Creating an Engaging Multimedia Experience and Navigating Copyright Laws

How to Prepare for a Multimedia Fair

Students created a multimedia presentation on the history of their community and presented it to an audience of peers and outsiders. Both the participants and outsiders considered the project a success.

What constitutes fair use of copyrighted material in a multimedia project depends on the nature of the work and its purpose.

Digital and Analog

In a digital world, information is converted to numeric form (on or off, 1 or 0). It can never be better than the original analog signal it represents.

For example, the analog amplitude or frequency of an audio signal may be translated to a series of digital numbers, but it cannot be improved upon by any subsequent representations of that data. The same is true for any other type of information, including visual images and data.

While many instructors and students create multimedia projects containing copyrighted materials, permission is not required if the work meets educational fair use guidelines. These guidelines specify how much of a copyrighted work can be used in classroom presentations. Instructors and students must also credit the source of the work and make clear that alterations were made to the original material. A full bibliographic description is also required. This information should be included on the opening screen of the multimedia presentation.

Screen Considerations

Whether it’s a video display that doesn’t work or the wrong music playing at the worst possible moment, technology fails. It’s important to run through your multimedia presentations multiple times before the fair. This will reduce the likelihood of technical errors and also improve your presentation skills.

Copyright laws allow faculty and students to use copyrighted materials in multimedia projects if specific “fair use” guidelines are followed. An opening screen noting that a copyrighted works is included should be placed on the presentation, as well as a works cited page at the end of the presentation.

Graphics can be used to highlight information, set a mood or tone and serve as backgrounds. There are two types of graphics: raster and vector. Raster graphics are made up of dots, while vector graphics are based on arcs and lines. The best multimedia presentations use both of these styles. Using both provides visual consistency and helps attendees who are unfamiliar with a subject to understand the presentation.

Interactive Stations

Modern interactive media stations let visitors experience the content of an exhibit in a way that is tailored to their own individual knowledge, expectations and interests. This is possible by offering them a choice of language, pace, complexity and media format.

For example, participants can explore NGSS-standards-aligned, place-based learning and historical resources on our Mobile Gallery app for students or the Waters to the Sea(tm) program for adults. Hamlines in-house team of experts in video production, programming, illustration, acting and translation work with a national network of partners to produce internationally acclaimed multimedia.

Touchscreen kiosks and totems are excellent central presentation tools in showrooms, capable of holding the attention of even the hastiest of visitors and conveying a message that is appropriately packaged, fascinating and intriguing. These are available for rent from Kiosk, which also offers a range of high-end models that would be ideal for prestigious fairs and events.


Whether it’s analog or digital, multimedia plays an important role in the overall experience of an exhibit. Choosing a theme that aligns with the technology is an easy way to create a cohesive event. For example, a booth about treehouses might use mixed reality to help people envision how their own installed treehouse would look at the top of a tree.

Having fun with a theme can make an event more memorable for attendees. For example, a film-themed fair lets attendees live out their favorite movie fantasies. Decorate your venue like Central Perk and serve Seinfeld-inspired foods and drinks. Or, turn the event into an action-packed virtual experience by encouraging guests to live out their James Bond dreams with martini kits and secret agent accessories sent ahead of time. Music quickly primes a crowd, so implementing a musical theme is another way to get everyone ready to party. Incorporate EDM bands into a playlist and send attendees concert swag for a fun, immersive virtual experience.

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