The pressure of competition and the rapid changes of technology create the need, or better yet, the “expectation” by the customer for “innovation” in the tools they use every day. I think some companies see the definition as two different things. Some as a evolutionary process or as a completely new, never before seen, knock your socks off” function or feature. I find that in chasing the latter, many miss the halo effect of innovation in seeing how one feature/function affects another and the ability to provide a platform for it to happen. Most, if not all “innovations” are because something happened before that allowed it to be. You may be noticing the recurring term “platform” in my blogs and what that might mean to Media Composer as a strategy. Note the original 1550 definition: “plan of action, scheme, design,” from M.Fr. plate-forme, lit. “flat form,” from O.Fr. plate “flat”
Early on in Avid’s history, Eric Peters explained to me the “bowling pin” theory of how hitting one pin affects the others when hit by the ball and use that as a basis for technology development. That has always stuck with me; to look beyond the first pin, and the interaction of what will happen when the first pin is hit and how that may develop a breeding ground for innovation.
“Missed it by that much!”
A good example of this is where Avid might be going with color management and ASC CDL support. It is an interesting start, but what is currently available in the product is more of a catch-up feature checklist that many could argue is a few years behind the curve of “LOG” based workflows (pun intended). 2007 introduced support for ASC CDL value tracking with the clear goal of applying it as metadata to “LOG” based images. It is good to see that the feature has been enahnced with Media Composer v7. But is missing two basic concepts; one is an obvious “ticket to play” type function, and the other one can be “a platform for innovative change” in how programs go through the post process. The latter was part of the original design concept of ASC CDL. Just a quick side-note that the ASC CDL technology is on the short list for the 2013 Science and Technical Achievement Award by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences (AMPAS).
1. The concept of a LUT is to create quick color space conversions for a given workflow. In the case of Avid Media Composer with or without the Symphony option, the system is both an offline and online system. A LUT can easily be applied to sources from whatever color space to Rec.709 as Media Composer and Symphony Option are Rec.709 systems. What is missing is the ability to remove LUTs with a simple and single operation for the selected sequence when doing the color correction pass. There is the ability to update or “refresh” a sequence, but no simple means to remove it from the sequence (not the sources). Most colorists will want to have access to the original dynamic range of the sensor for color correction. Right now, it is a multi-step workaround operation that needs to be carefully managed if multiple sequences are referencing the same sources as it involves removing from the sources and not just the sequence. Stay tuned for a PDF on that in the future. But this should have been part of the initial feature set to create a “solution”, rather than just a new feature.
Update 8/21/16. Since version 8.1, a user can remove LUTs associated with clips on a sequence. Still no ability to do it on a per event basis.
2. ASC CDL is a much used workflow, and one that is totally dependent on workflow interaction with third party systems before and after the editorial process.Seeing as there are no means to color correct ASC CDL values only in Media Composer, it is about collaboration. ASC CDL is, by design, a solution to transport color decisions between systems. The original 2007 design supported this via ALE from dailies systems, tracked it as metadata that represented the baked in values, then exported that as an EDL to be a starting point to be used or not by colorists. But for the most part, it was to make good-looking dailies and pass along “intent.” Where innovation could have occurred, is by enhancing at the same time, another feature: ALE merge. Since ALE is still the only way to pass this information into an existing clip. So while the first pass of dailies works well, what could have been a fundamental change to how productions interact with the colorist is lost. The simple process of having a more robust merge, dailies can get into editorial sooner, while keeping the ability for ASC CDL to be truly “live” throughout editorial and being much closer to final color correction saving time (and money). By enhancing this one feature, combined with the new ASC CDL values would have brought both a fundamental and innovative solution to how television programming is done today.
Let’s hope we see these changes in a future release.