NAB 2012: Avid
Avid came to NAB 2012 with something for everyone. Broadcasters in particular had a lot to be happy about. The AirSpeed 5000 server, aimed at broadcasters of all sizes, offers cost-efficient play-to-air capability, support for third party editing systems, open design, Avid workflow integration and ability to handle a range of codecs. AirSpeed 5000 can work with Avid or third-party control systems to automate ingest and playback or can be used directly with NewsCutter, Media Composer or other editing systems.
Avid AirSpeed 5000
Avid Motion Graphics is a new on-air graphics system with advanced object-based design and both production and play-out capabilities. Other features include 2D/3D real-time rendering, powered by leading edge GPU and I/O technology. The streamlined Avid Motion Graphics Production is aimed at news, sports and live events and offers 2D/3D graphics creation tools, effects, production capabilities and workflow integration. Avid Motion Graphics Creation is the software-only version.
Avid Motion Graphics, an on-air graphics systems
Looking to the near future, Avid debuted Interplay Sphere, part of the company's family of asset management solutions and its cloud-based editing initiative also targeted at the broadcast market. With Interplay Sphere, a real-time "universal access technology," users can acquire, access, edit and finish news and sports stories from anywhere at anytime. Using Media Composer or NewsCutter with Avid Interplay Sphere creates a completely distributed production and post environment in the newsroom.
"We're introducing Interplay Sphere first in news," explains Adam Green, Senior Director of Post and Professional Segment Marketing at Avid. "Last year, we introduced Interplay Central, which was about providing Web-based tools to producers and journalists. This creates completely seamless editing. As soon as you save, it'll upload and send either proxies or high-resolution files." Avid Interplay Sphere is planned for a Q3 2012 release, said Green.
Also relevant to broadcasters was another new Avid initiative, its Multi-platform Distribution (MPD) solution. With an increasing requirement to distribute content to online, social and mobile channels as well as TV, Avid's MPD is intended to streamline the process for all content creators. The MPD solution leverages Avid Interplay and iNEWS to manage the flow of assets and metadata from creation to delivery to web, social media and/or mobile platforms. According to Green, MPD relies on "existing Interplay and iNEWS functionality and web services APIs" for its easy applicability to a range of environments and needs. "We have a methodology that addresses all this," explains Green. "Service-oriented architecture allows us to orchestrate assets plus the metadata. And Avid Professional Services can help you implement it."
Although Avid Media Composer 6 was not a new product at NAB 2012, Green pointed out that, for many people at the show, this was their first chance to see it in action. But what he was excited about was a unique promotion that Avid unveiled at the show: a tempting Symphony 6 crossgrade promotion. With this promotion, all qualified Avid and Final Cut Pro users can get a dramatic discount on Symphony 6, which is regularly priced at $6,000. The special price of $999 is intended to provide an easy avenue for FCP, Avid Media Composer, Avid Xpress Pro and Avid Xpress DV users to give Avid's leading professional editing and finishing solution a try.
"This crossgrade promo is big news," said Green. "We want people to know what Symphony is, by letting them try out advanced color correction, Boris Continuum and the complement of finishing tools." The special crossgrade promo price lasts until June 15.
Avid's focus on broadcasters makes all the sense in the world at a show held by the National Association of Broadcasters. The company rightly realizes that broadcasters are focused on succeeding in an ever-changing media landscape, at the same time that their budgets are leaner and meaner than ever. It was good to see Avid talk about distributed workflows with its Interplay Sphere cloud-based offering. Cloud-based production/post is clearly a trend that's coming, but Avid already has some experience in the field and the motivation and chops to pull it off.