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Old May 1st, 2009, 01:02 PM   #31
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I am planning to run XLRs straight into the KiPro (should get perfect sync) and avoid an analog to digital SDI converter (another battery powered device). I can also run audio out of the KiPro and send it back (line in) to the A1 for HDV tape backup. The 24bit audio and hopefully cleaner preamps on the KiPro should give the best results in this configuration.
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Old May 2nd, 2009, 07:29 AM   #32
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Frame Rates for KI

Hi Jon,

Theoretically, since the KI is merely taking a signal from either the SDI or HDMI line of the camera and then recording/upconverting/crossconverting into it's own ProRes Format, doesn't that mean that the KI can record in any frame rate it wants?

Therefore, if I hook up my Canon 5D Mark II to your KI I could then hit the magical 24p frame rate.

Right?

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Old May 2nd, 2009, 09:27 AM   #33
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Following the same logic, (and assuming it works) you might be able to take the uncompressed 1080p HDMI signal out of a Canon Rebel T1i ($900) and feed it into the KiPro and record at 30p or 24p 4:2:2 as well.

That will be a killer application! - Do we see a Scarlet substitute for less than $5k here?

Last edited by Hoy Quan; May 2nd, 2009 at 09:46 AM. Reason: additional notes
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Old May 3rd, 2009, 08:51 AM   #34
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I am very interested in this device.

One of my questions is more along the lines of 10-bit ProRes 422 iFrame v.s. 8-bit Sony 422 Long-GOP XDCam.

I would be using this device mostly for films, commercials or other productions that need keying, color correcting/look, etc.

I've heard the Sony codec is more efficient in terms of compression, but only gives you 8-bit images.

I'm shooting a Sony EX1, which I believe is 10-bit off the SDI port.

I've also heard iFrame is much easier on the CPU than Long-GOP. My machine handles Long-GOP fine, but if I can get more streams of real time using iFrame, that would be a factor too.

Are there any reviews, comparisons, etc. that anyone could direct me to?

Thanks,

Jim
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Old May 3rd, 2009, 10:05 AM   #35
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The latest round of questions...

Hoy Q. - Getting away from HDV compression is a good thing. A few years ago, I wrote a whitepaper that is still available on the AJA website that outlines the benefits of moving away from Long GOP MPEG2 for post production. For acquisition purposes, it is no small feat that some engineers got HD to fit on on a 25Mbps existing Mini-DV cassette tape! (In fact the data rate, amazingly enough, of HDV is actually lower than that of DV25!) You are also correct in your other assumption; it is quite easy to transcode between a high quality codec, such as CineForm, to another high quality codec like Apple ProRes 422. (The same could be said of AVC Intra 100Mbps).

Luke G. - There are several ways to tackle audio recordings. You could indeed send audio into the Ki Pro first, and then on to the camera. Or you could send audio to the camera, then on to Ki Pro. Or you could have a small portable mixer on set with enough outputs to feed both the camera and the Ki Pro simultaneously. I don't think that you will feel the need for an analog to digital converter... component analog HD is underrated due to the buzz factor surrounding digital connection. Monitoring in component analog HD is quite common and in some cases can produce better results than an HDMI output; remember that component analog HD could be routed to a CRT, while HDMI tends to be routed to LCD monitors, most of which (until very recently with a few of the newer models) have been limited to 8-bit. You will be able to wire up component analog video and analog audio to Ki Pro without converters and do your "run and gun" style of shooting.

Hoy Q. - Your plan for recording audio is certainly one option - as noted above in my reply to Luke, you should be able to configure as you see fit.

David F. - Ki Pro will only be able to record in a frame rate that is compatible with the Hz of the signal being sent to it. We do not allow for "Hz jumping". What do I mean by this? Well, we cannot go from 1080i 25 fps (50Hz) to 720p 59.94 fps (59.94Hz) because that is a Hz jump. We could go from say 525i 29.97 fps (59.94Hz) to 720p 59.94 fps (59.94Hz) or to 1080i 29.97 fps (59.94Hz). Ever wonder why some devices list things as "1080i 60" and other products list this as "1080i 29.97"? Both are correct, but one is really listing Hz and the other is listing frames per second.

Ah the Canon 5D MKII... such a fascinating product... I really and truly wish that it had a few more features that made it a true "video" camera, but it is first and foremost a DSLR and secondly a device that can record video. If you do a little searching on this and other websites, you will note that while you can get a signal out of the HDMI spigot, if you are performing a live recording to the device, then the output is scaled down inside of the full raster output. If you don't work this way, you get things like display overlays on the video for many of these DSLRs. So, in essence, this makes the output from the DSLRs not all that useful when combined with an external recorder like Ki Pro. This might change, but for now this is the case. Sorry folks... I too was pretty excited to use a DSLR as my "camera head" and the Ki Pro as my "camera back" but alas, that does not seem possible with the current generation of DSLR with video capabilities and HDMI outputs... now the next generation... we can only hope!

Hoy Q. - I haven't seen the Canon Rebel T1i but can only assume that the HDMI output from that device is like the other DSLRs with HDMI output... again, we wish, like you, that this was otherwise!

James H. - Apple created the Apple ProRes 422 and Apple ProRes 422 (HQ) codecs to address the needs of post production which are not always the same as the needs of production. Post production always wants to work with full raster video at as many bits per channel as possible. Why is this significant? Well, scaling video or reframing video when it is full raster is much less abusive to the image quality than when you work with an already scaled image and perform such tasks. As for the color, I always use the box of crayons analogy: would you rather color your image with a box of 256 shades of a color, or 1024 shades of a color? 8-bit is fine in many situations, but suffers when you attempt tasks like color correction or when you have heavy gradients (a natural one is a sky with a soft sunset). In 8-bit, banding of an image can appear much more quickly than it could in 10-bit. As a rule of thumb, it is also much preferred to perform tasks like keying for compositing with nothing less than a 10-bit image to avoid "fringing" and "jaggies" along the edges.

I think that various codecs serve a variety of purposes, so I am not, and will not, be interested in "bashing" codecs in a "shootout" with Apple ProRes 422... I'm not sure what that would serve ultimately. What I am willing to do is outline the relative merits of the codecs you are interested in examining. The Sony XDCam compression scheme is, as you note, quite efficient in terms of bandwidth and can come in a variety of bit rates (18Mbps, 25Mbps, 35Mbps, 50Mbps, 100Mbps, etc.) but in typical camera recordings from the EX series, users cannot exceed 35Mbps and the Long GOP MPEG2 scheme is used. Long GOP MPEG2 makes getting data down to lower bit rates an easier task (and usually is used alongside 8-bit color specificity to further help lower the data rate). Long GOP can become troubling for computer processing since recalculation of the building blocks of the image must be performed fairly regularly unless the footage is essentially left untouched. The relationship between obtaining pictures via the I,P,B architecture and editing can result in what people refer to as "sluggish" behavior... or the long wait for the non-linear editor to "conform" or reconstitute the picture. Essentially the non-linear editing system/CPU must perform an evaluation of which frame is to be used/displayed before you can perform an operation on the frame. You can begin to understand why this is an issue for all but the most powerful multi-core processor machines; lots of computations. I-frame does tend to be easier on the CPU because it is essentially just using/displaying one frame after another in forward or reverse... less math to perform, CPU does not have to work as hard, etc. Basic editing in a Long GOP situation is usually not that difficult, but can become more difficult when you begin working with a lot of effects or want to use the footage in an application that expects "whole" frame/I-frame behavior.

Hopefully this explanation makes sense. One goal of the Ki Pro and the use of Apple ProRes 422 is to elevate what are, in many cases, high quality lenses and sensors in modern small form factor camcorders beyond the limitations of the native camera recordings. We recognized that many people considered the 145Mbps and 220Mbps of Apple ProRes 422 and Apple ProRes 422 (HQ) at full raster and 10-bit to be the "sweet spot" in terms of quality and bandwidth.

Essentially, AJA just hopes that it can contribute to the success of your projects whether they are "films", commercials or other productions. I loathe the word "products" even though I'm a "Product Manager" because a product is something for a consumer to purchase in my understanding of those words... I prefer to think that I help make tools for artists. Sorry, a bit "off topic" I suppose, but nothing made me feel better than seeing the completed AJA showreel this year and knowing that we had helped people not only get their work done, but create their own works of art. This is not a bunch of marketing nonsense to me... it's why I'm looking at forums at 8am on a Sunday! ;-)

Let me know if you guys like this "address by name, address multiple comments at once" method I have adopted here in the forum... just seems the best way to manage things for me... my supervisors at work tell me I have to sleep some time! ;-)

As always, hope this latest bit of information is helpful,
Jon

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Old May 3rd, 2009, 10:34 AM   #36
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Great explanation Jon. Many of the codecs have been compromises due to the physical processing power in the camera or space available on storage media. There are plenty of posts all over the internet comparing the pros and cons of each with examples.

Cameras and optics have been evolving and improving (one can debate CMOS vs CCD) and it is great to see products such as the KiPro, Nano Flash and others who can take the native uncompressed signal out of a modern camera and save it in the best possible (professional) format.

I am looking forward to getting one of these devices and shooting a few projects with it.
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Old May 3rd, 2009, 05:42 PM   #37
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Thank you so much for all the answers to my ?s and everyone elses. I have never seen my ?s answered so thourally on any forum. I have always heard about ajas great customer support but man it is no lie. I look forward to getting kipro when released and am glad to know if i have any ?s or need assitance that is the type i can look forward too. I see know why everyone on all the forums always says aja aja when it comes to anything you guys have a product (or tool) for. And me personally i like the format you answer in, makes it very easy to read and understand. Oh any chance of posting or releasing those pics you have of kipro on shouldermount kit on your iphone. I know you said you cant but man dying to see it
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Old May 3rd, 2009, 06:43 PM   #38
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Jon,

Your single answers with our names works great. That way, I don't have to wade through a bunch of replies that may have been inserted between yours replies.

Also, thanks for the VERY thorough and informative answers.

As you are probably aware, there are devices on the market and coming to market that record SDI/HDMI using XDCam 422 8-bit encoding at 100Mbps to compact flash cards.

That's the quality of footage I comparing to ProRes 422 HQ.

I'm trying to know as much as I can to make a decision based on what will work best for my needs.

I like the idea of 10-Bit color in a compressed format a lot. And, if I can render out a movie much faster using an iFrame CODEC rather than Long-GOP, then that's another plus.

With storage so cheap these days, that's not a big issue either aside from archiving, which is definitely a consideration when shooting with the KI Pro.

Thanks again for the great info.
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Old May 4th, 2009, 12:50 AM   #39
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Jon,

Are those SSD packs based on SLC or MLC drives?
What sort of life expectancy could we expect from them given the intensive write/read work they will be put under. Especially if acting as video split decks on productions.
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Old May 4th, 2009, 06:31 AM   #40
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Jon,
Just double checking that:
1. The Ki Pro can record ProRes HQ in addition to standard ProRes?
2. And if the Ki Pro is recording ProRes HQ, it can only record ProRes HQ to Ki Pro's hard drive module, whether it be the spinning drive or a solid state - is this correct?

(and out of curiousity... it's my understanding that when capturing to ProRes HQ via a computer tethered camera, that this is best done with raid drives because a single 7200rpm sata drive may not handle the data input - thus, I'm assuming that the spinning disk type module is spinning faster than 7200 rpm... Please feel free to school me...)

Thanks,
Lonnie
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Last edited by Lonnie Bell; May 5th, 2009 at 01:09 AM.
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Old May 4th, 2009, 11:13 AM   #41
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Is there an MSRP or street price on the cage/exoskeleton yet?
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Old May 6th, 2009, 09:11 PM   #42
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The latest round of questions...

Sorry everyone for the somewhat tardy reply to questions... not my usual style if you might have noted from the normally quick replies to previously to your questions. I was traveling and I just could not manage answering these questions from my iPhone honestly! ;-)

Okay... here we go...

Scott W. - The solid state units use Flash MLC. They are rated to 1 million hours MTBF. Try that with a tape! ;-) Yes, simultaneous IOPS (input/output operations per second) are not something we've promised. Basically you are recording with the device, then you are playing back... yes, it would be pretty cool to do a write/read at the same time from the media.. but I think that may be too much to expect from a single disk... Look to partner companies like Gallery with their Picture Ready software for solutions that offer this capability via a computer with an attached disk array.

Lonnie B. - Yes, the Ki Pro can record Apple ProRes 422 as well as Apple ProRes 422 (HQ) though I suspect many people - myself included - will simply record "standard" Apple ProRes 422 since the quality is so amazingly good for 145Mbps. For now, you can only record to the "drive bay" media - be it spinning mechanism or SSD - if you want to "safely" record Apple ProRes 422 (HQ). This has a lot to do with the media that we can currently mount in the Ki Pro for making the recordings. I'm sure you will see this change with time... lots of progress with ExpressCard/34 media is happening... we chose it as our "other" recording medium for a reason...

Normally, I would encourage people to use an array to capture any type of media. Then I would go a step further and recommend that they use a protected RAID solution, like RAID 5 for example... but lugging around a device with a RAID 5 array in it - which in turn presents issues when you want to swap recording media out - simply was not what we had in mind for this product. Can you record Apple ProRes 422 or Apple ProRes 422 (HQ) to a single SATA drive? You sure can with the proper drive mechanism and the SATA connection to the host. Here is a simple test that you can run... take the internal SATA boot drive on a modern Mac Pro computer and run our freeware AJA System Test application, selecting the disk as the Volume, the Video Frame Size as 1920x1080 10-bit, the File Size as 2.0GB and check the "Disable file system cache" and then hit the blue "Start" button in the left hand side of the UI... watch as the Write and Read transactions happen... you will notice pretty consistent behavior... when this finishes, look at the resulting graph that is produced. You should see numbers that far exceed the roughly 30MB/sec that are required for the maximum Apple encoding. Note: Could you see an issue if you run such a test on your harddrive? Sure... if you've got drive issues due to packing the targeted drive really full with your iTunes collection, every photo you've ever taken or some other "seek time" related trouble like a bad disk sector!) And yes, we are talking about 7200 RPM mechanisms if we are talking about spinning media and the Ki Pro recorder.

Andrew S. - MSRP on the Ki Pro Exoskeleton is $595 USD. If you would like to use the optional Rod Endplates so you can use standard 15mm rods and associated accessories, these are in a kit (both endplates) for $245 USD. "15mm rods sold separately by others".

Also to Hoy, Luke and James... thanks for your kind words... everyone at AJA is very busy right now and we are working quite hard, so we are sorry if it takes us a day or two to reply to you right now. I tried to make up for this by posting a bit this past Sunday since I knew Monday through today, Wednesday, might be particularly difficult considering my travel schedule.

Thanks again for all the comments and questions.

Jon Thorn
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AJA Video Systems, Inc.
California
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Old May 8th, 2009, 05:26 AM   #43
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.

First off it's a wonderfull product at a great price point so congratulations.

Now for Windows users it seems nice and easy for me to convert into Cineform and go from there so I'm happy but I am presuming that the Storage module and the Expresscard are as easily accessed as if it was a Mac ? ie: I plug them in and can access the clips ? no need to transfer them from a Mac first or anything like that ?
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Old May 11th, 2009, 08:47 AM   #44
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Using Ki Pro media outside of Mac OS X

Ian S. - Yes, you can certainly elect to transcode the Apple ProRes 422 QuickTime files that Ki Pro produces to CineForm files if you so desire. Disclaimer: AJA is friendly not only with Apple, but also CineForm so I don't want this to be interrupted as a sales pitch, but if you are interested in 3D, there is some interesting collaboration between Apple's Final Cut Pro, CineForm and AJA that was on display at NAB 2009 - sorry to digress but thought it might be of technical interest to this group!

Back to the topic at hand...

You may already know that Apple ProRes 422 QuickTime files can be read on a PC via the Apple ProRes Decoder for Windows:
Apple - Downloads - Application Updates - Apple ProRes QuickTime Decoder 1.0 for Windows

So this means that you can open and review your Apple ProRes 422 QuickTime files via QuickTime Player on Windows. Note that this is a decoder and not an encoder/decoder, so, as you might have been implying Ian, you typically would want to transcode to the codec that is native or optimal for your editing environment. This should, in most cases, be pretty transparent in terms of quality achieved because you are starting out with a full scale piece of video at 10-bit, 4:2:2 quality via the Apple ProRes 422 codec.

Mounting Mac volumes on a PC is something that is also covered by softwares like Mediafour's Mac Drive.

Hope this additional information is useful... and thanks for your kind words about the product Ian... comments like this mean a lot to product managers after working in secret on products for up to two years at a time!

Jon Thorn
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AJA Video Systems, Inc.
California
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Old May 11th, 2009, 07:19 PM   #45
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Hi Jon,

Thanks for contributing in such great detail here on the forum!

I have some questions and perhaps some feature requests.

I am considering using the Aja Ki for the multi-cam shoot at our church.
Currently we have 5 custom made Mac servers to record in SD. They were supplied by GVS. We have them housed in a machine room and remote control them with a MacBook using remote desktop.

Ideally I'd like to house the Kis in the same place because that's where the cables are.
Most of the time we will want to start and stop all of the recorders at the same time. If they can be started on the same frame then it will be very easy to line the cameras up on the timeline if the time code gets lost.

-My request is that in the web based remote controller you be will able to "arm" each Ki for recording and then click one button to start them.

-My second request is redundancy. It would be nice if you were able to write to both the hard drive AND the express card at the same time. The Sound Devices 788T does this for 8 channels of audio.

-It would also be nice if the FW800 port on the back could be used to attach a hard drive for additional redundancy as the Sound Devices 788T does. In fact the 788T can simultaneously record to all three locations- internal HDD, external HDD, and CF card.

Redundancy is very important because so many people don't trust tapeless recording. Redundancy is great in the studio as well as on location.

-Genlock? I don't see that, I hope that isn't missing!

Overall I think you guys have really allowed reasonably budgeted productions to elevate to a very high level in quality with this product!

In my opinion this product isn't merely a home run, you knocked it out of the park!

~Jay
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