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February 6, 2024

AJA Welcomes John Miller as Vice President of Global Sales 

AJA Video Systems today announced that media and entertainment (M&E) industry veteran John Miller has joined its team as Vice President of Global Sales. In the role, Miller will guide international sales teams across the AJA product lines, leveraging three decades of experience growing revenue for software as a service, media asset management, and integrated hardware and software development companies like Vizrt Group, BeBop, Brightcove, Avid, and Autodesk. 

“John Miller is a seasoned professional with an exceptional track record, and we’re thrilled to have him on board,” shared AJA President Nick Rashby. “He’s well-known and well-respected within the industry we serve and has steered teams through many complex emerging technologies and sales models, and mergers and acquisitions. His extensive market knowledge, experience working with worldwide reseller channels, and strong leadership qualities are invaluable, and we’re excited to continue growing AJA sales globally with him at the helm.” 

“As a company, AJA has established an impressive global footprint, with a reputation for building tools that address real-world challenges and providing world-class support,” Miller said. “I’m excited to work with AJA’s incredible team and apply my knowledge and unique skill set to increase sales and grow the business.” 

Miller joins AJA from visual storytelling tools provider Vizrt, where he spent more than two years overseeing major broadcast accounts as Enterprise Sales Director, exceeding sales quotas and bringing teams together to successfully execute projects. Prior, Miller led worldwide sales and marketing efforts and third-party strategic partner relationships for cloud-based M&E SaaS provider BeBop Technology, and also acted as VP of Americas Media Sales at Brightcove, an online video platform developer. 

Miller also spent seven years at Avid, where his leadership as Senior Sales Director for the US and Canada helped increase sales year on year, and he played an integral role in driving revenue growth at Maximum Throughput, a media management and storage technology developer acquired by Avid in 2009, in the role of VP of Worldwide Sales and Marketing. Previously, Miller served as VP of Worldwide Sales and Marketing for Autodesk’s M&E division and also worked for Discreet Logic in regional sales and general management roles before Autodesk’s acquisition of the company. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Management from Assumption University in Worcester, MA. 

About AJA Video Systems 

Since 1993, AJA Video Systems has been a leading manufacturer of video interface technologies, converters, digital video recording solutions, and professional cameras, bringing high-quality, cost-effective products to the professional broadcast, video, and post production markets. AJA products are designed and manufactured at our facilities in Grass Valley, California, and sold through an extensive sales channel of resellers and systems integrators around the world. For further information, please see our website at www.aja.com

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February 1, 2024

DP Mihai Malaimare Integrates Classic Cameras into Digital Workflows to Enhance Visual Storytelling

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As the industry continues to innovate with the highest quality video capture technologies, the nostalgic look and charming imperfections produced with classic analog cameras cannot be overlooked or easily replicated. While the image capabilities of modern digital cinema cameras are ideal for capturing 4K/UltraHD HDR video, some directors of photography (DPs) opt for classic VHS-C camcorders to create a highly stylized look, establish a time period or tone, or enhance visual storytelling.

A master at the art of storytelling through cinematography, DP Mihai Malaimare (ASC) first devised a process for integrating classic cameras into a fully digital workflow for the 2017 crime drama “November Criminals.” Capturing the film’s opening sequence with a VHS-C camera presented a range of challenges; although the sequence was filmed analog, the footage needed to be recorded digitally for dailies and seamlessly integrated into the production workflow. Furthermore, a video signal of the analog footage had to be routed to monitors on set for live review by the director and crew members.

Using a single cable hidden on the back of the camcorder, Malaimare routed the VHS-C signal to an AJA V2Digital™ analog to HD/SD-SDI digital video converter. Once the camera output was converted from analog to digital, the signal was recorded in 1080 24p and routed to a transmitter and the director’s monitor for live on set viewing. The voltage capabilities of the V2Digital allowed the crew to power the converter using a battery with enough power for half of the day. Malaimare shared, “I ran a test of the workflow, and everything was perfectly in sync, plus the post-production team was amazed. There’s no way you can replicate the look of a VHS-C without a workflow like this. Manipulation in post with filters won’t create the same artifacts, light streaks, or look of the lens, so nailing this workflow to capture it in camera was critical.”

For the 2022 sports drama “Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty,” Malaimare and Cinematographer Todd Banhazl (ASC) leveraged a similar production workflow to transport audiences to the 1980s. A V2Digital converter remained central to the workflow, they shot on analog Ikegami cameras using old lenses, and Panavision provided cages that worked with modern accessories, like remote focus. For sequences shot with analog cameras, Malaimare and Banhazl recorded interlaced video to double the perceived frame rate without using additional bandwidth.

Malaimare concluded, “Although modern lenses offer superior visual quality, the imperfections you get from filming with older cameras offer such a distinct look you just can’t recreate with all the modern technology in the world.”

For more information on Malaimare, visit: http://www.malaimarejr.com/.

About V2Digital

V2Digital is a high-quality, cost-effective analog to digital video converter that’s perfect for facilities needing to integrate signal types. V2Digital provides AJA’s high-quality 10-bit conversion of component or composite analog video to SDI at either SD or HD resolutions utilizing a full 10-bit data path and 2x oversampling to ensure a quality conversion all at an extraordinary price. V2Digital accepts YPbPr (SMPTE, EBU-N10), Betacam, or RGB component inputs or NTSC/PAL or Y/C (S-Video) composite inputs with a 4-line Adaptive Comb Filter providing high-quality decoding of composite sources. Configuration can be set by on unit DIP switches or remotely via AJA MiniConfig software control over USB. www.aja.com/products/v2digital

About AJA Video Systems

Since 1993, AJA Video Systems has been a leading manufacturer of video interface technologies, converters, digital video recording solutions and professional cameras, bringing high quality, cost effective products to the professional broadcast, video and post production markets. AJA products are designed and manufactured at our facilities in Grass Valley, California, and sold through an extensive sales channel of resellers and systems integrators around the world. For further information, please see our website at www.aja.com.

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January 22, 2024

AJA BRIDGE LIVE Helps BCC Live Meet Encoding/Decoding Demands Across Productions

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In live event production, preparing for the unexpected is critical, whether a small codec or frame rate issue throws off the chain or a larger problem arises. Boulder, Colorado-based BCC Live finds opportunity in these challenges. While its roots may be in IT, the company has quickly evolved into a live production powerhouse, helping organizations like IRONMAN, Rock n Roll Marathon, and others deliver broadcast quality coverage of niche sporting events and conferences to global audiences. BCC Live President and Event Technician Dave Downey attributes this success to a smart, passionate team dedicated to tackling the most ambitious broadcast and live stream projects for international clients. To support a broad range of encoding/decoding demands, BCC Live invested in an AJA BRIDGE LIVE IP video workflow bridge.

“AJA BRIDGE LIVE is helping us navigate challenges across the board. With it, we can take in nearly any type of feed and send out whatever end format is required,” shared Downey. “After only a 15-minute demo of the device, we were sold. It’s solved a lot of problems for us.”

Whether broadcasting or running tests, BCC Live deploys BRIDGE LIVE nearly every weekend to support a range of production demands (i.e., 1080i or 1080p, 50 or 60 frames, Secure Reliable Transport, etc.). They also leverage it to intuitively send SCTE markers to customers for triggering breaks. In the case of 70.3 IRONMAN competition broadcasts during which a production company partner runs the ad breaks – like the IRONMAN European races – BCC Live will tap into BRIDGE LIVE’s ability to send SCTE metadata down to the broadcast channels so that the production team can trigger ad breaks. 

BCC Live provides soup-to-nuts services spanning production through post – including animation and graphics – so every project is different. At the start of each project, BCC Live ensures all the right people, assets, and equipment are in place as a first step, then builds out custom event graphics. The BCC Live team often receives live event feeds from a production company, then mixes the content, adds graphics, and broadcasts it to millions of viewers via YouTube or other online video platforms. They also package the content into 45-second highlight reels for social media platforms like Instagram. Regardless of where content is produced, anything broadcast or streamed by BCC Live comes into its Boulder studio before distribution to viewing platforms.

Supporting various live production demands

SRT and RTMP are frequently requested by clients, as are SDI and NDI. With BRIDGE LIVE, BBC Live can support many formats with one device. “The fact that BRIDGE LIVE supports so many connectivity types, video codecs, and protocols has significantly reduced the volume of equipment we use. It allows us to go in and build a new profile for any project, so we’re set for the broadcast without a lot of stress,” Downey explained. 

Commenting on NDI in particular, he continued, “We love using NDI with BRIDGE LIVE because we don't have to get up from our seats to send the signal in the studio; I can easily open the signal on my laptop in NDI, do a quality check, pull it into the TriCaster, and make sure everything is how I want. Then, I can patch it and set it up as SDI, so whenever we need it in multiple places, we can use a matrix splitter. This means multiple studios can grab what they need off NDI; it’s a simple way to split off a world feed as we get it.” 

Bringing IRONMAN Triathlon Races to a broader audience 

Many of BCC Live’s productions for European IRONMAN events start with a live premix feed provided by a production company partner. BCC Live’s Boulder studio receives that feed via BRIDGE LIVE, and it’s pulled into its video mixer via SDI and sent to a few destinations in-studio. BCC Live transmits the feed through its replay machine and sends a split into its TriCaster via SDI, where the team adds HTML5 graphics. They use a green screen background and put the video behind the hosts so it looks like they’re in the location of the event. 

BCC Live then sends the feed out via BRIDGE LIVE to YouTube, Facebook, and Outside for viewers to see, as well as to Grabyo, where its client can pull content for social needs. Next, the team spins off a world feed that is sent to LiveU Studio and also transmits a mixed feed to LiveU Studio from the BRIDGE LIVE. In LiveU Studio, they might bring in remote hosts, mix in localized content, and send that off to a relevant network or streaming platform. 

Streamlining the workflow

With BRIDGE LIVE, BCC Live has cut its encoding/decoding technology needs in half, according to Downey. The device enables the team to easily grab NDI off the network regardless of the source. “One of the biggest benefits of BRIDGE LIVE is that we can specify every piece of the configuration, like the frame size, and we’re never limited to just two choices,” Downey added. “With some encoders, you’re stuck with the presets. With BRIDGE LIVE, we can specify almost any configuration option on the input and output. As we’ve been working with higher-end broadcasting platforms, we can easily provide the video PID, Audio PID, etc. with BRIDGE LIVE. Plus, we can set the audio to nearly anything we want, which is awesome.”

Having such a broad array of configuration options has been huge for Downey and the team, as has the device’s ability to add metadata and SCTE markers to the stream. Downey said that BRIDGE LIVE will also make it easier to add closed captions in the upstream. Commenting on AJA’s continued development of the device, he shared, “The updates AJA continues to add to the device are hugely helpful. Unlike literally every company that says they’re planning updates and then never delivers, AJA regularly pushes out meaningful updates. The addition of formats in the input and output stream is just one of many great feature additions since we invested in the unit. We also love how updates have allowed us to take progressive and send it back out interlaced and vice versa with just one unit, instead of a huge expensive rack.”

 

Looking ahead

Growth remains a key focus for BCC Live, especially with a major 2028 sporting event planned not too far off. Downey and team are eager to find a way to play a part in the production. He concluded, “Our team broadcasts incredible sporting events like the IRONMAN World Championship to millions of people, and we use the best technology to do it. We're ready for any challenge.”

About BRIDGE LIVE

Developed in cooperation with streaming software experts Comprimato, BRIDGE LIVE is a turnkey solution built for critical streaming and contribution applications with high performance 12G-SDI video encoding/decoding, stream-based transcoding, with flexible 12G-SDI I/O, comprehensive metadata and closed caption support, all within a compact 1RU form factor with redundant power supplies. www.aja.com/bridge-live.

About AJA Video Systems

Since 1993, AJA Video Systems has been a leading manufacturer of video interface technologies, converters, digital video recording solutions and professional cameras, bringing high quality, cost effective products to the professional broadcast, video and post production markets. AJA products are designed and manufactured at our facilities in Grass Valley, California, and sold through an extensive sales channel of resellers and systems integrators around the world. For further information, please see our website at www.aja.com.

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January 17, 2024

Light Iron Taps AJA Diskover Media Edition to Inform Smart Storage Strategies

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Light Iron, a Panavision Company, offers a range of post-production services for feature film and episodic television, from dailies all the way through to final color, VFX, and finishing. With facilities across North America, multiple shows in the pipeline at any given time, and imagery with increasingly higher resolutions, each year, it becomes more critical for Light Iron to have an easy way to manage and organize staggering amounts of data. The studio relies on AJA’s Diskover Media Edition, a powerful data management software solution that enables users to quickly organize and index data across both on-premises and cloud-based storage.

Liam Ford, SVP of Engineering and Technical Operations at Light Iron, explained, “In the past, an entire 2K TV show might take up 8 TB, which meant the facility SAN was only a couple hundred terabytes; the load wasn’t that heavy. It was easy to find what you needed, and one person could manage it. As time went on, jobs just got bigger, especially with the move from 2K to 4K. Plus, with the transition from film to digital capture, our digital storage requirements shot up fast. We’re now ingesting tons of terabytes per day, per show, across our facilities in New York, Los Angeles, and other locations. It’s a lot of data to manage and wrangle, and if we’re not organized, things can get out of hand quickly, which is where we lean heavily on AJA Diskover Media Edition.”

Across facilities, Light Iron runs its storage on Quantum StorNext file systems, with some additional network area storage (NAS). Ford and the team at Light Iron use AJA Diskover Media Edition to track projects across all modes of storage and compile full indexes of their content, including metadata – enabling producers and operations staff to quickly drill down through projects and decide what can be archived, deleted, or sent to clients for review. At a higher level, AJA Diskover Media Edition also gives Ford a robust overview of the SAN structure to ensure that the studio isn’t holding too many aging files or hitting critical capacity limits. 

“Diskover is a true workhorse that we use constantly to track file movement and notify people where things are,” shared Ford. “Without it, it would be a slog to figure out where content is, determine the latest versions, and so on. We can also easily keep track of duplicates, so it’s easy to free up space when we need more. It gives us a dashboard to track how data is being consumed across projects. With better insight into our data consumption and where files are, it’s easier to get ahead of any issues.”

One of Ford’s favorite newly-added AJA Diskover Media Edition features is Live View, which functions as a navigable tree rather than a static listing – giving users real-time insight into their files and ensuring they’re always seeing the most up-to-date version. Ford also relies on the Aggregate Volume View and the Aging View capabilities, which makes it easy to implement the desired parameters – for instance, anything over 160 days old – and tag broad swaths of data for archival.

He commented, “Without Diskover Media Edition, the only way for our team to make project management decisions in terms of which data to keep is to gather around a single secured workstation to look directly at the content; as you can imagine, that’s incredibly inefficient and a waste of resources. With Diskover, any of us can open up our laptops and get a full, up to date overview of everything online, on a standard web browser. As a result, decisions to clean things up happen way faster and earlier. It’s time saving, and money saving. Without the ability to figure out what exactly you have and how old it is, producers are more reluctant to touch anything, which can max out storage and lead to the team investing in more storage. Now, it’s much easier for us to understand what’s fluff and pare it back, so we get more mileage out of our existing storage.”

Light Iron continues to evolve its tech infrastructure to harness greater productivity and meet client demands. The studio is ramping up its use of cloud-based storage as it becomes more secure and scalable and is adopting more collaborative hybrid workflows as bandwidth becomes more affordable and accessible. Reflecting on these evolutions, Ford concluded, “With these developments, storage will only grow less siloed, which makes it important to have a dashboard where you can keep track of it all. Having a solution like Diskover Media Edition, that brings all that storage information together and gives you a view of where all your data and accompanying metadata sits, is becoming more critical every day.”

 

About AJA Diskover Media Edition

AJA Diskover Media Edition is the powerful, easy to deploy data management software solution designed to let users take control of storage, across the entire organization, regardless of where it is physically located. It enables high-speed, cutting-edge searches, cost analysis, tagging and other sophisticated tools to empower all levels of an organization to make more informed data decisions, enhancing the company’s file-based production line and its monetization - all from a simple web-browser based user-interface. Efficiently curate existing assets, empower your workforce and never lose a file again with AJA Diskover Media Edition www.aja.com/aja-diskover-media-edition

About AJA Video Systems

Since 1993, AJA Video Systems has been a leading manufacturer of video interface technologies, converters, digital video recording solutions and professional cameras, bringing high quality, cost effective products to the professional broadcast, video and post production markets. AJA products are designed and manufactured at our facilities in Grass Valley, California, and sold through an extensive sales channel of resellers and systems integrators around the world. For further information, please see our website at www.aja.com.

About Light Iron

Light Iron, a Panavision company, is recognized as an industry leader and pioneer in innovative, end-to-end file-based solutions for production and post. Filmmakers, studios, creatives and technologists rely on Light Iron’s expertise to deliver progressive digital workflows that meet the needs of even the most complex features and series intended for any and all distribution platforms. Light Iron’s service offerings include in-facility and near-set dailies options; offline editorial rentals; in-house visual effects; 4K, 6K and 8K color, finishing and mastering for SDR and HDR; and cutting-edge cloud-based media archiving. With physical facilities across North America, Light Iron also offers remote services on a global scale, enabling content creators working anywhere in the world to collaborate seamlessly with the company’s talented roster of artists. Learn more at www.lightiron.com.

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January 10, 2024

CuePilot Leverages AJA I/O Technology to Help Live Productions Elevate the Audience Experience

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From live broadcasts to in-person events, the audience experience is growing more dynamic by the day. With LED displays becoming the main focal point of large arena shows and TV continuing to produce popular on-stage entertainment formats, audiences see and feel every production detail, from lighting to music, choreography, wardrobe, and beyond. This means every production element must be perfectly positioned and synced for every show. Copenhagen-based CuePilot makes this possible for broadcasters and live event producers with in-studio and portable production planning and execution solutions built with AJA I/O technology. Deployed on thousands of hours of productions across Europe, the United States, and a wider global market, its technology has been used in concert tours for artists like Rosalia and Beyonce and major broadcasts such as the Eurovision Song Contest, allowing these productions to build, communicate, refine, and execute live broadcast and events that impress. 

“Our aim is to develop solutions that let production teams bring live musical stage performances, reality TV competition broadcasts, and major corporate events to life with optimal precision and without getting in the way of the creative. We’re able to do this by combining proprietary software with off-the-shelf hardware solutions like AJA Corvid 44 12G BNC and Io X3,” shares CuePilot Specialist Chris Abbott. “While the action is unfolding on stage, our solutions are driving visuals behind the scenes, cueing teams, and ensuring that the type of shots the director is trying to achieve are as tightly planned and tweaked as an edited music video. The combination of hardware and software enables our solutions to act like a symphony conductor, helping every part of the production team to work in harmony.” 

When CuePilot initially launched nearly fifteen years ago, it started out as a tool for directors but quickly grew into a cross-production solution for everyone, from the LED content team to the lighting programmers, stage managers, artists, and more. Available as both a portable and more permanent solution, CuePilot makes it easy for broadcast and live event production teams to plan, edit, and then execute their live multi-camera shows. The directors and teams will plan the show on a timeline and can seamlessly communicate the plan in real time to the whole crew.  

CuePilot’s mobile MacBook Pro production kit includes an integrated AJA Io X3 Thunderbolt™ 3 video I/O box, which provides all the I/O functionality and connectivity its clients need in a small form factor that fits into a 1RU. Enabling users to connect to a laptop over Thunderbolt, Io X3 gives CuePilot’s clients the video output required for four CueSreens (a new feature in CuePilot 8), follow the timecode reference to ensure all production elements are in sync, and RS-422, which lets users cut over serial for the switchers operated over serial. All of this is possible using a small case the size of an airplane carry-on.

Designed for studio and truck environments, CuePilot’s Production Server comprises a Mac Studio, rack mounted in a three-unit enclosure with an AJA Corvid 44 12G BNC multi-format I/O card, which helps the solution communicate plans visually across the production team. Again, four SDI outputs allow four different CueScreens, each of which enables a customized view, helping all elements of the plan to be easily communicated across the production, whether that’s the production gallery, backstage, or to each camera position. Corvid 44 12G BNC also allows CuePilot to read and synchronize with external timecode, enabling CuePilot to keep in time with the rest of the production, and to control the vision switchers, sending frame-accurate commands to control the camera cuts, macros, keys, and more.

Commenting on its use of AJA technology across both solutions, Abbott notes, “We’re a small team with a big client base operating around the clock to service clients in multiple time zones, so it’s important that our technology can be easily deployed and will hold up in the field, which made AJA an obvious fit. We also knew the AJA SDK would make it easy to develop both our portable and permanent solutions with the same toolset. The fact that AJA is also awesome about delivering updates that answer shifts in the field also played a role in the decision. I love that AJA kit built for one generation will work in the next, and the SDK is so flexible, which means our solutions can grow with AJA.”

Looking to the future, Abbott expects more broadcasts and live events to put extra consideration into the various elements they’re producing and how the whole audience – from the front row to the back of the venue and online – will experience them, and says he anticipates AJA will remain a key enabler.

About Corvid 44 12G BNC

Corvid 44 12G BNC boasts four bidirectional 12G-SDI spigots with a Reference Input. 8K Input or Output is possible using quad 12G-SDI cables and 4K/UltraHD I/O can be achieved with either a single 12G-SDI or 6G-SDI cable, or quad 3G-SDI cables. 2K/HD I/O can be achieved with a single SDI cable or dual link SDI, while allowing capture and monitoring via SDI to take place simultaneously. The card is available as an active (fan) vs. passive cooling (no fan) model, with both versions supporting RS 422 and LTC Input via headers on the top edge of the card. Other Corvid 44 12G models are available, including low profile versions with HD-BNC connections. www.aja.com/corvid-44-12g-bnc

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December 15, 2023

DIT Kevin Shiramizu Manages On-Set Curve Balls with AJA KUMO 3232-12G and Mini-Converters

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A liaison between production and post on set, digital imaging technicians (DITs) are the go-to resource for troubleshooting everything from imaging sensors to hard drives, signal paths, and monitors. Doing this while ensuring the director of photography’s (DP) vision is accurately translated to the various production departments puts quite a bit of pressure on the role. According to DIT Kevin Shiramizu, having the right kit in his DIT cart carts goes a long way in keeping everything running smoothly. To help manage inevitable curve balls, he’s integrated an AJA KUMO 3232-12G router and an assortment of AJA Mini-Converters into his cart. The future proof setup provides enough ins and outs, and bandwidth to support 4K HDR live grading and monitoring needs on set, and a way to move between equipment and display formats as needed. 

Working primarily in commercials, Shiramizu says that because his projects are shorter, he continually faces new challenges. “Whether I’m working with a different camera, trying to achieve a set look for the actors, or the project has a certain style, there's a never-ending permutation of factors to make each shoot happen,” he explains. “It’s like trying to solve a trick Rubik’s Cube. As soon as I think I've got it, something changes, and I have to figure that out -- like shooting against an LED wall.

To help solve those unexpected challenges, Shiramizu has built a several hundred-pound DIT cart with an arsenal of equipment. His setup includes a computer that runs his live grade technology, monitors, and the video signal path from the camera, whether it's wireless or tethered through cloud products. It’s run through LUT boxes, into the computer, through his KUMO router, and distributed to the cart monitors, the DP and directors’ monitors, and the video assist operator, who typically streams it to remote clients. For live grading, he uses Pomfort’s Livegrade and a Tangent panel.

“As productions get more complex and more people on set want access to live monitoring, having enough ins and outs is critical to keeping things moving, which is why I use KUMO. It gives me so much flexibility and reliability, and the fact that AJA and Pomfort make software integration seamless is awesome for live grading. With 32 ins and outs on the KUMO, I’m excited to move to Livegrade Studio in the future,” added Kevin. “While I mostly receive signals through a wireless video system via SDI into the router, if the wireless receiver is HDMI, I’ll use an AJA HDMI to SDI converter, which is great.”

Outside of conversion needs for transmitting the wireless signal between the video system and router, Shiramizu must also manage a host of other conversion demands on set, whether it’s monitoring an iPhone, a GoPro, Sony SLR cam, or other capture device. For this reason, he keeps a number of AJA Mini-Converters and distribution amplifiers on his cart. Shiramizu says, “Having a nice quiver of AJA Mini-Converters in my toolkit for those moments has saved the day countless times.”

He concludes, “Whether KUMO or a Mini-Converter, AJA gear is so reliable and makes me feel prepared for the future, especially as the industry begins shifting toward 4K HDR monitoring, and 12G-SDI becomes more widely adopted on set. I love being ahead of the curve, which is why I’m also looking at integrating AJA ColorBox into my cart for color space and HDR format conversions; I can’t wait to see what it might bring to my workflow.” 

About AJA KUMO 3232 12G

The KUMO 3232-12G router offers increased capacity for medium sized configurations in a compact 2RU profile with support for 12G-SDI/6G-SDI/3G-SDI/1.5G-SDI from 32x 12G-SDI inputs and 32x 12G-SDI outputs. It supports ganged dual and quad port routing control, allowing users to group together multiple inputs and outputs for Dual Link, Quad Link 4K/UltraHD, and 8K/UltraHD2 workflows. The device supports large format resolutions, high frame rate (HFR) and deep color formats, while reducing cable counts when transporting 4K/UltraHD over SDI. It also offers network-based and/or physical control using KUMO CP and CP2, and a USB port for configuring IP addresses via AJA’s eMini-Setup software. www.aja.com/kumo-3232-12g

About AJA Video Systems

Since 1993, AJA Video Systems has been a leading manufacturer of video interface technologies, converters, digital video recording solutions and professional cameras, bringing high quality, cost effective products to the professional broadcast, video and post production markets. AJA products are designed and manufactured at our facilities in Grass Valley, California, and sold through an extensive sales channel of resellers and systems integrators around the world. For further information, please see our website at www.aja.com.

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November 30, 2023

AJA ColorBox Achieves RED-CERTIFICATION

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Grass Valley, CA (November 30, 2023) – AJA Video Systems today announced that ColorBox has become the first color management and color conversion solution to be certified as Compatible with RED’s lineup of cinema cameras. This designation required rigorous testing across the RED family of products to ensure compatibility. 

 

Since launching last fall, AJA ColorBox has proven an invaluable color management and conversion solution across production environments. For live and scripted television, ColorBox’s RED COMPATIBLE CERTIFICATION LEVEL spans a wide range of RED cameras and ensures production professionals can leverage their preferred camera to capture and color correct footage live. This can be achieved with RED-provided look up tables (LUTs) using the AJA Color Pipeline or RED Log3G10 processing supported by AJA ColorBox’s optional Colorfront license. A third-party hardware control panel like Skaarhoj or Cyanview then allows operators to control either mode with tactile controls akin to those available with broadcast cameras. ColorBox’s RED-CERTIFICATION status also ensures cinema production professionals can seamlessly operate their RED cameras and ColorBox together on set for streamlined HDR/SDR grading. 

 

“ColorBox is the first RED-CERTIFIED product for video processing, and this certification is a huge stamp of approval for color workflows built on RED technology,” shared AJA President Nick Rashby. “Working with the RED team on the certification was highly productive, and we look forward to continuing our work with them in the future.” 

 

AJA will demonstrate these RED and ColorBox workflows, among others, at the Band Pro One World Open House on Thursday, December 7, 2023 from 1-8pm in Burbank, CA.

 

About AJA ColorBox

AJA ColorBox is a powerful video processing device designed to perform LUT-based color transformations and offers advanced-level color science with AJA Color Pipeline, as well as several look management approaches including Colorfront, ORION-CONVERT, BBC, and NBCU LUTs. Featuring 12G-SDI in/out and HDMI 2.0 out, ColorBox is capable of up to 4K/UltraHD 60p 10-bit YCbCr 4:2:2 and 30p 12-bit RGB 4:4:4 output, perfect for live production, on-set production, and post-production work. ColorBox's browser-based user interface makes it simple to adjust color processing settings, whether connecting directly via Ethernet or via a third-party WiFi adapter. ColorBox is available from AJA’s worldwide network of resellers for $1,995 US MSRP, with optional licenses for Colorfront at $995 US MSRP, the ORION-CONVERT pipeline at $695 US MSRP, and the BBC HLG LUT pipeline at $145 US MSRP. For more information, please visit: www.aja.com/colorbox.

About AJA Video Systems, Inc.

Since 1993, AJA Video has been a leading manufacturer of video interface technologies, converters, digital video recording solutions and professional cameras, bringing high-quality, cost effective products to the professional, broadcast, and post-production markets. AJA products are designed and manufactured at our facilities in Grass Valley, California, and sold through an extensive sales channel of resellers and systems integrators around the world. For further information, please see our website at www.aja.com.

 

All trademarks and copyrights are the property of their respective owners. 

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November 15, 2023

AJA Announces DRM2 Frame for AJA Mini-Converters at Inter BEE 2023

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Tokyo, Japan, Inter BEE, Booth #3209 (November 15, 2023) – AJA Video Systems today unveiled DRM2, a rackmount frame that can house and power up to 12 AJA Mini-Converters of any kind, or up to 24 AJA FiDO Mini-Converters with a new optional DRM2 Y-Cable. Featuring a 200-watt fanless power supply and sleek 3RU design, AJA DRM2 streamlines broadcast, production, and proAV workflows by enabling professionals to rack mount multiple AJA Mini-Converters for signal conversion needs. The new frame will be on display this week in Tokyo at Inter BEE 2023 in the AJA Booth (#3209).

The next generation of AJA’s popular DRM Mini-Converter rackframe, AJA DRM2 includes customer-requested features like a removable faceplate that allows quick access to the frame. Mini-Converters are mounted to small carriers, which are easily installed or taken out without removing the frame from the rack. 12 carriers are integrated and replacement carriers can be purchased individually or in a 12-pack. The frame’s power cable harness has 13x D5/10-PC connectors and plugs into a connector on the power supply frame, enabling the creation of custom cabling to power whatever users require. A DRM2-AP model includes an optional active faceplate featuring four fans for maximum cooling in higher ambient temperature environments, facilitating high density installation without heat soak concerns. 

“Power and space remain key considerations across facilities and mobile production environments as M&E and proAV technologies continue to evolve and workflows grow more complex. AJA DRM2 was designed with both taken into account, providing all the power and space needed to support up to any 12 AJA Mini-Converters,” shared AJA President Nick Rashby. “We’re thrilled to launch the new frame at Inter BEE this year and encourage attendees to stop by the AJA booth to check it out in person.

Pricing and Availability

Available next month through AJA’s worldwide reseller network, AJA DRM2 ships with a standard passive faceplate and is $1295 US MSRP; DRM2-AP ships with an active cooling faceplate and is $1495 US MSRP. The new optional DRM2 Y-Cable is available for $45 US MSRP each. For more information, visit: www.aja.com/DRM2.

About AJA Video Systems, Inc.

Since 1993, AJA Video has been a leading manufacturer of video interface technologies, converters, digital video recording solutions and professional cameras, bringing high-quality, cost-effective products to the professional, broadcast, and post-production markets. AJA products are designed and manufactured at our facilities in Grass Valley, California, and sold through an extensive sales channel of resellers and systems integrators around the world. For further information, please see our website at www.aja.com.

All trademarks and copyrights are the property of their respective owners. 

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October 6, 2023

Katara Studios Upgrades Studio to Support 8K with AJA KONA 5 for I/O

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Now that many creative studios have adopted 4K as the production and post standard, demand for 8K support across global creative pipelines is on the upswing. To stay ahead of the curve, Doha, Qatar-based creative shop Katara Studios – which has worked on the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 opening and closing ceremonies, and original episodic series “THE PACT,” among other projects – recently completed a facility overhaul, with AJA’s KONA 5 an integral part of the design to enable up to 8K I/O. The updates span Katara Studios’ full Dolby Atmos facility, which supports multi-studio music recording, 5.1 mixing and mastering, and complete post from editorial to VFX and color grading. 

Katara Studios Senior Technical Engineer Thahasin Kasim, who led the redesign, noted that while the studio has been equipped with state-of-the-art technology since its inception in 2018, a recent surge in 6K and 8K client footage brought new challenges tied to encoding and file sizes. The studio’s edit machines could no longer handle projects at that resolution, prompting the need for a complete infrastructure overhaul. The goal of the upgrade was to implement a future-proof setup leveraging the latest technologies while ensuring the highest quality of product possible for clients spanning the music, film, and commercial industries.

“We implemented a host of updates to our pipeline that have helped our entire post team to work faster and more efficiently, and I/O was a big part of that,” shared Kasim. “We looked into new I/O cards and chose KONA 5 because of its ability to handle 8K; the high resolution, high bit rate video processing power that you get with the card is impressive. Also, we’d used past iterations of AJA KONA cards in our audio systems and had good experiences.”

Katara Studios uses six KONA 5 cards across Windows, macOS, and Linux workstations. Presently, the I/O cards are installed on Thunderbolt 3 PCIe expansion chassis made by Sonnet with Apple Mac Studio, with more cards planned for the second phase of the studio upgrade. Outside of KONA 5, Katara Studios also uses AJA Hi5-4K-Plus Mini-Converters in its color grading suites and KONA 4 audio and video I/O cards to give clients an UltraHD output for review sessions. This combination of products helps the team convert 4K SDI to 4K HDMI and unlocks HDR options through AJA’s Mini-Config software. For Thunderbolt I/O, AJA Io 4K Plus is also tapped by Katara Studios for mobile recordings and shoots outside the studio.

“Our AJA gear is crucial to ensuring the content we’re monitoring and sharing with clients for review is top-notch. We made the decision to implement KONA 5 as part of the upgrade based on our understanding of its capabilities, reliability, and potential to serve as a future-proof product, and that choice has served us well,” added Kasim. 

During the initial stages of design and research, the team previewed a range of I/O cards to support its Avid Pro Tools-based sound mixing and video post workstations, but Kasim found KONA 5 capabilities to be unmatched. He noted, “KONA 5 is compatible with such a wide range of media production software so it’s easy to integrate anywhere in our post pipeline. Using it with Adobe Premiere Pro, Adobe After Effects, Foundry Nuke, Baselight, Avid Pro Tools, and many other creative applications, we’re able to confidently conduct quality control and preview the output on professional-grade monitors. I’ve also been impressed with the audio mixer add-on within the AJA Control Panel, which significantly enhances the audio monitoring options offered by the card.”

For Kasim, media management remains the most demanding aspect of the job, especially as technology continues to evolve. He is constantly working to stay on top of the available storage, backup, and archive space across Katara Studios’ facility. He said, “We now deal with terabytes of data, especially with 6K and 8K high bit rate camera rushes in the ingest process. Managing media has become increasingly challenging, especially when the online department requires the highest quality footage for VFX and color grading. Additionally, avoiding data duplication is crucial to prevent filling up storage with duplicated footage in the post pipeline.”

With the new facility infrastructure in place, Katara Studios has been able to resolve a number of these challenges, and Kasim credits the upgrade to providing artists the efficiency and flexibility to invest more time in their creative work, improving productivity, and accelerating creative output. “Our latest facility overhaul and investment in KONA 5 are allowing us to provide a higher level of service and product quality that will help ensure the sustainability of our facility for the coming years,” he concluded. 

About KONA 5

AJA KONA 5 is a blazingly fast, 8-lane PCIe 3.0 I/O card supporting the latest 12G-SDI I/O and HDMI 2.0 monitoring video connections, designed for the latest workstations running macOS, Windows, or Linux. The versatile I/O solution enables single-cable, 4K/UltraHD high frame rate, deep color, and HDR workflows with many popular creative applications on macOS, Windows, and Linux. Bidirectional 12G-SDI ports provide immense flexibility for capture and simultaneous pass-through, and, with the appropriate software, multi-channel capture and streaming. For developers using the AJA SDK, it offers advanced features including multi-channel 4K I/O and 8K 60p support.

 

About AJA Video Systems

Since 1993, AJA Video Systems has been a leading manufacturer of video interface technologies, converters, digital video recording solutions, and professional cameras, bringing high-quality, cost-effective products to the professional broadcast, video, and post production markets. AJA products are designed and manufactured at our facilities in Grass Valley, California, and sold through an extensive sales channel of resellers and systems integrators around the world. For further information, please see our website at www.aja.com.

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September 28, 2023

Zeros in Ones Hits the Road with AJA’s Dante AV 4K-R and 4K-T

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As founder of video production company Zeros in One, which provides camera and engineering expertise for live concerts and other large-scale events, Jason Harvey understands the importance of reliable kit. In the rock-and-roll business for more than 25 years, he’s collaborated with megastars like Madonna, Lady Gaga, Janet Jackson, Bon Jovi, and Paul McCartney, among others. From the beginning, AJA gear has played a key role in nearly every one of his tour workflows, and his arsenal continues to grow as industry needs evolve. Most recently, he added AJA’s new Dante AV 4K-T encoders and Dante AV 4K-R decoders into the mix for a concert tour.

An early adopter of the technology, Harvey shared, “Dante AV 4K-T and 4K-R are very well suited for live music productions. We’re still putting them through the paces and haven’t fully unleashed their potential, but what we’ve uncovered so far is amazing. They’re going to make a lot of people’s lives much easier, especially as more venues install IP networks.”

On his current project, Harvey oversees a twelve-camera setup – four manned and eight robot cameras, which capture footage for in-venue display and each show is recorded. Footage is captured in 1080 60p using 3G, totaling about .5TB per camera each night (6TB a show). The raw output goes into media servers, where the concert feed is color corrected and filters are applied; that signal is then fed to LED video screens. Three AJA Ki Pro Ultras handle primary show ProRes recording, with Ki Pro GO doing backup recording to H.264. Ten AJA FiDO fiber optic converters are built into the tour’s rack to run front-of-house optic, while AJA Dante AV 4K-T encoders and AJA Dante AV 4K-R decoders allow Harvey to transmit and receive Dante AV Ultra signals up to 4K/UltraHD, with 12G-SDI and HDMI 2.0 inputs or outputs over standard 1GigE IP networks. Across projects, Harvey also leverages AJA FS-HDR and AJA FS2 frame syncs. 

“The new Dante AV gear has worked flawlessly thus far and we’re just getting started. We’ve already beaten it up in racks with air temps over 40C. We were all melting but the gear withstood the heat,” noted Harvey. “Our FS-HDR is also great because I can input many channels and don’t have to lock in the equipment settings. I can call up the GUI in my web browser and make changes. Some shows start earlier or later so it may be sunny or dark, so I’ll need to adjust color settings accordingly. AJA’s FS frame sync range is lovely and really easy to work with; I like to mix and match the FS2s and FS-HDRs.”

Post-show, AJA PAK Media solid state drives (SSDs) help simplify data wrangling, allowing Harvey to shift media quickly. He explained, “Unlike film shoots, which have shorter takes and fewer cameras, recording live concerts entails hours-long single takes on as many as 20 cameras. That generates so much data, and I need to be able to shift through it all. With a few PAKs, Thunderbolt 3 PAK docks, two MacBook Pros, and two G-RAID 2 24TB drives, I can move many terabytes of data in a few hours from my hotel room.”  

Every tour stop is different and unpredictable, from the location and venue to the weather and the pyrotechnics. To this end, Harvey must be prepared to manage anything that each high stakes live production environment throws his way. He must have multiple backup plans in place to ensure the show can go on rain or shine. The massive set takes five days to build, so load in and out are executed with military precision, and the show has two stages, which allows the team to leapfrog setups and shorten the duration between shows. As soon as the performance is finished, load out is done in reverse order and the crew is on to the next stop.

Harvey concluded, “Technology is changing all the time, so it’s nearly impossible to keep pace. That said, I always keep an ear to the ground, because you never know what you’re going to be asked to do next, and AJA gear has been my go-to for nearly 20 years. It’s easy-to-use and bulletproof, even on the road, plus the AJA team listens to their customer and develops gear based on that input. I just love AJA products and keep coming back for more.”

 

About AJA Dante 4K-T and 4K-R

AJA Dante AV 4K-T and Dante AV 4K-R utilize the new Dante AV Ultra solution that enables networked video to be used alongside the industry leading Dante audio-over-IP platform on standard 1 GigE IP networks. Both devices support Dante AV Ultra signals up to 4K/UltraHD, with 12G-SDI and HDMI 2.0 inputs or outputs.  Dante AV provides ease-of-use, seamless multi-vendor interoperability, and an integrated control experience that customers have come to expect from AJA Video and Dante by Audinate. www.aja.com/dante-av-ultra 

 

About AJA Video Systems                                                                                  

Since 1993, AJA Video Systems has been a leading manufacturer of video interface technologies, converters, digital video recording solutions and professional cameras, bringing high quality, cost effective products to the professional broadcast, video and post production markets. AJA products are designed and manufactured at our facilities in Grass Valley, California, and sold through an extensive sales channel of resellers and systems integrators around the world. For further information, please see our website at www.aja.com.

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September 25, 2023

Astora Digital Builds HDR, Virtual Production Workflow Expertise in China with Help from AJA ColorBox

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Digital imaging technologists (DITs) have become paramount to productions in recent years as virtual production, HDR, and remote work have brought new technologies and challenges to on-set and post workflows. While common in the West, the DIT role is still emerging in China. Beijing-based Astora Digital, founded in 2020, is working to establish DIT standards in the region to support film, television, and advertising productions in transitioning to new models. The company provides video technology, workflow solutions, and post services to advertising agencies and film production companies, primarily in Beijing, Jiangsu, Zhejiang, and Shanghai. 

Across projects, Astora Digital’s team serves as the backbone of the production crew, functioning as a data and quality control center and applying state-of-the-art technology on-set to support the creative aspects of production. Their mission is to ensure smooth communication and collaboration across departments while seamlessly integrating digital and artistic creativity. For this, they’ve come to rely on a pipeline built with tools like AJA ColorBoxIo 4K PlusKONA 5HELO Plus, and Corvid 44 12G, plus significant technical expertise. 

Since SDR is still the primary deliverable in China, Astora Digital designed its pipeline to support simultaneous SDR and HDR production, including monitoring and adjustment. With an increase in camera setups, the team knew more equipment would be needed, making it a significant challenge for the DIT department in terms of stable operation and signal management in fast-paced shooting environments. Traditional products lacked support for high-precision LUTs, but AJA ColorBox, a compact, high-performance HDR/SDR converter, provided a solution. 

Commenting on the decision to use ColorBox, Color Manager Lucas Lin, noted, “Previously, we’d need to prepare several LUT boxes to process SDR and HDR signals simultaneously. With ColorBox, we only need one unit to achieve real-time SDR and HDR monitoring on a single line. It simplifies our workflows and makes the process more straightforward and manageable.”

Although Astora Digital tailors each workflow to the project, they almost always start with a Log C camera signal that goes through a 12G-SDI router to color grading. The AJA ColorBox Colorfront pipeline then supports HDR to SDR conversion, allowing the director and director of photography (DP) to monitor HDR and SDR simultaneously. Their capture equipment and routers are all equipped with 12G-SDI connectivity, including the main control-level monitors although on-site video transmissions remain processed at 1080p, 24 frames per second due to hardware limitations. 

Astora Digital provides sample processing at 4K or up to 8K HDR based on the original sources given. These samples are used for directors to review and DPs to assess results. Despite hardware constraints, their setup is designed to ensure high-quality output. The high-resolution samples that the Astora Digital team provides for review and guidance enable the creative team to make more informed decisions during the daily filmmaking process.

ColorBox is often also employed by the team to perform real-time color adjustments based on the camera output to achieve the expected color effects. Doing so establishes a strong foundation for post and contributes to maintaining color consistency, ensuring captured footage aligns with the intended visuals. Calling out the AJA Color Pipeline as a key advantage of ColorBox, Lin said, “The AJA Color Pipeline enables us to uphold color consistency across every stage of production, providing valuable support for cinematographers to supervise LED color control in virtual production work. ColorBox also supports LUT accuracy and can stack 1D LUTs, which is crucial in making ColorBox unique.”

Being able to stack 1D LUTs gives Astora’s team more flexibility for gamma mapping and adjusting the gain of the RGB channel. They can easily resolve the common LED shooting issue known as “homochromatic metamerism” using 1D LUTs for visual matching and correction, whether for black balance or color saturation. Lin added, “In an HDR workflow, the requirements for LUTs precision are extensive. With ColorBox, we’re able to apply the highest specification LUT (33pt), which significantly reduces issues like posterization in high-brightness and high-saturation work scenarios.”

For a recent HDR visual effects film project, “Maddog Aria”, the team developed SDR and HDR full-process monitoring, and live color grading on-set based on the director’s requirements. They unified the colors between pre-production and post-production, using the ACES standard for on-set color management for pre-production and applying color grading and VFX color management for post. On other projects, they’ve leveraged a custom integrated video assist system with AJA hardware components to use with Live Grade Studio and QTAKE. 

Astora Digital CEO Marco Wang explained, “ColorBox offers a wide range of down-conversion solutions from HDR to SDR. By integrating ColorBox into our signal processing chain, we were able to optimize our LUT box resources significantly. ColorBox’s real-time and automatic signal conversion capabilities reduced the time and cost of equipment, allowing us to focus on on-set HDR color grading. And after setting the desired HDR style, we only need to make minor adjustments to the ColorBox’s conversion parameter.”

In addition to using its video assist system for film and television production and post, Astora Digital also taps it for live broadcasting and recording, leveraging the AJA Io 4K Plus and KONA 5 with OBS for live streaming HDR video on platforms like YouTube. They also use other AJA products to record HDR content for hosting gaming programs. 

Harnessing technology from AJA, and ColorBox in particular, has allowed Astora Digital to elevate the quality of services it provides in the fast-changing world of film and television production, which in turn, elevates their clients’ work. Astora Digital Workflow Manager Edge Dong concluded, “ColorBox really stands out as the only on-set color management device available to integrate multiple powerful features with a plug-and-play user experience. It contains the trusted reliability that the AJA brand is known for while incorporating robust built-in color processing pipelines like the AJA Color Pipeline and the highly acclaimed Colorfront pipeline, along with many other powerful functionalities. We’re thrilled with the benefits it’s brought to our daily operations.”

About AJA ColorBox

AJA ColorBox is a powerful video processing device designed to perform LUT-based color transformations and offers advanced-level color science with AJA Color Pipeline, as well as several look management approaches including Colorfront, ORION-CONVERT, BBC, and NBCU LUTs. Featuring 12G-SDI in/out and HDMI 2.0 out, AJA ColorBox is capable of up to 4K/UltraHD 60p 10-bit YCbCr 4:2:2 and 30p 12-bit RGB 4:4:4 output, perfect for live production, on-set production, and post-production work. ColorBox's browser-based user interface makes it simple to adjust color processing settings, whether connecting directly via ethernet or via a third-party WiFi adapter.

About AJA Video Systems

Since 1993, AJA Video Systems has been a leading manufacturer of video interface technologies, converters, digital video recording solutions, and professional cameras, bringing high-quality, cost-effective products to the professional broadcast, video, and post production markets. AJA products are designed and manufactured at our facilities in Grass Valley, California, and sold through an extensive sales channel of resellers and systems integrators around the world. For further information, please see our website at www.aja.com.

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September 8, 2023

Nits.Lab Taps AJA Gear to Help Filmmakers Explore the Creative Possibilities of HDR

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With its brighter highlights and wider color gamut, high dynamic range (HDR) is providing another creative avenue to immerse audiences in their stories. Demand for the advanced format has been growing steadily in Latin America in recent years, a trend that Brazil-based independent creative studio Nits.Lab recognized early on. The studio launched earlier this year to provide HDR-capable Digital Imaging Technician (DIT) and post-production services to clients in Latin America. With the help of AJA technology like ColorBox, its team is supporting commercial, episodic, documentary, and feature productions across the region to embrace this evolving storytelling format and unlock its myriad narrative advantages.

 

“We do most of our work in SDR, but client preferences are slowly shifting to HDR,” said Nits.Lab Co-Founder Rodrigo Bodstein. “It’s gaining momentum here in Brazil as the major streamers show the narrative possibilities of HDR, and quite a few of the larger studios, as well as a few post houses, are already experimenting with HDR delivery. We’re working to help the market transition, and make HDR more accessible here. We want to give professionals the tools they need to get up to speed on HDR and explore its narrative implications, so they can continue pushing content forward visually.”

 

To support its mission, Nits.Lab built a state-of-the-art facility and DIT cart including two AJA ColorBox color converters, an AJA Io 4K Plus for I/O, and an AJA KUMO 3232-12G router to help manage color across SDR and HDR productions. For on-set work, its two-person crew leverages the DIT cart technology alongside a range of monitors. The Colorfront  Engine and the AJA Color Pipeline in ColorBox are used for transformations when reviewing SDR and HDR content side by side, in addition to the Colorfront streaming server for remote reviews. The team also anticipates adding a third ColorBox into its studio color suite to be able to send signals to another TV for client viewing.

 

Nits.Lab’s workflows vary on a project basis and whether or not they’re in the studio or on-set, but each is designed around 12G-SDI routing. In one of its designs, a Mac Studio is the main station for live grading, while a MacBook Pro supports ingest and offload. An AJA KUMO 12G-SDI router sits at the center of the signal path, giving the team full control over signal distribution and routing. They set up a salvo for each specific workflow on the KUMO, enabling them to save different profiles for different types of work. For example, one salvo is set up for live grading, one for broadcast, and another for color grading, color correction, VFX, and editing work. 

 

For live grading, the inputs and outputs of two AJA ColorBoxes, an AJA Io 4K Plus, and two Sony monitors are linked to the KUMO. Camera signals are fed through the AJA KUMO router into the Io 4K Plus and through the ColorBoxes to the monitors. One monitor is set in SDR and the other in HDR. The NitsLab team uses Pomfort Livegrade Pro software to control the dynamic LUT in the AJA Color Pipeline in ColorBox. Since its work is typically centered around an ACES pipeline, Nits.Lab regularly leans on the integration of Pomfort Livegrade Pro and Pomfort Silverstack Lab to create dailies with all the demands for each client (burn-ins, metadata etc.). This helps ensure color consistency throughout the process.

 

Commenting on the workflow, Nits.Lab Co-Founder Rafael Lopes said, “It’s important for project stakeholders to be able to see HDR footage alongside SDR footage. They may not need to understand how the PQ curve works, or why 12-bit signals are necessary, but they need to feel the difference and how it impacts the final product. We want them to see how they can control the image with HDR, even if some lenses have flares in HDR that don’t work. AJA solutions, in tandem with Colorfront, help us achieve this and are amazing at shaping HDR in live and on-set situations. We love and use them both a lot.”

Nits.Lab also taps AJA Io 4K Plus for computer I/O, which includes four bi-directional 12G-SDI inputs, to send test patterns to its monitors for some HDR projects that require express captures for dailies. Outside of its 12G-SDI workflow demands, the team also uses the Tangent Wave control panel, a Stream Deck where they keep shortcuts, RAID storage, and a 40TB drive for backup and transport. All this technology is connected to a Mac Studio M1 Ultra with 128GB RAM via ethernet via a switch. A CalDigit TS4 hub with the pro-grade media readers and the MacBook Pro M1 Max with 2TB and 64GB RAM are also part of the workflow design. In addition to these tools, for remote workflows, Nits.Lab also employs the Colorfront Streaming Server, a cloud media management and collaboration tool, and the Pomfort ShotHub. 

 

Both Lopes and Bodstein enjoy leveraging these powerful setups in their day-to-day work with clients. Said Lopes, “Our goal is to help clients get comfortable with HDR, and have room to experiment live. Our AJA solutions are a key enabler in this respect as they make it easier to propose new options and color tests for clients. The real-time ColorBox pipeline is essential. We can experiment on set, see the results, adjust in real time, and easily pass guidance and direction along to the post facility in the color suite for greater look consistency. Knowing the vision, the look you established and recorded on set, and that the intent will be carried through until final delivery is invaluable.”

 

Bodstein concluded, “I get a thrill from balancing the colors and seeing the impact it has on people’s emotions in a collaborative environment, especially when everything just locks into place, and it feels right. It’s like we’re designing feelings, and that’s truly a rewarding job.”

 

Nits.Lab is trailblazing HDR workflows in Brazil, and publishing their test results as a guide for other professionals to use and to help build HDR knowledge in the region. More information about the company is available via www.nitslab.com.br or @nits.lab on instagram. Nits.Lab tests are published here: https://medium.com/@nitslab.

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September 6, 2023

AJA Unveils IBC 2023 Lineup Introducing New Products and Updates 

Ultra-low latency KONA X I/O card, HDR Image Analyzer v3.0 update, and new 12G-SDI OpenGear audio and HDMI conversion solutions to streamline M&E and proAV workflows

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Grass Valley, CA (September 6, 2023) – AJA Video Systems today announced new products and updates that will be on display at the International Broadcasting Convention (IBC) from September 15-18, 2023, at the RAI in Amsterdam, AJA Stand 7.C19. Designed to help M&E and AV professionals keep pace with evolving formats, protocols, and codecs and other modern workflows demands, the new solutions boast advantages like ultra-low latency, improved color management and quality control (QC) capabilities, NDI and 12G-SDI connectivity, and more. AJA’s next-gen KONA X audio and video I/O card features built-in streaming DMA that provides as low as subframe latency video capture/playback and debuts alongside new Desktop Software v17. HDR Image Analyzer 12G v3.0 software introduces a host of powerful new features for the HDR monitoring and analysis solution, while several new openGear cards pack powerful 12G-SDI audio and HDMI conversion functionality into an openGear rack frame-compatible form factor.

 

“Innovation remains a key focus at AJA, where we’re continuously working with customers, product managers, and our engineering team to ensure that we deliver solutions that address the unique needs of the M&E and proAV communities, which evolve rapidly,” shared AJA President Nick Rashby. “KONA X, HDR Image Analyzer v3.0, and our new openGear solutions provide powerful functionality that will serve AJA customers today and into the future. We’re thrilled to share what we’ve been up to behind the scenes these last few months and invite attendees to come see the results in-person at the show.” 

 

KONA X and Desktop Software v17

Compatible with new AJA Desktop Software v17 and version 17 of AJA’s world-class software development kit (SDK), AJA KONA X is a 4-lane PCIe 3.0 card offering ultra-low latency video capture and playback for applications spanning M&E, live production, OEM development, and more. Combining bi-directional dual, full-size BNC 12G-SDI and dual HDMI 2.0 connections, KONA X boasts all the tools required to meet a broad range of I/O demands. An optional KONA Xpand board sits alongside KONA X and brings even more connectivity, such as AES/EBU audio, LTC, REF, and more. KONA X will be available alongside a free Desktop Software v17 update in Q4 2023 via AJA’s worldwide reseller network for $3,695 US MSRP. The optional KONA Xpand expansion board is expected to release simultaneously for $595 US MSRP.

 

HDR Image Analyzer 12G v3.0 Software

Delivering powerful new features for AJA’s popular HDR Image Analyzer HDR monitoring and analysis solution, the latest, free HDR Image Analyzer 12G update introduces several new workflow capabilities to help professionals keep pace with evolving demands across live, on-set, QC, and post production environments. It increases the volume of video channels that can be analyzed simultaneously, integrates new Dolby Vision tools, adds NDI connectivity options, expands support for the latest ARRI color science with ARRI LogC4 analysis, and enhances 8K/UHD2 compatibility for high-resolution workflows. The update will be available September 2023 as a free download for HDR Image Analyzer 12G users.

 

AJA 12G-SDI openGear Solutions

AJA OG-12G-AM and OG-12G-AMA enable 16-channels (eight two-channel pairs) of AES/EBU and analog audio embedding/disembedding respectively, and support 12G-SDI input and output up to 4K/UltraHD. AJA OG-Hi5-12G and OG-HA5-12G cards facilitate 12G-SDI conversion to/from HDMI 2.0, and are also available in LC and ST Fiber models. Each hot-swappable card is built for use in high-density openGear 2RU frames, including AJA OG-X-FR, offers intuitive remote control via support for Ross DashBoard software on Windows®, macOS®, and Linux®, and includes a five-year warranty. AJA’s new 12G-SDI openGear solutions will be available in September 2023 with the OG-Hi5-12G and OG-HA5-12G  starting at $999 US MSRP, and the OG-12G-AM and OG-12G-AMA available for $1245 US MSRP each.

 

Learn more about AJA’s latest product releases and updates via AJA’s What’s New Page, or visit AJA’s IBC Stand (7.C19) at the Amsterdam RAI.

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September 5, 2023

Spin Digital Delivers VVC Support for 8K Encoder/Decoder Built with AJA Video I/O Cards

Media solutions provider Spin Digital is rapidly envisioning new 8K video production systems as demand takes off across the world. Headquartered in Berlin, Germany, the company also holds a presence in Japan, a region driving 8K workflow adoption in broadcast. Its high performance video and audio encoding/decoding solutions and media players, which leverage AJA PCIe cards for high-quality video I/O, are used in a range of applications from broadcasting to VR live streaming in 8K up to 120 frames per second (fps), displaying 16K content on video walls, and more. Continually expanding its capabilities to address industry needs, ahead of IBC 2023, the company announced an update to its live production encoder, Spin Enc Live, and the associated SDK, Spin SDK, which adds support for the Versatile Video Coding (VVC) codec, also known as H.266.

Spin Enc Live initially launched as an 8K 60 fps encoder for live production supporting HEVC (H.265). With the latest update, Spin Enc Live is now capable of 8K VVC encoding. Depending upon the customer’s needs and preferences, they can opt to use HEVC, or choose VVC to proficiently manage 8K HDR footage at 60 fps. To enable SDI input, Spin Enc Live is integrated with AJA Corvid 44 12G and KONA 5 PCIe cards. Corvid 44 12G serves as the main capture device for live production, while customers using desktop systems leverage KONA 5. Both cards provide crucial functionality in a compact format and with quad 12G-SDI connection, enabling the encoding solution to capture uncompressed signals for seamless video and audio processing.

“We developed the latest update for Spin Enc Live and Spin SDK, in part, based on customer demand, but also because we see VVC as the next generation of encoding technologies. Currently, the VVC encoder achieves a 25 percent reduction in bitrate, while maintaining pristine visual quality,” explained Spin Digital CEO Mauricio Alvarez Mesa. “We carefully selected components for our solution, including the AJA Corvid 44 12G and KONA 5 cards, which are ideal for live 8K applications and help us to capture 8K video at 60 fps with 10-bit HDR and the associated audio with very low delay and high reliability.”

Spin Enc Live is well-suited for companies pursuing 8K live streaming for concerts, events, and other venues. Incredibly reliable, it has supported continuous live streaming for more than 20 hours a day for a range of high stakes projects. Spin Digital has also been helping museums and planetariums that are upgrading or adopting 8K displays to deploy the solution. Across all applications, efficient video compression, unparalleled quality, and support for high frame rates are required, and with AJA Corvid 44 12G and KONA 5 integrated into the solution, Spin Digital is well-positioned to support the demand. 

“8K video doesn’t make sense if it's marred by compression issues and poor image quality. Our solution stands out in our software implementation approach, which focuses on optimizing performance so clients can achieve real-time 8K encoding without compromising on quality,” he shared. “With Corvid and KONA cards for input into our encoder for processing, we can easily capture frames without worrying about hidden or unexpected processes. The cards have also demonstrated excellent HDR signal input, whether dealing with PQ or HLG. We can effectively and reliably capture the metadata from the cards and seamlessly transmit this metadata through our encode.”

AJA Corvid 44 12G and KONA 5 also provide more flexibility for Spin Digital’s customers interested in less traditional high-resolution formats, such as panoramic images, which involves stitching together four 4K cameras to generate a 16K by 2K image. Customers can input 2x2, 4x4, or 1x4 configurations, and can also capture 16 channels of audio within one SDI link and another 16 channels within another for high-end 3D audio formats such as the 22.2 format used in Japan.

A longtime user of AJA gear, Alvarez Mesa concluded, “We’re big fans of AJA equipment and even use AJA KUMO 12G-SDI routers in our work with live production clients managing multiple incoming sources. We’ve also leveraged the Hi5-12G Mini-Converter, which helps for monitoring the SDI output of our 8K media player, for system testing, and it’s worked incredibly well. We’re happy to be part of the AJA Developer Partner program and with the level of support they’ve provided throughout our journey; we always get clear, timely answers to our questions, which is and will remain paramount to our business.”

About Corvid 44 12G

AJA Corvid 44 12G is a blazingly fast, compact 8-lane PCIe 3.0 I/O card with four bidirectional 12G-SDI HD-BNC connections. Designed for today’s most demanding video and audio workflows, Corvid 44 12G is available in several configurations, including full-height or low-profile, with passive or active cooling. Whether working with HFR 8K/4K/UltraHD, 2K/HD, SD, Deep Color and/or HDR, Corvid 44 12G provides unprecedented performance. Supporting 10-bit 4:2:2 and 4:4:4, at up to 12-bit color spaces, the card offers ingest and output over 12G-SDI, which is also backwards compatible with 6G-SDI, 3G-SDI, and 1.5G-SDI. Bidirectional 12G-SDI ports provide immense flexibility for capture and simultaneous pass-through for a range of solutions.

About KONA 5 

AJA KONA 5 is a blazingly fast, 8-lane PCIe 3.0 I/O card supporting the latest 12G-SDI I/O and HDMI 2.0 monitoring video connections, designed for workstations running macOS, Windows or Linux. The versatile I/O solution enables single-cable, 4K/UltraHD high frame rate, deep color, and HDR workflows with many popular creative applications on macOS, Windows, and Linux. Bidirectional 12G-SDI ports provide immense flexibility for capture and simultaneous pass through, and, with the appropriate software, multi-channel capture and streaming. For developers using the AJA SDK, it offers advanced features including multi-channel 4K I/O and 8K 60p support.

About AJA Video Systems

Since 1993, AJA Video Systems has been a leading manufacturer of video interface technologies, converters, digital video recording solutions and professional cameras, bringing high quality, cost effective products to the professional broadcast, video and post production markets. AJA products are designed and manufactured at our facilities in Grass Valley, California, and sold through an extensive sales channel of resellers and systems integrators around the world. For further information, please see our website at www.aja.com.

About Spin Digital

Spin Digital Video Technologies GmbH (Spin Digital) develops high-performance video codecs for the next generation of ultra-high-quality video applications. Spin Digital software solutions enable media applications that require the latest image and video processing enhancements including very high resolution (4K, 8K, and 16K), high dynamic range (HDR), high frame rate (HFR), wide color gamut, and 360° video and virtual reality. Spin Digital is based in Berlin (Germany), and operates in an international B2B environment, collaborating with customers and partners around the world and across market segments. For more information, visit: https://spin-digital.com/

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August 23, 2023

AJA KUMO 3232-12G Provides the Routing Backbone for DIT Eli Berg

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Whether working on Academy Award-winning feature “Jojo Rabbit,” 1970s comedy series “Minx,” or countless commercials, freelance digital imaging technician (DIT) Eli Berg is a trusted resource on-set. He ensures the proper on-set workflow and setup for capturing the cinematographer’s vision, a role he’s served for 15 years and counting. While Berg customizes his technical approach for each project, AJA’s KUMO 3232-12G SDI router remains a key fixture in his DIT cart.

On projects, Berg’s workflow typically includes a camera connected to a color box, so the DP can monitor the live grade on their onboard camera monitor. That image is also fed to his cart, usually in 4K, or more recently 6K, and directly into KUMO. From there, he sends the signal directly to monitors since it’s already live graded via the color box affixed to the camera. It then goes back into the KUMO to his monitors to VTR, and into his computer via an input card, then back out of the computer into KUMO again, so that he can share the image from his live grading tool of choice. Another monitor feed from his cart also goes through the KUMO and to his waveform monitor.

“KUMO 3232-12G is the linchpin of my entire cart; it’s rock solid and made set up a breeze with the salvos,” said Berg. “I’ve worked on big, slow-moving features and rapid-fire commercial projects on which I’m downloading and transcoding on my own. KUMO is so useful, because it has so much functionality built in, whether I’m doing it all on my own for a project, or I need to route signals to multiple destinations.”

Prior to integrating KUMO 3232-12G, Berg was using a 12x12 router and had to patch gear together with splitters because he lacked sufficient inputs. Now, KUMO 3232-12G is the first stage of any routing workflow and the single device has replaced his previous multi-gear setup. Berg also upgraded all his cables to 12G-SDI so that he’s able to monitor in 4K, whether or not the project requires it.

“It’s my responsibility to make sure the DP and camera crew are completely focused on the creative aspects of production, so I’ve customized my cart to be ready for any situation,” Berg concluded. “When a piece of gear isn’t working properly, I’m limited to what I can contribute creatively, because I’m stuck troubleshooting, so I prioritize gear that I know will work every time, like KUMO 3232-12G. It’s fantastic and I never worry about it failing on me.”

About AJA KUMO 3232-12G

KUMO 3232-12G offers increased capacity for medium sized configurations while maintaining a compact 2RU profile with support for 12G-SDI/6G-SDI/3G-SDI/1.5G-SDI from 32x 12G-SDI inputs and 32x 12G-SDI outputs. It supports ganged dual and quad port routing control, allowing users to group together multiple inputs and outputs for Dual Link, Quad Link 4K/UltraHD, and 8K/UltraHD2 workflows. KUMO 12G-SDI routers support large format resolutions, high frame rate (HFR) and deep color formats, while reducing cable counts when transporting 4K/UltraHD over SDI. The routers offer network-based and/or physical control using KUMO CP and CP2, and mirror the physical form of AJA’s production-proven KUMO 3232 and KUMO 1616 routers, with a USB port for configuring IP addresses via AJA’s eMini-Setup software. Built to the same quality standards as all AJA products, KUMO 3232-12G is the ideal choice for any situation where a balance of size and capacity are critical, such as mid-sized post facilities and mobile trucks. www.aja.com/kumo-3232-12g

About AJA Video Systems

Since 1993, AJA Video Systems has been a leading manufacturer of video interface technologies, converters, digital video recording solutions and professional cameras, bringing high quality, cost effective products to the professional broadcast, video and post production markets. AJA products are designed and manufactured at our facilities in Grass Valley, California, and sold through an extensive sales channel of resellers and systems integrators around the world. For further information, please see our website at www.aja.com.

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June 22, 2023

DIT Sam Petrov Taps AJA ColorBox for Live Grading Flexibility On-set

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Whether working on a feature film, episodic series, or unscripted show, crafting the look of content before it reaches post requires technical acumen and a creative eye. The DIT (Digital Imaging Technician) is integral to this process, bridging the technical realities with the creative goals on-set to ensure the team can achieve its desired aesthetic early in the process; the role is especially vital now that virtual production has brought typical post production work into the production process. Local 600 DIT Sam Petrov has made a name for himself in doing exactly that for a wide range of scripted and unscripted projects. A self-proclaimed technology geek, Petrov stays on top of how the DIT role is evolving within the larger on-set environment and is hyper-aware of the dynamic nature of the technology involved. While he customizes the technology he uses for each project, he’s begun leaning into AJA ColorBox for setup and look management with live grading.

Petrov recently wrapped up an unscripted dating series for a popular streaming platform, setting the initial look for the season and ensuring it worked across all the different components of the show. The production leveraged more than 30 digital cinema cameras in addition to a similar quantity of robotic (robo) cameras. Several of the cameras recorded up to 70 terabytes of 4K footage to AJA Ki Pro Ultra 12G ProRes and DNx recorder/players a day, and the AJA ColorBox in-line HDR/SDR algorithmic and LUT color transform box supported live grading on-set in 1080 SDR. 

“ColorBox gives us the confidence that the look of all the different camera angles match up; it’s powerful, robust, and cost-efficient, and fills a real niche,” explained Petrov. “Our profession has long awaited a device like this. Just having the ability to generate a signal up to 4K and test a system is invaluable.” 

Working closely with a team, he helped establish the look for a range of motifs and scenes used for the studio portion of the show, such as a lounge where dates are held and the hallway for transition shots. Together, they applied set looks across the different cameras, each with its own unique characteristics and color science. Petrov spent time matching the different cameras in the context of the available hardware on-set. Given the scale and genre of the show, he didn’t reside at his traditional DIT cart but instead worked in an entire tech room, which included equipment like the Ki Pro Ultra 12Gs. Equipment operators ensured that there were no signal errors, and that recordings were happening at the right time, among other tasks. 

The workflow and interactions on-set diverged from traditional film or even episodic projects. With so many cameras, hardware, coloring gear, and other technology on his latest project, Petrov would go into the tech room early and collaborate with the lighting director, technical supervisor, and other team members to examine all the technical aspects of the project from resolution to creative. He was one of several key people involved in executing the creative and technical look for the cameras, the show, and different motifs. 

“In post, it’s important to have a holistic understanding of processes, workflow, and ultimate vision, so as I moved from post to set in my career, I found myself working upstream. When looking at the screen for a project like this, I know from a coloring standpoint the things I need to watch out for and can course correct earlier in the process, and a product like ColorBox is helpful in this respect,” Petrov shared. “It’s really fun to be able to get the dynamic feedback that ColorBox supports in this environment. I'm able to live grade without having to worry about running into limitations. While I’m currently monitoring and coloring most projects in 1080, having the ability to also work in 4K as it becomes more prevalent is a huge advantage.”

For live grading, Petrov set up his hardware, including the ColorBox, in the tech room, and the team provided a line with a dedicated router, so he could choose the sources coming into his system. This made it easier to work with the show director and lighting director to examine all the various setups and cameras. Once they’d established a base look that they were happy with, the team could quickly switch between cameras to compare, with the live grading aspect in mind, so they knew how it would look from another angle in the exact same space or the same angle but in a different room. This flexibility was paramount with filming taking place across a dozen identical rooms, all with analogous camera configurations; Petrov had to ensure everything correlated from one space to the next. 

With ColorBox, Petrov can pull out a single standalone device and get to work. He continued, “ColorBox is just fantastic. I simply navigate to the web UI and can crank out a color test pattern, then change different frame rates to whatever we need for the technical standard. I know we’re getting exactly what’s needed from the hardware before we even get to the creative side of color.” 

He also finds the ability to stack multiple ColorBoxes and generate different signals with different test patterns, resolutions, or frame rates useful. It allows for flawless execution in the moment when Petrov and the team need to shift focus to more time-sensitive work. “Having a tool like ColorBox is a huge boon to my work,” he concluded. “It gives me peace of mind and makes it easier to deal calmly with situations that would normally present nuanced challenges.”  

About AJA ColorBox

AJA ColorBox is a powerful video processing device designed to perform LUT-based color transformations and offers advanced-level color science with AJA Color Pipeline, as well as several look management approaches including Colorfront, ORION-CONVERT, BBC, and NBCU LUTs.Featuring 12G-SDI in/out and HDMI 2.0 out, AJA ColorBox  is capable of up to 4K/UltraHD 60p 10-bit YCbCr 4:2:2 and 30p 12-bit RGB 4:4:4 output, perfect for live production, on-set production, and post-production work. ColorBox's browser-based user interface makes it simple to adjust color processing settings, whether connecting directly via Ethernet or via a third-party WiFi adapter.

About AJA Video Systems

Since 1993, AJA Video Systems has been a leading manufacturer of video interface technologies, converters, digital video recording solutions and professional cameras, bringing high quality, cost effective products to the professional broadcast, video and post production markets. AJA products are designed and manufactured at our facilities in Grass Valley, California, and sold through an extensive sales channel of resellers and systems integrators around the world. For further information, please see our website at www.aja.com.

All trademarks and copyrights are property of their respective owners. 

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June 15, 2023

S4 Studios Achieves Perfect Sync for Virtual Production with AJA GEN10 and HTC VIVE Mars CamTrack

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S4 Studios is a one-stop-shop for virtual production and visual effects, with a studio in Los Angeles and a virtual production stage up the road in Canoga Park. Founded in 1999 as a design and VFX studio, the company moved into virtual production and in-camera visual effects (ICVFX) two years ago. Today, S4’s stage is highly trafficked between commercial, music video, in-car, film, and TV projects. To keep its LED walls, cameras, computers, and HTC VIVE Mars CamTrack system in sync, the studio relies on the AJA GEN10 HD/SD/AES sync generator.

The 2,300-square foot stage comprises a three-wall setup, geared toward in-vehicle processes and smaller budget-conscious productions. S4 Studios Owner and Creative Director Geoffrey Kater explained, “Virtual production doesn’t have to cost $50K a day, and we want people to understand that. Our stage is designed to let clients come in and shoot two or three locations in the same day without having to go anywhere. We swap out the locations for you, and you have complete control over the set. Then you leave with your final pixels.”

In-studio, computers are equipped with NVIDIA Quadro cards with sync options, so that down the chain they can all be synced together on the wall. Getting media into the LED processors is the next step, then projecting that media onto the wall. Tracking is handled by the