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Authoring and Specification

multimedia based language synchronization

Definition: Authoring and specification tools provide development environment for multimedia applications and presentations.

Numerous multimedia authoring tools and specification techniques have been produced across both commercial and research domains. While many articles focus on particular niche, ranging from specific media (e.g., image editing) to complex multimedia scenarios, this article specifically overviews those that have addressed various aspects of multimedia synchronization.

Early efforts in the specification of multimedia synchronization were based on temporal intervals and a broad array of Petri net based techniques, such as. Language-based constructs started with HyTime, a SGML-based (Standardized General Markup Language) document language which offered inter-object hyperlinking, scheduling and synchronization. The evolution of such techniques broadened to support the various classes of media synchronization (content, space and time) and included efforts such as MHEG and PREMO (Presentation Environment for Multimedia Objects). MHEG offered a platform independent, “final” non-editable specification for real-time multimedia presentation, synchronization and interactivity, while PREMO provided a framework/middleware-approach to facilitate a standardized development environment for multimedia applications. Based on a conceptual framework, the latter’s major goal was to provide a standard way to integrate emerging technologies from different media and presentation techniques to graphics packages and networks. Another series of research efforts addressed authoring of interactive multimedia presentations through a trio of projects which focused on the expression, specification and provision of media synchronization (DEMAIS, FLIPS and N-Sync).

Recently, the SMIL (Synchronized Multimedia Integration Language) markup language was developed by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) based on the extensible Markup Language (XML). It does not define any specific media format, but defines how various multimedia components should be played together or in sequence (including position, visibility, scheduling and duration). Complex multimedia scenario content is distributed amongst different servers, sent as independent streams (e.g., audio, video, text and images) and rendered together as a single unified presentation according to the SMIL specification.

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