Multimedia Software: Working with Audio and Video

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  • 0:06 Multimedia
  • 1:18 Media Players
  • 2:46 Audio Software
  • 3:53 Video Software
  • 6:29 File Formats
  • 7:46 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Paul Zandbergen

Paul has a PhD from the University of British Columbia and has taught Geographic Information Systems, statistics and computer programming for 15 years.

Audio and video have become increasingly important in today's computer systems. Learn about how media players play back multimedia files as well as audio and video editing software to create your own productions.


In the early days of computing, most of the information consisted of text and numbers. Since those early days, however, photos, audio and video have become a very important part of using computer systems. Almost every website you visit uses some form of audio-visuals. Many of the posts to social media use imagery. Services such as Netflix and YouTube now account for a substantial portion of the world's Internet traffic.

Multimedia refers to content that that uses a combination of different forms, as opposed to text-only content. Multimedia describes the combination of text, audio, images, animation, video, and other types of interactive content. This lesson will look in more detail at the use of audio and video.

There are two general categories of audio and video software: media players that only provide playback options and software that can be used to record and edit audio and video.

Media Players

A media player is a software application for playing back multimedia files, including audio and/or video. Most media players can play both audio only and video (with sound), although there are a small number of players that focus one type, known as audio players or video players.

Media players typically use icons, which have their origin in tape recorders and disk players. Typical control buttons include Play, Pause, Stop, Fast Forward, Rewind, and others. Now add in options to control volume, and you have a very intuitive interface that is easy to use.

Most operating systems have a default multimedia player built in. For example, Windows includes Windows Media Player and Mac OS includes QuickTime and iTunes. However, there are many other types of media players.

A recent trend is for media players to be integrated with services that provide content. For example, you can use the player to connect to online stores for music, movies and TV shows, or you can connect to streaming services. iTunes is one of the most popular of these types of media players, but numerous others have emerged as online media consumption has increased.

Audio Software

Software to record and edit audio is often referred to as a digital audio editor. High-end systems for professionals are also called digital audio workstations.

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