Deciphering the Strategy


 Avid has recently released several Press Releases and whitepapers that give an indication as to the direction the company. Visit the Avid Press Room to catch up on all the news from IBC 2013. And there has been a bit of chatter on several forums about Avid Everywhere (not to be confused with Adobe Anywhere) with the release of the Avid Everywhere Whitepaper. While I am still trying to make my way through the collection of buzz words and catchphrases, this particular posting has to do with a smaller, but still significant insight into what the strategy is for Avid Media Composer and its place in a digital pipeline.

The whitepaper references a new platform with: a new metadata schema, talent brokering, rights management, third party integration, etc. with no real detail or examples of these forward looking statements. But to me, (as my mother used to say: “Actions speak louder than words”) it’s watching the everyday, smaller actions Avid makes that confuses me as to what the strategy might be moving forward. This is just one example that I ran into recently, that made me ponder the steps leading to this digital nirvana:

I was beta testing the AMA DPX plug-in for Glue Tools a few months back, and had a need for it and went to look for the actual release. I was surprised to not see it on the Glue Tools website as I was ready, credit card in hand. I emailed Glue Tools inquiring about its availability and was informed that Avid revoked the AMA license for DPX as they were now going to do it themselves.

So now I’m confused, and still without a solution for DPX directly in Media Composer. Avid has been telling customers DPX support was going to be part of Media Composer v6 (as part of its Stereo 3D solution). So for two years, the promise of DPX, but still nothing. When will we see a DPX AMA Plug-in from Avid? What I don’t understand is why Avid won’t let a third party develop such a solution regardless of whether Avid creates one or not. If Avid makes a better one, so be it. Price and functionality dictate consumer’s choices and at least there would be a solution. In turn making Media Composer a more flexible solution with all file-based formats and not falling victim to Avid’s codec prioritization process. Wasn’t that the reason for the AMA open architecture and platform in the first place according to the marketing message? So Avid didn’t have to keep up with all the different formats?

Or why not consider an exclusive sell-through for a period of time in Avid’s “oft-forgotten” Marketplace and garner more traffic with a revenue share? (My previous thoughts on Avid Marketplace). It seems to me, that offering customers more choice is better than trying to do everything yourself and offer less. Take advantage of Glue Tools, a company with years of customer feedback and development with DPX and other frame-based formats. Perhaps a “divide and conquer” method might be a better approach in getting solutions to customers sooner rather than later? Let these third parties deal the open standard formats, while Avid concentrates on getting the iXML AMA plug-in to work properly and getting the QuickTime AMA plug-in to extract all the metadata from .mov type formats such as Alexa ProRes and Blackmagic Cinema cameras without all the workarounds.

As stated in the “Avid Everywhere” whitepaper:

“When ingesting media, robust metadata
tagging and management are critical to
realizing full asset potential across
the value chain. In close collaboration
with our customer community, Avid intends
to lead the creation of a new industry-
standard metadata tracking system, where
metadata will be generated algorithmically
and provide a significantly greater level
of detail, making it possible to take a
flexible and adaptable view of assets at
any stage of the lifecycle.”

I’m all for whatever this is and will be, but can we start with the basics for now?

An update to portions of this blog can be seen here.

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