Nothing lasts forever

Avid's Matt Feury on developments in the editing arena.
Avid is one of the key edit suite suppliers to have launched major new products over the last year.
Avid is one of the key edit suite suppliers to have launched major new products over the last year.

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2012 was a big year for editing, with all the big players launching new or upgraded suites. how does yours stand out?

When Avid’s editing products came into the marketplace in the early 90’s, they were designed to deliver refined editing tools, rock-solid media management and robust interoperability with other systems in the post production process.  

Despite all the advances in computing power since, the features post professionals need are the same.  And they are the differentiators between Avid editing solutions others.

With the launch of Media Composer 6, Avid completely rewrote the application in 64 Bit, giving smoother playback, faster rendering, better handling with large bins.
Other features such as Open I/O gave unprecedented flexibility to choose Avid audio and video interfaces or third-party interfaces, including those from AJA, Blackmagic Design, Bluefish444 and Matrox.

MC6 also added native 3D stereoscopic support, which includes extensive metadata management, full resolution eyes, real time editing, mixed eye workflows, and deep stereo toolset including titles and conversion control.

This gave editors a deep stereoscopic toolset, including working with side by side, over/under, and full raster eyes, along with stereoscopic title tools and advanced stereoscopic metadata handling. No other NLE has this level of 3D integration, and it comes built-in to MC6.

Avid has added enhanced audio capabilities including 5.1 and 7.1 surround audio tracks with panning, support for 64 voices, RTAS (Real Time AudioSuite) plug-in support, and enhanced audio keyframing. Sending to Pro Tools has never been easier.
Avid Media Access has been a powerful plug-in, allowing vendors to create access to new camera file formats as they are released. Media Composer 6.5 adds Avid Media Authoring, allowing 3rd Parties to author export volumes with a defined folder structure.

AS-02 is the first implementation, and provides a specification for grouping multiple versions of program content efficiently in a single bundle. Need to make multiple versions of the same show? Export the video once and only export the other language tracks the next time.

This year, Avid also added technology to take your newsroom anywhere. Interplay Sphere transcends facility, geographic and time zone limitations. Using high quality Media Composer and NewsCutter editing tools, producers, videographers, and editors have the same real-time workgroup experience as they would within the facility.

A story from the field may start with material imported into the editor, but assets residing in the workgroup’s ISIS storage can also be instantly searched, browsed, selected, and dragged to the timeline.

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*As we move from large hardware installations to cheaper software, how do you envisage the market developing?

Physical and geographic constraints to collaborative post-production will continue to fade away.  

A global talent pool is already driving content creators to distribute their workload around the world to creative specialists in the fields of picture and sound editorial, visual effects and finishing.  

Camera file formats have also continued to increase in frame size, and each camera manufacturer pushes the envelope each year with new formats and codecs.

Arri, Sony, and RED are a number of Avid’s camera technology partners which create 2K, 4K, and even 5K sized media. With AMA (Avid Media Access), camera manufacturers can create plug-ins which give immediate access to users of their latest formats.

*Is interoperability now something we can take for granted?

Interoperability has never been something that can be taken for granted. Take the issues surrounding archival and delivery of completed program assets. 

As a member of the Advanced Media Workflow Association, Avid has helped to develop new ‘Application Specifications’ that deal specifically with creating “packages” of media assets for easy archive and efficient transfer between different systems in the post production chain.  

Content creators who are delivering programming for larger broadcast entities will be able to do so without the usual hassles associated with this process because they will be adhering to a standard that is not only understood by multiple manufacturers, but still flexible enough to customize to the unique specifications of different broadcasters.

We have been working very hard on interoperability with our own applications such as Pro Tools and DS, as well as our 3rd party partners to make sure the interoperability is as transparent as possible for the end user.

This also includes cross-platform compatibility, and Avid continues to release Media Composer Family of products in both Macintosh and PC versions. This allows users to open their projects on either Macintosh or PC platforms, with complete parity in operation.

Whether that be an on-set dailies system, or a final color grading system, media and metadata should travel seamlessly in and out of Media Composer. The latest release added additional linking functionality to relink to media based on various user-selected metadata columns.

This flexibility is useful for grading workflows to Resolve, Baselight, Pablo, and other finishing systems and adds additional options for our customers.

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*Do you see a future for the traditional giant, fully-installed Hardware system?

The point of entry for creative editorial tools may not be where the lion’s share of “high end dollars” are allocated.  

With products like Media Composer, Symphony and NewsCutter being priced so competitively, it’s not too difficult to deploy a large number of seats within a facility or broadcast operation without busting your budget.  

Infrastructure to support the editorial process will be increasing in years to come. The ability to maintain large quantities of on-line and near-line media assets with simple processes has a great deal of value to high-end operations.  

Storage solutions such as Avid’s ISIS 2000, 5000 and 7000, and asset management solutions such as Avid’s Interplay will be where more and more investment dollars will be allocated.

*Software seems to move on very quickly – can we expect more releases from you next year?

Yes, we are always hard at work creating new, compelling features for our customers.

Media Composer Family of products offer the most advanced, most professional editor on the market, and we want to continue to push the envelope in our editor, storage and asset management offerings and push the bounds of what you think is possible in an asset based workflow.

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