White paper

 
"... We Need Good SMIL Software! So what does Flash have that SMIL does not? And why hasn't SMIL claimed its rightful Web multimedia throne? It is all about content creation software. Flash has it. SMIL lacks it. ... " by Tim Kennedy.
Photo Introduction

Objective

Multimedia interactive content is increasing in popularity using the Internet as information/communication mediums. The two multimedia standards that can illustrate for this evolution are SMIL, a multimedia integration and synchronization language over the Internet, and MPEG-4, a standard for creation, distribution and presentation of interactive video. This increased popularity of multimedia interactive content requires the development of new authoring tools that can help to easily create and to distribute multimedia content.

In this evolution our objective is to make the authoring complex multimedia applications as easy as possible for everybody.

Is authoring multimedia complex?

Yes, very complex! Why? Because it requires the authors not only to have a clear idea about theirs applications but also to control authoring tools. With new emerging multimedia synchronization and integration standards such as SMIL, MPEG-4 high level (XMT-O), Java Applet/Application, etc., it even requires a minimum knowledge about these multimedia technologies.

In addition, authoring fine-grained multimedia synchronizations and integrations such as auto-talks, in which slides are synchronized with a video talk; or multimedia Karaoke, in which text and image media is synchronized with music, are still hard work for authors.

About current multimedia integration standards

The current standard multimedia integration formats such as SMIL provide the full technologies to integrate and synchronize multimedia; however in the authoring side they only provide the elementary and generic elements. Therefore the users must do much tedious work even for simple editions

By example, in SMIL, to insert an image, users must firstly create a region, then a img element, and finally a pointer from the img element to the region. It is just only a simple media object insertion, but the users have to make at least 3 authoring actions. If they author a big multimedia project, we can imagine the complexities of work.

So directly using a multimedia presentation format such as SMIL, or others multimedia presentation languages to author the multimedia applications is an approach non-realistic even non-applicable. SMIL or others multimedia presentation formats are good for presenting the final multimedia presentations in a standard way, but we cannot use SMIL or others presentation formats to edit the multimedia presentations, even there are actually powerful SMIL authoring tools. We absolutely need a more user-friendly format for authoring multimedia.

User-friendly multimedia authoring scheme

Multiedia authoring scheme

Our multimedia authoring solution firstly provides authors user-friendly multimedia authoring schemes according to each multimedia application type such as multimedia presentations, multimedia courseware, multimedia technical document, multimedia test, etc.

These schemes can help authors to have initial ideas about a multimedia application; they can also guides authors along with their authoring. An important effect is they hide from authors all complex issues from low level multimedia synchronization and integration technologies. So authoring multimedia becomes much easier.

By example, thank to our solution, authors can easily makes SMIL or HTML+TIME presentations that they do not need to know any particular knowledge about SMIL or HTML+TIME, they can also make java multimedia applications that do not need any programming skill.

Media content description tools

Media content description tool

For sophisticated multimedia authoring such as auto-talk and Karaoke applications, we provide media content description authoring tools (such as audio and video content description tools) integrated into our multimedia authoring tools.

That can help authors to locate easily media fragments (such as video objects, video events, audio clips, etc.) to make fine-synchronizations (such as a text information about an event will be presented in synchronization with the video event) or fine-integrations (such as synthesizing a new multimedia scene by extraditing and integrating video objects into this new multimedia scene).

Automatically generating fine-grained multimedia synchronizations

Fine-grained multimedia synchronization

When the authors have a media content description (such as description of a video talk), they can automatically generate fine-grained multimedia synchronizations with this described media.

By example, if an author wants to make an auto-talk with a described video talk, he/she can simply choose a video-slides fine-grained integration function and then synchronizations between described video segments and the empty slides will be generated. The author now only need to fill the empty slides without aware of making alignments of these slides with corresponding video segments. Note that if the author has already the PowerPoint slides, he/she can also automatically make these PowerPoint slides synchronizing with the described video talk.

A karaoke presentation can be easily created by the same way with an audio-text/image fine-grained integration function.

Multi-exports

We also provide multimedia project exports for several final multimedia platforms such as HTML+TIME, SMIL, MPEG-4 XMT-O, and java applet/application.

Cross-platform possibility

Our authoring tool is entirely developed in Java that ensures cross-platform possibility.

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