Aiming to find new ways to create, produce and distribute content on the Azure cloud platform, post-production and media tech leader Avid with Disney have forged a partnership with Microsoft.
The collaboration is based upon The Walt Disney Studios’ StudioLAB, a technology hub designed to create and advance the future of storytelling, and one which the companies said that they will deliver cloud-based solutions to help accelerate innovation at The Walt Disney Studios for production and postproduction processes, or from scene to screen.
Microsoft has an existing strategic cloud alliance with Avid and the companies have already produced several essential media workflows running in the cloud today, including collaborative editing, content archiving, active backup and production continuity. The two firms say that bringing these complex workflows into production using Avid solutions — such as the Avid MediaCentral platform, MediaCentral | Cloud UX, Avid NEXIS | Cloud storage and Avid Media Composer, all running natively on Azure — will provide the foundation for helping transform content creation and content management to overcome today’s operational pressures, as well as pave the way for ongoing innovation.
“The cloud has reached a tipping point for the media industry, and it’s not surprising that The Walt Disney Studios, which has its heritage based on a passion for innovation and technology, is at the forefront of this transformation,” said Microsoft US president Kate Johnson. “The combination of Azure’s hyperscale capacity, global distribution, and industry-leading storage and networking capabilities with Disney’s strong history of industry leadership unlocks new opportunity in the media and entertainment space and will power new ways to drive content and creativity at scale. With Azure as the platform cloud for content, we’re excited to work with the team at StudioLAB to continue to drive innovation across Disney’s broad portfolio of studios.”
The deal was first revealed to the public at IBC 2019 where Ben Havey, VP of technology innovation at Disney Studios and Tad Brockway, corporate VP of Azure storage, media and edge at Microsoft welcomed the Avid partnership. Brockway said that the cloud has democratised 100% innovation in software in the media industry.
Giving the cloud and its availability, reliability and security of his company, Havey added there were a lot of inherent advantages to technology such as not just the cloud but artificial intelligence, but it would never fundamentally alter the company’s basis approach. “AI will never replace the superb creative we have at Disney but it can help,” he said. “ Storytelling is innately human and we are not going to change that ever.” The technology will see use at Disney within editorial tasks and then it will likely be applied to all Disney projects. “We have placed [the cloud] where we thought the technology could be successful. We can improve workflows and bring work to people that is more reliable and secure.