Avid’s past, present and future has, is and always will be about helping creative people play together. Even 27 years ago, when the original Avid1/Media Composer was released, it was all about collaboration. Back then, the big technological breakthrough that took place was the ability to get 30 highly compressed frames playing from a hard disk in a single second. So, the concept of an NLE being able to take a project from start to finish was not just financially impractical, but pretty much impossible from a technology standpoint. In light of that, for a digital nonlinear editing system to revolutionize the industry, it had to function effectively as part of a bigger picture. It had to have truly solid media management and interop capabilities.
Although professional editors often cite Media Composer’s timeline model and the ease with which they can manipulate a cut as to why they choose Avid, none of that would have mattered back in the 90’s if they couldn’t easily bring all their “offline” editing work forward into the other parts of the process; the color timing and correction, the sound mixing and editing, and finally the mastering and conforming. Here we are in 2018 and all those things are still important. For no better reason than that in professional post workflows you have highly skilled people who specialize in specific parts of the creative process. Collaboration will always be the answer for getting work done faster and at the best possible quality. Helping to make all that happen has always been Avid’s mission.
There are two key components to Media Composer’s leadership position in collaborative workflows. The first would obviously be Avid’s shared storage. When the original Avid Unity centralized storage product was introduced over 20 years ago, this was a huge leap forward in how post teams worked together. It was where collaboration changed from being about a fluid “linear” workflow, into a situation where creative teams were working in parallel and rapidly accelerating the post process.
It’s no coincidence that around the same time reality television production really took off. Shows like Survivor and Amazing Race have enormous shooting ratios and extremely tight deadlines. The only way to pull off something like that is to have a small army of editors, assistants and producers all working in parallel in an environment that is intuitive, responsive and very stable. To this day, Avid’s intelligent shared storage products, from our original Unity systems (which are STILL actively in use throughout the world) to our new NEXIS line, form the backbone of thousands of production environments.
Despite all the focus on the storage itself, and the storage file system, it’s Avid’s bin model that was really the magic behind helping editors to collaborate effectively on the same project. And that’s proven by how prominently Media Composer and NEXIS are deployed throughout professional post and broadcast. In those environments, media and asset management are things that need to be completely reliable and not disruptive to the creative process. Editors are able to work together without even having to really think about how they’re sharing clips and bins with assistants or other editors.
Although Media Composer and NEXIS are the key parts to most professional post environments, NEXIS also fully supports Adobe Premiere, Final Cut Pro X, DaVinci Resolve, EDIUS, and of course our DAW, Pro Tools. While none of those third-party solutions have the same level of bin sharing capabilities as Media Composer, you can easily have them be part of a hybrid workflow, as many people often do. Supporting third-party solutions is obviously a good thing, because it gives the creative teams more flexibility on how they want to support different projects. But, as I mentioned earlier, Avid’s true goal is to help teams get their best work done faster. And that’s where the next revolution in post workflows comes in with our new MediaCentral | Editorial Management.
Technically you’d have to classify it as asset management, but it’s more like collaboration management, as it does some things that have never been possible before. I mentioned that Avid’s bin model was a key part of how we made collaborative post easy and reliable. But even that was limited to a world where you needed both a Media Composer system as well as someone trained to use it. The game changing part of Editorial Management is the new HyperBin architecture. Simply through an easy to use web UI called MediaCentral | Cloud UX, anyone can browse and search all of the media they have access to on NEXIS. More importantly, the user can also create Media Composer bins and folders right from that same web UI. So, an assistant could literally be moving dailies around and prepping bins for an editor from anywhere in the world, provided they can get to the network that the NEXIS is on.
Media management, something that most editors don’t want to spend too much time on, now gets distributed out so that it’s something the entire team can take part in. And again, you don’t need Media Composer, or even someone trained on Media Composer to do it. That said, Media Composer editors also get to enjoy some additional benefits as well. The same UI in the web browser also exists as a panel in Media Composer. The beauty of that is that editors can now easily search for clips and bins across all their NEXIS workspaces, not just the active project that they have open. This will really speed up the process of finding the exact right clips you need. And, in keeping with the theme of openness, we’re also developing the same panel for Adobe Premiere.
Although I’m sure I can continue writing about MediaCentral | Editorial Management and the exciting prospects it brings, it’s much better if you take a look at it for yourself. My friend Michael Krulik has put together a short demo for you so that you can see Editorial Management in action. Check it out!