Clip and save seven ways. (CD-ROMs that include multimedia clips) (Compute's Getting Started with Multimedia Applications) (Buyers Guide)
by David English
Multimedia has brought us high-resolution graphics, sound, music, and video. But these multimedia files take up so much disk space, it's hard to distribute them on floppy disks. Fortunately, CD-ROM offers an ideal way to package these clips--it's cheap and holds a lot of information. Not surprisingly, we're beginning to see a steady stream of CD-ROMs that contain multimedia clips.
If your tastes run to music and sounds, check out Stingers (The Music Bank, P.O. Box 3150, Saratoga, California 95070; 408-867-4756; $99) and MusicBytes (Prosonus, 11126 Weddington Street, North Hollywood, California 91601; 818-766-5221; $99.95). Both include short musical segments (from two seconds to two minutes long) that were composed and played by top studio musicians. All can be used license free, except when used in a broadcast or theatrical release. (With MusicBytes, you simply need to ask permission to receive specific broadcast rights.) The tracks in Stingers are stored in 22-KHz 8-bit wav, 44-KHz 16-bit wav, and 44-KHz CD-Audio formats, while the MusicBytes tracks are stored in 11-KHz 8-bit wav, 22-KHz 8-bit wav, 44-KHz CD-Audio formats, and standard MIDI files.
For high-resolution graphics that you can use in multimedia presentations or for desktop publishing, take a look at Marble & Granite (ArtBeats, P.O. Box 1287, Myrtle Creek, Oregon 97457; 503-863-4429; $349), Megatoons (Creative Media Services, 2936 Domingo Avenue, Berkeley, California 94705; 800-358-2278; $199), and Exotica-ROM 3.0 (Gazelle Technologies, 7434 Trade Street, San Diego, California92121; 619-536-9999; $199). Marble & Granite contains electronic versions of actual photographs of marble and granite. The two CD-ROM package includes 120 multimedia backgrounds, 160 seamless and floor titles, and 40 images for pre-press. The graphics are stored in 8-bit and 24-bit TIFF and TARGA formats. If you work with multimedia, you'll find this collection to be useful. Megatoons is a collection of 600 illustrations by the syndicated cartoonist Phil Frank. Their lighthearted humor makes them especially appropriate for newsletters and posters. They're scanned at 300 DPI (dots per inch) and stored in TIFF format. Exotica-ROM 2.0 may be the first real attempt to use CD-ROM to distribute an artist's work, in this case Olivia De Berardinis'. The artwork is detailed and sensuous, but the frank subject matter makes this an adults-only disc.
Two CD-ROMs offer a collection of graphics, animation, music, and sounds. Designed primarily for multimedia, they are ClipMedia Volume 1: Business and Technology (Macromedia, 600 Townsend Street, San Francisco, California 94103; 415-252-2000; $395) and Mediasource (Applied Optical Media, 1450 Boot Road, Building 400, West Chester, Pennsylvania 19380; 215-429-3701; $395). ClipMedia is a versatile group of still graphics, including buttons and mortises (in 16- and 256-level gray-scale and 16-and 256-color dib format); animations (in Windows Player Movie mmm format); digitized video (also in mmm format); sound effects (in 8-bit mono and stereo wav format); and music (in 8-bit mono and stereo wav format). It's a great combination of multimedia clips, but you may need to use MacroMedia's Action 2.0 to take advantage of the mmm format animations and videos. AOM's Mediasource includes sounds and music in wav format and pictures in dib format. Its excellent librarian program makes it easy to browse the CD-ROM's contents and transfer your selections to your hard drive.