Apple Making Inroads Into Film Editing; Avid Remains King

LOS ANGELES, CA -- Appleis recent efforts to conquer the digital film editing market have met with substantial success, and the companyis presence at SIGGRAPH 2004 is representative of that success. Ask any professional who has worked in the film or video industries for at least a decade, however, and he or she will tell you that the leader in this space is not Apple, but Avid Technology.

Used at All Levels

When asked to which markets Avid primarily targets its DV-editing products, Tim Wilson, senior product marketing manager at Avid Technology, told The Mac Observer that Avidis customers work at every level of video and film production, from education to Hollywood, where Avid is by far the industryis leading solution.

"Over 80 percent of commercials, 85 percent of primetime television and 90 percent of feature films are edited with Avid systems," Mr. Wilson said. "This industry presence is a large part of Avidis success in education, as educators strive to teach their students Avid systems to prepare them for success as they pursue jobs at the industryis highest levels."

According to Mr. Wilson, both Avid Xpress DV and Avid Xpress Pro appeal to students, small businesses, and indie filmmakers because of these productsi affordability, portability and flexibility.

However, Mr. Wilson pointed out that Avidis Xpress line isnit some attenuated version of its high-end one.

These are powerful products, with professionally proven features that simply arenit available elsewhere," Mr. Wilson said. "As a result, Avid Xpress products are not by any means restricted to the so-called "low end" of the market, but are also very much part of high-end productions such as Catwoman."

Challenges to Its Market

When asked whether Avid sees Apple as its primary competition, Mr. Wilson replied that with a market share as large as Avidis, the companyis attention is less on the challenges posed by any individual competitor than on the needs of the market as a whole.

"Among those market needs is for powerful HD solutions that allow customers to work with whatever popular format they choose, as well as integrated production tools – like Avid Xpress Studio," Mr. Wilson said.

Darrin Navarro, a film editor at Paramount Pictures on hand for SIGGRAPH told The Mac Observer that the ground on which studio-standard Avid Media Composer now stands is not as firm as it once was, adding that people are experimenting with other things.

"Final Cut Pro and Avid Xpress DV are the ones you hear discussed most, and camps have formed, just like PC and Mac," Mr. Navarro said.

"Itis largely because so many people have already learned Avid Media Composer, and so Avid Xpress DV is similar and, therefore, more familiar to them."

Mr. Navarro, who has worked on such films as The Rules of Engagement, The Hunted, and the soon-to-be-released movie Suspect Zero told The Mac Observer that while Final Cut Pro -- and by extension the new Production Suite -- has started to make some inroads in his field, the longtime editing standard remains Avid Media Composer.

Take Either Road

Mr. Navarro, however, is taking the Final Cut Pro route, mentioning that he already has waited two months to get his hands on the newest water-cooled G5. "Iim excited about getting it -- I already have two or three jobs in discussion to use this system -- although itis going to become problem if I donit get it on time," he said.

For Mr. Navarrois part, he learned Final Cut Pro on his own and found it easy to use. He said he is particularly impressed the way in which Final Cut Pro integrates so well with the other applications he uses, and he can see how Production Suite will leverage that aspect further.

And if he gets a job where they want him to run Avid Xpress?

"No biggie. Itis a Mac. I can just add [Xpress]. The two arenit mutually exclusive," he said.