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Avid Unity: Network for professional production

Without a doubt, the biggest challenge facing audiovisual production professionals today is to respond to the pressures of making better products in shorter periods of time.

Non-linear infrastructure

The only way to meet this challenge is to revolutionize the audiovisual production process through a better workflow as part of the non-linear production environment. For a fraction of the investment that has been made in nonlinear tools, media professionals can connect to those tools and radically improve the workflow, helping them interoperate more effectively. This is the fundamental mission of a non-linear infrastructure such as shared content networks and computerized distribution services.

Media networks like Avid Unity MediaNet can be understood as the foundation of an open nonlinear environment and the key to sustaining the growth and profitability of the post-production industry.


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Avid Unity MediaNet is a shared media storage network. Under this name and the support of Media Net, is Avid Unity Media Services, a set of products that provide additional capabilities for network enhancement such as media management, rendering and digitization. Thanks to its expertise in real-time digital systems, Avid Unity has been specifically designed to support workflow and real-time demands in post-production work now and in the near future.

It employs a server-assisted architecture comprising five main components: a file system (e.g., Mac OS, Windows NT file system), software for the client network, software for the server network, interconnectivity technology (e.g., FC/AL, Ethernet), and a storage subsystem. This architecture allows information to be sorted and controlled to be separated from the media stream (digitization and playback) and provide the benefit of an "intelligence" center for the network without the bottlenecks that exist in server-based architectures.

Technological principles

While the architecture of the system involves a fundamental and very important decision, the specific technological decisions regarding the components of the system are crucial for a subsequent synchronization of the system and its architecture, with the idea of reaching the production needs. The design of such a network is based on the following principles that yielded the technological decisions:

*File system: It must operate in real time, support the crossing of information between different platforms and allow adjustments between different media.

*Media Transfer: Must be able to send and receive work in a simple way (Projects / Sequences / Media).

*Media applications: You must have the possibility of connection to share the stored information transparently.

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*Administration: You must be able to manage the network intuitively and securely.

*Interconnection and storage: It must be robust, flexible and easy to upgrade and improve, and it must have an affordable economic cost.


The system has been designed so that its functions and features address one or more of the following attributes:

  1. Must be open: Able to work with all conventional applications and networking systems. An open network is one that operates with all standard applications and supports storage devices commonly used in the industry.
  2. Must have digital capability: Have the option to work well with a wide variety of digital tools.
  3. Must be transparent: For application and intuitive network management.
  4. Must be safe: To protect audiovisual assets from deliberate or inadvertent damage.
  5. It should be flexible: Share information when necessary, send media when required.
  6. It must provide protection: Against the failures of the disks and elements of the platform.
  7. It must be economical: In the initial purchase of the system, when it grows and when the needs change.
  8. You must protect your investment: That is, have HD capacity today and be prepared to support the crossing of information between different platforms.
  9. It must be part of an integrated system: An open non-linear environment.
  10. Must be backed by a major vendor: Any failure can be critical if you don't have a stable vendor.

New version

At NAB 2000, Avid announced version 1.2 of Avid Unity MediaNet. With this release, MediaNet's power and reach is expanded to include large workgroups or several small groups that can work at the same time with access to 650 hours of broadcast-quality video.

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It includes support for up to 25 real-time clients each with four audio tracks (a total of 50 video streams plus 100 audio tracks ), with simultaneous access to 5 TB (Terabytes) of content storage.

Within version 1.2 is also included a number of additional diagnostic and fault tolerance features with a remote status notification system. These enhancements are important for all current and future MediaNet users, particularly broadcasters and extensive production stations. Avid Unity MediaNet is a central network and storage system for professional content creation environments, based on an advanced media archiving system that enables real-time use. and at the same time share the contents of wide bandwidth. This system accepts users on Macintosh and Windows NT, and serves additional platforms and external CPUs via gateway and TCP/IP.

In addition to this, it receives any application that is compatible with Windows NT or Macintosh operating systems, allowing most applications used in content creation environments to be connected directly to the Avid Unity shared media network.

By connecting editors, artists, sound designers and effects specialists through a digital station, this system significantly improves workflows and increases productivity, eliminating trivial or mechanical tasks associated with managing a station today, that develops linear and non-linear post-production processes, including the coding of content and video streams for the web.

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