|September 2006||Vol. 11 Issue 3|
Back in the good old days, video only played on a television.
But those days are long gone. Now, DVDs are everywhere, streaming videos are all over the Web, and you can’t visit a site that doesn’t have downloadable video clips. That means video is as much at home on your computer as it is on a TV.
These amazing technological advances can be great: they allow everyday users to produce, edit, and disseminate all kinds of new and interesting video and animation themselves. In the past even the smallest project would have required hiring a professional. Despite this convenience, these advances can come with problems: although new tools are readily available, not everyone understands how or when to use them. For example, using the wrong application to create an animation for video can make the job take much longer and give you an embarrassing outcome.
As you think about the brave new world of video and other media, here are two concepts you should remember.
Select the right tool
First, remember that different delivery methods (Web, DVD, computer) require different programs and applications to produce graphics and animations.
Just because some programs can produce media for different delivery methods, doesn’t mean they are the appropriate application for doing it. That’s because most programs are usually made for a primary use. So, for example, a program may be built primarily to produce rudimentary Web animations. That program may be capable of producing full-length videos, but the quality of those videos will be noticeably poor (to you and your audience).
In other words, use the right tool for the job. Just as you would never use a butter knife to cut a steak, don’t use a program unless it was designed to handle the kind of video you plan to produce.
Know your format
Second, remember that while different delivery methods can play different kinds of moving images (animations, Flash movies, videos), the file formats are not the same and may not work with every medium.
For instance, it is nearly impossible to use an animation produced specifically for an interactive computer game in a video. In other words, just because it moves on your screen, that doesn’t mean it’s a video.
These distinctions can be confusing, even for professionals! Just remember, knowing your medium and using the right tool for the job can save time, money, and frustration, and give you a better outcome.
Steve Doyle, firstname.lastname@example.org
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