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Another wrinkle in the NLE market

Just to make matters more confusing, Avid decides to re-align its operations away from consumer products, instead focusing on its enterprise-level offerings, specifically Media Composer for enterprise and ProTools. Is that good? I’m not sure, because I believe I don’t fit (as a micro-business) into the traditional enterprise categories.

Why does this matter?

Well, let’s review what has happened to the video editing market recently:

  1. Apple decided to ditch Final Cut Pro 7 for its new, version 1 software, entitled Final Cut X. (June 2011) One year later, I still can’t use it, because the thing simply can’t handle production-necessary audio streams and controls.
  2. Avid [edit: Blackmagic owns Da Vinci, not Avid, and Da Vinci is for color correction, not editing. Media Composer and Symphony are Avid’s two video editing products.] lowered the price of its flagship video editing system, Da Vinci, in April 2010. This was a move to bring in us smaller editors, who might have been working on Final Cut Pro 7 or Adobe Premiere.
  3. Adobe brought out its newest version of its video editing system, Premiere CS6, in May 2012. Vastly improved (according to some), but still doesn’t manage media to the same degree that Da Vinci/Composer (or FCP X) does.

In some ways, the Avid announcement makes my decision-making easier: if Final Cut Pro no longer works for my office, the only viable alternative is Adobe Premiere. And I already own the Master Collection, so it would be a no-brainer (relatively speaking) to take the discounted upgrade path that Adobe has laid out for us.

But I still feel a little sad for what Avid could have become: a unified set of tools that both amateurs and professionals could have used to create/edit/record wonderful video and audio. That will not happen now.

It’s interesting that Avid believes that it cannot be profitable in the consumer marketplace. Another media/tech/hardware company, Blue Microphones, has taken a completely different approach. While they have a stable of pro mics that we studio geeks like, they have also entered into the consumer sphere, with USB mics featured at Apple Stores and elsewhere. Blue reports that the consumer marketplace has helped their bottom line immensely. What did Blue do differently than Avid?

I dunno. But I do know that I’m unsure where to go in the longer-term video editing dilemma. And I feel that today’s announcement took another viable option away from me.

2 thoughts on “Another wrinkle in the NLE market

  1. Avid Editor

    A couple of points in your article that I feel need addressing:

    1) “Avid lowered the price of its flagship video editing system, Da Vinci, in April 2010”

    Avid doesn’t own Da Vinci, never did. And Avid’s “flagship” software, Media Composer, was not lowered in price in April 2010, it’s been $2499 for awhile now.

    2) “I still feel a little sad for what Avid could have become: a unified set of tools that both amateurs and professionals could have used to create/edit/record wonderful video and audio.”

    Avid has only sold off it’s consumer division, which includes the former Pinnacle Liquid/Avid Liquid/Avid Studio products. These were $130 off the shelf off your nearest big box store. There was absolutely no integration between Avid’s higher end products (ie, Media Composer and Symphony) and the Avid Studio line. Users that upgraded from Avid Studio to MC may have well come from Sony Vegas/FCP/Premiere or some other NLE. There was no similarity between the two products and they were not developed by the same engineers. For all intents and purposes they were only Avid products because of the logo on the box.

    Avid’s decision to focus on “enterprise” doesn’t mean that consumers won’t still be able to use the products. If a consumer wanted to use MC, they could. Media Composer can still be purchased as software only and can be installed and run on just about any modern computer that meets its system requirements. In fact as of v6, Avid Symphony is now also a software-only product that can be downloaded. If you, as a micro-business, want to invest in a computer and Media Composer you can, there is no enterprise version of any of the software.

    Avid dropping the weight of it’s consumer division is a good thing. Avid does storage and professional-level NLE tools really well. Let them focus on that so the professional editors in the world will have tools to work with.

    • Thanks for catching my gross errors — egads! (I think I got caught up in Blackmagic’s announcement of the Cinema camera at NAB, and forgot they do anything else…my bad. And can you tell that I’ve never actually used Avid video tools or Da Vinci?…sorry.)

      I’m less concerned with the video editing side than with the audio editing line of products. (I have never felt that Media Composer was at the right price point for my business — I could be convinced to try it out in the future. I have several industry editor friends who won’t touch anything other than Avid.) When Avid bought Digidesign (ProTools’ original maker), and, by association, M-Audio, there was an expectation that Avid could create a unified line of audio products across all price points, form “pro-sumer” to “pro.” And they kinda did, with the M-powered line of ProTools products. But now that Avid has decoupled the software from the hardware, their business model is different (and potentially similar to their business model for the software-only Symphony). M-Audio hardware, and all of their other pro-sumer products, are not needed. Some of them are actually good, though, and I am not happy to see them go to Numark (a company with which I have never had very good results).

      So, I guess my beef comes from Avid making this big purchase of Digi/M-Audio, and then kinda pulling the company apart to better serve their needs. (I guess that’s what companies do, right?) And you are quite possibly correct that making this move might help Avid focus on what it does well. But I’m waiting for ProTools to get as much attention from Avid as they give their video tools; when that happens, I’ll be a very happy video/audio editor.

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