This is the fifth of a seven-part blog series about the Avid Customer Association (ACA), a comprehensive initiative designed to provide essential strategic leadership to the media industry, and Avid Connect, the inaugural event of the ACA.
Our Avid Customer Association (ACA) memberships continue to grow, with hundreds of media industry professionals from audio, video and broadcast signed up to join the comprehensive program and attend Avid Connect, the inaugural event of the ACA.
While working on the program, I’ve had the opportunity to gather feedback from prominent members of the ACA about their desire to be an engaged participant and leader in the media industry.
I recently talked with Jonathan Wales, founder and CEO of Sonic Magic Studios, a boutique post production facility in California, about why he’s an active member of the community and how he feels the ACA will impact media professionals and the industry as a whole.
Q: You are incredibly active in the industry. What motivates you to be so engaged?
Well I don’t think it’s either useful or realistic to expect things to come to us in nice neat packages. If we want to enjoy our careers, we have to be involved with the people and organizations that are involved in shaping the landscape of our work and our workflows. We spend a lot of time in our professional lives—we need to do as much as we can to influence the quality of them. It’s important to engage with our peers, as well as the people and companies that are in control of the things we deal with every day.
If we want to enjoy our careers, we have to be involved with the people and organizations that are involved in shaping the landscape of our work and our workflows.
Q: Can you briefly describe your facility at Sonic Magic and how do you feel the current industry challenges and transformation are affecting you and your business?
Well at Sonic Magic, we are a full-service audio post-production facility for motion pictures. Additionally, we facilitate picture editorial services through Media Composer edit suite rentals. We use ISIS storage exclusively throughout the facility, Pro Tools, Media Composer, System 5, S6 and ICON consoles. There are a couple of obvious challenges in day-to-day workflows. To start with, the pervasively digital nature of everything is an ever-present challenge. Looked at simplistically, all we do these days is push data in and out, and attempt to be creative in between. Our creative jobs, therefore, are now dependent on massive data management: what we have received, what we have not received, what we have created, how it is organized, and how it is disseminated. All this needs to be tracked securely through the workflow chain and permanently archived at the end of it in addition to the creative work. The creative capabilities and demands of the industry still have a strong relationship to Moore’s Law and consequentially all this information growth continues to accelerate, and if you are not prepared for it—it will be guaranteed to either trap you or swamp you … or both.
From a business perspective, we have to help educate clients and the industry on how to keep up with all of this. That conversation changes how we seek to monetize certain aspects of the business and also necessitates new thinking around workflow efficiency. There is simply no reason to work the exact same way we did 5 or 10 years ago but with newer gear. The true benefit of new software and hardware is the promise of better workflow efficiencies and it’s our responsibility to develop, discover and implement them.
This all ties into the age-old issue of “more deadline, less money, and higher quality,” which creates the perfect storm of expectations from the client. How do we deliver that? How do we reflect this reality in a business model that works? These challenges are universal problems that everyone has.
Q: What are you looking forward to as being a part of the ACA and Avid Connect?
It would not be an understatement to say that our business model at Sonic Magic relies heavily upon many products that Avid makes. If these Avid products disappeared, so would many of our workflows … in a way that is currently irreplaceable. Avid is currently critical to the audio and video feature post production workflow. That being said, in the same way that our clients interact with us to help us realize their creative goals, so it is a necessity that we interact directly with Avid in order to help guide the development of the tools that form such an integral part of our business.
It would not be a failure on the part of Avid to not know what we need—they would be failing if they weren’t asking us for input! Equally if we fail to interact with them and provide that input, we only have ourselves to blame if we don’t get what we need back in return.
I would hope that Avid Connect as an event can become a true milestone on the calendar—not just an update every year—but actually an exciting occasion for customers, community members and Avid employees to come together.
In the past, the program for customer feedback to Avid has been somewhat ad hoc. It’s not that Avid hasn’t been interactive with customers, but it was mostly only with customers who made a big effort to engage with them. The ACA is, in my opinion, a welcome formalization of the process and demonstrates that Avid is very serious about engaging with customers. The easy way out for customers is simply to complain, but the ACA offers an opportunity to really get involved. It is difficult to imagine that Avid isn’t serious about listening and interacting with its customers when it’s putting this much effort and investment into the new Customer Association.
Q: What do you expect out of the ACA?
I think we all expect there to be roadmap information shared from Avid that will be interesting. But I would like to think the opportunity would transcend merely “interesting”. I would like to think that interaction through the ACA would be inspiring to customers. I would hope that Avid Connect as an event can become a true milestone on the calendar—not just an update every year—but actually an exciting occasion for customers, community members and Avid employees to come together. I know the people who work on this stuff at Avid are passionate about what they are creating, and I would like to see that passion become inspirational and infectious within the entire community. I think the ACA and Avid Connect seem like a great opportunity for this.
With regards to Avid’s wider customer base and the media community in general: I expect this to be an opportunity to meet and interact with the various new councils and with Avid executives to create an active and ongoing collaboration and discussion. I expect good and well-constructed participation so that Avid themselves can get really good information out of this.
Mostly though, I expect a sense of common shared experience. We all have very similar challenges in our day-to-day work. We are all using Avid solutions to help us migrate those challenges. And we collectively have a wealth of knowledge and hard-won experience from our careers. I am excited to meet with such an able and talented group of people and to be able to share with them regularly as we embark on this exciting new Customer Association together.
Join us and Jonathan at Avid Connect and help make a difference in the industry as we work together to guide media professionals through today’s challenges and into the next phase of growth.