Avid Media Composer: A brand-renewal project to remember

Working on this web site, I’ve been going back through past work.  One corporate video production stands out.  It was a customer video for Avid Technology, a software/hardware provider of professional video editing and audio products.  In particular, they wanted to reinvigorate their flagship product, Media Composer, the one that basically created the modern digital nonlinear editing field.  (Don’t come after me, all you Ediflex/EditDroid/EMC2/CMX6000/EPIX/Montage historians.)

The assignment was to find out what made the best editors tick… what drove them and why they did it.  The rub was that we had to do it in roughly five minutes.

Well, you can decide whether the video itself did the process and the product justice.  But going around the country and talking to great editors was an inspirational experience, and to this day I draw on their humanity and their passion.  The first cut of this piece was twenty-five minutes long, and I absolutely loved it… it was filled with stories like the one Robert Rodriguez told, learning to edit his movies as a teen in Mexico by hitting the “pause” button simultaneously on two VHS VCRs.  If he waited too long to fast forward or rewind to the next shot, the record VCR would come out of pause and he’d have to start again from the beginning to avoid a glitch.  Now that’s commitment.

Or to talk to a famous Hollywood editor about the giddy feeling he got when he had to come in to work over the weekend.  He didn’t want to hurt his family by telling them how much he loved his job.  The project reminded me how lucky I am to be doing this kind of work and how many ways there are to do it well.

Later, as I sliced it up, trying different combinations of ideas and images, I was honoring the craft these editors lived to do.  And what material I had to work with – no phony endorsements, just genuine love for what the product enabled them to do.  It remains, for me, an example of how art, commerce, and fun can come together, and as a whole, the experience remains my favorite.