Blog, business, film/video, post production for film and video, sound

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.

Blog, business, post production for film and video, sound

New Avid and AJA announcements at NAB

By virtue of being both a marketing expert and a technology expert, I watch everything that happens at the major tech trade shows. This week Las Vegas saw the NAB (Natl. Association of Broadcasters) show, which lets people in the broadcasting industry see what technology is coming up. Two things jumped out at me (from the news — I wasn’t there. My corporate travel account is at zero — LOL):

Avid is now publicly integrating all of their companies: Avid, Digidesign, Sibelius, M-Audio, etc. This means that there will be tighter integration between all of their products, making for faster “round-tripping” between apps. Does that mean that I will start using Avid instead of Final Cut Pro? Probably not immediately, but, as this blogger points out, cross-app integration has been very good for both Apple’s and Adobe’s post production suites (with Adobe doing a slightly better job at it than Apple). And it might also help intra-app round-tripping as well. But for us smaller, independent/freelance artists/producers, this announcement doesn’t bring as much punch as I would like: I don’t want Digi or Avid to relegate the freelancers to only using M-Audio products (although they are quite good); I would like a low-cost Digi system that can compete with HD systems, and a low-cost Avid system that can compete with FCP. I know they already make these (kindof), but I want to see them supported and upgraded. Just my two cents.

Also at NAB, AJA announced a new box called the Ki Pro, that takes any signal (even from an SD camera) and can upres it to full HD ProRes 422 video. List price is under $4k. This would be a boon to people (like me) who have lots of good, but old, SD cameras, that might be used as “B” or “C” cameras on an HD shoot if we could get fast and clean up-rezzed material. I’m going to watch this new product carefully to see if they come down in price and/or could be of use in my company.