OK, it’s a provocative headline, and while I don’t for a minute think Avid are deliberately setting out to sell out editors, it may be an inevitable result of inevitable technological innovation.
At an executive briefing in LA during the week, Avid noted that their NAB announcements were largely going to be about “the cloud”. That’s pretty much all they announced, so everything else in this post is conjecture and speculation, not rumor or fact.
That said, Avid have been showing ‘technology previews’ of a cloud-based editing application where the interface is local, but all media is served from a remote server across the Internet.Â Terry Curren and I have discussed cloud-based editing on a couple of shows:Â Episode 40: Will we be outsourced or automated out of existence?Â and Episode 26: Is cloud editing the future of editing?Â In those episodes we mentioned the technology previews of Avid’s Cloud based editor. You can see a preview from NAB 2010 on Avid’s site and I first wrote about it shortly thereafter. Alternatively, Scott Simmons reviewed the preview from 2010 at Pro Video Coalition.
So, they definitely have the technology, originally purchased from Maximum Throughput in July 2008 after their MAXedit Web Edition won a Vidy Award at NAB a couple of month’s earlier. That’s the background but what does it mean and how would it lead to a “sell out” of editors?
Personally, I think the primary application will be in private clouds – run by a single company for their own operations – rather than a public, or even Avid, cloud service. Given the general security concerns of the large media enterprises I doubt they’d be interested in a public cloud service. But a private cloud has many advantages.
Let’s consider one scenario. It’s 2016 and NBC once again have the broadcast rights for the Rio Summer Games. Instead of having to move hundreds of editors to the broadcast center at the games, they set up an Avid Cloud server in the broadcast center (where live feeds and operations would still continue). All the editors working up packages for the various outputs stay at their every-day workplace, living at home (no location living expenses) instead of traveling to the games venue.
That’s the positive side. But what of expanded capacity? Surely NBC could equally employ editors in the US, Brazil, India or any other country, in any time zone, running off that same Avid server.
In other words, Avid’s upcoming technology provides big media companies with an effective and efficient way to outsource the editing (of some types of content) to anywhere in the world, wherever labor is cheapest.
It won’t work for client supervised work, but for anything that doesn’t require the director/client in the room…
Don’t say it won’t happen, because we know that if money can be saved, it will be, even if there is a slight drop in the polish of the finished product.