As the Avid Everywhere program builds momentum, the industry’s favourite DAW finally offers an online collaboration solution which furthers accessibility. Avid officially announced at NAMM 2016 that Avid Cloud Collaboration for Pro Tools is now available to select customers via an ‘Early Access’ beta program. With other DAW’s already offering online collaboration tools, are Avid catching up or is there more at play?
Pro Tools 12 has been around for about a year, but 2015 witnessed 4 updates which many perceived as only ‘fixes’. Version 12.4 – which several pro users have reported as being stable and fully featured – brought Track Freeze into the picture. The ‘Track freeze’ and ‘Commit’ features now play a very important role in delivering the new cloud collaboration announced for version 12.5.
Pro Tools 12.5 appears to offer users a unique Cloud Collaboration tool within the software. Here, an online version of a Pro Tools ‘session’ will exist as a ‘project’. These projects can then be worked on with other ‘Avid Artist Community’ members also running 12.5. As you would expect, instant messaging, notes and (I think) video communication is possible.
As a long-time Pro Tools user from the Digidesign days and follower of Avid, I can be sure this must be a specifically designed tool. This isn’t like sharing a complete session file with Dropbox or other online file sharing services. It appears to offer complete integration of chosen session information with the online ‘project’ file and your local ‘session’ file. Within the same architecture, integration of the Avid Marketplace is also included to provide users with those tools whilst running a session.
So, in answer to the question, is Avid playing catch-up in version 12.5, the answer from me is a clear no. Besides the unique Cloud Collaboration feature itself, there are two other benefits on offer. Avid have been preparing for this level of integration for a while, and not just on the technical, software side. With the Avid Artist Community now up and running, there is a huge platform of like-minded users to draw on, including ways to help license and monetise your material. The other benefit is the seamless cross-version compatibility now possible between each contributor’s personal installation. For example, Pro Tools First sessions will work with a Pro Tools HD session via the ‘project’ in the cloud. This is more than just online collaboration and I can’t wait to be a part of it.
‘Early Access’ through a beta program is already running for some users, with the official public release of 12.5 said to be rolling out soon.
More Information and early access: http://www.avid.com/US/Solutions/byIndustry/protoolsearlyaccess.html
Here’s Avid’s official video on YouTube:
…and here’s a YouTube video which someone captured at NAMM 2016: