IMHO you would be best off using the Kona LH series. I use a LHe with a Mac Pro and have had great results capturing from our EX1 via HDSDI and ingesting in the DVCPRO HD format for space conservation. The Kona is designed around the DVCPRO HD format and a real winner under 2 grand. I would have one hesitation in purchasing the LH series for your setup. The version Kona card compatible with the G5 towers is NOT compatible with the newer Mac Pro systems. I have a feeling that PPC based systems are on their way out and you might want to spend the extra money for the AJA IOHD. The IOHD would work for the PPC macs as well as the Intel macs. It would also allow you to use your laptops as capture devices. By the way I have also heard the MOTU V4HD unit is nice but I have not used it and would have a tendency to stick with AJA since they have been in the business so long. Good Luck.
The question: I'm assuming we'll be encoding with DVCPROHD. What are your recommendations for a reasonably priced, robust, capture card or I/O box given the above information?
I will tell you first not to transcode to DVC Pro HD unless you really need to. FCS2 can work with any codec on the timeline. EX1 media is as good or better than DVC Pro HD and unless you need to transcode down I wouldn't bother. I would use the AJA Kona LHe to transcode to a higher level but not down to DVC Pro HD. You should use Pro Rez before thinking about DVC Pro HD.
There's no reason to edit in anything other than the native XCAM EX format, with rendering set in the sequence to Pro RES. Once you finish the edit, you can then use the Kona LH or Kona 3 card to lay off to DVCPROHD tape. You're wasting time and mixing compressions unnecessarily by ingesting real time via HDSDI. Use an S X S express card reader and the Sony file transfer utility to ingest your material. If you feel you must have 4:2:2 color space in your finished program transfer the finished timeline to a Pro-res HQ timeline.
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