Avid technology is restructuring its business getting out of the consumer market.
A video editor operating an AVID video software editing system in an editing suite. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Late last night, or maybe early this morning, I received a message in the email from Avid Technology, the publisher of my video editing software. I was informed that my account with them, and the products that I purchased from them, will be transferred in the next thirty days to Corel who purchased Pinnacle Studio and Avid Studio. At first I did not believe the news, so I went on line and did some reading. I found out that although the accounts will be transferred in the next thirty days, the actual sale has been formalized in November of last year. I did not have such an easy feeling, because that means that the last updates I bought happened actually not from Avid, but from Corel, and I did not know anything about it.
Well, after all it was not a big deal. I have been a Corel user since their first appearance in the eighties, and I am up to date with their graphic software. Those reading my articles know that I actually prefer Corel over Adobe. I have Adobe also, however the reason for which I am in possession of their products is their ownership of Dreamweaver from the former Macromedia.
However there is a little story behind Avid’s sale and I find it interesting.
Back in the eighties, I received as a bonus with a software purchase, a disk containing a program very much similar with Corel. It was a graphic program, which although it was not as developed, had the feeling of Core’s Draw. I called Corel and had a chat with them. They were aware about Gold Disk’s product. Actually Gold Disk was located a few blocks away from them on the same street. But, at that time the world was full of opportunities for everyone and a lot tried their luck.
Shortly after that, Gold Disk’s graphic product disappeared, but they came on the market with something very interesting, and in much need: a video editor. What was different about their video editor was that through some cables connected between the computer and the camera, one would be able to do an editing list, and let the software assemble the finished movie. It was a rudimentary form of non linear editing. The sequences were placed on the tape however, the editor could pick a scene from the beginning of the tape, move to the end of the tape connect them, and during the montage phase the computer shuttled the camera back and fort, pausing the recording on the disk until the entry point. The result was a sequence desired by the editor with scenes from the beginning or the end of the tape. It was sort of non linear, but for that time it was a revolution. Most of the devices on the market, even the professional ones, required manual shuttling of the tape in position, recording and stopping at the end of the sequence.
It was the closest procedure to editing manually the strips of film, without actually touching the film. In a few updates, every time the process was improved and the accuracy perfected, it got to the point when I could edit a tape, and let the computer assemble it, without me being present.
One day the Video Studio, Gold Disk Video Studio that is, was the first consumer product to transfer all the video on the computer, giving the editor the possibility to do a complete digital video editing.
The professional publisher of such software was Avid, which delivered software loaded on special Macs for the film industry. That was the time when the film was giving way to electronic editing. The only draw back was the cost, which was prohibitive for consumers.
However the Gold Disk was so successful that a German company bought its video line. The outfit was Pinnacle Software which at the time was located in Hamburg. They kept improving it, and they added a lot of special effects, plug ins and opened it to third party producers who started to write plug ins for Pinnacle Studio.
It was a jungle out there though. The computers were slow, the graphics were not too great and Pinnacle developed their graphic and audio hardware to improve the editing process. Of course every time something new came up, we had to pay the piper on upgrades. I even lost track of the upgrades I purchased over the years. All I remember is that once in a while I had to come up with $49.95 for the special price upgrade.
By the time I got used to the routine, one day I received in the mail a notification that Pinnacle Software was bought out by Avid Technology. The professionals got into the consumer market. Why, I could not say, because their products were of a different caliber. But it was a good thing, because they improved Pinnacle. Then all of a sudden, they came up with Avid line which was a consumer variation of the professional version. The similar product was Avid Express which was priced at the time at $500 entry level.
I stuck with Pinnacle because I had investment in it, and I was familiar with it. Besides, it was intuitive and it was not based on the concept of A-B roll thinking as in analog editing. The first versions of Avid were an electronic version of the manual editing. Better than moving cassettes in and out, but still cumbersome. It was a steep learning curve, because I had to rethink that logic.
After a while though, Avid Studio turned mellower, and a few months ago I finally bought a copy, because the transfer from Pinnacle Studio was only $49.95 for a limited time…
Unfortunately I bought it, I ran into performance problems with my computer and I did not really used the latest purchased version. Actually I did not use the latest version of Pinnacle either because it requires 64 bit processor and 64 bit operating system. I have them both, however I have only one core processor, which makes it impossible to run. It needs at least a dual core.
So, the new computer will be here in two days, and I will be able to test the two of them.
Not only they will be running on a new computer, however they will be owned by a new company. Actually it is not a new company, but it is a company which got the title of the biggest video editing consumer software in the world. Corel had a video editing software on its own right already, but it was less sophisticated than the Avid products. They acquired it a few years back by buying Ulead a Taiwanese company.
What I find interesting is the fact that after a long journey, the original Gold Disk product, Video Director, after some metamorphosis, and changes in geographical residence is coming back home to Canada on the same street where it started its journey in the late eighties.
I could not understand in the first place why Avid got into this, however I thank them for doing it, because they greatly improved the product. They decided to stick with what they knew better and were good at: professional video and audio editing.
Corel is not at par with Adobe. They have graphic programs, they have web editing programs, and now they have the video line. Personally I think that both Pinnacle and Avid Studious are better than Adobe Premiere. Adobe Premiere is a good software, however not so intuitive, quite expensive and with a steeper learning curve for results as good as those delivered by formerly Avid, now Corel.