You are on page 1of 17



8/14/2007 Technical background report

The expansion into digital media requires a holistic
approach to the development of new forms of
client and brand interaction. To maximize your
eXpansion into digital media

exposure to this growing market, a design
company must embrace new ways of releasing
content to a very complex and dynamic consumer.

eXpansion into digital
Technical background report

In a dynamic marketplace the addition of new products is essential to
driving success and innovation. To maintain an edge in this new
environment a design company must be able to personalize and
deliver ground-breaking digital media content that interrelates to the
consumer via sound, image and video targeting the senses and
emotions of the consumer. The development of these new interactive
and high impact products for our clients will leave Curious Design at
the forefront of the market and create a driver for new business and
clients. This will allow Curious Design Consultants the ability to offer
clients a complete range of options in the marketing of their brands
and products.

Page 2
eXpansion into digital media

Table of Contents
3.8 Benefits....................................................................................... ........................10
...................................................................................................................... ............15

6.0 Benefits....................................................................................... ........................15
BIBLIOGRAPHY............................................... .........................................17

eXpansion into digital


Page 3
eXpansion into digital media

1.1 History
An analog recording is one where the original sound signal is modulated onto another
physical signal carried on some media or substrate such as the groove of a
gramophone disc or the iron oxide surface of a magnetic tape. A physical quantity in
the medium (e.g., the intensity of the magnetic field) is directly related, or analogous,
to the physical properties of the sound (e.g., the amplitude, phase, etc.). (1)

A digital recording is produced by first converting the physical properties of the
original sound into digital information (stored as bits) which can then be decoded for
reproduction. Accurate, high quality sound is possible with both analog and digital
systems. The principal advantage that digital systems have over analog ones is one of
lower cost. High-quality open-reel analog tape and related hardware is expensive to
buy and maintain. With digital systems, high quality sound output is achievable with
very low manufacturing cost and in mass-produced devices (Rumsey & Watkinson
1995). This is because analog systems require high-quality mechanical and electronic
performance all the way through the audio-chain - recording, production, and finally
playback by the consumer. Digital systems are only dependent on the electronic
performance of the equipment, and because the signal information is conveyed as a
digital (binary) code, any noise or distortion generated by the equipment is easier to
reject. (2)

Unlike analog dubs, digital copies and regenerations are exact clones. They can be
made infinitely without degradation, there are also several advantages of digital
systems that are not related to sound quality but are of practical value. Most digital
media have non-sequential (random) access, due to their disk or memory-based
nature. In production, this makes editing it easier. It also allows the listener greater
flexibility when playing back recordings. Digital systems have the ability to encode
non-audio information into the audio stream such as information about the owner,
track titles, etc. Also, whereas digital formats retain a sample rate, analog does not.

The First Modern Digital Audio Player – The MPman F10

Page 4
eXpansion into digital media

2.0 Tools

2.1 Players
- A digital audio player (DAP) is a device that stores, organizes and plays audio files. It
is more commonly referred to as an MP3 player because of the MP3 format's ubiquity,
but DAPs often play many additional file formats. (3)

The iRiver X20

2.2 Flash-based Players - These are solid state devices that hold digital audio files
on internal or external media, such as memory cards. Due to technological limitations,
these are relatively low-storage devices, commercially ranging from 128MB to 8GB,
such as the second generation iPod nano, the SanDisk Sansa series of players, and the
iriver clix, which can often be extended with additional memory. As they are solid state
and do not have moving parts, they are very resilient. Such players are commonly
integrated into USB key drives. (3)

Flash based Mp3 player – Sony 4gb

2.3 Hard Drive-based Players or Digital Jukeboxes - Devices that read digital
audio files from a hard drive. These players have higher capacities, ranging from

Page 5
eXpansion into digital media

1.5GB to 160GB, depending on the hard drive technology. At typical encoding rates,
this means that thousands of songs — perhaps an entire music collection can be
stored on one player.

This is the inside of an iPod mini and a Toshiba MP3 player:

2.4 MP3 CD Players - Devices that can play audio files from a CD-ROM in addition
to audio CDs.

2.5 Recording
• Minidisk
• Microphone

2.6 Editing
A digital audio editor is a computer application for audio editing, i.e. manipulating
digital audio. Editors designed for use with music allow the user to do the following:
• Record audio from one or more inputs and store recordings in the computer's
memory as digital audio
• Edit the start time, stop time, and duration of any sound on the audio timeline
• Mix multiple sound sources/tracks, combine them at various volume levels and
pan from channel to channel to one or more output tracks
• Apply simple or advanced effects or filters, including compression, expansion,
flanging, reverb, noise reduction and equalization to change the audio
• Playback sound (often after being mixed) that can be sent to one or more
outputs, such as speakers, additional processors, or a recording medium
• Conversion between different audio file formats, or between different sound
quality levels
Simple audio editing software interface

Page 6
eXpansion into digital media

3.0 Delivery
3.1 Optical disk

3.2 First-generation optical discs
Optical discs were initially used for storing music and software. The Laserdisc format
stored analog video, but it fought an uphill battle against VHS; other first-generation
disc formats are designed to store solely digital data. Most first-generation disc
devices use an infrared laser as a read head, limiting the total capacity to, for
example, 700 MB for a 12 cm compact disc. (4)

• Compact disc (CD)
• Laserdisc
• Magneto-optical disc
• MiniDisc

700mb Compact Disk

3.3 Second-generation optical discs
Second-generation optical discs were created to store large amounts of data, including
TV-quality digital video. In the case of the DVD format, this allows 4.7 GB of storage on
a standard 12 cm, single-sided, single layer disc; alternately, smaller media such as
the MiniDisc and DataPlay formats can have capacity approximately comparable to a
much larger standard compact disc.
• Hi-MD
• DVD and derivatives
Digital Video Express (DIVX)

Page 7
eXpansion into digital media

• Super Audio CD
• Enhanced Versatile Disc
• Digital Multilayer Disk
• DataPlay
• Fluorescent Multilayer Disc
• Phase-change Dual
• Universal Media Disc

Comparison of Blue-ray and DVD composition

3.4 Third-generation optical discs
Major third-generation optical discs are currently in development. They are designed
for holding high-definition video and support larger capacities.
• Blu-ray Disc

Blue-ray Layers

3.5 Flash
Flash memory is non-volatile computer memory that can be electrically erased and
reprogrammed. It is a technology that is primarily used in memory cards, USB flash
drives (thumb drives, handy drive, memory stick, flash stick, jump drive), which are

Page 8
eXpansion into digital media

used for general storage and transfer of data between computers and other digital
products. (5)

Flash Card Reader

3.6 HDD
A hard disk drive (HDD) is a non-volatile storage device which stores digitally encoded
data. A HDD today is typically a sealed unit with fixed media with storage ranging from
4gb to 1Tb. HDDs were originally developed for use with computers. In the 21st
century, applications for HDDs have expanded beyond computers to include digital
video recorders, digital audio players, digital cameras, and video game consoles.

External storage – Seagate HDD

3.7 Streaming
Streaming media is multimedia that is continuously received by, and normally
displayed to, the end-user while it is being delivered by the provider. The name refers
to the delivery method of the medium rather than to the medium itself. The distinction
is usually applied to media that are distributed over telecommunications networks, as
most other delivery systems are either inherently streaming (e.g. radio, television) or
inherently non-streaming (e.g. books, video cassettes, audio CDs). The verb 'to
stream' is also derived from this term, meaning to deliver media in this manner.
• Broadcast

iTunes Podcast

Page 9
eXpansion into digital media

3.8 Benefits

New digital audio services like satellite radio, online radio, HD radio, and podcasting
with new subscription and data service business models are changing the way
consumers listen to radio. The keys to success will be subscriptions, ad targeting, and
monetizing the many ways that digital audio will be consumed. (6)

3.9 Future

With the information age in full swing, digital music has become strong driver of
international pop culture. The compact disc ushered in the beginning of digital music
mass appeal, and recently the infamous MP3 has been at the forefront of the
movement, as well as the controversy. There are also SACDs (Super Audio Compact
Discs) and DVD-Audio discs to deal with now, as they offer surround sound along with
a higher fidelity. (7)

For many, digital music has no "fixed" format. It is just various files ranging between 3-
5 MB in an MP3, AAC, or WMA format filling their hard drives and populating various
peer to peer networks on the internet. No matter what format is used, these fairly new
compression methods make it easy to carry along your entire music collection with
you wherever you go, surpassing anything we could have done a decade ago. (7)

Page 10
eXpansion into digital media

A digital image is a representation of a two-dimensional image as a finite set of digital
values, called picture elements or pixels. The digital image contains a fixed number of
rows and columns of pixels. Pixels are the smallest individual element in an image,
holding quantized values that represent the brightness of a given colour at any
specific point. Typically, the pixels are stored in computer memory as a raster image or
raster map, a two-dimensional array of small integers. These values are often
transmitted or stored in a compressed form. (8)

Digital images can be created by a variety of input devices and techniques, such as
digital cameras and scanners. They can also be synthesized from arbitrary non-image
data, such as mathematical functions or three-dimensional geometric models; the
latter being a major sub-area of computer graphics.


The first true digital camera that recorded images as a computerized file was likely the
Fuji DS-1P of 1988, which recorded to a 16 MB internal memory card that used a
battery to keep the data in memory. The first commercially available digital camera
was the 1991 Kodak DCS-100, It used a 1.3 megapixel sensor and was priced at
$13,000. The move to digital formats was helped by the formation of the first JPEG and
MPEG standards in 1988, which allowed image and video files to be compressed for

Page 11
eXpansion into digital media

The resolution of a digital camera is often limited by the camera sensor (usually a
charge-coupled device or CCD chip) that turns light into discrete signals, replacing the
job of film in traditional photography. The one attribute most commonly compared on
cameras is the pixel count. Due to the ever increasing sizes of sensors, the pixel count
is into the millions, and using the SI prefix of mega- (which means 1 million) the pixel
counts are given in megapixels. For example, an 8.0 megapixel camera has 8.0 million
pixels. (8)

Old Analog Camera

4.2 Tools
4.3 Digital Camera
A digital camera is an electronic device used to capture and store photographs
digitally, instead of using photographic film like conventional cameras, or recording
images in an analog format to magnetic tape like many video cameras. Modern
compact digital cameras are typically multifunctional, with some devices capable of
recording sound and/or video as well as photographs. (9)

Modern Digital Camera – Sony W35 8.1 mega pixel

Page 12
eXpansion into digital media

4.4 Memory

Digital images can be stored via any form of digital memory. The most popular forms

• Flash Memory

• Optical disk

• Hard Disk Drive

4.5 Editing Software/Hardware
Image editing encompasses the processes of altering images, whether they are digital
photographs, traditional analog photographs, or illustrations. Before digital scanners
and cameras became mainstream, traditional analog image editing was known as
photo retouching, using tools such as an airbrush to modify photographs, or editing
illustrations with any traditional art medium. However, since the advent of digital
images, analog image editing has become largely obsolete. Graphic software
programs, which can be broadly grouped into vector graphics editors, raster graphics
editors, and 3d modelers, are the primary tools with which a user may manipulate,
enhance, and transform images. Many image editing programs are also used to render
or create computer art from scratch. (10)

Editing Software package – Adobe Photoshop

Due to the popularity of digital cameras, image editing programs are readily available.
Minimal programs that perform such operations as rotating and cropping are often
provided within the digital camera itself. The more powerful programs contain
functionality to perform a large variety of advanced image manipulations.
Image editor features include:

Page 13
eXpansion into digital media

• Selection
• Layers
• Image size alteration
• Cropping an image
• Histogram
• Noise removal
• Removal of unwanted elements
• Selective color change

An example of selective color change, the original is on the left.

• Image gradient
• Image orientation
• Perspective correction and distortion
• Merging of images
• Slicing of images
• Special effects
• Change color depth
• Lens correction
• Contrast change and brightening
• Sharpening and softening images
• Color adjustments

5.0 Delivery

5.1 Print
Controlling the print size and quality of digital images requires an understanding of the
pixels-per-inch (ppi) variable that is stored in the image file and sometimes used to
control the size of the printed image. Within the Image Size dialog (as it is called in
Photoshop), the image editor allows the user to manipulate both pixel dimensions and
the size of the image on the printed document. These parameters work together to
produce a printed image of the desired size and quality.

Page 14
eXpansion into digital media

5.2 LCD

The advent of LCD screens for image viewing has allowed a richness of colour to be
seen from even the most poorly degraded or low resolution images.

Modern LCD Display

5.4 Online
Photo sharing is the publishing or transfer of a user's digital photos online, thus
enabling the user to share them with others (whether publicly or privately). This
functionality is provided through both websites and applications that facilitate the
upload and display of images. The term can also be loosely applied to the use of online
photo galleries that are setup and managed by individual users.

Photo and Video Hosting - Photobucket

6.0 Benefits

Taking pictures on film has limitations. Film cameras are able to produce relatively few
pictures: 24 or 36 in standard 35mm cameras. Once taken a picture allows for no recall

Page 15
eXpansion into digital media

if an error is made. It will be developed with the rest of the pictures. To get pictures is
a slow and expensive process. Displaying pictures is somewhat inconvenient and
requires albums or projectors.
Digital Cameras allow you to see what you want to take, take it, and immediately
review the finished product. If the image is unsatisfactory, it can be eliminated. If it is
acceptable, there is ample room for its storage in the camera which can hold 2000 or
more pictures. Once downloaded, the picture storage space on the camera is
renewed, and one begins again from zero.
With digital cameras even poor images can be saved. There are a number of
programs available on the computer to improve the appearance of a picture. Red-eye
can be removed by two clicks of a mouse. Images can be sharpened, lighting can be
enhanced or reduced, images can be cropped, straightened, narrowed or widened, and
turned 180 degrees in either direction. All of this can be done with programs that
come with your computer or perhaps your printer. Then there is emailing. Send
pictures to anyone who wants them who might otherwise have missed out on having
them had they been on film.

7.0 Future

Over the next decade, the imaging industry will inevitably transition to high dynamic
range (HDR) imaging, creating devices that provide a latitude range far greater than
traditional silver halide film. This change will affect all aspects of image making. Each
of the systems in the image workflow will be modified, including capture, storage,
editing and output. Today's digital cameras match or slightly exceed the performance
of silver halide film. Computer graphics has achieved the goal of photorealism. Now
the goal is to go beyond simply matching paper and silver halide - to create display
technologies which can present any visual stimuli our eyes are capable of seeing. One
area of rapid development is in dynamic range. A new crop of technologies using High
Dynamic Range imaging (HDR or HDRI) aim to extend the dynamic range of digital
imaging technologies way beyond traditional media. (11)

Page 16
eXpansion into digital media

1. Analog Sound vs Digital sound . Wikipedia. [Online] [Cited: 3 August 2008.]

2. tutorial - Digital Audio. [Online] [Cited: July 28, 2008.]

3. Digital Audio players. Wikipedia. [Online] [Cited: July 29, 2008.]

4. Optical Storage. Wikipedia. [Online]

5. Flash Memory. [Online]

6. Shadler, ted. future of audio. [Online]

7. Edwards, Andru. The future of digital audio. gearlive. [Online] [Cited: August 2,

8. Digital Image. Wikipedia. [Online] [Cited: July 30, 2008.]

9. Reviews and info. [Online] [Cited: August 2, 2008.]

10. Iimage ediing. Wikipedia. [Online] [Cited: July 28, 2008.]

11. The future of digital imaging - HDR. [Online] [Cited: August 10,

Page 17