On Monday Avid announced their Q1 2019 results. Here are some tid-bits from their investor call – as transcribed by The Motley Fool.
Comments from Jeff Rosica, Avid’s CEO:
On how customers are moving from perpetual to subscription licenses:
As products age, there’s always churn because people stop using products 7 or 10 years later and they stop doing support, and so there’s always a bit of churn as products age out. So, there’s always going to be some of that within the noise of the numbers. And then there’s also move from perpetual to subscription, a lot more people, a lot of their perpetual revenues, where everything from individual creative professionals, all the way up to enterprises, who bought their software as a perpetual license and now they’re moving to subscription. So, you just see a lot of movement over to the subscription line from the perpetual licensing line.
On converting ‘| First’ users to paid options:
Our paid conversion is, I would say, almost at best practice, industry standard, which is great because I don’t think we’re yet at best practice from a marketing standpoint. […] But it shows the passion of the customer base, that even with the efforts that we make today, that we’re able to get really top-industry averages for our conversions today. But there’s a big opportunity there that we already are going after and will be going after even more aggressively later this year and in next year.
On the speed of migration to cloud services:
It’s not going to be explosive. This industry will migrate gradually, and they will, I think, largely be a hybrid, multi-cloud approach for most of these customers. It will take time to migrate over, which, to be honest, is a good thing because if they went too fast, you could see too aggressive of a hit to the cash flows of the company. Because they are doing it gradually, you kind of avoid that kind of massive J curve kind of impact to the businesses’ cash flows. So, I think the industry will go hybrid and will go gradually. And for us, I’ll remind you, Orin, also, a lot of our early SaaS offerings, we’re looking to add on services not take away from stuff that we do today. Even though there are some ways you can deploy in the cloud different than we do on-prem. We’re really focused on, especially in the early days, adding complementary SaaS services to the business.
On how they will move on from relying on selling storage to cloud-based storage:
This was the strategy behind what we call Cloudspaces. The best way I could explain this, Michael, is Avid’s a collaborative storage tool, and it works in what they call workspaces. And so, you assign workspaces to groups and they do their work, and you give them bandwidth and you give them storage capacity, et cetera, you assign capability to them. We’re basically allowing that in a cloud so that what we’ve done with NEXIS Cloudspaces is that every customer who already bought a NEXIS, that’s why I mentioned the more than 2,500 customer installations we have to date, all those customers, when they download, because most storage customers have not, almost all run a maintenance plan, they get to download the software update as a part of their maintenance program. And that software update immediately lights up the Cloudspaces, which basically is additional workspaces in the Microsoft Azure environment and allows them to start to try the cloud for their storage expansion. And it’s meant for near line and archives. So, it is the first step for us as a company beyond the near line product we have available today to really show people how they can park and archive stuff in the cloud very easily and efficiently. And it literally lights up when they download the software, then they just decide what they want to do.
And with the help our partnership with Microsoft Azure team, they actually have given a free use of 2 terabytes of storage for people to get started in the first 90 days. So really, our strategy is to get people to try it and try it for free, love it, hopefully, and then start consuming the NEXIS Cloudspaces, which will give us an additional revenue stream for the archive piece.
You can take a look at the Q1 2009 Avid Technology results press release, presentation and listen to the conference call at ir.avid.com.Read more
Apple Motion 5 is a real-time motion graphics application. It could be used in workflows in a similar way to tools like Reallusion iClone 7.
In an article by Geoffrey James in Inc. he writes about how non-3D animators can quickly get results from animation systems that can produce results in real time:
With traditional computer animation, it can take hours, even days, to “render” (i.e., build) a single frame of finished film. Since there are at least 30 frames per second in finished video, it takes a lot of time and computer horsepower to do high-quality work.
With real-time animation, however, you can get draft-quality finished video as quickly as you can display it on a screen. Higher quality takes a bit longer, but render times are calculated in seconds per frame, rather than hours per frame.
While those back-end improvements are impressive, the biggest advances have been in the creation phase, which replaces highly wonky, difficult-to-use tools with scene builders and character creators that are as easy to use as word-processing programs.
As well as game engines, specialised tools are used for creating ‘quick and dirty’ animations while creativity is explored. With ever increasing GPU power, these real-time animations are getting less ‘dirty’.
In coming months and years these tools will be more prized for their ease of use than their features. A complex user interface will no longer be a barrier to creative people telling stories with animation.
Motion 5 is a 2D animation application. It can be used to make full quality real-time animations. I would suggest if Apple decides to start adding new features to Motion 5 that it concentrates on going in the direction of a 2D equivalent of iClone 7.
Right now Motion users can create animations that respond in real time to settings changes – even when the animation isn’t playing. Animators can play while they try things out – instead of setting values of various keyframes and waiting for the application to render each frame in less than real time. Once the interface of your production tool gets out of the way of your creativity, you can spend more of your time telling your story than operating your equipment.
Motion has a mode where settings values changed during playback are recorded as keyframes. That means an animator can ‘ride the faders’ like an audio engineer to change values in response to what happens on screen. This can be done again and again until they are satisfied with their animation ‘performance.’ If they have a MIDI device attached, its keys, sliders and switches can be used to set animation values during playback too. Perhaps Final Cut editors would also like this kind of animation control while using Motion 5-generated plugins during playback of their edit.
Adobe After Effects has become the ‘Avid Media Composer’ of motion graphics generation. It is the default choice of those who make money from 2D animation.
It is time Apple showed how Motion 5 is more of an ‘and’ choice than an ‘or’ choice when it comes to animation – especially as it is at its heart a real-time animation application.Read more
This video shows how to set up a new Final Cut Pro X project on a LumaForge Jellyfish creative collaboration server. What folders to create, how to set up the library so you can collaborate on your edits and make the most of the storage.
This video was made by Jonathan Morrison, who is a YouTuber with 2.3 million subscribers and over 300 million views. In it he explains the needs his studio has – sharing space and technology with other YouTubers.
Before you say ‘they are only YouTubers’ – he describes how how one of his forthcoming videos – which is likely to get millions of views – already has 8TB of media. Enough media and audience for many TV shows or feature films. As well as size of project and audience, they also have very high turnover. They make new films every few days – the kind of output you might expect from TV news documentary teams. With the Jellyfish they are able to work on five films at the same time off the same storage device.
Jonathan showed how to set up a Final Cut project on a Jellyfish:
You are now ready to edit. Once you finish editing on that workstation, you can close the library. At that point someone else on a different Mac connected to the Jellyfish will be able to open the library and work on their machine.Read more
Congratulations to Adobe and their people for being awarded two Oscars: For Adobe After Effects and Photoshop. The Academy announcement:
To David Simons, Daniel Wilk, James Acquavella, Michael Natkin and David Cotter for the design and development of the Adobe After Effects software for motion graphics.
To Thomas Knoll and John Knoll for the original architecture, design and development, and to Mark Hamburg for his continued development and engineering of Adobe Photoshop.
I started out on my journey to post production via After Effects 3.1 many years ago. It was only after ‘editing’ a three minute video with 120 shots in AE that I realised it was time to learn a proper video editing application. Easier than only being allowed to have one shot per layer!
Other winners announced today include people from PIX System, Cinema4D, Silhouette and the Medusa Performance Capture System.Read more
Today Lumaforge, purveyors of creative collaboration servers for TV and film have announced that their Jellyfish devices are now available from Apple:
Looks like Apple will be standing behind high-end storage solutions that should be enough for any kind of media production. Jellyfish servers work with groups of Final Cut Pro X, Adobe Premiere Pro CC, Blackmagic Design DaVinci Resolve and Avid Media Composer. The client computers can run macOS, Windows or Linux.
LumaForge servers are already used by video teams all over the world:
including those at Activision, Adobe, BBC, CBS Interactive, Disney, Google, NASA, Pandora, Reuters, Sony and WeWork.
With this deal Apple are pushing for a share of the high-end storage market. For now Avid sell the vast majority of high-end media storage systems.
Steve Bayes was an Principle Product Designer at Avid from 1995-2003 where he worked on Media Composer and Symphony. He went on to be the product manager at Apple for Final Cut Pro, Final Cut Pro X and ProRes. LumaForge have announced:
world-renowned video editing expert Steve Bayes has made a significant financial investment in LumaForge and will also be the first member of its Board of Advisors.
Apple are showing that they are interested in the high-end storage market – and serving the post production industry. Selling this kind of product means that Apple thinks that LumaForge can make products for the post industry. More importantly that LumaForge have the infrastructure to support their use in media organisations.
I’m looking forward to seeing what kind of support Apple gives Apple Stores and third-party resellers to sell and support this kind of hardware and the workflows it fits into.Read more
Message for the post production industry – feeding feature film and TV industry inertia has a limited shelf-life. There’s a lot of mileage in storage management and talking up the cloud to maintain your old model, but eventually there will be a new model.
Many TV shows and feature films are the story of the protagonist discovering their need vs. want they want.
What does post production say they want? What do they really need?
Haven’t needs moved on since 2008?
It's so easy to ignore user needs and reinforce existing customers' inertia in order to prevent them adapting and keep them feeding you. If that's what you really want to do.
The 16 types of inertia they should watch for are also the 16 types that you can exploit … pic.twitter.com/nHVvEHvEFR
— Simon Wardley #EEA (@swardley) December 2, 2018
This tweet from business and government strategist Simon Wardley isn’t about the post industry. The sad thing is that the post industry isn’t even at the stage of ignoring the user needs. I don’t get the impression suppliers even know what people in post need.
Creeping features like 10-bit, 8K and HDR are (sort of) wants. Wants that the current model can be stretched to deliver – for more margin and to feed the inertia.
Show me some insight into the future of storytelling technology. Or don’t – those who replace you will.Read more