Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Multimedia Wikis- Collaborative Media Editors

The concept of multimedia wikis pose special issues. One issue is confusion. There are wiki sites that provide access to multimedia compositions, such as the Media Commons project and also wiki sites that will discuss multimedia developments. A different meaning for multimedia wikis is intended here. What if one could edit an audio file or a picture the same way one can immediately edit text? Could collaborative composition be extended to other media?

Editing text on the fly and reposting changes to a web site is well understood and easy; the code to carry out this text manipulation is standard across browsers. Wiki editing of text about audio, video, animation and other forms of media would also be easy to do. Editing media however depends on having the media tools themselves. Audio files pose fundamental challenges and video files require great computer processing power and signficant telecommunication bandwidth, while photography and other graphic manipulations within video could require even more bandwidth.

Audio could allow the replacement of one voice with another, but not the editing of the same voice. Currently, it is not possible for anyone to edit someone else's talking without having their exact same voice. That is, it can't be done with voice, including a speech, a conversation, or an audio conference. One could re-write or edit the script of the speech but then the voices would have to perform the script again to re-record the unique nature of voices.

Music can be different. Though in one sense music suffers from the same problem as the human voice; each musical voice or instrument is so unique. Music editing depends on access to access to a musical instrument's unique sound. MIDI music however was designed with a set of digital instrument sounds being universal on every computer. MIDI wikis would be technology possible, but have not yet come to my attention.

Photo and video wikis share similar problems. Photo wikis and video wikis could mean downloading a multi-layered image or multi-element video segment, editing and reposting by the same file name, while keeping a reversion record of the previous creations. More advanced web editing could provide the editing within the web browser itself, but currently web editing are not designed to have the code to carry out such work for images and video. Such form of editing would be very appropriate research projects for the emerging Internet2 system where the high bandwidth rates and data storage are available at the needed scale.

In summary, though new developments are possible, currently the wiki concept only applies to text editing.


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