Avid have recently announced that they are selling off some Audio and Video components in order to focus back on its core market. That said, in the current financial climate and the poor share performance of the company the question would be... “If Avid disappeared tomorrow what would happen for the rest of us?”
In the short term the answer would be nothing. Most people who have invested heavily in the ‘purple one’ would continue to run them into the ground. Stable releases such as MC5 would still be able to continue in to the short term. Facilities running the likes of ISIS and Unity MediaNetwork would also continue as long as hardware support does not become an issue with them. Large sites still running Interplay releases would also be able to continue into the short and mid terms, as long as workflows don’t vary too much.
But with camera manufacturers ever exploding codecs, it wouldn’t be long until certain cameras would not be able to function with a legacy products such as Media Composer and Unity.
With rich code and long standing customer base I’m sure that the code would be up for grabs, but I’m also sure that not many people would be willing to take on the big toys that Avid have brought to the market such as Unity ISIS, which is in essence proprietary hardware that would be costly to maintain. Without joined up code then, would Avid be such an attractive package for the professional who would be looking to renew his NLE platform?
Adobe have recently sured up their commitment to the Professional
with the release of Premiere Pro CS6 which has had glowing reviews, and when taken as a suite offers an amazing package with the recent addition of Speed Grade which brings Avid’s Symphony offering into question!?
Apple have at long last started to get their act together with the latest release of FCPX now supporting a client monitor, but that said there market is very firmly NOT aimed at the Professional market and there does not appear to any concerted effort from Apple to help streamline a facilities workflow with Cloud based offerings from within FCPX!?
So those are the 2 obvious choices but who else could we look to?
SONY. Sony have long been in and out of the prefessional NLE sphere, and sadly it has never really cracked it, and while Sony Vegas has a great set of tools it just doesn’t seam to have the right feel about it to convince the end user.
GrassValley. Edius has been with us for some time now but it rare that I bump into it unless I come across a GV installation. From my experience Edius has a very neat tool set but again does suffer from a rather clunky workflow when using shared resources, which may not be such as issue to a lot of users.
Who would my money be on? I think I would go with Adobe on their current commitments in their applications, but I would love to see would buy Avids Media Composer code and what they would do with it, if anything. Some have said that the likes of BlackMagic would buy the code and others have said the likes of SONY would by it, lets hope not as they showed how not to do with when they teamed up with Medias100! In any case it would be big shoes to fill if Avid were to disappear overnight, and it would also need a change in mind set from users as Avid have brought in some technologies and tools that are now very common practice across the industry.
We all love to bitch about Avid, but what would we do without them?
Canon has released it latest and greatest DSLR the Canon C300but this time the price tag has risen to in excess of £11K, but is it worth the money?
Its very early days to tell as the camera has a long waiting list by the sounds of things as current production models appear hard to get hold of, but what we do know is that the camera hopes to give the user a cinematic experience with a modular body approach, 16x9 CMOS pick up and Canons fantastic range of lenses. Even though it currently only offers MPEG-2 Long GOP 4:2:2 at 50Mbs it does offer a HDSDI out for higher image quality recordings.
As the camera produces MPEG2 files in the same format as the ever popular XF300 and XF305 cameras (50Mbs), most existing workflows for the popular NLE systems are well established, but if you are still unsure there is a great article HERE from AbelCine with regards to getting C300 media into Avid, FCP and Premiere Pro.
A very interesting piece of equipment that looks to be a firm favorite with avid DSLR fans and users out there, but at price.
There was a number of requests for copies of the powerpoint I used for the 2 talks I gave at BVENorth last week. I have created below a PDF of each seminar for personal use and reference. I hope you find them of interest and use.
If you managed to visit BVENorth I hope you found it of use and hope to see you next year!
Post Tool Set - Wednesday 16th November 2011
Digital Exhaust - Thursday 17th November 2011
Avid Technology Share dips under $6!
When Apple rolled out FCPX I was part expecting the massive sway on how great Apple were and how they were the saviours of Video editing with their lateset offering of a rebuilt FCP, but after the dust settled I think its fair to say that the product may well have not been as so sure footed as it first appeared. And soon we saw the resurfacing of FCP 7 owing to user demand and the lack of key features within FCPX.
Steve Jobs was a key instigator behind the Pro Apps and you have to start wondering if these apps will continue in their same vain now that their champion has been lost?
Out of this confusion should have charged Avid. With the advantage of being able to bring to market its re-built 64bit version of Media Composer at IBC this year they were nowhere to be seen, only offering yet more confusing Asset management solutions to the market and not even a sniff of Media Composer 6?
With a crashing share price (currently under $6 as I write this) and rumours of again axing of 20% of its world wide work force, things are not looking good for the once giant of the NLE industry and you have to ask yourself, what would the face of Post look like without Avid? Will Media Composer 6 really be able to sustain a giant like this where systems are being built at a fraction of the cost they were only 2 years ago never mind 10 years!?
More interesting, if Apple or Avid are not in the frame, who becomes the champion of Post? Perhaps Avid would be bought out by competitors like Adobe, but would this make any sense when they are already so well established?
The safe money would be on Adobe taking over from the likes of Media Composer and FCP, but would the companies traditional NLE editor, Premiere, really be able to stand up to users who are used Media Composer and Final Cut Pro? Their shared workflow is also more than a little flaky and doesn’t appear to be under any form of development at the moment, but then is this as big an issuie as we think? Possibly the other long suffering NLE editors might be knocking on its door of Post houses, perhaps it could be Quantel and there eQ system or Sonys Vegas, Grass Valleys Edius or EditShares open source Lightworks? Interesting times, but let’s see what happens with Avid and Apple before making more speculations.
Its odd to think that 2 products owned by the same company for many years still have issues talking to each other?
Anyway, that a side MediaComposer 5.5 gave you the ability to exchange locators and marker information. But to be honest this does rely on you having the latest versions of both MediaComposer and ProTools and if the ProTools systems is owed by a third party then this all becomes a little out of your control.
So here's a guide to show you how to use a small (free) application that enables you to get the locator information out of ProTools and then convert this into a Tab Delimited File so that you can import this into MediaComposer, and so far this appears to work across a wide range of versions of MediaComposer and ProTools.
This is great if you need to pass information on for lasy minute edit changes for dubbing or if dubbing pick up on something that they need to pass back to you.
Locators from ProTools to MediaComposer
It has been hard to miss the amazing public reaction to the passing of the technology legend Steve Jobs. Visitors to the apple website on October 5th 2011 were met with the message that Steve had lost his battle with Cancer aged just 56.
Never before has there been such public admiration and sense of loss for a technology pioneer of a manufacturing giant and perhaps this is because its felt that he pioneered a whole range of tools that allowed us all to interact with each other in an infinitely easier way.
RIP Steve Jobs
What I learned from Steve Jobs
NAB2011 was on the whole was a lot more interesting than I think we all first thought it would be.
Putting aside Apples FCPX announcement (though I will return back to it – obviously) the overall story that came out of NAB was that of affordable 3D production, from acquisition to transmission.
3D has long been viewed by the majority as somewhat of a ‘fad’ or rather a technical dream of the future and not a production possibility of now. These ideas may well be coming to an end after the technology that was showed at this year’s NAB Show.
With file base cameras becoming the standard weapon of choice for most productions this has paved the way forward for much cheaper 3D cameras. Panasonics P2 based 3D camera (AG3DP1) and Sony’s XDCAM EX 3D camera (BMW-TD300) both show a great inroads for productions to use tried and tested equipment in the field for 3D productions. But the worry for people here is the lack of guidelines for producing 3D from both a technical and artistic viewpoint. James Cameron appeared to realise this and called for an agreed standardisation of 3D productions.
With production workflows in mind NLE systems have been able to handle 3D material for some time and for the most of it the usual suspects Avid Media Composer, Apples Final Cut Pro and Adobe Premiere haven’t really embraced it completely (though Adobe with After Effects does offer a rather neat solution) its left to the likes of Sony Vegas, Quantel and Autodesk to offer true 3D manipulation tool sets for the editor. Without a common ‘workhorse’ solution, productions may well still worry about the production workflow, especially if they wish to keep it in house.
Which bring me neatly onto the already infamous FCPX or rather Final Cut Pro Ten.
Never before has a pre release piece of software shown by a developer (who isn’t even exhibiting at the show!?) generated such hysteria. The now infamous showing of FCPX has set the whole FCP community alight and in most cases has appeared to have caused a divide within the diehard fans. From the worries of the ‘it looks too like iMovie’ to the joys of ‘$299 download is awesome!’ FCPX has raised more question than it can ever answer without its public release. For my point of view and the fact I didn’t attended the Super Group meeting where the software was shown all I can do is speculate be seeing as the release date is now so close to hand I think I should see it in the flesh before casting a stern eye on its performance and use. However from the few things I have seen I think it’s safe to say that FCPX is here to stay and looks like it adds more fuel to the fire to suggest that the application is going down the laptop and iMAC route rather than that of the MacPro workstation which is the professionals (which is what NAB attracts let’s face it) weapon of choice.
Will FCPX prove as big a success in the professional market as it older brother did? We'll just have to wait and see.
Sony have at long last released their much anticipated NEX-FS100 Super 35mm NXCAM camcorder which has been designed to record video footage with shallow depth of field similar to that of a film camera.
The NEX-FS100 has a large CMOS sensor equivalent in size to that of Super35mm film, like that used in its bigger brother the PMW-F3. The NEX-FS100 also has a 35mm E-Mount interchangeable lens system that provides a wide variety of current and future E-mount lenses. This places the SONY camera firmly in battle with DSLR favorites such as the Canon D7. Although priced at an estimated £5000 (UK) the camera does appear to be very capable and produces stunning images.
The system creates AVCHD 1920x1080/50p @ 28Mbs onto a solid state device offering approx 10hrs worth of recording and can create SD material in an MPEG2 format. It will be interesting if this format and data rate is ratified by the BBC and Channel 4 for acceptable HD delivery as currently 50Mbs in the minimum.
In the single demo I have seen (see the link below) the material was edited on FCP having first been transcoded in ProRes and so not edited natively. As Avid currently does not support the AVCHD format natively we will have to wait for SONY to release an AMA plugin, but then it was Avid who actually implemented XDCam into its NLE range and not SONY so who knows. Media Composer 6?
For an in-depth review of the camera by Den from F-Stop Academy go here F-Stop Review
The official NEX-FS100 site can be found here...
Final Cut Pro – Apples high end NLE editing package - has been ‘stalled’ at version 7 for the last 2 years fuelling much speculation about the direction and future of the NLE Pro App, but would Apple really drop this flag ship product? We think not.
Final Cut Pro came from a purchase of Final Cut code from Macromedia (http://tiny.cc/e3z7n) and not surprisingly the man behind Adobe Premiere and Final Cut - Randy Ubillos - was brought on board by Apple to take the product forward to the product we have come to know today. But as Apple has stormed forward with OSX, a lot of FCP’s core code is not true 64bit but rather old Carbon code and not the desired Cocoa. This is where the system is felt to be weak and is crying out for attention by the massive user base.
In 2007 Randy Ubillos was redirected to develop and streamline iMovie08 and in turn the iLife product line. This move fuelled the rumours that the ever decreasing MAC OSX Pro Apps team (now massively over shadowed by the iOS project) was being run down in developing the Pro Apps that people were becoming so reliant on (BBC especially investing heavily in the application.) Interestingly its reported on varying sites that FCP holds about 64% of the US market and Avid a mere 22%, but figures for the UK/Europe would appear to be hard to come by.
It is now becoming apparent that Apple is redeveloping the application with Randy Ubillos back at the helm, and recoding for a complete 64bit app, but in this coding process its worth noting that Apple now feels that the application has had a swing in both platform (more and more systems now being used on laptops rather than workstations) and user type (pro-sumer and home users becoming more and more common than out and out professionals, which is bore out by the high sales of Final Cut Express) With the likes of Thunderbolt (http://www.apple.com/thunderbolt) being common place on the latest Mac books this can only fuel speculation for this shift in standard working platform for FCP. What is interesting is that the latest FCP is rumored to have support for 4K playback, improved media management which perhaps are not tools demanded by Apples envisaged user base.
What ever happen I’m sure it’ll be interesting and possibly controversial.
So... Avid come full circle with the release of Media Composer 5.5 software which a lot of people will also remember as a major software release for their NuVista based editing system over 15 years ago! My how far we’ve come!
While it will not be released for a few weeks yet, this version has some interesting features that change how Media Composer is used and priced in todays post market. There are some interesting software enhancements and an amazing application called Phrase Finder which is an add-on to MC which enables you to search for actual phrases spoken in your video footage. However the list below is felt to be of much more interest to people who want to know exactly how this software version affects them and implications that may affect there facility or workflows for the future.
Visit Avids Media Composer 5.5 page here for the complete breakdown of the features offered in MC 5.5 and see what it brings to you