NAB 2012: Avid Looks to the Cloud

At the media industry show, the company previews "Interplay Sphere" cloud-based production system.

Avid Technology—the entertainment technology company behind the widely used Media Composer editing and ProTools audio production systems—introduced Avid Interplay Sphere, a cloud-based system that aims to connect broadcasters to their newsroom, enabling journalists to edit and finish stories on the go from an Internet-connected device.

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The development of cloud-based collaborative production capabilities has been growing in popularity in the broadcast and production areas, with services including Quantel’s QTube and Chyron’s Axis World Graphics. Proponents point to the efficiencies, while others point out that bandwidth is not consistent everywhere and could result in limitations.

Featured this week at the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) Show, Avid Interplay Sphere is based on Avid’s Media Composer and NewsCutter editing systems, and connects to an Avid server in order to allow the user to access stock footage and file finished stories.

The initial focus of Interplay Sphere is news production. But Dana Ruzicka, vp, segment and product marketing at Avid, told The Hollywood Reporter that film and TV production is “where we think this will go. Interplay Sphere can be used on any distributed workflow.” Avid plans to test the system with customers during the summer, and make Interplay Sphere available in September.

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Also at NAB, Avid unveiled “Multi-Platform Distribution,” or “MPD," a system that is being developed to manage content creation, transcoding, and delivery of content to web content management systems, online video platforms, and social media platforms. “A lot of work has to get redone by different teams [to prepare content for multiple distribution platforms], and we are focused on orchestrating the flow from creation through distribution,” Ruzicka said.

“Media organizations need to be able to reuse their existing media assets more effectively, collaborate easily, and find ways to monetize their content across digital and social distribution channels," Avid’s chairman and CEO Gary Greenfield said, adding that its technology announced at NAB is aimed at "helping our customers solve these challenges.”