Interactive Multimedia

Subject: Interactive Multimedia
From: "Larry Kunz ((919) 254-6395)" <ldkunz -at- VNET -dot- IBM -dot- COM>
Date: Mon, 29 Nov 1993 15:36:27 EST

Charles Sides writes:

> Here at Fitchburg State College, in the Communications/Media
> Department, we have a major concentration in interactive
> multimedia, along with majors in technical communications, film and
> television production, photography, and graphics design. At
> present, the interactive multimedia major is heavily based on video
> production courses (studio production, electronic field production,
> etc.).

> My sense is that this is not the direction the multimedia industry
> is heading, and as a result I am interested in having our
> department redesign this major. I am assuming that the multimedia
> field, if it reaps even a fraction of the success most media are
> predicting for it, will mature and provide opportunities for
> professionals who can design/conceptualize products and projects.
> These persons will be generalists of sorts, with a clear
> understanding of the entire multimedia process. But they will hire
> out most of the technical tasks-- computer graphics, video
> production, audio production. In short, I anticipate multimedia to
> mature in much the same way technical communications has, where now
> technical writers find themselves coordinating a lot of the
> auxiliary tasks involved in creating documents: layout, graphics,
> editing, publication, etc.

Charles, I think you've made an excellent analysis. You hit the
bullseye when you said multimedia is maturing just as technical
communication has matured.

The video work is an important part of multimedia, but it's only a
part. Of much greater value, now and especially in the future, are
what you call "generalist" skills: Selecting the right media,
deciding what's appropriate for the audience, analyzing costs,
storyboarding and scripting. The job requires thorough understanding
of the purpose of the multimedia project, the expectations of its
audience, and the options that are available.

If I disagree with you at all, I'd say you were a bit hasty to
dismiss the role of the technical specialist. Many larger companies
will, as you say, hire out the computer graphics, the videography,
and so forth. But that doesn't diminish the need for people who are
good at such things -- or the opportunities available to them. They
just won't be as valuable as people who can take the "big picture"
approach and coordinate a multimedia project from start to finish.

That's my opinion. I'd like to hear from others.

Larry Kunz

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