What is a Multimedia Specialist?
Most anyone and can describe, in general terms, what it is a nurse, fireman, postal worker, or carpenter, does for a living. But if asked what a multimedia specialist does they'll probably reply with a blank stare.
The term multimedia became popular in the 1960's when it referred to the design and development of multi-projector slide and sound media. This multi-image format was extensively used in business and industry for training, motivational presentations, and large exhibition shows. It remained popular through the 1980's as used in museums exhibits, world fairs, and performance events. Many production houses had staff of trained photographers, graphic artists and others who worked on these products.
Multimedia projects ranged from 2 projector slides shows to large presentations of up to 40 or more projectors controlled first with punched paper tape and later electronic signals on analogue audio tape. College courses in multimedia design were offered and the Association for Multi-Image was formed along with annual festivals, conferences, and events.
As technology changed, the term multimedia became more frequently associated with computer based media. A multimedia specialist today has expertise in digital audio and visual media and is able to bring words, sound, photos, animation, video, and graphics all together in a multimedia digital presentation.
Most specialist have knowledge, as needed, of software and computer programming. Some are quite specialized such as those who work in the animation and game design industry.
There are some developers who have expertise in the areas of information or instructional design, and media communication theory.Such individuals work on the development of educational projects.
The multimedia product today may be delivered over the Internet, on a CD-ROM, video, DVD disc, or some other mediated form. The content is most often instructional, informational, commercial, entertainment or game based.
A multimedia specialist is a skilled individual who has expertise in many of the following areas:
- Conceptual design: One is able to visualize the big picture. A conceptual designer is responsible for providing the overall plan of a game, web site, or multimedia project
- Graphic design: The designer is able to apply the basic concepts and practices involved in the design of graphic solutions to visual problems.
- Computer Graphics: Most positions today require one be able to artisitcally use software applications such as Photoshop, Illustrator, Flash
- Audio design, recording and editing: The visual is only half of the product and being able to effectively record and edit sound files and sound tracks for media productions is key to being a multimedia producer.
- Video recording and editing: Multimedia means using motion graphics and video footage. This requires expertise in using programs such as Final Cut Pro, Premier, and Avid
- Programming: There are times when design problems require an understanding of how to program solutions. A rudimentry level of skill helps in many situations.
- Instructional design: Many web sites and multimedia products are designed that require an understanding of how people learn from well organized material. Producers of educational materials must have some level of expertise in the area of instructional design and technology
- Database design and maintenance: How does a shopping cart work? One of the more serious questions a web designer today must answer and be able to implement. Many sites require database design and maintenance knowledge and skill.
- Project management: Everyone needs to know how to manage a project. If you are a lead designer your management and organizational knowledge and skills become critical to the successfull completion of a project on time.