What are audiovisual media?

We explain what audiovisual media are, their history and main characteristics. In addition, how they are classified and what they are for.

  1. What are audiovisual media?

Audiovisual media (or simply audiovisual media) are those mass communication mechanisms that transmit your messages through channels that involve not only the sense of sight, as in traditional print media, but also that of hearing. media  employ multimedia technology , which combines the visual virtues of the printed model with the immediacy of the spoken radio, thus achieving a more complex format that mimics the real presence in the order of the transmitted events. This is the case of television , cinema and more recently the Internet .

This type of communication media is based on the joint transmission of images and sound in an articulated way , that is, simultaneously and synchronously, to achieve a powerful reality effect never seen before in the history of human communication .

This assembly work between the two registers (the visual and the auditory), which can point to realistic naturalness, as in television news, or pursue special effects as in fiction cinema, is called “assembly.”

The audiovisual media revolutionized human society in its gradual appearance during the twentieth century , and currently constitute the main source of information transmitted daily or contained in digital media such as DVDs or Web pages.

  1. History of audiovisual media

Audiovisual media
The development of sound cinema first occurred around 1920.

The combination of audio and voice in a mass communication medium took place for the first time in the development of sound cinema , around 1920. This advance represented a renewal of the filming and conception practices of cinema and then television, and They provided a much richer and real-life experience to their performances, which until then looked more like the theatrical.

The arrival, thus, of the new information technologies and especially of the Internet and the different formats of digital video, meant an even more resounding change, in which these elements so similar to real life could be manipulated and intervened to generate amazing visual and auditory effects, like the ones we enjoy today in fiction movies.

In addition, the popularity of virtual networks allowed the massive circulation of audiovisual content , to the point that any user with a cell phone equipped with a camera can record events audiovisually and share them with the public, or even communicate with distant relatives in real time, being able to see and hear them over huge distances.

  1. Characteristics of audiovisual media

As the name implies, audiovisual media are those that combine both visual (still or moving images) and sound aspects. They are based on the synchronized coexistence of these stimuli, whether they intend to imitate reality or propose a new , fictional one.

In that sense, the audiovisual media are usually immediate, massive, and at the same time ephemeral (since their representation ends in time) and enduring (since they can be stored and reproduced again and again from the beginning).

  1. Classification of audiovisual media

Audiovisual media
Traditional slides are accompanied by the voice of the person who explains.

There are different forms of audiovisual media, and we can study them separately:

  • Traditional . Cases such as the blackboard, slides or traditional overhead projectors, are not properly audiovisual (but rather visual), but constitute the germ of what would come next, since in their cases the visual medium was accompanied by an oral explanation by of the teacher or exhibitor, in order to take advantage of the two formats.
  • Mass . From the massification of image and sound , cinema and television became powerful audiovisual media to reach the population quickly and immediately, and therefore the media of this type, especially television stations, They became vitally important in the concert of societies, becoming known as part of the “fourth power” or media power.
  • Interactive . From the appearance of the Internet, the audiovisual media were not only massive and fast, but also allowed the viewer not to play such a passive role, but to choose, intervene and give  feedback , or even broadcast information, as in the videoconferences or video calls.
  1. What are audiovisual media for?

The audiovisual media play a key role in the information of the masses in contemporary society , allowing them to witness reality almost as if they were there, in any other corner of the world.

Likewise, it allows us to dream about possible realities through fiction cinema and live those worlds of lies as if they really existed, through the management of sound and vision .

To this must be added the enormous advantage that audiovisual telecommunications means, overcoming enormous distances to allow two or more people to see and hear each other in real time : a true global communication revolution.

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