During the opening keynote of the annual Avid Connect gathering before the 2018 NAB Show, Avid announced software upgrades as well as new solutions for broadcast news and sports production. It also highlighted 80 smaller releases and updates released in the past 12 months based on inputs from members.
“The massive changes in media and entertainment, while challenging, open up new doors for our customers and users to improve the way they work and secure better results for their businesses,” said Jeff Rosica, Avid’s CEO and President, in his speech. “We are excited to help them unlock their full potential by further accelerating our delivery of connected, open platforms of tools, apps, services and solutions that ensure it’s easier than ever before to create the most compelling content.”
Avid’s biggest announcement for news and sports production focused on video wall display control and enhanced virtual studios. Designed as the successor to Avid’s TD Control, Maestro | PowerWall is billed as the next generation of studio display creation and management tool, enabling UHD support and allowing for content to be displayed up to 16x the size of an existing HD-SDI video output. The solution is also aimed at making it easier to move content into a video wall, including real-time, data-driven graphics.
Maestro | PowerWall is an all-in-one solution and does not require a separate video processor or real-time graphics system, integrating with existing workflows including Grass Valley, Ross, Sony, Blackmagic Design, among others. “Broadcasters of every size can adopt higher production values with visually stunning studio sets and more powerful images that help to attract and retain audiences,” said Ofir Benovici, VP, Graphics and Video Servers at Avid. “Avid designed the new Maestro | PowerWall to finally level the playing field for UHD-quality graphics so that any broadcaster can elevate their programming with dramatic enhancements like 3D, augmented reality and more.”
Another major announcement is Avid|On Demand, a SaaS cloud services and solutions platform designed to provide media production capabilities on demand. It lets media organisations deploy the capabilities they need on a per-project basis. Services include Avid AI, a new suite of Avid and third-party capabilities that automate content indexing, such as closed captioning verification, language detection, facial recognition, scene detection, and speech-to-text conversion.
Avid also announced the addition of Epic Game’s Unreal Engine into its virtual studio product, Maestro | Virtual Set, enabling photo-realistic broadcast graphics, virtual studios and augmented reality graphics. Unreal Engine has become the defacto standard for virtual studios in the past year, with nearly every major company adopting it in some form or another.
Additionally, the company announced updates to its Creative Tools Family, including Pro Tools, Media Composer and Sibelius. Similar to Pro Tools and Media Composer, Sibelius will now be offered in an entry-level free version, known as Sibelius | First.