It probably won’t come as a surprise to anyone but it would appear that Avid is finally going to bring the axe down on their long suffering, little loved, often misunderstood but rabidly niche product the Avid D|S. Rumors of the demise of DS have floated about for a long time, most recently at NAB 2013 when Avid didn’t see fit to even bring DS to the show floor. A thread in the Avid Community forums on Monday night gave the unofficial word as Marianna, Avid’s amazing customer rep, told the world the product is End of Life.
Official word from Avid is below at the bottom of this post. The letter from earlier today wasn't the official release so we've pulled it. We'll post the new letter customers when we receive it. The Q and A is still posted which answers a lot of questions. The official updated letter is now below.
While that hasn't been official word from Avid as of yet this was the post on the Avid forum that pretty much confirms this news:
Folks - The DS is EOL. :( Details to follow by the end of the week. Marianna
We're reached out to Avid for an official comment.
It really is a rather sad end for a product that had a small but very loyal and rabidly niche user base. It was hard to find anyone who used the DS in any real capacity but when you did they were very loyal users and would usually defend the DS and its toolset to the end. Strangely, my market of Nashville, Tennessee ended up being what I can only imagine was one of the biggest DS markets in the country (perhaps the world) thanks to Marshall Graphics, a reseller who installed a lot of DS systems. While I never agreed with them on the idea that the DS was a good creative offline tool (in fact I don’t think I ever met any editor who liked the idea of the DS as an offline tool) it was very capable for online and effects and you’ve more than likely seen some great DS work on your television set.
For some reason Avid never really developed DS. There was an attempt years ago to make it more Media Composer like by grafting on MC looking buttons and icons but it would still take a Media Composer editor quite a lot of work to master. There seemed to be a last ditch effort with the release of DS 11 in 2012 which lowered the price, added support for a bunch of new features and threw in a copy of Media Composer as well. That was too little too late as 2013 NAB saw the Avid booth without an Avid DS pod for demos. While some at Avid still said that DS was alive and well I think we all saw the writing on the wall.
My guess would be that Avid will still support the DS for the foreseeable future as some people have a rather significant investment in the platform. Unlike Apple and FCP7, Avid still actively maintains old version of Media Composer even though they are currently on version 7. I can’t imagine there wouldn’t be some continued maintenance updates for DS. Another comment from a helpful member on the Avid forum thread seems to confirm just that:
I spoke to Marianna a few minutes ago, and wanted to pass this along. DS 11.x will continue to be supported for at least a year, including some future development and maintenance releases. As she mentioned above there will be more details by the end of the week.
As far as wild speculation goes I think many of us would like to see some of the DS features make their was into a future version of Media Composer. DS was always quite strong in the effect department and that’s one place Media Composer could use some help. But if you want to see some loyal editors riot then put that DS timeline into Media Composer. While that might make a few FCP7 editors happy the DS timeline is a big change from that of Media Composer, even with the MC Smart Tool. Maybe bring the ability to enable and disable clips on the timeline into Media Composer … that’d be welcome.
It’s funny, I had the opportunity to spend several hours playing around with a DS earlier in the year. I had taken some training years ago due to that high number of DS’ in my market but I never really developed my chops on them as much as I wanted. As I was playing around a few months ago a lot of that training came back and I was reminded how to do quite a few things. But I was also reminded what a steep learning curve the DS had in order for the artist to master it. Ultimately, who knows why Avid chose to never really develop, push or market the DS to a wider audience. According to some, it was the worst mistake Avid ever made as the DS was such a great product. According to others the product was a clunky mess and DS stood for door stop. From my experience the truth is probably somewhere in the middle. But in today’s market climate with low budgets, cheap hardware and even cheaper software it probably didn’t make financial sense for Avid to spend any money on the thing. Some will be sad. More won’t care. Most won’t even notice. Goodbye Avid D|S … we hardly even knew ya.
I had to dig into some old file folders for that one but I knew I had my DS certificate around here somewhere.
Below is the Q and A which should address some concerns (we'll post the updated letter to customers about the product when we receive it):
Avid DS Family Final Sale Date / End of Support FAQ
This FAQ provides notification for the Final Sale Dates and End of Support of the Avid DS product family including Avid DS turnkey systems, DS software only systems and associated DS hardware.
As of October 1, 2013, the DS product family will no longer be available for purchase.
Q: What is Avid’s plan for existing DS customers?
A: To leverage the worlds #1 editor with a complete suite of production tools that empower you to create, deliver, and collaborate, Avid has worked with our partner eyeon Software to secure an exclusive promotional offer on eyeon products, available only to Avid DS customers.
DS owners will get special promotional pricing for Fusion, Dimension and Generation at a combined price of just $1,250 US MSRP – that’s more than a 50% savings. Fusion's advanced node-based VFX supercomputing environment and high-level image processing application directly integrates with the Media Composer timeline, while Dimension’s Optical Flow and Disparity Tools provide a precise and inclusive series of solutions for Stereo Productions. Combined with the project and team communication and collaboration engine Generation, Avid DS users are able to transition to powerful, efficient toolset to continue to create innovative content.
Q: Will this offer be available worldwide?
A: Yes. For specific pricing in your region please contact your regional sales representative (to find a Reseller, click here; to find a local Avid office, click here.)
Q: How long will this offer be available?
A: This offer will be available through the end of 2013.
Q: Who do I contact to take advantage of the eyeon for DS customers promotional pricing?
A: DS customers will receive the promotional code from Avid prior to purchasing through eyeon Software.
DS customers must submit a request to Avid via the Avid DS License Request Form. Customers must submit each DS license they wish to receive a promotional code for.
Avid will respond to the request with a promotional code (one per DS license) and information about how to contact eyeon Software sales.
Customers will purchase eyeon Fusion, Dimension and Generation through eyeon Software, and will redeem their promotional code(s) at time of purchase.
Q. Do I have to trade in my DS license in order to get the eyeon promotion? Will my DS license cease to work?
A: No, this is NOT a trade in program. Avid is requesting that customers provide their DS licenses to confirm eligibility and to ensure customers receive the appropriate number of promotional codes. DS customers can continue to use their DS license after receiving the promotional code.
Q: Where can I go to find out more information on eyeon products?
A: For overall product information for Fusion, Dimension and Generation, eyeon has excellent online manuals that walk users through specific features and workflows. Avid and eyeon will also be hosting a webinar for customers to see the power of eyeon products and Media Composer working together. Additional information regarding the webinar will be made available soon.
Q: What if I am a DS 10 customer or below, do I still get to take advantage of the eyeon promotion?
A: Yes, customers using an older version of DS can use the promotion for eyeon Fusion, Dimension, and Generation. We suggest they upgrade to DS 11 prior to receive the great functionality of Media Composer 7.
Q: Why will DS no longer be for sale?
A: Avid has decided to direct our focus on an interconnected suite of products to leverage the best of our developmental and creative output. With the release of Media Composer 7 and the Symphony Option – both at a fraction of their original cost - Avid remains dedicated to the post-production market, and we’re confident in the superior visual effects and compositing capabilities of eyeon’s products and the exciting workflows they empower with the Media Composer family.
Q: I would like to buy a DS 11 turnkey system now. Are they still available?
A: No, Avid DS 11 turnkey systems are no longer available for purchase. Avid DS software can be purchased through September 30, 2013.
Q: I currently own DS 11. What are Avid’s plans for bug fixes and updates?
A: Avid plans to continue to provide maintenance updates for DS 11 for a full calendar year from the final sale date (September 30, 2013) Some additional improvements and enhancements may also be released in that timeframe. DS customers will be alerted when the final maintenance patch is released.
Q: I currently own Avid DS 10 and would like to upgrade to DS 11. Is this possible?
A: Yes. Customers can still upgrade to Avid DS 11 if done by September 30, 2013.
Q: Why should I upgrade to Avid DS 11.x if the product is no longer being developed?
A: If Avid DS suits your needs today, then continue to use the product and consider upgrading. We fully expect to provide maintenance updates and improvements like MC 7 Conform, DNxHD444 and ISIS 10GB & Dual 1GB connection support in the future.
Q: Will there be an upgrade path or cross-grade offering for existing DS customers?
A: Yes. DS 11 customers will receive Avid Media Composer 7 as part of their purchase. Customers wishing to transition from DS to Media Composer 7 with the Symphony Option need only to purchase the Symphony option for $1,499 US MSRP.
Additionally, Avid has partnered with eyeon Software to provide Fusion, Dimension and Generation at a fraction of the standard cost. eyeon Fusion directly embeds advanced node-based VFX supercomputing and high-level image processing in the Media Composer timeline, providing powerful effects and compositing tools within a standard Avid workflow. Dimension has been highly developed to solve some of the most intricate of stereoscopic production issues, while Generation – a communication, collaboration and review engine – has been designed to make the studio workflow really flow. DS users won’t have to trade in their DS license in order to benefit from this valuable offer – they can continue to use DS 11 for as long as they’d like while also using eyeon’s production tools and Media Composer.
Q: Is there a Symphony Software Trial available?
A: Yes. Download the 30-day Symphony Software Trial version and see for yourself all that Avid Symphony has to offer.
Q: What support will Avid offer?
A: Avid Customer Success will continue to provide support for customers with active Avid Advantage support contracts for the life of the contract. Contracts will not run for longer than one year from the Final Sale Date and will end by September 30th, 2014. During that time, maintenance and bug fix releases will be made available as needed.
Q. What about current support contracts that run past September 30, 2014?
A. Customers with active support contracts that do not run out until sometime after September 30 2014 should contact their Avid Loyalty Representative to discuss contract options.
Q: What will happen to the DS Support site? Will it continue to be updated?
A: The Avid DS Support site will be updated with information regarding maintenance updates and final sale offers. Additional updates may be available while support contracts are active.
Q: Can I buy an Avid Advantage Support contract now and get coverage on my Avid DS?
A: Yes. Customers can still purchase an Avid Advantage Support Contract for Avid DS
Q: I know the final sale date for DS hardware systems was June 21, 2013. What happens if I need to repair my DS hardware??
A: Avid will continue to provide spare parts, while supplies last, for Avid DS hardware under warranty.
Director, Online Communities and Forums | Customer Advocate
Worldwide Marketing Communications
75 Network Drive
Burlington, MA 01803
Cell +1 (813) 493-6800
AOL IM avidmarianna
Here's the updated letter to DS customers:
To Our Avid DS customers,
We are writing to inform you that Avid will be realigning our business strategy to focus on a core suite of products to best leverage our developmental and creative resources. As part of this transition, we will be ceasing future development of Avid DS with a final sale date of September 30th, 2013.
Avid would like to take this opportunity to thank our DS customer community for your dedication over the years. You have kept Avid at the forefront of creative and workflow best industry practices, and for that we thank you for your dedication and loyalty to Avid. Over the past few years, we have been advancing key technology components into our proven and trusted Media Composer and Symphony products, we feel that our industry leading solutions – built on an open platform – allow for some of the best technology in the business to seamlessly interop with Media Composer.
As a gesture of thanks, Avid has worked with our partner eyeon Software to secure an exclusive promotional offer on eyeon products, available only to Avid DS customers. Avid DS owners are eligible to receive 50% off of eyeon Fusion. The standard cost of Fusion is $2,495 (USMSRP), but with this special promotion, you can get the power of Fusion seamlessly integrated to your Media Composer for just $1,250 (USMSRP).
With the release of Media Composer 7 and the Symphony Option – both at a fraction of their original cost - Avid remains dedicated to the post-production market, and we’re confident in the superior visual effects and compositing capabilities of eyeon’s products and the exciting workflows they empower with the Media Composer family.
To further enhance the experience, Avid has built on the Community confidence and has created an eyeon Fusion Get Started Fast forum to aid customers through this exciting transition period. Customers can find workflow examples, tutorials, tips and tricks, and other helpful information regarding the transition from Avid DS to Media Composer with Fusion.
Avid DS will be available for purchase and upgrade until the final sale date of September 30th, 2013, while customer support will continue to be honored through September 30th, 2014. DS 11 will still be eligible for maintenance upgrades as they become available. To get more detailed information on the DS end of life timeline, please visit our DS knowledge base.
We look forward to further working with you as we continue to design the future of editing and effects. More information about eyeon products will be made available soon at www.eyeonline.com/avid.html
The Avid Team