On Thursday evening, October 12th Avid partnered with Keycode Media for a Facebook livestream event called #AskAvid – An Evening With Avid. It was a two hour presentation with a panel of Avid employees and executives, including Avid President Jeff Rosica, as they sat down with Keycode Director Of Technology and 5 THINGS host Michael Kammes to answer questions from Avid users. Michael moderated the event as well as collected questions from Twitter and various other online forums.
This was a Facebook live event so you have to go to Facebook to watch it since embedding the stream doesn’t seem to be possible. It might be up on other platforms later but as of now we’re stuck in Facebook. The plus side of watching it in Facebook is you can choose the Realtime Comments option in the Facebook viewer and that’s an interesting experience on its own as there is a lot of interesting discussion that went own in the comments as well.
Avid began the event with a technology update and sort of a state of the company discussion before they got to the question and answer session about an hour in. The Q and A is probably the meat of what most editors reading this blog will be interested in (and there is some good meat for us Avid users) but the entire presentation will be of interest to anyone who has their toe squarely in the Avid (and Media Composer) waters. Everyone always wants to know about new features and there is talk of that too.
I was unable to watch the #AskAvid event live as I was enjoying the beautiful city of Chattanooga with my family that evening but I did watch the archive and I had a chat with Michael Kammes the #AskAvid host. Michael is right in the middle of the technology side of editing and post-production (his 5 THINGS series has dug into this question of NLEs more than once) and I think most people appreciate his honesty when it comes to discussing the often controversial topic of NLEs. His thoughts on the event are worth reading:
From Michael Kammes (reprinted with permission): My big takeaway is that there are 2 very different sets of users, and Avid is caught in the middle. Now, that’s not news by any stretch, but it was really exemplified last night.
The in-house audience was the higher end of Hollywood Post, from an editor/engineer to facility owner/operator level. There were facilities that have survived on Media Composer, and who rely on MC doing what MC does so they can pay salaries. They wanted the tools they use daily to work better, and for Avid to finish and actually deliver on features Avid has promised to complement current workflows. I hate to use the quote “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses”, but it’s true: fix the color corrector, etc. etc.
Now don’t get me wrong, these are VALID concerns. We all want our jobs to have the tools we need to solve the problems we have TODAY.
However, there is the flip side – which is, “while enhancing the CC is fine and good, what about forward thinking tools for new workflows?” Tools like remote editing paradigms, metadata exchange, VMs, etc.
At one point, Howard Brock asked (and I’m paraphrasing), “By a show of hands, who wants the color corrector fixed over enhancing metadata?” The room was pretty evenly split (although, to be fair, half the people in the room didn’t raise their hand for either.)
So, Avid is caught in the middle. Continue to serve their bread and butter that is higher end TV/Film: post, sports, news, and broadcast but also embrace the newer technologies for the next incarnation of media creation. Limited resources means features have to be cherry picked to appease both camps.
…and you can’t please all of the people all of the time, amirite?
Michael hit the nail on the head and I agree with him 100%. Avid as a company is in a much different position than the other NLE makers. They have to please both their installed, ingrained and highly vocal market while still moving forward in this brave new media world. Some asking a question said something like this: “you will get yourself fired if you try to cut a tv show in DaVinci Resolve, It’s impossible.” What should be added to that statement is you will get yourself fired if you try to cut a tv show in DaVinci Resolve the traditional Hollywood way as so many of these tools that aren’t Avid Media Composer have different ways of doing things that aren’t exactly the Avid way. There was a lot of talk of bin locking and Adobe’s addition of a bin locking-like feature that has been announced for Adobe Premiere Pro. I would argue that this feature has been added to appease that ingrained Hollywood market while Adobe would really like collaborative workflows to use some of their other collaboration tools altogether. It’s more faster horse talk. Or to use another tired cliche, Avid doesn’t seem to be skating to where the puck is going, at least not from the standpoint of the Media Composer software. Listening to the presentation on the entire Avid platform, they seem to be much more forward thinking.
Whether you agree with Avid’s focus (and their roadmap) or not watching the #AskAvid event feels to me like the one of the first times I’ve heard a more direct vision of what is to come, this “platform” I’ve heard them talk about before. I’ve watched a lot of presentations from Avid CEO Louis Hernandez and I don’t think I’ve ever left one of his talks with more answers than questions.
Another thing that should be noted is the fact that Avid was willing to sit down for this type of event. Even though a lot of their answers were “it’s coming” and “we hear you” sitting down for this kind of hammering from your user-base takes some guts. You’ll never see Apple or Adobe sending out their NLE teams to face the firing squad the way Avid did that Thursday evening.
Regardless of your NLE of choice, if you work deep in the editing and post-production trenches you’ll most likely get something out of a viewing of the #AskAvid event. So pull up a chair, grab a beverage and give it a watch.