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Chapter 4. Introducing Web and Graphics ... > Deciding on Multimedia Software

Deciding on Multimedia Software

If you plan to include video, audio, presentations, and slide shows on your site, you need to consider what multimedia software you want to use. What you choose depends on what you want to do and who your target audience is. For instance, if you want to do a lot of animations, Toon Boom Studio (www.toonboom.com) specializes in animation and is probably a good choice for your work. To decide what works best for your situation, take a look at this list that briefly describes the most common multimedia programs available (visit the listed URLs for more information) and then pick the solution that best fits your needs:

  • Apple QuickTime and QuickTimePro: QuickTime is available for both the Mac and PC. The player is free but the Pro version of the software that allows you to create multimedia is, at the time of this writing, $29.99. QuickTime Pro allows you to import and edit video, capture (record) audio, create slide shows, and do other similar types of projects. This tool is relatively easy to use but also doesn't have the more robust features of the more expensive and more sophisticated software. To find out more, visit www.apple.com/quicktime/download.

  • Microsoft Windows Media: Microsoft has a player — Windows Media Player — and a version for creating projects — Windows Media Encoder. Windows Media Encoder can be used to capture audio or video. Windows Media Encoder is available for the PC; go to www.microsoft.com/windows/windowsmedia/default.mspx for more information.

  • Adobe Flash: Flash also has a “player version” and a “developer software” version. Adobe Flash is used to create animations and Web interfaces (Web sites). Flash can compress and play back video. You cannot capture or edit audio or video with Flash. You also cannot edit video with Flash. Flash is available for both the Mac and PC. Check out Book V for more about Flash.

    A lot of software programs have the capability to create multimedia files. Some software manufacturers claim that their products can create Flash; the reality is that these products can create .swf files (the files that play in the Flash plug‐in in the browser), but there's only one, true Flash program. If you want all the functionality of Flash, you need to get the Adobe Flash software and create your .swf files with that.

Just because a piece of software can do something doesn't mean that it does it well. PowerPoint and Word can create Web pages and Web presentations, but they don't do it overly well. Using PowerPoint and Word to create a presentation is a good idea; when you want to put your presentation online, however, you'll need to convert it to a more Web‐friendly format using specialized software.


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