While my own work is focused on our growing Interplay family (Interplay Production, Interplay MAM and Interplay Central), the last few weeks have been an eye-opener for the Avid community as we've rolled out major new versions of our flagship audio and video editing products – Pro Tools 10 and Media Composer 6.
Since I see things through a workflow / media asset management lens, I have to say I'm excited at the potential for us to build on some of the capabilities of these new editing apps. For instance, Pro Tools can now edit very large projects directly from shared storage (ours, or other vendors'), which should make possible much better video/audio workflows at post houses and broadcasters. And Media Composer has really stepped up the features with this release - native ProRes on the Mac, native stereoscopic workflows throughout, support for AJA, Matrox and Blackmagic hardware and a really modernized UI that will make the software much more approachable for people who have never tried it before.
If there is one common thread between the two launches, it's the ability to go big - bigger projects locally and especially on shared storage for Pro Tools, and bigger projects anywhere for Media Composer, now that it's native 64 bit.
All of these user benefits should ripple up to our Interplay products, which basically tie together networks of creative users working on collaborative projects. Media Composer (with its sister app, NewsCutter) and Pro Tools are the gateways to our workgroup production system, so big jumps in those products; acceptance should help us reach out to an even wider market than the nearly 1,000 sites with Interplay Production already installed. After all, though it has a lot of great features and some nice user interfaces, at the end of the day many of Interplay Production's power users spend most of their time in the Media Composer and Pro Tools UIs, saving assets directly to and searching from Interplay. That integration is a big plus - but only if those apps continue to be market leaders in features and accessibility. Having just been to IBC (video) and AES (audio) shows and talked to our customers, it's clear that they are; the buzz was fantastic.
Likewise, even our newer Interplay MAM and Interplay Central products, which do not depend on MC and Pro Tools, should get a little bit of "halo effect" from these new releases. For those of us working at Avid, and our millions of users worldwide, the changes in the company have been pretty visible the last few years but there's nothing like big improvements in the product to make it real. I look forward to your comments and suggestions on our direction with the Interplay family, especially as it relates to the audio and video editors.