JUNE 22, 2023

Artificial intelligence AI a key focus of Avid innovation

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This is the first post in an exclusive Avid series on artificial intelligence (AI) and new technologies. Avid is tapping into the power of these emerging technologies to innovate and support our customers. Visit our AI and emerging tech resource page for more on this hot topic.

What is Avid doing about artificial intelligence (AI)? That’s the top question we hear from media companies worldwide.

Well, we’re doing a lot. AI has been in our products in various forms for about 10 years and we even have a research lab focused on how we can maximize new technologies. In fact, results of three of our AI-related research efforts have been published in the April 2023 issue of the Society of Motion Picture Television Engineers’ SMPTE Motion Imaging Journal. More on this below.

To learn how AI will continue to impact media production, what Avid is doing about it, and what it means for our industry, we talked with two Avid media tech experts: Shailendra Mathur, Vice President of Architecture and Technology, and Rob Gonsalves, Engineering Fellow and AI enthusiast.

Q. What are Avid customers asking about the use of AI in media production?
A. AI is a hot topic among Avid customers in all areas of the media industry. There’s tremendous interest in the potential applications of AI and machine learning (ML) within media content production. They're excited about the novel creative possibilities AI and ML could introduce and how these technologies can streamline workflows and enhance efficiency by automating time-consuming tasks. For example, AI can be used for metadata enrichment and deduplication, when you have a lot of duplicated content.

Q. Does AI have the intelligence and ability to replace humans in the workplace?
A. There is concern that AI might take away jobs, but we believe that as a transformative technology it will change how jobs are done. We prefer to focus on areas of AI where it acts as a creative assistant to help you be more efficient. From coming up with ideas for movies to helping with production, AI can assist in every step of content creation. These advancements could foster the creation of new processes in media production.

Q. Avid has been involved in AI for 10 years already? How?
A. There is AI and there is ML. Avid was one of the first companies to incorporate forms of AI into our solutions including PhraseFind and ScriptSync. Avid has an AI-related partnership with Microsoft, having integrated Microsoft's Azure media indexer into our asset management solutions. This AI tool provides transcriptions and allows customers with extensive footage to automate the identification of elements like logos and people's faces. It can even determine the number of people in a shot or whether it's a day or night scene - tasks that would normally require tedious labor logging this information manually. Avid has exposed AI tools working with alliance partners such as x.news for AI-assisted social media research. This enables journalists and producers to perform more efficient topic-based research.

Over the past few years Avid has conducted research in the use of AI in video editing, media ingest, analytics, automated metadata enhancement, music production and composition, archives, and on location. Apart from feeding the results into our own product roadmaps, we also publish and share results with the media industry.

A new AI development that Avid is utilizing is semantic speech search, a data searching technique. It understands the nuance of language, interpreting keywords and the intent and meaning behind a search query. Another example is OpenAI’s Whisper, which does a good job on speech-to-text transcription, including multilingual versions. It knows about 100 languages and the quality is great. Once you have good transcription, it opens up closed captioning, subtitling, and search. If you have good transcriptions, you can read, skim, find, and select what you need. Then you can go back and choose sound bites or conversations for your project. Transcriptions help with unscripted material with a lot of dialogue that needs condensing.

Q. Tell us how Avid goes about exploring the possibilities of using AI in production.
A. AI research has taken off like crazy. Things you couldn’t do a year ago you can do fast now. It’s an exciting time because things are moving quickly, and systems are improving.

Avid explores the use of AI in production by focusing on key areas. The first one is understanding what customers want, which we accomplish through continuous dialogue with them. Our machines can do lots of different things, but our customers might not need or want that, or they may want things that machines can’t yet do. We stay updated on the latest research to understand what new AI technologies and ML systems can offer and how our customers’ needs can be effectively addressed. Avid targets these opportunities for exploration and development. We have engagement with a variety of customers through the Avid Community Association (ACA) as well as individual conversations. Over the past few months, with ChatGPT and OpenAI making generative AI tools accessible to everyone, suddenly customer conversations have exploded. Apart from feeding some of the input into product roadmaps, we also take on the investigations outside of the product groups into something we call the RADLab.

Q. Where do you see AI going in the future?
A. AI is expected to grow exponentially and have a transformative impact on media production. AI could someday suggest relevant clips or segments based on its analysis of a project's context, acting like an assistant to the human creator working with large volumes of footage or audio files. AI also could become increasingly involved in video and audio processing, like color correction, reformatting, and similar audio tasks. It may support pre-production processes by providing an idea of what a scene or project might look like, helping to shape creative direction.


As demonstrated in our HPA 2023 talk, generative AI technology will allow music, movie, television, script, and story creations to be done more creatively and efficiently with recommendations to assist the creative process. The world of asset and metadata management will change to be based on content that is linked together using knowledge management technologies. As discussed in the April 2023 SMPTE Motion Image Journal paper, the areas of search will change to queries that provide richer contextual results than a simple match to a keyword. Media operations will change to be based on data and analytics driven automation. Cost savings will be obtained due to insights controlling various parts of the media creation process to be more efficient. Interactions with the application will change to accessible models that do not depend on a UI button click, but natural language-based descriptions of what you want to achieve.

There are just as many future challenges as there are promises. If AI systems improve in mimicking the style of humans, will human creativity get lost in that volume of work, or will it allow humans to evolve to higher forms of creativity? The areas of responsible and ethical AI are significant topics as well. How will attribution work in the world of generative AI? How do we truly ensure that the models don’t develop bias due to skewed training data?

Find out more about Avid’s involvement in AI. Explore the groundbreaking work being done by Avid’s RADLab.

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  • rob_gonsalves

    Rob Gonsalves joined Avid as their 15th employee in 1989. He helped develop the industry’s preeminent nonlinear editing system Avid Media Composer, specializing in programming video effects and color correction. Rob holds over 50 patents in the media and entertainment industry.

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