Avid CEO Weighs in on Rival Apple's New Editing Software

"There were a lot of unanswered questions," Gary Greenfield tells THR of Apple's Final Cut Pro presentation. "But I think it just reminds people that Avid is going to wake up and serve your professional needs."

LAS VEGAS -- The competition between rivals Apple and Avid heated up this week at the NAB Show, following Apple's announcement Tuesday night of a new 64-bit version of Final Cut Pro that lists for just $299.

Avid and Apple are the two leaders in the nonlinear editing market -- nonlinear editing refers to editing programs that allow access to any frame in a digital video clip, without having to run through adjacent footage to find it, which traditional videotape editing systems required.

Apple claims to have the largest percentage of the nonlinear editing customer base with more than 2 million users, from hobbyists to professionals. But Avid's Media Composer is the tool of choice among members of the American Cinema Editors. ACE's most recent member survey found that the majority of ACE members use Avid.

Reacting to Final Cut's newest incarnation -- which was greeted with wildly enthusiastic applause when it was unveiled Tuesday night -- Avid chairman and CEO Gary Greenfield told The Hollywood Reporter: "I think what was reiterated last night is what we have been telling our customers for a long time, that Avid is the company that wakes in the morning focused on professional workflows -- professional workflows for professionals who making a living doing what they are doing. That is what Avid is about. That is the type of capabilities that Avid is going to continue to add to its products.

"Whenever Apple does something, they do it well," he added. "No one really knows until the product is out. There were a lot of unanswered questions. But I think it just reminds people that Avid is going to wake up and serve your professional needs."

During the Final Cut Pro X demonstration, which was held at a FCP User Group's SuperMeet, Apple took a swipe at Avid and a third supplier, Adobe, by saying they both "are in a race for second place."

While the new version of Final Cut lists for $299, the software only version of Media Composer lists for $2,495, and student pricing is $295. Recently launched Avid Studio, an editing tool for high-end consumer customers, lists for $169.99.

At NAB, Avid is demonstrating its Media Composer version 5.5, as well as offering a technology preview of new 3D tools that are planned for a future Media Composer software release.

Avid also unveiled its anticipated cloud-based system Interplay Central -- aimed primarily at the broadcast and related media
industries -- which is designed to allow users to work anywhere there is Internet connectivity through Web- and mobile-based apps.

"Virtually anyone involved in the content creation, management and distribution process can work from any location and use toolsets tailored to the tasks they need to perform," Greenfield said.

Asked about additional applications for the technology, such as postproduction, Greenfield said: "We don't talk about future releases, but you can bet that once we have a foundation product, we'll come out very rapidly with other technology and products that take advantage of that."