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Q: I am trying to think of new ways to make our message better. I want to get a TV in the waiting room where I can play educational type videos to highlight our capabilities. I have built our website but want to bring it to the next level with some great flash or video stuff. Can you help?

ENT Surgeon
North Carolina

A: To edu-tain patients, especially children, in the waiting room, I would recommend using multimedia rather than video, as video depends very much on sound as well as vision, and it mightn’t be practical to always have a TV blaring in a waiting room.

Multimedia, by contrast is based on animated slides of text captions and images, and is not wholly dependent on sound.

A good multimedia presentation can be self-explanatory without sound.

Typically multimedia are produced as with and without-sound versions, so where appropriate (at a conference or event, or sometimes in the waiting room) the sound can be switched up and a voiceover commentary heard, supporting the onscreen visual images.

You may also want to consider whether to use flash or multimedia.

Great looking flashes don’t usually come cheap. Multimedia usually gives you a bigger bang for your buck in that you get more screens and more information displayed for the same money.

However many people don’t see a clear distinction between Flash and Multimedia. So here’s my take:

Flash animation runs on the web, and is primarily designed for streaming visual messages on websites. In the right hands, flash animation looks great, but it’s relatively complex for a designer to work with, and is usually more suited to smaller applications.

Multimedia is usually more like a slide show in format, but with great animation and visuals, including video if available. So it’s much more impactful than a typical static slide show.

For example, let’s say you require a small multimedia explaining the anatomy of the throat to children in your surgery called “Inside Your Throat”.

Perhaps one of your ENT suppliers might be obliging and let you use their existing graphics and videos from their otolaryngological marketing materials. They usually have lost of these materials, as pharma supplies companies are renowned for the excellence of their edu-marketing.

With these free materials and a professional script, your multimedia designer could develop a boldly coloured multimedia that will play in your waiting room that all children could watch and enjoy while they’re waiting to see one of the surgeons.

On the other hand, trying to achieve all this with Flash could get relatively more complicated and expensive.

If you produced a multimedia, you’d probably need to hire a photographer for a day to photo scenes from around your surgical practice, illustrating the work you do and the facilities you have. This is considerably cheaper than hiring a video crew and edit suite.

And you probably have quite a few photos from your own brochures.

Multimedia allows you to recycle stills and video, yours and other peoples (with copyright permission), and add wonderful colour themes to appeal to young patients, and then animate it all with text and captions and voiceover, to produce a very watchable high quality multimedia slideshow, one that can also be streamed from your website.

If you’d like to see example of streamed multimedia please go here
© Studio Rossiter 2007

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