NAB 2013 – Avid, Joust, And Digital Vision – Three Innovators

Cannes Film Festival

GP Productions

High winds and heavy rains quickly forced the 2013 NAB attendees inside on the show’s opening day.  Maneuvering through the crowds congregating and blocking aisles is similar to the approach one has to take sifting through the assorted press conferences, panels, and manufactures that can keep you from seeing something really worth-while.  Without a tag-team that can share the responsibilities of attending back to back events, I have to settle on a schedule early on, hoping the choices I’ve made will be the most rewarding.

Most of the press conferences occur Saturday and Sunday, prior to the show’s commencement.  While I took in a number of sessions, the one that impressed me the most was Avid.  Louis Hernandez Jr, Avid’s newly minted President and CEO, kicked of the event. He spoke about himself and his background as a Californian, bringing a bit of "family value" and "keeping the work local" sentiment to the company. 

He then shared his vision for the company –

"Avid Everywhere."

While a number of the team members addressed the crowd, including Jeff Rosila, SVP of World Wide Field Operations, Chris Gahagan, SVP of Product and Services and W. Sean Ford, VP of Marketing, what impressed me about their presentation was their desire to craft products that spoke directly to the needs of their customers while still keeping up with advancements in technology.  In many cases, new software will be compatible with older Avid programs, allowing individuals to take on the learning curve at their own pace and remain productive.    They also made a commitment to lowering price points, making the products more accessible to a larger user group. 

Included in their new product lineup was the Interplay software.  Available in four different versions , Interplay is designed to simplify and make more accessible file base workflows.  The user is now able to access 100s of millions of assets at any given time.  Interplay Central works nicely with Avid Tools, and will be compatible with older Avid programs.  Interplay Sphere allows Media Composer and Newcutter to be connected anywhere.  Interplay Pulse allows for ease of connectability to video distribution platforms.

Also announced was the Media Composer 7.  Providing rich asset management and managing all media as Avid Native Media, it will help editors live in a world of new file sizes and bit rates.  Additionally, they announced the release of Pro Tools 11.  To truly upgrade the program, the Avid developers started from the ground up, completely reworking every aspect of the software.  Its offline/master times are 150 times faster then real time, allowing the service rendering audio in 48 seconds.  Creating a mix in final edit can now happen in less than a minute, instead of two hours.

Innovations to improve quality and speed were aplenty on the show floor.  While there were great advancements to see no matter where one turned, I’m glad I was able to visit the folks at Joust.  their sell sheet simplifies the product’s use perfectly:

"Providing production the power to simply manage digital media."

With hardware that is a cloud -based network via high speed fiber, the product breaks down into four parts: Editorial Tools, Post Tools, On Set Tools and the Joust Viewer.

The editorial tools allows for the uploading of EDLs for plate transcoding, mark circle takes for dailies, and prepare for final conform, amongst other detailed elements.  The Post Tools provide a simple interface for vendor packaging, water marking for media and secure file transfers.  The Onset Tools role includes gathering all material from set including camera and script supervisor notes, and provides a simple interface for the digital lab to import ALEs.  The Joust Viewer provides a streamlined viewing platform for all media including on set dailies and VFX review submissions.

Joust, created by Jenny Fulle and her team at The Creative-Cartel, brings efficiency to the production process.  The software can greatly minimize time (taking something that would normally require a week for completion and have it finished in a day) as well as save productions hundreds of thousands of dollars in traditional budget line items, such as VFX pulls and conform. The Creative-Cartel has been simplifying the VFX and 3D pipelines for a while – it was exciting to see their efforts behind a product users could purchase and use at home. Anyone who does use Joust will also have full tech support available to them.
 
Many companies set up suites offsite at various hotels.  I’m grateful I explored this aspect of the show, for I was able to observe a demo of Digital Vision’s software at work.  While Digital Vision has a wealth of products, particularly fine color correction software, I was keen to see a demo of the Phoenix, software used for film and video restoration.  Although I didn’t devote my time to learning about the new innovations to their software packages during this visit, it was extremely rewarding for me to witness the process in action.  Pops, video noise, discoloration, were all corrected within seconds.  I’ve done a number of articles on Digital Vision over the years, but its all just words on a page until you can actually the the product in action.

To learn more about Avid, please visit:
www.avid.com

To learn more about The Creative-Cartel, please visit:
www.thecreative-cartel.com

To learn more about Digital Vision, please visit:
www.digitalvision.tv