News Production & Post

Avid launches Interplay Central

11 April 2011

NAB News: Avid is continuing its transition from a vendor of editing products to a media management systems company with the debut of Interplay Central, a web-based production portal for PCs, laptops and mobile phones, writes Adrian Pennington.

Interplay Central is being targeted first at mobile newsgathering but it could also serve applications in fast turnaround genres such as sports or reality TV shows.

It is described as a web-based portal offering workflow tools for the creation, management and distribution of media held locally or centrally. However the mobile app is released only for Blackberry phones initially – not the all important iPhone or iPad, which are of course owned by Avid’s arch rival in the editing space, Apple.

“In the past there were rigid tools for news production, but this breaks the mould and enables media professionals to access a single user interface on a laptop or mobile device and tap into newsroom systems,” said Christine Viera, Avid’s VP for Product and Segment Marketing. “If a journalist in the field were using a mobile device they could browse and edit content directly and in real time whether in wireless range or not.”

Although currently optimized for iNews and the Avid asset management system Interplay, Interplay Central is an open system with links to third party news production or editing systems, such as those from Quantel or Apple, possible should customers request it.

The product has been trialled at a number of newscasters across the world though Avid isn’t saying where.

Interplay itself is based on the Blue Order media archiving product Avid acquired in January 2010.

Interplay Central is the first of several products Avid will launch that focus on the Integrated Media Enterprise. Avid describes this an IP-based framework designed to help media organisations deal with changing business models for the creation and distribution of video content.

“We have very strong announcements around IME – it’s really central to us,” explained Sam Bogoch, Director of Enterprise Sales Programs, Avid. “We see it bringing together Interplay for production, Interplay Media Asset Management and iNews. If you blend those three over time and think about it as a unifying architecture that let’s a customer create, manage and distribute media around advanced web based user interfaces, that is where our future is going. That’s our core message.”

Technologies adapted from Maximum Throughput, a company acquired in July 2009 are also being deployed. Max T assets included the Sledgehammer line of storage solutions and MaxEdit, a web-based editing platform.

“There will be no Avid branded Max T product at NAB but what you will see are related products integrated inside the IME umbrella,” said Bogoch. “That technology is going to be central to our plans across the enterprise since it gives us a huge amount of flexibility in how we deploy client-web apps as well as supporting a mix of media formats. Cloud-based configurations are the future and a big part of the future for Avid.”

Avid is trialling Max-T cloud-based technologies with a number of key customers to further understand “how the technology could be sold going forward," says Bogoch. "We’ve also made very rapid progress in integrating it into some of our product lines.”

Avid also demonstrated v5.5 of Media Composer (pictured) at the show.

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