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AJA ioHD: Expectations too high? Over-Hyped?

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roland.blaser
AJA ioHD: Expectations too high? Over-Hyped?
on Oct 30, 2007 at 12:27:24 pm

Dear colleagues

I'm a broadcaster. And like many of you I ordered a AJA oHD, waiting since months for the delivery. And the longer I wait the more questions I have. Maybe some of you could bring in some light here?
The point is: I'm working with XDCAM IMX 50, a 50 MBit per second codec like the DVC Pro50, for instance. Of course, everybody tries to stay within these codecs in their native format because there is nothing better than native. In other words: Instead of logging via SDI the old fashioned way, I transfer the data natively from my deck to the computer HDs (in my case a Mac with FinalCut Studio2) via Firewire. And in FCP I'm editing everything in its original format.

Main point: Can I use the AJA ioHD for video monitoring in case I'm editing in XDCAM IMX50? Or would I have to "blow-up" all the nice native stuff into ProRez first? I'm sure you agree that would be completely nonsense. Blowing-up a 50 Megabit format to 220 MBit (ProRez HQ) just for monitoring wouldn't make any sense.

What about codecs like HDV (25 MBit) or XDCAM HD or the new XDCAM ex (both 35 Mbit)? Would we have to blow-up this formats to 220 MBit for the AJA ioHD?

Well maybe I got the whole idea wrong and the AJA ioHD is rather something for guys working with uncompressed HDSDI. Out of this world the ProRez would be nice because it brings down the data rate. If so, I would say the AJA ioHD box would be a little bit late just for the reason that most of the present or upcoming formats are already using low data rate codecs: XDCAM HD, XDCAM ex, DVC Pro family, Panasonic new AVC.

Maybe the AJA ioHD is a nice little box, but just for a few of us? Once more: Don't kill me, I have one on order by myself. Fact is: Not even my dealer has answers. Worse: Looks like most of them do not even know the questions.

Cheers,

Roland


P.S.: Beside bringing my timeline to an external video monitor I would use the AJA ioHD for transfering the home-edited reports to my TV station. The idea: Whatever format I use for my reports (XDCAM, XDCAM ex, RED ONE and so on), nobody has to care about. I simply put it into my MacBook Pro (external SATA drives) and bring it like this into my TV station. The AJA box will output SDI or HDSDI, depending what they want. This workflow seems clear to me. AFTER editing my reports natively, finally I would have to render my timeline into ProRez for HD distribution via AJA ioHD...



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Bob Zelin
Re: AJA ioHD: Expectations too high? Over-Hyped?
on Oct 30, 2007 at 9:18:33 pm

Hi Roland -
I am not going to answer many of your questions, but I will answer "is it worth the wait". For most people ABSOLUTELY NOT. AJA currently makes plenty of products that will do exactly what they want - for some, better and cheaper than the I/O HD. If you are importing XDCam files, and will use the AJA as a monitoring tool (and output tool), you could use the inexpensive AJA Kona LHe ($1700, not $3495).

Anyone that owns the combination of the AJA Kona 3 and the AJA I/O can do absolutely anything (except the accelerated ProRes because of the hardware). But this combination will do everything - up convert, downconvert, cross convert, everything SD, everything HD. So why is everyone so frantic - because the cost of the "combined" Kona 3- I/O is about $1500 more than the I/O HD, and everyone wants to save $1500. There is NO INSTALLATION that I can think of that would not be completely happy with the Kona 3 I/O combination to do everything they want. And if upconversion from SD to HD is not important to you, the Kona LHe will do a WONDERFUL job. But everyone wants a "do it all" single box, and more importantly, everyone wants to save $1500.

You can get a Kona LHe from any dealer today, with no delay.
The Kona LHe (and Kona 3, and I/O) are all pretty bug free.
The I/O HD - who knows - it's a NEW PRODUCT that almost no one has seen.

Bob Zelin


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uncompressed
Re: AJA ioHD: Expectations too high? Over-Hyped?
on Oct 31, 2007 at 12:03:34 am

get a kona or work in pro res. you wont have ANY PROBLEMS!


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JeremyG
Re: AJA ioHD: Expectations too high? Over-Hyped?
on Oct 31, 2007 at 4:11:30 am

As far as I know there's nothing else in the world that will allow you to capture ProRes HD with time code straight from camera on a laptop as conveniently.

Up, down, cross convert ProRes material from a laptop in hardware as easily.

Simultaneously monitor SD-SDI, HD-SDI, HDMI (DVI), component, s-video, composite, balanced audio, unbalanced audio, AES audio via bnc and have 9pin serial deck control, in one box on a laptop.

Not everyone needs this capability, sure, but it's there in one little box that can fit in an overhead bin.

Jeremy



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roland.blaser
Re: AJA ioHD: Expectations too high? Over-Hyped?
on Oct 31, 2007 at 11:02:05 am

I guess some of you got me wrong. I'm not against this product, I just have questions. And most of the video guys I know have similar questions.
I absolutely agree: The AJA ioHD seems to be a very nice interface box whenever ProRez is needed. And I really like the portability and all the different interfaces like SDI, HD SDI, HDMI, analog and so on. Especially the up-, down- and cross-conversion capabilities are just great. Conclusion: An interface box you, I and many others had been waiting for!

But let's be honest: Whenever you have a box like this connected to your desktop or your laptop, you may simply like to use it as a video monitor interface for connecting your monitors while editing. Finally, this is my easy question.

Is there a simple way to use the AJA ioHD for monitoring while editing in codecs like IMX50 (Sony XDCAM) that are fully supported in their native formats by Apple's FCP? IMX50 stays for 50 Megabit or around 7 MByte per second and can easily be handled by any internal laptop hard drive - full broadcast quality editing on a PowerBook Pro, for instance.

Is it correct: As the AJA ioHD is primarily a ProRez based unit, I would need to convert all my IMX clips (or XDCAM HD 35 MBit, XDCAM ex 35 MBit, HDV 25 MBit) into 140 Megabit (ProRez SD) or 220 Megabit (ProRez HQ) first? And as a result the internal laptop HD, for instance, could not handle the much higher amount of data anymore? Or is there a way that makes more sense?

Sorry, Bob: I know the desktop Kona's are nice. But I just need a portable solution as I can't take my desktop Mac with a built-in Kona from home to the TV station all the time just for playing out via SDI or HD SDI. So, for this part of my problem the AJA ioHD is super nice for sure as it works with my MacBook Pro! But I just try to make the best out of it. If there would be a solution for using it as an interface for simply connecting my video monitor to my desktop FCP editing Mac (editing natively, not ProRez), I would be more than happy! And I guess, I'm not the only one. Looks like AJA found a way for DVC PRO at least. Maybe they could manage something like this for the Sony codecs, too and an already great product would be even more interesting!

Cheers,

Roland



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JeremyG
Re: AJA ioHD: Expectations too high? Over-Hyped?
on Oct 31, 2007 at 2:32:38 pm

Yes, everything gets converted to ProRes.

I have never worked with XDCam, HDV, or IMX. IF you could post a short example footage in the native codecs of some of these, I could take a look for you.

Jeremy




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roland.blaser
Re: AJA ioHD: Expectations too high? Over-Hyped?
on Oct 31, 2007 at 3:05:16 pm

Hi Jeremy

This is a very generous offer, thanks a lot! I could upload some short footage to .mac public folder for you. Could we get in contact via private mail for this? My mail is "roland.blaser(at)mac.com". Like this I could send you my .mac address for downloading.

Actually IMX is XDCAM. Sony uses the same codec for their tape aquisition format and the tapeless format XDCAM. Even the camcorders look similar - one records onto tape, the other onto BluRay. However, the codec is 100 percent the same. The format itself is an MPEG2 4:2:2, and it is very popular within the broadcast industry. Sony says the quality is close to Digi Beta, and the 50 Mbit or around 7 MByte are easy to handle. FCP supports IMX fully in its native form. I used to work with a BMD Decklink card. And even BMD supported this codec. Most probably the AJA Konas do as well.

Cheers,
Roland


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JeremyG
Re: AJA ioHD: Expectations too high? Over-Hyped?
on Oct 31, 2007 at 3:54:47 pm

Sent.


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JeremyG
Re: AJA ioHD: Expectations too high? Over-Hyped?
on Oct 31, 2007 at 8:00:16 pm

I downloaded the footage and everything came back great. I was able to play the SD PAL IMX footage and HDV PAL footage out of Final Cut via the ioHD and everything looks great. The results were checked on a Multiformat sony 20L5/1 CRT monitor. I also brought this footage into my Kona3 system and compared the results. Everything looks identical.

I don't know if this workflow is 'officially' supported but it seems to work splendidly in these short tests.

Jeremy


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szumlins
Re: AJA ioHD: Expectations too high? Over-Hyped?
on Oct 31, 2007 at 10:50:16 pm

Playing out file-based non-prores content does work just fine. You can capture to ProRes or DVCProHD with the box as well.

So if you are in an XDCAM world with disk based ingest, this can still be used for your output and monitoring device.


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gary adcock
Re: AJA ioHD: Expectations too high? Over-Hyped?
on Nov 1, 2007 at 12:34:18 pm

[szumlins] "So if you are in an XDCAM world with disk based ingest, this can still be used for your output and monitoring device. "

As Jeremy has said there are some caveats when working with any MPEG based native codecs'

Due to the processing power needed no user should expect to be able to handle this without sufficient horsepower, it is my understanding that AJA is not recommending using laptops for any HDV based workflows at this time.

gary adcock
Studio37
HD & Film Consultation
Post and Production Workflows


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szumlins
Re: AJA ioHD: Expectations too high? Over-Hyped?
on Nov 1, 2007 at 12:43:25 pm

Try this little trick and see how it looks on your laptops. Change output settings from dynamic to high. Report back.


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roland.blaser
Re: AJA ioHD: Expectations too high? Over-Hyped?
on Nov 1, 2007 at 12:46:26 pm

Dear colleagues answering my questions,

THANKS A LOT !!! And a special thanks goes to Jeremy who offered checking footage samples. I'm more than happy with the result. And I'm sure others are happy to read news like this, too...

All the best from Switzerland,

Roland


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