Why ABC tapped Avid

ABC News' choice of Avid editing systems was based not just on performance but on the comfort of knowing that there were personnel available who were very familiar with using the gear.

The network said on Oct. 31 that it will install an Avid Unity tied to six Avid NewsCutter XP systems for use on World News Tonight
and ABC's affiliate news service, NewsOne. It isn't the first time that the network will use an Avid product: The two companies have had a relationship for a number of years, particularly for on-air promotions (ABC has 154 Avid editing systems in use, most located on the West Coast).

But it is the first use of Avid's systems for World News Tonight. Nightline
has been using NewsCutter editors connected to Unity for News for about a year, which has allowed ABC News to get comfortable with the technology.

Although the history with promos and Nightline
was important, what was "more important was establishing a relationship with a supplier of nonlinear editing systems that could carry us into the future," says Preston Davis, president, ABC Broadcast Operations and Engineering. "Reliable operation was first in importance, but another factor was the availability of trained operators."

Avid's large installed base of product gives ABC a chance to tap into a large pool of talent that is already familiar with the system. Current editing operations at World News Tonight
are based on linear, offline, tape-based editing suites, so a combination of newly hired editors with experience on Avid systems and the current editing staff will handle the new workflow.

"There's a big opportunity to change process with this move," says Davis. "We'll be able to edit content in a faster and more collaborative way."

The Unity system has 5.8 TB of storage, with the six NewsCutter systems providing simultaneous access to material on the system. According to David Schleifer, director of Avid Broadcast, the effort to get ABC's product on-air will become more efficient and streamlined.

"The ability of the Avid system to accommodate the current support infrastructure lets ABC gain benefits immediately," says Schleifer. "Over time, ABC News may choose to evaluate and modify other supporting infrastructure products as they see fit."

ABC's NewsOne will be tied into the same system as World News Tonight, allowing staffers to share material and resources on an as-needed basis.

"One of the advantages of the Unity for News system, which supports Network Shared Storage, is the ability to segregate functional groups and workflow by using security and permissions, instead of through segregation of hardware," Schleifer explains. "Both workflows require shared-storage inputs, outputs and editing. With Unity for News, these can all be shared resources central to the operation."