Avid, one of the world’s leaders in audio, broadcast and video production software and hardware presented their new Avid Everywhere concept – their vision for the future of the media industry – at the Jasco head offices in Midrand on 29 July 2014 and the CVC Media Building in Cape Town the following day.
The seminar was opened by Benjamin Desbois, Avid’s regional sales director for Southern Europe and Africa who gave an introduction to Avid Everywhere while the audio and video orientated presentations were presented by Avid’s video and audio solutions specialists, Ben Davidson and Eric Horstman, respectively. Territory account manager, Jacques Di Giovanni, was also present and outlined the Avid Everywhere concept from an audio point of view.
Avid Everywhere encompasses the broadcast, video and audio sectors and addresses the changes that are occurring – some natural and some they intend to accelerate – in how production professionals work with, create, store, and access media and also how they collaborate with other professionals, regardless of where in the world they might be.
In the past, professionals were forced, by the limitations of technology, to work very much in a linear fashion which Avid, in a general sense, calls the media value chain. This old work flow could be summarised as pre-production, production, post-production, distribution and delivery with, as Avid says, “predetermined handoffs occurring between each process.”
The new Avid Everywhere media value chain concept encompasses a new, almost Mobius strip-like fluidity in that it incorporates a non-linear work flow not restricted by borders or rigid production regimes and where all production phases are seamlessly integrated for the final result of monetisation. Other phases implemented into the concept include work flow planning, collaboration enhancement, rich indexing, metadata analytics, media lifecycle management, distribution orchestration, multi-platform distribution, customisation/personalisation, measurement and interaction, experience integration and consumption.
In a basic sense, the Avid Everywhere concept aims to bringing in all available mobile devices and workstations by building on the Avid MediaCentral|UK platform – a network-based remote editing platform using Media Composer, Media Composer|Cloud, Interplay|Production, and iNEWS with support for other Avid and third-party productions coming soon – which is a series of three modular application suites. These suites include the Artist, the Media and the Storage Suites. All three suites work together to unify and streamline the production process.
The Artist Suite is, as the name implies, for content creators and includes tools for editing, mixing and live sound production. This encompasses non-linear video editing programs such as Media Composer, remote collaboration, audio (Pro Tools), notation and scoring (Sibelius), control surfaces and graphics creation. Content creators using any module in this suite are fully networked with anyone else utilising the platform which facilitates more streamlined collaboration and creation either by working in a local premise or via the cloud.
The Media Suite deals with metadata tagging, protection and encryption, asset management, multiplatform distribution, and analytics. It is focussed on securely managing, distributing and pre-purposing assets.
The Storage Suite is a unified storage solution and management platform that encompasses media ingest and play-out, online storage and nearline storage. Also presented were the public and private Avid Marketplaces which facilitate a secure collaboration platform. This gives content creators the ability to share assets during the creation, production or monetisation processes. Content can be shared on this platform either outside of the organisation or with the general public and incorporates full access control, encryption, security and authentication tools.
On the audio side of things, Horstman presented a hands-on demonstration of the Avid S6, their new modular and customisable EUCON controller for Pro Tools. The S6 is available in two formats: the S6 M10 – the version on display for the day – and the S6 M40. The S6 M10 can accommodate up to nine modules for a total of 24 faders while the M40 allows 41 modules for a total of 64 faders. Other differences between them include a maximum of nine knobs per channel for the S6 M40 and five knobs for the S6 M10 and a maximum of eight simultaneous DAW control facilities for the S6 M40 while the S6 M10 only supports two. This is accomplished via an on-board switch.
The S6 features a completely modular design where fader, knob, process and display modules (only available on the S6 M40) can be configured and arranged in any desired layout. Networked connectivity is also a central feature of the console on the EUCON protocol which enables the surface to communicate with Pro Tools and other EUCON-compatible DAWs.
Since this is an Avid product, obviously integration with Pro Tools will bring out the best in the surface. Visual feedback is maximised by the ability to automate tracks and edit plugins via the integrated display in the master section or by expanding plugin parameters across knob modules (32 or 64 knobs). VCAs can also be spilled across knob modules to view the channels linked to them. Full metering and gain reduction can be viewed directly from the surface as well as scrolling waveforms fed from each track (S6 M40 with Display Module only) while clip editing can be accomplished directly from the channel strip.