is a web based library and repository of literay thousands of slide shows on nearly every subjects. Members (membership is free) may upload or download shows at any time. It also has some outstanding pictures in slide shows which can be downloaded to really add interest to your presentations.

Jing Project

[Jing Project]

If you would like to create a lecture which includes a demonstration of work on a computer, use Jing. This little free software allows you to take still images of the computer screen and you may also record videos of screen actions. These may be embedded into a web page or shared by email. After the video is converted (see: the conversion section of the PowerPoint and Keynote Revisited) it may be used in a present- ation.


Multimedia Resource Center
E-Notes. . . . .Spring 2009

This is the Multimedia Resource Center E-notes. E-notes will be published twice yearly, one in the Fall semester and the other in the Spring semester. If you would like to contribute materials or projects to either this newsletter or to the web site, go toSubmission and follow the directions. It is hoped that you enjoy reading this issue. Back issues of the Multimedia Resource Center E-Notes newsletter will be placed on the Multimedia Resource Center Web site.


[Creative Commons Copyright] 2006-2009
Ron Bruner of the Multimedia Resource Center. All rights reserved.

Who Created These Media Formats?

[Media image]   Who created all these absurd, weird, and, for the most part, completely use- less media formats? Why are we still forced to deal with them? And most of all, how many media players and/or file converters will I need to use the media, anyway? Or better yet, rather than start this editorial with all these insane question, it might be better to start with an example.

Not long ago, I was creating an electronic slide presentation. I had found the perfect video to support a point that I wanted to make to my class. Just as I was about to embed the video, however, I realized it was in a RealMedia format, and neither PowerPoint nor Keynote will embed or show RealMedia. After some time converting, and converting and converting again, I had a format that would work, so I embedded the video. The video was yuck! During the conversion, this piece degraded so badly that it was not worth using. What a waste of my time! This is just one of many problems with the multitude of media formats. Let's take a closer look at all of these formats and some of their inherent problems.

Let's take a closer look at the multitude of media formats. First, we'll place them into definable categories. The first might be called Vanity or an Elitist media formats. This includes Ogg Vorbis, Theora, and all of the Matroska container system. These seem to be created by antiestablishment rebel hackers who want to totally by-pass any commercial software producers—in other words, they want to "Stick it to the Man." To use these formats, you must find their buggy, herkey-jerky open-source programs and learn their impossible command line to decode or encode their files. So during a black moonless night, you visit a dark, backroom web site, sign up to become a member, learn the secret hand shake and download their strange glow-in-the-dark software. To complete this process, you must also purchase a poorly designed and badly produced tee-shirt with the slogan, "Kiss Me I'm a Rebel Hacker." These people should have been around during the '60s so that they could really understand antiestablishment activities .

Another category is the Proprietary media formats. These were created by computer corporations and/or large software companies to maintain their concentrated control of media and, there by, control their end users. Microsoft is the undisputed leader in creating pointless, useless and low quality media formats such as WMA (Windows Media Audio) and WMV (Windows Media Video). Apple is doing somewhat better by fazing out the MOV video packages, however, the iPod still uses the ALC audio format which can only be played by iTunes. Add streaming media to the proprietary mix and that creates another bastion of a useless format—RealMedia. For those who use RealMedia, I have a question, "Why anyone would use a audio or file format of worse quality than WMA or WMV?"

DRM media format is the next category. This is a feeble attempt by the entertainment industry or by software companies to create copyright protection which eliminates "purchasing" in favor of "licensing." In other words, you own nothing—you just pay for the privilege of using their materials. The word attempt is used here because for every new DRM, there is a new garage software company who creates a $29.95 converting or work around application to eliminate or by-pass the DRM. As for software, there is always a new list of key codes—which are usually free on the internet—that will allow a user to install new copies of the programs on any other computer.

The last category is the electronic text (eBooks) media format. Presently, there are fifteen major readers and numerous minor readers for text which has been converted to electronic form. Microsoft has a proprietary .lit format and, as usual, they produce no reader for anything other than Mivcrosoft Word on the PC. Here's a posting from the Microsoft Reader FAQ:

Question: "Will there be versions of Microsoft Reader for the Macintosh, Palm, or Linux operating systems?

Answer: "We have not announced plans to develop versions of Microsoft Reader for other platforms at this time."

So, what should media formats be, anyway?

Media formats should be standardized—the key is standard which means it is agreed on as a file format across the industry. MP3 should be the lossy audio format and FLAC is the lossless format. MPEG 4 should be the video format. It is a very flexible container with H.264 as a lower quality web downloadable podcast and ACC+ for high end broadcast quality video. FLV (Flash video) is the format for non-downloadable web videos. Its small file size and built-in player makes it easy to use even with networks and/or internet connections of narrow band widths. For text or eBooks, Adobe's PDF is the only choice.

Media should be easy to produce. This is another major reason for standardization—less file formats means fewer saving codecs. Many applications including Apple iMovie 8, FinalCut Express, FinalCut Pro, Avid Media Composer, Adobe Adobe Premiere Pro and AfterEffects save media as MPEG 4. Adobe Premiere Pro and AfterEffects save media as SWF (Shockwave File) and/or FLV. None of these programs, however, will import. open or edit either MPEG 4 or FLV. Oddly enough, Apple iMovie HD 6 will import FLV files which can be edited and converted to other file format.

When speaking about using FLAC as the lossless audio standard, I usually hear these some questions, "Why not use WAV or AIFF? Aren't they high quality lossless audio files?" They are high quality, lossless audio files, but WAV is really owned by Microsoft while AIFF was co-created by Apple and either company would want their "pound of flesh" for the use of their file format. If either company would waive their rights for the use of their audio format, either would be acceptable, however, FLAC is already totally free!

If there is any question about the PDF standard. Go to gx Graphics Resources for Creative Minds, download any of the archives. Play this PDF with Adobe Reader. This should answer any questions.

Media should be cross platform. The World Wide Web went a long way in creating cross platform images. There have been a few glitches, but a jpeg or a png viewed in a browser on the PC and the same jpeg or png seen in a browser on a Mac look very much the same. There is no reason why the major computer companies cannot create operating systems in which media on one system, without the use of a multitude of special players and converters, should look and play the same on any other system.

Media should be easy to use. Here is a simple statement to computer coorporations and software manufactures—If you want people to use your media assets, you need to make them easy to use!

Now, you are probably asking, "Why did you even take the time to write this editorial, nobody is going to listen, anyway?" Well, if enough people begin to push this ideal, things will change. So do me a favor, send this newsletter to your favorite computer or software company. Forward it to friends and have them send it too.Tell the large coorperations that you want all-knowing, all-working, all-compatible electronic digital media formats, alright? Be a rebel, help start the revolution!


Shortly after I finished this editorial, I read a one paragraph article that appeared in MacWorld December 2008 edition entitled, "One File that Plays Anywhere. " Dan Moren reports that Microsoft, Sony, Intel and numerous other smaller media companies are forming a consortium to create a standard video format which will play on any platform. Oddly enough, Apple, Inc., Sun MicroSystem and many other major players were not invited to join the group. In my opinion, this is doomed to failure before it starts. It is nothing more than another game by Microsoft to continue or start a new proprietary media format. If things are to change, we'll have to force the change. So again, be a rebel. help start the revolution!!!

PowerPoint and Keynote Revisited

[Microsoft PowerPoint Logo]

In keeping with the theme of this newsletter, I thought I would revisit the two major electronic slide programs—Microsoft PowerPoint and Apple Keynote. Although the business community has used these programs for some years, education is just beginning to really fully explore the electronic slide as a delivery system for instructional information. Education departments in colleges and universities are offering courses in media production and they all begin with PowerPoint. More and more, administrators, workshop facilitators and many instructors are using the electronic slide to present their materials. There is a large amount of information, resources and linkson slide production at Electronic Slide Presentation, but in this article, I shall limit it to the use of video and sound in presentations.

Here is the chart of video and audio formats that each of the programs will embedded or link natively.




PowerPoint (PC)

Audio Video Interleave (AVI)
Windows Media/Video
Movie-(if installed),
M1V, M2V

Audio Interchange File Format (AIFF)
AU Audio

PowerPoint (Mac)

Audio Video Interleave (AVI)
M1V, M2V

Audio Interchange File Format (AIFF)
AU Audio

Keynote (Mac)

Audio Video Interleave (AVI)
MP4, M1V, M2V, M4V

Audio Interchange File Format (AIFF)
AU Audio

[Apple Keynote Logo]    Notice that none of the programs embed RealMedia or Flash video (FLV). PowerPoint (PC) does allow for linking to a web address which can play FLVs, if the computer is connected to the internet! (see: Embed YouTube Video into PowerPoint). PowerPoint (Mac) will not play FLVs. Only Keynote (Mac) will play MP4 and/or M4V. Without conversion, podcasts cannot be used in PowerPoint. PowerPoint (Mac) will not play any WM files and the PC version will only plays Quicktime 1 and 2 which is hopelessly out of date.

Here are more considerations for high quality, more universal usage of video and audio files. You should either download, rip a DVD, video tape, or record audio and video to have a copy of the files, rather than link to a file on the internet or connect to a file on CD or DVD. Any problem with a connection could ruin a well designed presentation.

Use a more standardized file format such as AVI, MP or MP1 for video and MP3 for sound. This creates a cross platform presentation which is less platform centric and which can be easily shared.

Most importantly, consider the size of these files. Sound and video files larger than 100 KB will be linked to your presentation rather than embedded in it. I highly recommend copying your media file(s) to the folder containing your PowerPoint or Keynote presentation before inserting any audio or video. Then embed or link to the files within that folder. Then you can transfer this entire folder if you need to move or share a copy of the presentation. This will preserve all links.

Videos downloaded from the internet are usually either Flash video, FLVs, similar to those on YouTube, or Podcast, MP4s or M4V which are down loadable by Apple iTunes. FLVs can be downloaded from the internet using TubeTV on the Mac and Free FLV Downloader on the PC, but the resulting file remains an FLV, and must be converted to a usable format in a presentation. The simplest cross platform method for downloading an FLV, however, is using a FireFox plug-in Video DownloadHelper. You must use FireFox as the browser and this plug-in will not only download the FLV but also convert it to a very usable AVI.

MP4 and M4V (video) and MP3 (audio) may be downloaded using Apple iTunes. Once a file is downloaded, it can be dragged directly from the application window to the desktop. This file is now ready to be converted.

Try to find audio files in a MP3 format because these files are high quality and can be used in any of the electronic slide applications without conversion. Although WAV, AIFF and FLAC files are of much better quality, they are very large which makes them difficult to play on most lap top computers.

With all of the media files downloaded, it is time to convert them to a usable format for your presentation. I use two free software converters — Prism and Kigo Video Converter are free cross platform video converters. Although both have a very limited group of conversion formats, they are more than adequate for most needs. MediaConverter is an on-line converter which can be used if you don't want another application on your computer. If your using a Mac computer, Apple iMovie HD 6 will import FLV files which can be edited and converted to other file format.

If you are unable to find an audio file in an MP3 format, you will also need to convert the sounds. Again try MediaConverter the on-line converter. On the Mac, the free application Switch works well. The best cross platform application is SoundConverter. It has a $14.00 shareware price, but if you are working with many sound files, it's well worth the money.

Now that all the files are ready, put your electronic slide show together. Remember, an outstanding electronic slide show should well designed, self contained, play at any time and play on any platform.

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