What exactly is Multimedia….Really?

Mahesh Ravi talks about the common media misnomers and the gap in understanding the true potential of the multimedia industry.

“The biggest of all the mysteries involving me , to my friends and family, is the conundrum of “What I do for a living”.

A part of them believe that it involves the use of a computer, some assume that I do something which is creative, some has seen me taking classes and the rest, as usual, thinks that I work in social media.

Now, this is something I have been hearing a lot and its very hard to give them a satisfactory answer without a proper follow up on all the associated questions. The lack of a definitive title- like Engineer, Doctor, Analyst, Therapist, Driver, Professor, Butler, Chef, Photographer — has significantly increased the duration of many small talks to insane extends. The reason for writing this rather elaborate note is not just to let my mom know what I do, but also to spread some light into the various aspects of the stream and its possibilities for the newbies.

What is Multimedia?

ˈmʌltɪmiːdɪə/(of art, education, etc.) using more than one medium of expression or communication.

The name multimedia can be paired with a couple of actions — and job titles can be created. Multimedia Developer, Multimedia Designer, Multimedia Artist, Multimedia Tutor, Multimedia Programmer so on and so forth. Now from this point onwards people will start losing you. Let’s take a deeper look into multimedia.

Medium is any platform for you to communicate. This could be Tv, Film, Music, Print, Internet, Games or more. When you can switch back and forth working on all these media, then you are a multimedia specialist. A true multimedia specialist will be able to do everything from designing a brochure to developing a VR game. But the title multimedia is assigned so naively that most of the current “multimedia” professionals cannot even handle more than two media streams properly!

Back to our topic on what do I do! Before that, let me say what I dont do. I am not a multimedia specialist. I am not an expert in handling every multimedia streams out there. I would call myself a Media Generalist. I am a person who know my areas of expertise and is content with it. My streams can broadly be categorized under three sections. Film, Photography and Design.

I love working with videos / moving images. This includes animations, live action films, and special effects. Making images with camera is also something that I do. I am mostly into conceptual photography -where images will be used to talk about a concept rather than its direct content. Visual design is another stream that I handle. Its the art of communicating through static yet meaningful messages with text, images and geometry. Occasionally I blend these streams to experiment with juxtaposing art.

My photography might have elements of design, my film will use a visual design theory and my design will have an analogous visual element.

Now how am I making money out from all this? Do I freelance? No, I cannot handle the lack of discipline that comes from working with clients of various strata, hence I settled with a spot where I can use all of these skills onto developing a singular project.

A common misconception is that Multimedia is something that you go for when you are not good at doing anything else. If you are not good at anything else, you are gonna suck at multimedia even worse. It takes a lot of effort, time and attitude to master these media. And once you do, you are going to love it.

Hope this answers some of your questions and next time when I say multimedia, just nod and move on! “

Mahesh Ravi is a multimedia generalist with a masters in multimedia from university of wollongong, australia. He is currently heading the film making and photography divisions at Wiztoonz Academy of Media and Design.