3D Boosts Avid

BURLINGTON, MASS.: Current methods of producing stereoscopic video are proving beneficial to editing specialist Avid.

“Everyone who does a 3D movie also does a 2D version of it. That’s not a simple conversion process or even if do it in 2D and convert to 3D, the story still has to be edited,” said Avid chief Gary Greenfield on a recent conference call with analysts.

“When you do the 3D production, the number of editors increases,” he said. “For example, with ‘Avatar’ there were 13 Avid editors. Typically on 2D production you would see five. The reason for that is they are more complex.”

Greenfield noted that 32 3D films were reported to be in production for 2011, compared to 15 last year, “and there are now four times as many 3D projectors and screens in the U.S. as there were last year.” While Avid is most commonly associated with high-end editing, Greenfield said opportunity lay elsewhere in 3D for the company.

“I think more importantly and where the broader opportunities are is in the area of asset management, because again when you do 3D it generates additional storylines,” he said. “You don’t just do traditional 3D, you probably do an IMAX version, which is specifically differently. You do a 2D version... you distribute it in many more different forms.... And that’s just on the films side.”

Demand for 3D broadcast content will likely increase, but for now, standards are being determined. In the meantime, Greenfield said high-definition is still driving the segment.

“There are a number of external market factors that we see attributing to the growth in specific segments of our customer base. In the broadcast sector, the growth of HD continues,” he said, citing a report that said 66 percent of top 50 market stations were now producing local news in HD.

Avid recently reported second-quarter revenues of $162.2 million, up 8 percent over 2Q09. The company said it expected positive non-GAAP operating income on full-year revenues of $645 million to $655 million. -- DMcA