• Create BookmarkCreate Bookmark
  • Create Note or TagCreate Note or Tag
  • PrintPrint
Share this Page URL

Chapter 8. Multimedia Peripherals and Devices > Chapter 8 Test Your Thinking

Chapter 8 Test Your Thinking

Once you've examined all of your software and hardware needs and determined what peripherals and programs are best suited to the type of work you have in mind, you should be able to make informed decisions regarding the computer system(s) on which most of your multimedia content will be created. This is, of course, assuming that you intend to do your multimedia designs in-house and won't be outsourcing any projects to outside design agencies. If you're reading this chapter, however, odds are you've made the decision to do it yourself.

Naturally, the computer on which you plan to produce your designs is one of the most important considerations involved in the production of any kind of multimedia. While it's true that a skilled designer could certainly coax some very well-crafted work from even a low-end machine, it's silly to impose limits on yourself where it isn't necessary. If budget is a concern, keep in mind that a slow or poorly equipped machine may very well reduce performance and productivity to the point that a more expensive machine would have been more cost-effective anyway. It's difficult to do great work without the right set of tools.

Keeping this in mind, let's consider the ideal multimedia workstation. All types of media manipulation will benefit from speed. This means that you'll want a computer with a fast processor and a speedy hard drive—even the fastest processor can only capture video as fast as the hard disk can write it down. A computer that's short on RAM will be effectively crippled when trying to work with large files or perform complex tasks: You'll want to have memory to burn. And since many types of media files, particularly audio and video, can be as large as several gigabytes in size prior to editing and compression, make sure you have plenty of hard disk space. Hard drives are inexpensive in comparison to most other computer components, but they're nevertheless one of the most important parts of a machine. Get a good one.

There are numerous other additions that can make your life vastly easier. A largescreen monitor will allow you to work on multiple projects simultaneously and review the results in multiple resolutions and color sets to get an idea of how visitors to your site will see them. Graphics expansion cards can be extraordinarily useful; many cards add functionalities to your computer, such as video in or out, and nearly all cards include extra video memory to speed your graphics-related tasks. On operating systems that support it, multiple video cards can also allow you to use more than one monitor at the same time from the same computer, doubling the size of your workspace.

There are countless other possibilities, depending on the type of media you intend to focus most strongly on. If you'll be doing a lot of work with audio, you may want to attach a stereo receiver and sound mixing board to your machine; if you'll be working primarily with video, a dedicated VCR or DVD player may be in order. With a good computer, such expansion possibilities are effectively limitless; it's likely that you'll be able to find a card or a peripheral for nearly everything and anything that you might need.

And once you've assembled the perfect multimedia workstation, of course, what remains is the formidable task of figuring out which of the dozens of popular software titles will help you get what you need out of the hardware you've purchased. Many applications are designed with specific needs in mind; many others include hundreds or thousands of functions intended to fit as many situations and requirements as the designers could come up with. If it's possible, you would do well to learn as much as you possibly can about a piece of software before you purchase it; if it isn't what you're looking for, you'll know enough to keep looking, and if it is what you're looking for, you can save yourself a lot of frustration and wasted time by familiarizing yourself with your tools as much as possible before diving in.

Good luck!



Not a subscriber?

Start A Free Trial

  • Creative Edge
  • Create BookmarkCreate Bookmark
  • Create Note or TagCreate Note or Tag
  • PrintPrint