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Let’s dispense with the second one first. I took a look under the EDL menu and I saw a longer list than I could shake a stick at. If your requirement isn’t catered for I would be surprised. Of course EDLs are interesting, to any lingering train spotting instincts we may have, but not quite as interesting as ADR so I’ll say a bit more about that. I was pleased to see that using ADR was as intuitive as using the rest of the system. Figure 4 shows three of the ADR related windows. The large window is used to set up the system for ADR recording. You can set such things as the track or tracks you wish to record onto, which tracks will play up to the in point, and which tracks will play after. Preroll and postroll? Simple! Pre and post handles, for intakes of breath and lingering murmurs that you just may want to use? It’s right there in front of you. Separate pre and post roll for reviewing purposes? It’s a real timesaving feature and you don’t need the manual to figure it out. When you have a number of takes on the disk you will want to review them in the most efficient way possible, and you can see the selection window in the bottom right of Figure 4. Using the Mac’s numeric keypad, which you can see mimicked on the screen, you can select the takes you want to hear and they will play sequentially along with the picture and without clattering of video transports. You can give each take a star rating and trash the ones that don’t work, as you sift through. This system is so slick that the quality of ADR we see on screen is bound to improve dramatically. Other systems can do this, but so easily?
As I said right at the beginning, I have seen quite a number of hard disk editing systems and I am still far from saying anything like, “Seen one, seen 'em all”. One thing I’ve learnt is that, especially with new systems, you do really need to know that they are going to work as you want them to, since they are still all so different and no-one knows quite how they should work. But Avid’s great advantage from this point of view is that they have obviously done a lot of work on figuring out how to make the system as simple as possible for the user, and if a potential buyer can see almost instantly what the system is all about then it’s a lot easier to make a purchase decision and it’s going to fit into the studio very easily because your engineers will be able to learn it very quickly. I believe the Avid AudioVision is a great step forward in hard disk editing and it is soon going to be imitated by other manufacturers. I like this system - and if I could afford it - I’m sure I’d buy the company!
You have heard of Avid already. It’s a video editing company isn’t it? Video people think that audio is something of lesser importance tacked onto the main part of the system, don’t they? Why should Avid be able to produce an audio editing system that can compete with those made by specialist audio manufacturers?
These are Devil’s Advocate type questions, but ones that many people will be asking. The answer to this is that Avid have recognised this potential problem and they have hired audio specialists. As one said, “I don’t know a thing about video except how to post sound to it”! It may have been said partly as a joke, but I find this statement most reassuring. From what I have seen, Avid are neither a video company nor a computer software company trying to make an extra buck in the audio market. They are serious audio manufacturers and they have something new and important to offer to our work.