Avid underscored two of its most important commitments – its commitment to education, and its commitment to emerging technologies – through a robust sponsorship of this year’s SMPTE (Society of Motion Picture & Television Engineers) Conference & Exhibition in Hollywood, CA. In addition to sponsoring the conference’s celebrated gala, Avid provided demos, teaching events and support for the popular SMPTE-HPA Student Film Festival, as well.
SMPTE, which celebrated its 100 year anniversary this year, and boasts over 7000 global members, has the lead the way in entertainment technology since its founding, developing thousands of standards, best practices, and engineering guidelines across the media, technology and entertainment industries. SMPTE also sponsors Student Chapters at colleges and universities all over the world, focusing on institutions that offer courses in technical areas of film, video and television.
“We hold our partnership with SMPTE in the highest regard,” says Andy Cook, who leads Avid’s Global Education Strategy. “They are literally setting industry standards and we have a shared vision to educate the next generation of artists, engineers and content producers. Together, we strive to provide a platform for fostering future innovations.” Nowhere was this commitment more apparent than in Avid’s support of SMPTE’s Student Film Festival, where this year’s entries doubled last year’s, and garnered more participation, internationally, than ever before.
“We were truly impressed with the level of work that we saw,” added Cook. “These students exceeded our expectations in both their technical expertise and creative abilities.” One such student was Anna Dining, who won an Audience Choice Award for her Virtual Reality piece.
Dining is a senior at the Rochester Institute of Technology, majoring in Motion Picture Sciences. The program, which only accepts about 15 applicants a year, is a science- and engineering – based education geared towards the motion picture industry. Dining’s entry, “At the Game: An RIT Hockey Experience”, received the film festival’s Audience Choice Award.
The short, which included VR 360-degree content, married Dining’s love of art and science. “What intrigues me about virtual reality is the degree to which I can be both creative and technical. VR has technically been around for over 60 years, but it’s only really emerging now in the entertainment industry, and the technology is constantly evolving.” Dining says. “It also has the power to give people an entirely new perspective – to let an audience experience something they’ve never experienced before – with VR, I’m able to push creative boundaries through a medium that I love.”
Providing the cutting-edge tools for talent like Dining to push those boundaries is part of Avid’s commitment to the future of the industry, and one that Dining, who regularly produces and edits local sports and commercial content, hopes to benefit from. “We are taught Avid programs in our advanced editing and sound curriculum, and I know that this will only help me when I graduate next year.” Dining continues, “Avid is the standard. When I was awarded a copy of Media Composer at SMPTE, I was ecstatic. I plan to build my own desktop computer around it – if you’re trying to break into the industry, and you say you work in Avid, it just brings you a step above other film students.”
Jon Navarro, a film and TV production major at Long Island University Brooklyn, and member of his school’s SMPTE student chapter, agrees. “I absolutely have to learn Avid,” echoed Navarro, whose short film, Söledad, earned an official selection in SMPTE’s student film festival. “There are a lot of options out there, but Avid is still the primary player in the industry.” Navarro goes on to say, “I think every school should be teaching Avid; knowing it will only make me a more desirable candidate when I graduate.”
Giving these students an edge when they enter the real world is a big part of Avid’s dedication to educating future professionals. “It’s our responsibility to bring Avid’s technology and expertise into these organizations,” says Cook. “Providing support through sponsorships like SMPTE, offering official certification and training on our products, and developing strong relationships with students early on helps us create the next wave of talent in our industry.”
Photos by Ryan Miller/Capture Imaging