Multimedia Centre at IGNCA
Multimedia is the integration of various digital inputs. It is the synchronised presentation of text, graphics, images, video, animation, voice, music for effective presentation. Computer technology makes it easy to manipulate, edit, combine, digitize and compress multimedia data. Using computer interface an end-user’s interaction can be significantly increased.
Multimedia presentations can be divided into two groups: (i) one -way communication or Linear presentation; (ii) two- way communication or Interactive presentation. In the former the end-user, only receives the information without any control over the order of presentation. In the later, the end-user receives information and actively participates in the presentation.
IGNCA’s first multi-media lab., the “GITA GOVINDA LAB.” is operational since May 1994 in collaboration with Xerox Park, USA. This team is working on multi-media presentation of “Gitagovinda” a twelvth century poem by Jaidev. This Lab. is equiped with PC (486 & Pentium) based workstations for program development, animation, digitisation and audio & video editing. Workstations are interconnected through Novell Netware using Ether Cables. Additionally Slide & Photograph Scanner, Camera, Media capture board, laser & colour printer etc. are used in the Lab. to support Multimedia functionality. Following software are being used in the Lab. for application development: (i) Boardland C/C++ compiler; (ii) Windows tools for paint, animation, D vision, Assymetrix, video for windows;(iii)MS Office/professional; (iv) Adobe Photoshop.
IGNCA is establishing another Multimedia Lab. in collaboration with UNDP. This Multimedia Lab. will integrate of highly sophisticated equipments and advanced software under one installation. Powerful computers, object-Relational Database Management System (ORDBMS) to handle large size of Image & Video data and high speed networking are the back bone of this multimedia centre.
Computing Equipment & Peripherals: The workstations or this Lab. is combination of UNIX, MAC and Windows based platforms. Silicon Graphics Inc. (SGI) ONYX RE2 is installed as Media server cum 3D graphics station. For virtual walkthrough, Animation, high end Video & Image editing and Modelling SGI’s Indigo 2 workstations are used. Power MACs, Pentiums and INDYs are installed for Image editing, Authoring, CAD, database development, etc. All Workstations are facilitated with Audio Card, high capacity hard disk, higher RAM and network card for its effective utilization. Additionally high capacity online memory, backup facilities, head mounted display, CD-Writers, Laser Printers and Data Gloves are also available. High Speed Kodak Imaging solution is installed to provide Slide & Microfilm digitization facilities to IGNCA.
High Speed Networking: Three layered networking is adopted to connect complete Lab. as well as existing Gita Govind Lab. ATM switch is used to connect powerful SGI workstations, to operate at 155 Mbps. Etherswitch with ATM uplink and 8-port Ether hub is used to connect other workstations and GG Lab. network, operates at 10 Mbps.
ORDBMS & Other Softwares: Illustra ORDBMS is being installed for database development. Illustra is specially designed for multimedia applications and this ORDBMS has many advanced features compared to other available DBMS. Additionally, following major software have been selected for Lab: (i) Coryphaeus : For modelling and Special effects; (ii) ALIAS Power Animator and Advance Animator : For Animation; (iii) ALIAS Power modellings : For 3D Modelling; (iv) Micromedia Director & Authorware Professional : For creation of multimedia presentation; (v) Visual basic & C++ : For programming.
VISIT OF LOWRY BURGESS
Professor Lowry Burgess, Department of Arts, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh visited IGNCA from 4th to 8th June, 1995. He made a presentation on Multimedia Egypt Project on 8th June, 1995. The Egypt Project creates a virtual world of ancient and modern Egypt for the scholar and layman. It covers history, art, architecture, texts and museums. The project is working with material from Egypt to explore pedagogical issues and complexities involved in inter-disciplinary learning.
The design backdrop is authentic Egyptian. A simulating interface is established through quick-time video, an excellent way to understand a complex subject. In this project, care has been taken to amalgamate the daily-life of the women, children, priests, etc., giving an ancient and modern view with small blobs of information. Everything on screen is hot-buttons and one can click on most items after a brief over-view — the principle is that there is hidden information behind all icons.
The idea is to establish the entire database on a simple access technology. There are no gimmicks and the technology is such that a teacher could use it to put together his material on any subject. There are access points/hot-buttons to undertake a walk-through within chambers and the catacomb in the tombs of the Kings. The music and sound has been used for evoking mood and making a transition between and within subjects. Animation has been used sparingly to help understanding.
Being an artist, Prof. Burgess has explored the potentials of this medium as an art form. In this new space, he explores an interactive virtual environment of a people and a culture. During development of such interactive programmes, he hopes to create a new person to pupulate the computer industry – he would neither be a programmer cruncher “nerd” nor an artist. He would be a hybrid – knowing multimedia technology and appreciating art and world culture.