It was actually a photography forum where I suggested that Avid was losing favor as an editing platform and it was a waste of time for people new to the business to learn. It drew quite a firestorm of comments from people claiming that Avid was very much alive in post houses.
The whole dust up reminded me of discussions I had on video boards back in 2004 about the future of film. I would claim that video would be replacing film in the next three to five years and have to listen to the mocking retorts of people claiming that film would not be replaced in filmmaking in our lifetime.
Well, the last time I checked we were all still alive and film has been largely replaced in filmmaking. Not completely, but far enough that Kodak is in bankruptcy and movie productions utilizing film do so by choice, not necessity. Aaton, Panavision and ARRI all stopped making new film cameras back in 2011 and I’m still alive. I feel vindicated.
Avid is where film was in 2004. On the downhill slide but still in a place where it has many adherents, deeply invested in the product, who are not interested in hearing that their skills are likely to be marginalized in the near future.
This has nothing to do with the quality of Avid’s video editing products. They are fine products and, if you can pay Avid’s rates, you can do a lot of amazing things with their products. The relevant question is whether Avid can stay in business.
Avid has been around since 1987 and grew up in TV news and big movie productions at a time when budgets were fat and price was no object. Avid, originally running on Apple hardware, not only didn’t adapt to NLEs on PCs, they ignored the independent market for decades.
This chart shows Avid’s fortunes better than any narrative.
As PCs improved in power, particularly graphics power, Avid’s fortunes as a company started to wane. The more powerful PCs became, the deeper the slide. Competitors arose on PC and Apple hardware. Final Cut Pro was a long-time competitor, which at one point threatened to take over as the dominant NLE. That ended with the disastrous introduction of FCP X. Users switched to Premiere Pro in droves.
Avid tried making inroads into independent and personal filmmaking but that effort ended badly with Avid selling off their consumer editing products for a paltry $17 million.
In recent polls Premiere just edges out Avid for the top spot, with the trend moving more toward the Adobe product. Interestingly, FCP X is still getting 24 percent of market share. All that could change in a blink if Avid files for bankruptcy.
What’s fascinating is that all this bad news swirls around Avid after the academy awards were full of films edited on their products. Avid postponed their earnings announcement to give the good news some breathing room but putting off reporting your numbers is almost never good.
It’s ironic that Avid’s position in the market is so precarious when they were once so dominant. Of course, Kodak was holding seminars in Hollywood promoting making movies on film as recently as 2005 and look where they are today.
For those contemplating the business I’m sticking to my guns in suggesting that Avid wouldn’t be my first choice for an NLE in school. Definitely familiarize yourself with it, but don’t get married to it.Tags: Avid, FCP, future of NLEs, NLEs, Premiere Pro
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