Avid Releases Next-Gen MediaCentral

Celebrating its 3rd year on the market, Avid’s MediaCentral has been given a next-gen 2018.6 upgrade to keep it in touch with all the latest techologies.

Avid has released the latest upgrade for MediaCentral, calling it 2018.6, indicating it’s an annual release (2018) in the month of June (.6), which may portend how future releases may be handled.

There is a whopping load of new features in 2018.6, and Tim Claman, Avid CTO and vp of product management was good enough to provide some exciting details.

“We’ve gone to a year and date approach for our software releases, and this one represents a huge step forward for MediaCentral,” Claman began. “It’s available to all of our current MediaCentral customers as well as anyone using iNews, Interplay Production, and Interplay MAM which represents thousands of sites around the world.”

The first thing these users will notice is a completely new, intuitive user interface making it easier to search, edit, collaborate and publish content from any workstation, laptop, or mobile device of their choice.

The goal was to make the user interface for this platform available to anyone anywhere so they focused on MediaCentral | Cloud UX, which is entirely HTML 5-based although they also have native iOS and Android apps for it.

And keeping with Avid’s “openness” theme, they have updated the panel for Adobe’s Premiere Pro CC editing application on MediaCentral.

The Adobe Premiere CC panel in MediaCentral 2018.6<br />(Click to expand)

The Adobe Premiere CC panel in MediaCentral 2018.6
(Click to expand)

I was curious about this generosity to a competing system, and the response was revelatory.

“We recognize that our customers don’t only use Avid products,” he admitted, “and our customers were requesting open access to a range of tools. So we responded.”

See "2018 Avid Customer Association Vote Predicts Industry Trends."

This new level of MediaCentral is based on a modular design including apps, workflow modules and connectors with every production team member involved in an integrated workflow that gives them a unified view into all media assets.

Apps

One of the apps that grabbed my attention was “automated content indexing” which Claman explained for us.

“One problem content creators have is growing libraries of media that are difficult to search through,” he said. “So we have been using AI (Artificial intelligence) and sophisticated algorithms to help identify the content of those media assets.”

To begin with, this starts with phonetic indexing, letting users search an entire library for keywords with Avid algorithms based on software that they licensed from Nexidia in October, 2017.

Word search for

Word search for "hiking". Red dots in the panel on the right shows the number of hits. (Click to expand)

The company is opening this indexing process to third party partners such as Microsoft so it will eventually include criteria such as object-based searches, face detection and technical data as well.

“We don’t have all these capabilities in place yet, but that is why we have constructed this latest version of MediaCentral to be updateable with future additions,” Claman said. “This will eventually provide users a powerful metadata database cataloging their media assets.”

Workflow modules

This new release includes four workflow modules today: Asset Management, to create a rich index of searchable metadata and orchestrate complex workflows; Newsroom Management, to deliver breaking news across multiple channels faster than ever before; Production Management, to enable greater collaboration in large scale environments; and Editorial Management, providing affordable media management and collaboration to smaller post production and broadcast teams.

All of these modules are inherent parts of this next gen MediaCentral. But the last one, Editorial Management, can stand on its own.

“We wanted to bring some of the power of MediaCentral to our smaller customers,” Claman said, “so we streamlined a lot of the functionality into a shrink-wrapped product for smaller workgroups that we call Editorial Management. With it, you get unmatched collaborative power, with folder, project, bin, metadata, and media sharing capabilities from any web browser.”

There is also a fifth workflow module, Graphics Management, letting journalists access graphics templates to add them to their stories, but this will be released sometime before the end of the year.

Connectors

Customers can easily extend their MediaCentral workflows to third party applications from the growing ranks of Alliance partners in Avid’s certified partner ecosystem. There are “connectors” and API’s (Application Programming Interface) available for a broad array of approved companies’ solutions for archive, quality control, transcoding, WAN acceleration, CMS integration, as well as publishing to Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

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