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Old May 12th, 2009, 08:09 AM   #46
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Simultaneous recordings and redundancy

Jay M. - You have some really interesting questions that I see being asked more and more. I'll do my best to clarify some things regarding the product capabilities and the product definition.

We will be experimenting with multiple Ki Pro units and a "multi-arm recording" scenario soon in our testing. As it stands, you will likely be able to do what you are now doing with the MacBook and the Apple Remote Desktop. You could conceivably assign the Ki Pro units similar IP addresses and connect them all to a router along with the MacBook. In this way, they should all be visible to the MacBook over the network meaning that you could access them via the web GUI and the controls that offers, which includes arm recording. Again, I haven't done this yet, but this is part of why we didn't bring the product to market right after we announced it; we want to be sure we know what you specifically can or cannot do with the product and while sometimes you can believe that something, like the scenario I am suggesting, will work, you can't say with certainty until you test.

You do bring up the good point that if you have timecode running to all of the devices and you arm the recording based on timecode, this should be sufficient for producing synchronized recordings, but I think you are either referring to your suggested arm recording method because of possible timecode issues with the source devices or as simply "an insurance policy" for the timecode arm recording method.

Redundancy is something that we cannot accomplish yet on a single unit. Performing the i/o operations associated with multiple 220Mbps video streams is not an easy task... Bear in mind that audio is far, far less bandwidth intensive. Your 8 channels of audio being simultaneously written using your audio recorder, according to my quick calculations, is probably roughly 2x 1.15MB/sec. Compare this to the bandwidth of dual Apple ProRes 422 (HQ) recordings which could reach 2x 30.93MB/sec and you can ascertain the heart of the issue. There is a lot to consider when you look at this. In simplest terms, the audio recorder is really recording, in some sense, 16 channels of audio, while the Ki Pro would be asked to record dual streams of video (and audio). Not saying that redundant recording is totally out of the question, but not sure that it is likely to happen with Ki Pro... sorry, just trying to paint a realistic picture.

How to handle redundancy and "safety" recordings then? My suggestion would be that after you make your initial recordings - your digital version of an "original camera negative (OCN)" - that you begin making dupes immediately. One cost effective method of duping data would be to copy or clone the contents of your Ki Pro Storage Module to another disk, and preferably the disk(s) you copy to provide mirroring or parity of data (RAID 1 or RAID 5, etc.). Now your data is in at least one other location. You can't be too paranoid about data, much in the same way we could never be too paranoid about housing and handling film negative for so, so many years. The big advantage in the digital age is that this duplication is far, far more trivial than the steps to "dupe negative."

Genlock is not it's own BNC connector on Ki Pro. Why? The device was not conceived of as a VTR replacement specifically, but rather as a camera recorder with some limited VTR-like functionality. Ki Pro can sync to input video via SDI or HDMI, "Y" in of the Y, Pb, Pr component input, or can be put into what we refer to on our products as "freerun." Syncing to incoming video is very common; most modern VTRs for example offer the choice to "sync to input video" and Ki Pro follows this methodology. Again, you would typically sync your camera, which in turn feeds Ki Pro. Used as a VTR, you could have a one-device-to-one-Ki Pro relationship, much the way you can have one VTR to one non-linear editing workstation and not involve house reference.

I'm glad you like the product... we appreciate the positive feedback you and others are providing. Comments like yours are how we arrived at the design of the Ki Pro product and your feedback/feature requests help us define future products. Dialogue is the most useful interaction manufacturers (particularly product managers!) can have with end users. We want to make tools that you find helpful.

Jon Thorn
Product Manager
AJA Video Systems, Inc.
California
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Old May 12th, 2009, 08:44 AM   #47
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Jay,

Great product as everyone has said.

My only concern is that it seems as if the form factor is very limiting for those of us you shoot a lot of handheld with the full size cameras. You are basically forced to use a tripod.

I think that a smaller version that mounts to the back of the camera like the Firestore FS-4 would be a lot more useful.

Thanks
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Old May 12th, 2009, 09:45 AM   #48
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Handheld is possible

Matt G. - While I know that we've only shown images of the Ki Pro mounted below cameras and then mounted to a tripod, I've personally done a handheld configuration that was quite comfortable. It's noted in this thread that I would show this configuration, but I am precluded from doing that before our professional photography of said configuration is completed. Sorry - my iPhone photos didn't make the cut with the marketing department!

The Ki Pro is quite lightweight and while I understand the desire to have a smaller unit, like a FireStore, I hope you can appreciate that we needed the physical space to make the connectors and the storage fit into the unit. Also keep in mind that the FireStore units only take a feed from the camera via a single compressed digital output, recording in the same format you are recording on the camera in terms of compression and they don't "officially" support the user changing out the recording media housed inside the device. Not trying to diminish the quality of their products - in fact I spoke to them briefly at NAB to say "no ill will" because I think that we have two quite different products and I could imagine using both devices for recordings - a Ki Pro and a FireStore - at the same time to cover multiple types of tapeless recording that you might want. AJA and Focus Enhancements "stay out of each others way" when it comes to connecting to the cameras because AJA takes the baseband uncompressed output from the camera while Focus Enhancements takes the compressed data output spigot.

Sorry, got a bit distracted from your original question, but thought it would be of interest!

Hopefully, we can get those handheld configuration images out to the world sooner than later!

Jon Thorn
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Old May 12th, 2009, 09:49 AM   #49
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Great thanks.
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Old May 12th, 2009, 11:51 AM   #50
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon Thorn View Post

Genlock is not it's own BNC connector on Ki Pro. Why? The device was not conceived of as a VTR replacement specifically, but rather as a camera recorder with some limited VTR-like functionality. Ki Pro can sync to input video via SDI or HDMI, "Y" in of the Y, Pb, Pr component input, or can be put into what we refer to on our products as "freerun." Syncing to incoming video is very common; most modern VTRs for example offer the choice to "sync to input video" and Ki Pro follows this methodology. Again, you would typically sync your camera, which in turn feeds Ki Pro. Used as a VTR, you could have a one-device-to-one-Ki Pro relationship, much the way you can have one VTR to one non-linear editing workstation and not involve house reference.

Jon Thorn
Product Manager
AJA Video Systems, Inc.
California
Thanks for the very detailed reply.

Just to make sure I'm clear as to what Genlock is and where in my system I actually need it...

In our system everything genlocked, the cameras, audio recorder, switcher, and VTRs.

My understanding is that genlock controls the speed of the recorder as well as keeping all the frames in sync so when you switch a camera the picture doesn't blink.

Speed is critical to be in sync so all the recordings line up properly on the timeline.

In our studio the cameras get genlock and SDI goes to a distribution amp. From the distribution amp SDI goes to the VTR (a Mac server with a Kona card) which is also Genlocked, and the other output of the DA goes to the switcher.

The program out of the switcher goes to another distribution amp which goes to another VTR that is Genlocked.

My question: Do the recorders need to be Genlocked?
If so, can the "Y" be used as an input for sync?

All of your older products have Genlock, did people think it was a waste of space?

On the topic of redundancy, copying to a backup disk is very impractical. It takes hours to accomplish. Yes it's easier and faster than tape, but still painfully slow.

I don't fully understand the engineering requirements to send one 30 MBps stream to two or more places. I would assume it is related to the controller, not the media.

If the FW800 port on the back could be used for storage media, then I could use something like the Sans digital raid 1 enclosure.

But if you could figure out a way to write to both the HDD and the express card then many people would benefit. I think many tapeless productions rely on redundancy.

Maybe the solution would be to buy two Kis if you can build them fast enough ;)

~Jay
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Old May 13th, 2009, 08:44 AM   #51
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Follow up for Jay M.

Jay M. - If you have provided sync to the camera, then, in a sense, you are passing this sync on to the Ki Pro if you are using an SDI output since the signal carries its own inherent sync; this is why you can be without a reference generator and in a "one-to-one" scenario, lay back to an SDI enabled VTR from another SDI device as long as the recording device is configured for "sync to input video."

We did not feel that adding a genlock connector was, as you put it, "a waste of space"... ;-)

During the product definition, this device was conceived of specifically as a companion to cameras where it would sync to the output video of the camera... which is what the device will do. I can appreciate wanting to have a genlock input on the product, but you should be able to use it in a variety of capacities without the presence of said connector.

I am also sorry if it seems impractical to copy to another disk to back up your media... it is simply a part of many modern methodologies/workflows to back up to disk and/or something like LTO these days. Data management can be a big (yawn) bore... I agree!

A data correction to point out... You stated:
"I don't fully understand the engineering requirements to send one 30 MBps stream to two or more places. I would assume it is related to the controller, not the media."

I was referring to 30+MB/sec, not 30Mbps as you noted.... there is quite a difference! Yes, this is in part about internal bandwidth on the Ki Pro device; it is, essentially, a computer with controllers for the media ports. I could go into a long description about memory copies, bus speeds, etc., but the essence of my original comment would remain the same... we have not ruled out "simultaneous" or "mirrored" recording, but at this phase, it is not part of the planned product release. We will sincerely look into it because we agree with you - that if we can enable such a feature - it would be beneficial to end users.

For the record, I am really enjoying these public discussions... feels like a pleasant meeting in the "digital town square." ;-)

Hope this information is helpful.

Jon Thorn
Product Manager
AJA Video Systems, Inc.
California
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Old May 13th, 2009, 12:26 PM   #52
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Thanks again for the detailed reply.

I think your success with this product will lead to a new product line. Maybe a slightly larger single U rackmount version with dual redundant hard drives will be the ideal product for our studio. Maybe you can call it the Ki Studio!

But as it is, it looks the Ki will do a great job for me.

For redundancy, I could actually buy twice as many Kis as I need and still be cheaper than your competition.

~Jay
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Old May 18th, 2009, 01:37 AM   #53
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Jon,
If I edited with Final cut, the Ki Pro would be a slam dunk purchase, but alas my heart belongs to Avid MC. Is there any chance that the future would bring native Avid codecs?
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Old May 18th, 2009, 06:22 PM   #54
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Let's see how well I can reply from the iPhone...

Terry M. - You are certainly not the first to ask about support for Avid.

AJA created Ki Pro to answer the problem posed by the proliferation of codecs presented to users... which is, in my humble opinion, daunting and fraught with post production pitfalls.

Apple has created a strong "ecosystem" for post production with Final Cut Studio applications, QuickTime and, in particular, Apple ProRes 422 and Apple ProRes 422 (HQ).

You can certainly do a high quality transcode from Apple ProRes 422 or Apple ProRes 422 (HQ) to the codec you prefer to use with your Avid. You might look into MetaFuze for this (but you probably are aware of that already).

Hope this information is helpful,
Jon

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Old May 25th, 2009, 02:15 AM   #55
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Markers in video file?

I don't know if this is possible in a QT file. For all I know it may already be a feature in the Ki.

I think it would be very helpful to be able to add markers in a video file. For instance, tonight during our church service there was an obvious mistake that will need to be edited out. It would have been very helpful if we had the ability to put a marker in the file.

Taking it up a notch, it would be very cool if you could add text to name the marker in the web interface.

I think some of the super expensive VTR programs do things like this, it would great if the Ki had that ability too.

thanks,
~Jay
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Old May 25th, 2009, 09:30 PM   #56
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Handheld Configuration

Have you got any update/pictures on a hand held configuration?

I currently have a Canon XL-H1 and do a lot of handheld work. Its great to see
more options coming out to take advantage of the HD-SDI output for field work
rather than buying a new camera, but it obviously needs to work within the current
way I shoot.

Regards
Kirk.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon Thorn View Post
Matt G. - While I know that we've only shown images of the Ki Pro mounted below cameras and then mounted to a tripod, I've personally done a handheld configuration that was quite comfortable. It's noted in this thread that I would show this configuration, but I am precluded from doing that before our professional photography of said configuration is completed. Sorry - my iPhone photos didn't make the cut with the marketing department!

The Ki Pro is quite lightweight and while I understand the desire to have a smaller unit, like a FireStore, I hope you can appreciate that we needed the physical space to make the connectors and the storage fit into the unit. Also keep in mind that the FireStore units only take a feed from the camera via a single compressed digital output, recording in the same format you are recording on the camera in terms of compression and they don't "officially" support the user changing out the recording media housed inside the device. Not trying to diminish the quality of their products - in fact I spoke to them briefly at NAB to say "no ill will" because I think that we have two quite different products and I could imagine using both devices for recordings - a Ki Pro and a FireStore - at the same time to cover multiple types of tapeless recording that you might want. AJA and Focus Enhancements "stay out of each others way" when it comes to connecting to the cameras because AJA takes the baseband uncompressed output from the camera while Focus Enhancements takes the compressed data output spigot.

Sorry, got a bit distracted from your original question, but thought it would be of interest!

Hopefully, we can get those handheld configuration images out to the world sooner than later!

Jon Thorn
Product Manager
AJA Video Systems, Inc.
California
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Old May 27th, 2009, 01:38 AM   #57
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon Thorn View Post
........
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!
Hi, this is bad news for me as I planned to get Ki Pro and 5D.

My question: will the recently announced 5D firmware update handle this issue? (out in June and its main feature is manual controls of ISO, shutter speed and iris during recording).

thanks
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Old May 28th, 2009, 04:51 PM   #58
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Working from Seoul...

First, let me apologize for an abnormally tardy reply to your posts... I literally was on a plane from the United States to Seoul, Korea on May 25th and have been busy giving presentations here in Seoul since the time I arrived.

Jay M. - Regarding adding markers within the QuickTimes as they are being recorded: this is not something that will initially be offered. However, it is not outside of the realm of possibility that metadata information such as this could be integrated at a later date. We definitely recognize the desire for this type of thing... can't say more than this at this time!

Kirk P. - Unfortunately, I cannot control the schedule for the professional photography of the hand held configuration... and I have been sternly instructed "Don't post the pictures you took with your iPhone of yourself handholding it!" Sorry... I can only suggest patience in seeing proper images of the hand held configuration. If you were standing next to me, I would simply show you on my iPhone what it looks like! (sigh)

Zsolt G. - I believe that the latest firmware update for the Canon 5D MKII only enables the manual exposure controls and does not offer any changes to the HDMI live output during recording. (Since it is not a public release yet though, this is only speculation) Sorry... we too are eager to use a Canon 5D MKII alongside a Ki Pro, but we must wait and see what updates are offered for the camera just like you must.

Again, sorry for the somewhat tardy replies...I'm quite busy with business in Asia at the moment.

Jon Thorn
Product Manager
AJA Video Systems, Inc.
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Old May 28th, 2009, 05:11 PM   #59
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No worries, look forward to seeing it when it does get done officially. Good to know it can do that configuration if need be.

K.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon Thorn View Post
First, let me apologize for an abnormally tardy reply to your posts... I literally was on a plane from the United States to Seoul, Korea on May 25th and have been busy giving presentations here in Seoul since the time I arrived.

Jay M. - Regarding adding markers within the QuickTimes as they are being recorded: this is not something that will initially be offered. However, it is not outside of the realm of possibility that metadata information such as this could be integrated at a later date. We definitely recognize the desire for this type of thing... can't say more than this at this time!

Kirk P. - Unfortunately, I cannot control the schedule for the professional photography of the hand held configuration... and I have been sternly instructed "Don't post the pictures you took with your iPhone of yourself handholding it!" Sorry... I can only suggest patience in seeing proper images of the hand held configuration. If you were standing next to me, I would simply show you on my iPhone what it looks like! (sigh)

Zsolt G. - I believe that the latest firmware update for the Canon 5D MKII only enables the manual exposure controls and does not offer any changes to the HDMI live output during recording. (Since it is not a public release yet though, this is only speculation) Sorry... we too are eager to use a Canon 5D MKII alongside a Ki Pro, but we must wait and see what updates are offered for the camera just like you must.

Again, sorry for the somewhat tardy replies...I'm quite busy with business in Asia at the moment.

Jon Thorn
Product Manager
AJA Video Systems, Inc.
California
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Old May 30th, 2009, 09:55 AM   #60
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Having followed this post I was looking forward to seeing the KiPro in action at the AJA World Tour in London yesterday. Unfortunately the meeting was, for me as an AJA novice, quite disappointing. I really hoped the meeting would bring the KiPro to life and show us the difference in picture quality between in camera compression and recording straight to pro res, how does it affect colour grading, will the end result on e.g dvd look better, maybe even throw in some hands on workshops. Instead we had to sit through facts & figures slideshows, testimonials and promo videos which can all be found on the website anyway. It all felt a bit like going to a new product launch at Starbucks and not being able to taste the actual coffee. Speaking of drinks, it was baking outside and we weren't offered any refreshments at the start of the show. Please don't take this personally as it is meant to be constructive criticism. I just think it is such a shame that an opportunity like this which will no doubt have cost a lot of money and preparation, is well ... wasted.
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Last edited by Olivier Depaep; May 30th, 2009 at 10:05 AM. Reason: grammar mistakes
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