Avolites: Changing Video Workflow

Following the release of PRISM PLAYER, TPi speaks to Avolites’ Ciaran Abrams and end users – Ed Shaw, Sean Cagney and Kyle Means – about how the company’s latest innovation could change pre existing video workflow.

The progression of video within the events market has been quite astounding. Even in these troubling times, video is one discipline that has continued to progress and innovate thanks to the proliferation of LED sets, virtual events and, of course, streaming. However, the ubiquity of video has created an issue when it comes to the relationship between content creators, video operators and end clients – the sheer size of data makes it incredibly difficult to preview content.

To address this issue, Avolites has announced the PRISM PLAYER. This latest release is the first tool in the PRISM range and is designed with an intuitive and clear user interface, giving newer video designers and operators a stepping stone into the discipline.

“With PRISM, we wanted to create a set of complementary tools that can help designers integrate video into their projects and improve the user experience for our current Ai users,” stated Avolites Managing Director, Paul Wong. “Now that we have Synergy, we want to get as many users as we can to start looking at video and seeing how they can incorporate it into their designs.”

PRISM PLAYER is a powerful tool for previewing and encoding media clips without connecting to a server or Ai application. Video clips in most common formats can be encoded easily into the AiM codec – Avolites’ bespoke codec designed for high-performance shows.

PRISM PLAYER also supports the HAP codec, so clips from other servers can be previewed and transcoded and used in Ai. Clips can also be encoded in batches to save time.

Content rendered in AiM can also be previewed without uploading to a server. The software also includes a playlist function to preview different pieces of content together for a show or project. These playlists can be saved and worked on later.

Avolites’ Lead Software Developer, Ciaran Abrams, explained the need for PRISM PLAYER in the market. “It’s been difficult for people to render out their videos to see what they look like for a long time,” he began. “The only option for many was QuickTime, but the process of using this application is really quite slow and you can’t load more than one clip at a time. Frankly, it’s a clunky way of working.”

Due to this shortcoming in the workflow, Avolites wanted to provide its users another option that would enable people to manage their media, to preview and program to give a better dialogue between creator and end users.

Through the process of creating the product, Abrams and the rest of the team were in constant contact with several their loyal users, including Ed Shaw, Sean Cagney, and Kyle Means – all experts within the world of video. Over a Zoom call, the three explained what this new tool represented in the ever-changing workflow of a video professional.

Ed Shaw, MD of NEICO – a video production company that specialises in creating motion graphics for nightclubs, festivals and artists – spoke first about what PRISM PLAYER could mean for the world of video. “PRISM PLAYER is extremely useful for us as we are used to dealing with a large quantity of high-quality clips – around 200 for a new nightclub launch, for example. Having a piece of software that can open all the files at one time, play them sequentially and be checked before delivery, trimming in and out points and checking aspect ratios, is all made extremely easy. And being able to do that without having to open the original file is a new time saver.”

Kyle Means of Visional Productions concurred with Shaw. “In the real world, especially with a corporate show, you can often get pieces of content rather last minute, and while you’re working with a big team, not everyone has a media server on the desk, so having a lightweight option with everyone on the team being able to view content so everyone is on the same page is awesome.”

Joining the call while on site at a virtual conference, Sean Cagney from Amazing Industries had already added PRISM PLAYER into his workflow. “It’s our emergency player setup on a laptop, so if anyone rocks up with some last-minute content, we are ready to go,” he shared.

Shaw had also got some hands-on experience with the PLAYER, while working with deadmau5. “It has been invaluable during this recent collaboration. We’ve been having master content coming through, which I’ve been able to quickly preview on our end as well as going through some of his older content. It’s been an invaluable bit of software.” While chatting to the three end users, one recurring theme was people’s perceptions of video. “The increase in streaming has dumbed down some people’s perception of video – even customers,” stated Means. “Some have this idea that you should be able to run a streamed video, with graphic overlays and add in other external people calling in, to simply be played on a large LED screen. The stress that kind of content puts on a system is incredible. That said, having a long render workflow to get things on screen is no longer really accepted, so we have to find ways of speeding up the process.”

“Not only that, but every show we work on these days seems to be custom,” added Cagney. He went on to explain that even with his years of stock video content he has collected, each project often means having to create more assets. Again, he stressed the value of PRISM PLAYER’s ability to give video content creators the option to allow customers to view content quickly, as well as quickly encoding any incoming content to then be played via a media server.

It’s clear to see that the fast-paced development, not to mention the demand for video solutions in all sectors of live events, has meant Avolites has had to keep its finger on the pulse of progression.

“Avolites has always had this end game approach of video and lighting integrations,” stated Abrams. “We’ve created an ecosystem around both our lighting desks and media servers, and in our development, we are always trying to think at least two years ahead. That said, there are some developments we have had to adapt to such as camera tracking and real-time rendering with Notch – it is a constantly changing word.”

Avolites’ PRISM PLAYER is available to download for free on a Windows device and further information can be accessed by visiting the link below.

This article originally appeared in issue #256 of TPi, which you can read here.