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Bill Warner, the man who created AVID – Part I

Today I have the great pleasure of posting Part I of a conversation I had with an incredibly accomplished person and a wonderful human being. engineer, entrepreneur and investor, Bill Warner., Founder of Avid Technology.

An MIT graduate, Bill founded Avid Technology in 1987. With a small team of hardware and software engineers, Mr. Warner created the tool that radically changed the way movies, television, and all dynamic media are created, Avid Media Composer.

Avid had already started to revolutionize the world of publishing when I first put Bill in 1992. Media Composer was rapidly evolving and making strong inroads into the world of high-end commercial post production. After seeing a demo, I became obsessed with the idea of ​​”editing on a computer” and not long after found myself assisting my friend and fellow film editor Steve Cohen, working on one of the first long-form Hollywood productions to be produced. digitally cut. at the Avid. The project meant a lot to the still young company, and Bill and several other key players from the original team flew in from the East Coast to provide support, get feedback, and generally observe how we were designing a new digital publishing workflow.

The rest, as they say, is history. The following year the conversion to digital mail began. In 1993, Bill and And Avid received an Emmy Award from the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences for the development of Avid Media Composer. In 1999, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences awarded Avid the Oscar® for its success in transforming the editing process in filmmaking. Bill accepted the award on the world broadcast.

But for Bill Warner this was just the beginning.

In 1992 he founded Wildfire Communications and designed the first voice-based electronic secretary, which he sold to Orange, PLC. in 2000. Since then, he has divided his time between working with non-profit organizations and a focus on helping entrepreneurs. Additionally, he has acted as an angel investor for thirteen startups and three non-profit organizations. Startups are in areas as diverse as 3D animation, email-based blogging, event networking, ad insertion for online video, visual environments for nightclubs, shared calendars, and more. compensation design and management. Non-profit organizations participate in the historical/current mapping of Boston for planning purposes; a film school and an open source mechanical design approach to new vehicles for people with disabilities. Recent angel investments include sparkcloud, marginize, posterous, and zelfy.

He is also working on a book about entrepreneurship called “Intent and Invention”. Explore how to optimize the connection between what drives an entrepreneur and how they make inventions out of that drive.

Mr. Warner has been a long-time trustee of the Massachusetts Technology Leadership Council and has taught classes for entrepreneurs through that organization. In 2008, Warner created and co-chaired the MassTLC Innovation 2008 unConference. Now in its third year, the Innovation 2010 unConference will be held in Boston and has become the annual focal point of the Boston-area innovation community. In 2009, MassTLC presented Warner with the Innovation Catalyst Award for his work with startups and the innovation community.

A true Renaissance man, over the years Bill Warner has founded these companies:

1975 – Bionic Control Corporation – Designed environmental control systems for people with disabilities. Turn lights on/off, change TV channels using your own whistling ability. 1980 – New England Handcycles – Manual pedal bicycles manufactured between 1980 and 1990. 1987 – Avid Technology, Inc. (Nasdaq: AVID) – Manufactures video, audio and film editing systems. Public company. 1992 – Wildfire Communications, Inc. – Designed the first voice-based electronic secretary – Sold to Orange in 2000 1999 – FutureBoston, Inc. – Nonprofit – designs high-resolution mapping systems that combine past/present/future maps as layers. The city of Boston uses technology. 2002 – Warner Research, LLC – Angel investment and software development company. He ran the Collaboration Space at Warner Research, a shared space for entrepreneurs until 2008. 2006: Move With Freedom, Inc. – Non-profit organization focused on open source designs of mobility tools for people with disabilities. Move With Freedom soon to put the Morphing Handcycle into production. Anything Goes Investing: personal angel investment fund focused on new entrepreneurs, new technologies and new markets 2010 – Anything Goes Lab: an accelerator laboratory focused on helping new entrepreneurs and new teams to help each other and design products and companies that align intentions of the founders with the needs of the market.

Larry Jordan: So where did you get the idea for Avid?

Bill Warner: Well, I loved photography and I always loved photography. From the age of six I had a Brownie camera and then the Instamatic camera. And I remember that moment when I bought a Nikon FTn. It was like graduating from college and I was 15 years old or something. And it was just a great thing.

And then when video cameras became small enough to buy and carry around, something that would be huge today but for $2,000, which would go on the side and the separate camera. I bought one of these things. And I started shooting videos.

And then I realized, “You need to edit this.” And the question then was, how do you edit?

Me too; we always had family vacations at my parents’ house in Palm Springs. They were retired and lived in Palm Springs. The whole family came there. And I came with my video camera. I started taking videos of my nieces and nephews.

And one time I decided that I would do this video called “Take the money and run”. And we wrote it and did parts for all the kids and I directed and filmed it. And it was a great production: the whole family.

And then I went into post-production, in front of the faux fireplace in my parents’ Palm Springs house. And I sat there with the camera recorder hooked up to their home recorder, which means they weren’t able to watch TV for all this time. And it took hours and hours and hours and hours and hours and of course I couldn’t dial in the right places and I couldn’t make it all go right.

Larry Jordan: Clean edits?

Bill Warner: Oh no. Forget this. And just being anywhere in the stadium was a good thing, and you move on.

Larry Jordan: Pure frustration.

Bill Warner: Absolutely.

So I made this video called “Take the money and run.” And I have to tell you, we just saw it a moment ago and it still warms my heart to see that. And he did it with our whole family.

And it was that experience, which was so difficult to edit, that made me feel like something has to be better than what I have.

Larry Jordan: And how did you proceed from there? How did you go from that idea to, say, a prototype?

Bill Warner: OK, well, there was a big gap between “Take the Money and Run” and Avid. So, I was doing these family videos, and that was wonderful but incredibly difficult to do.

And then at the company I worked for, Apollo Computer, they had a little editing system. So I thought, “Ah. So now this is going to be good.” So I went and started using their little editing system; Panasonic Knob Editor. And it was more accurate, but it was still the same pain of line editing. I was starting to realize what this linear editing thing meant. What it really meant was you change your mind, you lose it. I mean, it was really painful. Basically, you had to keep building and building, and if you ever wanted to go back, forget it.

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