AJA brings Seamless and Smooth production and post production Workflows
AJA Video has been a leading manufacturer of high-quality and cost-effective digital video interface, conversion and desktop solutions supporting the professional broadcast and post-production markets since 1993. With headquarters in Grass Valley, California, AJA maintains an extensive sales channel of dealers and systems integrators around the world.
Broadcast India 21st Friday Oct, 2010
AJA brings to India a new face of broadcast and post-production markets. Eric Hamilton, CEO Pacific Portals transported the audience from a tape environment to a workflow that is being followed widely around the globe the focus being on direct to edit workflow.
He explained that as the industry is getting familiarized with the latest cameras that are available today, what direct edit means is the ability to go directly from on-set acquisitions on set to post-production without transcoding or ingest while staying at uncompressed quality.
He emphasized that although it may sound simple, it is not. And, "when you look at big problems we really need big solutions"
The problem focuses on the bridge between Production and Post-production! Eric explained that in the production world everyone wants it to be convenient, they want it to be portable and they want very high quality. No camera-man will carry a very huge camera to satisfy post production needs of editing in real-time, 10-bit, full raster, full-raster video, even though it is lossless and ofcourse beautiful.
Eric also showed examples of the differentiation between codecs like HDV, DVCPRO, HD, Uncompressed, and Apple's ProRes 422 to give a clear picture of the quality loss the video can go through. Finally funneling down to Apple's ProRes, Eric showed that it gives the best quality in the most portable format. What ProRes allows you to do is to have uncompressed 1920 x 1080 video, 10-bit,4:2:2 color spaces and a bit-rate that is one fifth the size of uncompressed, yet the same visual quality of uncompressed video.A key thing to realize about ProRes is that it not only a very efficient codec, but a widely adopted codec. ProRes has become the industry standard because of its extreme high quality and the fact that Apple, Avid, Autodesk, Adobe, Sony's Vega software,basically anything on a Windows machine or on a Macintosh machine today, you can use ProRes.
So now imagine a portable recorder that can be used with ProRes: It is called the AJA Ki Pro.
The AJA Ki Pro is a tapeless video recording device that records high-quality Apple ProRes 422 QuickTime files onto computer-friendly media. Because it features SD/HD-SDI, HDMI, and analog inputs, you can interface with virtually any type of camera you might own or rent. Enjoy monitoring flexibility through Ki Pro's numerous simultaneous outputs, connecting to both professional and consumer monitors.
Now Ki Pro is in two sizes. The larger one is used in studios recording like with reality TV shows and in a variety of different studios as well on location shoots.
The Ki Pro Mini is designed for mobile, camera-attached acquistion, and is easily mountable onto almost any camera. This new device allows you to take any camera and have them record at this incredibly uncompressed high quality video regardless of the codec natively inside of the camera.
Eric Hamilton mentioned that the Ki Pro Mini at its core is ProRes and Quick Time. So if you are working in a Final Cut workflow which many are then it is simply a plug and play. "You take the media from the Ki Pro and plug it into a Macintosh drag it to your final cut browser and its done immediately. There is no transcoding, there is no ingest process. You do not have to go through the period of pulling it off on tape and then pulling it off on any media. The media is already native Apple ProRes when you bring it into the post world so you do not have to worry about modifying and preparing it for edit, again it is 10-bit Pro Res 422 and its completely portable."
Ki Or Mini Features:
1. Extreme Portability for any shooting environment
2. 10-bit full raster recording to Apple ProRes 422 SD and HD formats
3. Apple ProRes 422 (HQ), Apple ProRes 422, Apple ProRes (LT), Apple ProRes (Proxy)
4. Record Edit-Ready SD/HD files from any camera to Compact Flash (CF) cards
5. Skip log and capture with instant mounting of native OSX media
6. Professional connectivity through SD/HD SDI and HDMI I/O
Most important is when you are working in the camera environment Ki Pro is extremely small, extremely light. This means when you are working in the production world it does not encumber you with the extra weight. It is comparatively light at 550 grams. It is very low power at 12 watts, meaning you can use it all day on one battery.
This is how it looks
Lets talk of 3d workflows
Eric Hamilton spoke of how they bring solutions for today's technology needs. The age of Stereoscopy! He said: "Directors are used to being able to monitor on set and see exactly what is going on but with 3d it adds another significant layer of complexity into the environment. One of our partners in Singapore has a very innovative solution that they are using right now widely throughout South-East Asia.
It allows you take any camera, say two red cameras and create a true 3d as well as left eye and right eye discreet monitoring solution. So here they take two red cameras and they run them through frame synchronizer and out through a distribution amplifier, so that they can get multiple copies of the same signal. They run right eye and left eye into Ki Pros for recording for which then they will be able to take because they are framed synched and time coded. They can take these files directly into the edit environment and that allows you to have an easy way to record a direct-to-edit version of a 3d shoot.
At the same time they can connect HD-SDI to HDMI converter and then can use consumer level 3d or 2d LCD panels to do their 3d monitoring as well as their right and left eye check. Comparing this to the cost of a professional broadcast 3d monitor and running through that kind of workflow the cost of this is highly reduced and yet the quality is absolutely brilliant.
There are also 3D mini-converter solutions, Eric explained. These mini-converters, like the Hi5-3D from AJA, take two discrete SDI signals from a 3D camera, and out put both in both muxed SDI, as well as the latest version of HDMI, HDMI 1.4a. This version of HDMI can send a full 3D signal across a single HDMI cable and display on both professional and consumer 3D monitors.There are also devices like Mini Converter that allows you to be able to take two discreet SDI signals again and then directly send that out as a 3D HDMI signal. It allows you to get HDMI 1.4 a, the latest generation of HDMI which is supported by very few companies today and it allows you to have direct auto negotiation of HDMI signal in 3d, they also allow you to have 3D SDI output that can be muxed in 3D signal this allows you to be able to monitor both over SDI signal in 3d as well as the over HDMI signal so that the entire workflow can now be done across one set of monitors of a mini converter and you can see these technologies advance further and forward."
Hi5-3D Main Features:
1. Side-by-side, top-bottom and frame-packing modes
2. Complete H and V image flip control in any combination
3. Easy user control via dipswitch or USB
4. Support for both 2D and 3D inputs
The other area that direct-to-edit is very popular is in multi camera workflows, said Eric Hamilton. He gave an example of TEDx Events. Eric Hamilton by verbatim: "TED organization which is based in the United States has hundreds of events around the world called TEDx events. This year they had a very large and successful event at Tokyo, called TEDxTokyo. We did a multi cam Ki Pro shoot with them and the goal was to be able to acquire and have the finished product on YouTube in HD within 24 hours and we were successful. Now the Ki Pros is highly adaptive for multi-cam environment. It allows you to take input from any camera in a high quality ProRes. You can synch it timecode across all Ki Pros and can use Final Cut Pro's multi-clip function to do a very smooth workflow. In the TEDxTokyo event we had 4 cameras, 3 different cameras, but one workflow.
We had 4 cameras 2 Sony EX1s, 1 Sony EX3 and a Panasonic HMC150. There were 5 recorders in the back and one recorder on the wide angle camera. Now the HMD150 has a slight issue which was it did not have an HD-SDI port on it. It only had HDMI and our entire workflow was based on HD-SDI. We were able to use the Ki Pro to convert the HDMI signal to HD-SDI seamlessly while recording, and send the HD-SDI signal to the switcher for the live feed.
The strength of working in a direct-to-edit mode is that you do not have to wait. It is instantly played. The moment you are done shooting, you take it into post production and no longer worry how long it is going to take them to actually look at it on the computer: it is already ready for that."
Eric Hamilton also gave an example of how Master Chef; an Indian Reality TV show is using the multi-cam system.
Some of the latest features that AJA offers is Gang Record. This allows you to tape in a master slave environment and basically take a multi-cam functionality and bring it up to the next level. You can now set one Ki pro as the master….the rest become slaves and whatever settings you put up in the master automatically propagate it to the slave devices. Get one master in, bring them all across the same network and one computer can control all the devices.
To end his presentation on the seamless and smooth solutions that AJA provides Eric elaborated: "The idea is to continue to move forward with the direct-to-edit environment. You will be able to control from single central location as many cameras as you want and all the recording is controlled from a single centralized environment."