Avid goes mobile
Avid, maker of high-end digital video and audio production tools, is bringing its “pro-sumer” video editing software to the iPad.
The app is available starting Thursday as part of the Avid Studio suite. The app will run on iPad only, though Avid says it’s exploring other mobile operating systems.
Avid Studio for iPad costs $4.99 to start; after 30 days, the price will jump to $7.99.
That’s still much less than what other current desktop editing applications cost, including Avid’s own Avid Studio ($129.99), Adobe Premiere Elements ($99.99), Apple’s Final Cut Pro X ($299.99), and Sony’s Vegas Movie Studio HD Platinum ($59.95).
The iPad app marks the Burlington, Mass.-based company’s first video editing application for tablets. Video editing software generally requires a substantial desktop system or a bulky laptop; using video editing apps on relatively small smartphone screens can be cumbersome. Avid is hoping its app hits somewhere in the middle.
“We’ve seen a shift in how creation is happening, and it’s really happening on almost any device,” said Tanguy Leborgne, vice president of consumer and mobile technology strategy at Avid. “We think the tablet is more than just a consumer device; more and more people are creating on it.”
While Avid says the app captures most of the editing capabilities available on its desktop system, there are some obvious areas in which an iPad editing app would be lacking.
For starters, pro-level editors accustomed to using a large screen for edits will likely feel a tablet doesn’t provide enough screen real estate for real edits.
Also, with Avid Studio on a PC, video editors can export a Flash video file, and burn video files to a CD or DVD. On the iPad, neither of those functions is an option.
Users also likely won’t want to export lots of large, high-definition video files to the iPad and take up storage space on the tablet.
Fortunately, full projects and video files can be transferred to and from the Avid Studio app via iCloud and iTunes. Finished movie files can also be shared directly from the Avid app to Facebook and YouTube.
The idea is that the iPad app and the desktop software are complementary, Leborgne said, so that users who want to create and edit projects on the go can do so, but ultimately preserve them by taking them to the PC.
The Avid iPad app does have some nice features, including an interface that includes a storyboard area and an editing timeline. And while some video editors rely heavily on customized keyboards or a mouse, others might appreciate the ability to pinch and squeeze videos and images to scale them on the touchscreen of the iPad, or the ability to move text and titles around with their fingers.
Avid’s new product comes just a couple days after Apple released an update for its Final Cut Pro X (FCPX) video editing software, which addressed video editors’ complaints about the software’s lack of professional-level bells and whistles. Now FCPX includes multicam editing, advanced chroma-key features and the ability to open up old FCP projects in the new software.
While Adobe Premiere is considered the first popular digital video editing application, it was Apple’s Final Cut Pro, which launched in 1999, that eventually chipped away at the market of video editors using Avid’s high-end system.
Apple’s FCPX also comes at a significantly reduced price from previous iterations of Final Cut Pro, which used to cost around $1,000. Both Avid and Adobe responded to Apple’s new software by offering discounts to users who switched over to their software.
“Both Apple’s product and the pricing strategy were the same thing we’re trying to address here,” Leborgne said. “But for professionals, it relayed to them that Apple was not really focused on the higher end of the market.”
As evidence that some professionals were disappointed with the new FCPX, Leborgne pointed to Hollywood production company Bunim/Murray — the reality TV pioneers dropped Final Cut Pro in favor of Avid.