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October 1994: Volume 3, Number 2


A One-Stop Digital Multi-Media Workstation

Avid Technologies presents their nonlinear film, video and audio editing software and hardware technologies.


Pre-Meeting Dutch Treat dinner, 6:00 pm at On the Rocks Restaurant, 169 Front Street East (near southwest corner of Sherbourne and Front)

AES What's Inside

AES This Month's Meeting Preview

The Tuesday, October 18, 1994 meeting of the AES Toronto Section will feature a presentation by Avid Technology Inc.

As well, David Greene, Director of Music for Magnetic Music will discuss his views of what he looks for in a digital work station for Magnetic Music and for post production in general. Magnetic Music has recently installed an Avid system.

Avid Technology is a leading international supplier of comprehensive solutions for capturing, creating, editing and distributing digital media. They have developed nonlinear film, video and audio editing software and hardware technologies for applications ranging from desktop video to broadcast news. Integrated with the company's storage and networking solutions, Avid's products are used worldwide in post-production facilities: production companies; network, independent and cable television stations; advertising agencies; educational institutions and corporate film and video departments.

Avid provides customers with integrated digital production environments capable of handling all phases of media production-- recording, logging, editing, playback, mastering, distribution and archiving. Its goal is to continue to provide the most feature-rich production and post-production tools available, and tie them together with high speed, advanced network technology, and central media servers. By delivering solutions that are compatible, networkable and share an industry-standard format (Open Media Framework Interchange), Avid's customers will realize significant benefits in terms of increased speed, reduced production costs and higher-quality end products.

Since the introduction of its first Media Composer nonlinear digital editing system in 1989, Avid has provided organizations with products that offer the ability to create more efficient and effective productions. Today, the company's Emmy award winning Media Composer is a very popular nonlinear editing system for professional film and video post-production.

In 1992, Avid introduced Open Media Framework (OMF), a standards-based digital media integration strategy. The OMF Interchange, a standard for the exchange of digital media among different platforms and applications, offers users the ability to move freely among tools for creating and integrating graphics, titles, still images, animation, audio, film and EDL formats.

The development of the OMF file format and toolkit represents the result of cooperative efforts among over 160 industry-leading manufacturers and standards partners in the post-production and computer industries. Additionally, the OMF Interchange was recently selected by the Interactive Multimedia Association (IMA), a 290-member international trade association representing all areas of the multimedia industry, as the underlying technology in it recommended practice for data exchange.

Avid products are installed in post-production facilities, production companies, television stations, advertising agencies, government agencies and corporate video departments worldwide. Users range from corporate video managers and film editors to audio engineers and broadcast producers. Avid systems are used to cut commercials, feature films and television episodics, long and short form documentaries, new stories and magazines, music videos, on-air promotions, industrial training videos and corporate communications projects.

Products include Avid AudioVision, a digital multi-track audio workstation integrated with sync-locked digital picture, and Avid AudioStation, a digital audio editing system.

For film and video, the Media Composer Series, allows editing of commercials, feature films, television programs, music videos and documentaries. There is also a digital nonlinear film editing system, a digitizing station and a footage preparation system. For broadcast, there is a disk-based broadcast system that streamlines the process of recording, editing and playing back commercials and news pieces. Other Avid products include business solutions, new media products, networking products and other miscellaneous software solutions such as an off-line logging system.

In 1989, Avid Technology Incorporated posted year end sales at $1.0 million. At the end of 1993, that total had exploded to $112.9 million.

Television programs edited on AVID systems include Late Show with David Letterman, Northern Exposure, LA Law, Picket Fences, Saturday Night Live, Kids in the Hall, Kung Fu: The Legend Continues.

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AES Editorial

For the past five years, trade shows and magazines have tantalized the audio and video worlds with promises and demonstrations of digital workstations that push the limits of what can be done during and after the production of a film, video, broadcast or audio production.

Just look at the explosive growth of this month's guest presenter, Avid Technology, and there will remain little doubt that digital technology is quickly moving to the mainstream media production world. State of the art systems a few years ago can now be had on home desktop computers, while this year's technology provides more speed, flexibility and control over the entire production process.

The big push now is towards interoperability. So far, competing proprietary systems have one potentially fatal flaw... they can only be used as part of the system they have be designed in. While this ensures full compatibility with all other components in such a system, it also means that that only the components in that system can be used in a given facility. If another system has a feature-- say, a digital noise removal process-- which another system might not have, it is difficult, if not impossible, to successfully combine the two and have the same functionality that would have been available had that feature been native to the system.

The answer may lie in the dominance of one system over all others, so that it becomes the defacto standard to which all other systems must have provisions for commuicating with. Or perhaps a protocol such as MediaLink might provide the answer, where all systems can communicate via a common language, much as MIDI provides for electronic music technology.

Whatever the outcome, hopefully the technology will not compromise future growth. If not, there will undoubtedly be many rusting hulks strewn alongside the media superhighway before we see some standard emerge as the winner.

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AES Last Month's Meeting Review

Doug McClement and His Amazing Traveling Airpack... WOW!!

On Tuesday, September 22, fifty AES members were treated to a fascinating evening as Doug McClement of Live Wire Remote Recorders walked us through a decade and a half or so in his shoes, as he built up his mobile sound recording business from a simple four track recorder in the basement of his house, doing live recordings for a fledgling CITY TV music department, to a fully equipped 48 track mobile truck, ready to set up shop anywhere within driving distance, and provide services for acts of the calibre of the Rolling Stones, Joni Mitchell, Oscar Peterson... In addition, a smaller remote unit can be packed in a half dozen or so flight boxes, and dropped anywhere on the planet where there is enough (or, on occasion, barely enough) atmosphere for sound.

Just about all of us who are involved in audio have at one time or another done a remote recording gig or two, and we have a small understanding of what Doug and his staff confront on a regular basis... minimal or no sound checks, mega-ego musicians or managers, bad or non-existent electrical grounding practices, to name but a few examples.

Doug's success is due in part to his easy-going personality, and to his sense of professionalism that puts the needs of the performers first and foremost, realizing that musicians who do not feel comfortable and confident with the people looking after the way they sound, likely will not perform well.

Doug obviously loves what he does, and it is easy to see why. The variety of situations and performers he deals with each year keeps the job fresh and stimulating. And not every engineer can boast having had the Rolling Stones sitting at your console critiquing your work.

We wish you continued success, Doug!

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AES Special Features

Music City Canada Update

John Harris, of the Harris Institute for the Arts, was the opening act for Doug McClement and His Amazing Traveling Airpack at the September meeting. Attendees were brought up to date on an ambitious project John first announced at an AES meeting two years ago. Here is a synopsis of where the project is at:

Music City Canada will transform the Canada Malting Silo Complex on Toronto's waterfront into a complex to integrate, celebrate, educate and promote Canadian music and its associated industries.

Visible for miles, the Silos represent an unprecedented opportunity to utilize the structure to symbolize and promote the Canadian music industry. The location, size and unique architecture of the Canada Malting Complex will make Music City Canada one of the world's most spectacular icons.

Music City Canada includes the Canadian Music Hall of Fame, offices for the music industry, an 800 seat concert theatre, a research and development centre, the Humber College Music Program, community and music-related retail outlets, the Canada Malting Museum, a rooftop restaurant and a ground level cafe.

Music City Canada will be an extraordinary addition to Toronto's Harbourfront, increasing tourism, preserving an historically significant structure, creating construction and permanent jobs while expanding and uniting a cultural industry.

The City of Toronto is seeking a suitable candidate to reuse the Canada Malting site. After responding to a call for “expressions of interest”, Music City Canada is the leading proponent and a full proposal is now in preparation.

The award-winning architectural firm of Kuwabara, Payne, McKenna, Blumber was selected to design Music City Canada. They have created a powerful symbol of an integrated and confident music industry while preserving the character of the original structures and being sensitive to the needs of local residents.

The broad based support from the music industry and all levels of government indicates Music City Canada is about to become a dramatic reality.

For additional information or to view the model, please contact Anna Malandrino at 416/367- 1650 or write to the Music City Canada Development Office at 118 Sherbourne Street, Toronto, Ontario M5A 2R2.

Thanks also to John for making his attractive facilities at the Harris Institute available for the Sepetember meeting!

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The Media Arts Department at Sheridan College knows that in order to stay competitive in today's marketplace, you have to keep pace with emerging technologies. Their philosophy is evidenced by this year's acquisition of the AVID 8000, a top-of-the-line, Macintosh based on- line editing system.

Avid, a leader in the industry, focuses on providing its clients with integrated digital production environments able to handle all phases of media post production.

At a time when other institutions are hanging back due to a tough economic environment, Professors Vladimir Kabelik and Jim Cox decided to take a proactive position and approached the people at AVID. Their decision has paid off.

Among the many advantages of adding the system to the department, Vladimir believes it will "increase the students' chances of getting a job by 50%. This year's graduates will be the first in Canada graduating from a full time course, knowing several nonlinear editing systems. These are skills some professionals in the industry don't have yet."

The new AVID 800 On-line Editing Suite will not only be of monumental benefit to the students, but as Sheridan is one of only three Canadian schools to be accredited as an Authorized Training Site for Avid Customers, it will also bring in additional revenue to the department through weekend training courses to industry professionals. Presently, the Media Arts Department is discussing a co-operative venture with the CBC to offer AVID training to their editors. Other trainees will come from Avid's customer base. Under the agreement reached with Avid last fall, Sheridan acquired the hardware through a leasing arrangement paid for by training fees. Avid supplies the software, updates and technical support and promotes the training program to its clients.

Sheridan's five year income/training plan is one many other institutions could learn from, and a clear indication that the Media Arts Department knows where opportunities lie, and how to seize them. They are keenly aware that more than any other agent of change in our history, technology, in particular information technology, is transforming the way people work and how the industry is run.

The cost for weekend training courses is $750. For more information, call Jim Cox at 905/845-9430.

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AES Profile

David Greene, Director of Music, Magnetic Music, Toronto

by Anne Reynolds

David Greene was born in New York City in 1940. He studied Electrical Engineering at the University of New York and Columbia University.

He began his professional recording career in 1961 at Edgewood Recording Studios, Washington D.C. as a recording engineer and maintenance technician. In 1964, he went to work for the MGM Records division of Metro-Goldwyn Mayer, Inc. in New York City as senior recording engineer. While at MGM, he engineered many successful recordings with a wide range of artists including The Animals and Connie Frances. He also engineered many Motion Picture Soundtrack albums including Born Free and Dr. Zhivago.

In 1966, he joined the staff of A & R Recording Inc. in New York City as a senior recording and studio design engineer. During his tenure there, he worked on a wide variety of recordings artists such as Elton John, Burton Cummings and The Guess Who, Paul McCartney and Wings and Burt Bachrach. He was also a part of the middle management team that designed and built A & R into a seven studio, 24 hour operation.

Also in 1966 together with Phil Ramone, he founded the Recording Workshop Course at Eastman School of Music division of the University of Rochester and remained on the faculty for many years.

Greene was also very involved in the AES over the years and was in fact invited to the first general assembly of the Toronto Chapter in 1968.

In 1971, he joined the staff of Manta Sound Studios in Toronto as Chief Engineer during the construction phase of the project. In addition to his duties as an engineer, he helped establish many of the operation systems both technical and operational, most of which are still in use today.

In 1973, he formed Unlimited Productions Ltd., an independent music/audio production and technical consulting service. In addition to record production and engineering with artists as Paul Simon and Chuck Magione, he has also produced audio for various television videodisc products such as the Broadway show Pippin directed by Bob Fosse, and a concert series with The Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, Zubin Mehta conductor for Pioneer Video Discs, and Dolly In London with Dolly Parton for HBO.

Between 1984 and 1990, he focused Unlimited Productions in the direction of producing and/or sound design for film and television projects. Projects have ranged from morning cartoon series to major mini- series to feature films as well as Imax and 3D films for international Expo events. In January of 1991, Unlimited Productions became the basis for Magnetic Music, the music production wing of Magnetic Enterprises, which also consists of Magnetic North, Magnetic Sound and Master's Workshop. With the addition of Magnetic Music, Magnetic Enterprise offers a truly full range of post production services.

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AES What's New

Advanced Studio Recording Techniques Seminar

Geared toward the serious audio professional, this seminar focuses on varied aspects of studio recording, such as miking techniques, studio acoustics, overdubs, digital and hard-disk recording, on-location recording, and much more.

And where better to fine-tune your skills than at one of Canada's hottest studios... Metalworks.

A group of successful engineers and producers from Canada and the US will present workshops on how to get the best sound product possible.

Attendance is limited, so register now.

Choose one day: Saturday, November 19 or Sunday November 20 (same program on both days)

Time: 10:00 am - 6:00 PM Fee: $95.00 (including GST)

For more information, contact Maureen Jack or to arrange an interview, contact Sue Grierson 905/641-3471 or 1-800-265-8481.

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Logo Copyright 1994, Audio Engineering Society Toronto Section Bulletin

Articles may be used with the Author's Permission. Contact the Bulletin Editor: earlm@hookup.net

Editor: Earl McCluskie Assistant Editor: Anne Reynolds Layout Editor: Lee White

The Bulletin is prepared in print by Lee White, and on Horizons and the Internet by Earl McCluskie.