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Building a FCP/Aja IO HD Workstation

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Adam Duguay
Building a FCP/Aja IO HD Workstation
on Nov 29, 2007 at 3:30:39 am

Hello all,

My company and I would like to upgrade our FCP Studio 2 system, from strictly working in DV NTSC, to working in SD and HD uncompressed. The Aja IO HD looks really good and we think it would be a great fit for our small shop.

I'm wondering if somone could give some advise on what we need to get up and running.

Here's a rundown on what we have and what we're thinking of perchasing.

Our current setup:
Dual 2.0 G5/2 Gigs of ram
Final Cut Pro Studio 2
DVX-100 Camera


We were thinking of perchasing a 42' Sharp LCD TV to use as a monitor. I noticed the IO HD has an HDMI output, would I be able to run the program out from FCP to this LCD T.V via HDMI? I was also wondering if anyone could recomend how to setup proper audio for an edit suite. We were thinking of perchasing a small audio board and buying some KRK RP5 speakers. Would we need a sound card for the audio or can it all run out of the IO Box? Storage is also an issue, we currently are using a Lacie 1TB external firwire 800 drive. Will this work with the IO or will be have to buy some SATA drives.

Hope someone can help,

Thanks,

A


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Jerry Hofmann
Re: Building a FCP/Aja IO HD Workstation
on Nov 29, 2007 at 4:05:38 pm

The Io HD will source uncompressed HD, but it will transcode that to ProRes... IMHO for most projects this is quite acceptable.

The FW 800 drives would require another FW card to add a bus for them, IO won't share a FW bus with FW drives... They should work OK for a stream of ProRes as long as they are fastish... ESata is a better solution. (It's faster , and costs just a bit more is all) http://www.barefeats.com is a great place to look at speed tests of the drives...

Io's analog outputs will give you what you need for audio monitoring... no need for a card if you're happy with up to 4 channels of analog out (i.e. no surround sound without a card to support it.)

I'd look at a Pro monitor instead... but it will work with the LCD you mention, however there's no way to set up that monitor for critical color correction... (i.e., no blue only available on it) I'd look at the JVC line of pro LCD's for this... probably fine for a client monitor, and the iO would run that plus the editor's critically setup pro monitor.

Jerry



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Winston A. Cely
Re: Building a FCP/Aja IO HD Workstation
on Nov 29, 2007 at 8:53:58 pm

Jerry, I was wondering about what you said about not having the capability to use the monitor the OP wants to use for color critical applications. Could they not add the Matrox MXO? It has the functionality to give you Blue Only color bars and there for get broadcast quality color. This is mentioned in Shane's review of the MXO here:

http://library.creativecow.net/articles/ross_shane/MXO.php

What do you think? I'm pretty sure I'm going to get one since I have the Apple Cinema HD (30") display, but I'm curious to hear what your thoughts are.

Winston A. Cely
Editor/Owner | Della St. Media, LLC

"If God could do the tricks we can do, He'd be a happy Man." - Peter O'Toole - "The Stuntman"

Mac Pro 3GHz Dual-Core Intel Xeon
4 GB RAM | Final Cut Studio 5.1.4 | Aja Kona LHe


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Jerry Hofmann
Re: Building a FCP/Aja IO HD Workstation
on Nov 29, 2007 at 10:55:38 pm

You could do that alright, but you're adding that MXO to the mix.... Then you couldn't use the Io and the MXO at the same time either when monitoring.

Jerry


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Winston A. Cely
Re: Building a FCP/Aja IO HD Workstation
on Nov 30, 2007 at 5:22:43 pm

I'm curious to know how this works then....

So say you have a Kona LHe, an MXO and an Apple Cinema Display (OK so take my future setup). Right now, without the MXO in the mix, I have a client monitor (not color critical) setup as my external monitor. This runs out via the analog setup from my Kona LHe. If and when I get the MXO, I'd have to change my setup every time I needed to capture to the Kona and then back to the MXO for basic monitoring. Correct? I wouldn't be able to have my Kona still suppling the client monitor, while my Cinema display was color critical during editing?

Winston A. Cely
Editor/Owner | Della St. Media, LLC

"If God could do the tricks we can do, He'd be a happy Man." - Peter O'Toole - "The Stuntman"

Mac Pro 3GHz Dual-Core Intel Xeon
4 GB RAM | Final Cut Studio 5.1.4 | Aja Kona LHe


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Jerry Hofmann
Re: Building a FCP/Aja IO HD Workstation
on Nov 30, 2007 at 5:30:28 pm

No, You cannot send the video to the MXO and the Kona at the same time... one or the other... You could use the MXO for both outs or the Kona for both outs.. but not one out on each at the same time.

Jerry


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beerstine
Re: Building a FCP/Aja IO HD Workstation
on Nov 30, 2007 at 10:39:04 pm

Does the IOHD have any kind of calibration tool (ala the MXO) that would allow you to calibrate a Cinema Display or similar full HD monitor for color work or would you have to spring for one of those pricy Pro LCDs?

The MXO is a neat device, but it's output only. I have a lot of legacy SD footage, much of it historical in nature and not available in any HD form that I'll have to integrate with HD in the future. How is the quality of the IOHD's upconversion capability vs. software uprezzing.


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Jerry Hofmann
Re: Building a FCP/Aja IO HD Workstation
on Dec 1, 2007 at 5:01:15 pm

You can certainly output bars to a monitor for calibration, but to do so you need a blue only button on that monitor. So the answer is not exactly... the MXO has a utility that sends blue only bars to an LCD for calibration. The Io doesn't.

Jerry


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gary adcock
Re: Building a FCP/Aja IO HD Workstation
on Dec 1, 2007 at 5:28:14 pm

[Jerry Hofmann] "he MXO has a utility that sends blue only bars to an LCD for calibration. "


but without ability to adjust the color levels inside a computer LCD there is not a way to truly calibrate any Cinema Display properly (and apple mentions this in their Knowledgebase)

Not to mention that there is not a way to properly monitor an interlaced signal on a progressive TFT display.




gary adcock
Studio37
HD & Film Consultation
Post and Production Workflows
Inside look at the IoHD




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Jerry Hofmann
Re: Building a FCP/Aja IO HD Workstation
on Dec 1, 2007 at 10:57:26 pm

Not quite right Gary. The MXO can be calibrated exactly to match what I'd see on a CRT with a blue only gun. However the blacks are typical LCD black... (not quite there)

Jerry


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Jerry Hofmann
Re: Building a FCP/Aja IO HD Workstation
on Dec 1, 2007 at 11:18:50 pm

The MXO can be calibrated exactly to match on a 23" CD what I'd see on a CRT with a blue only gun. However the blacks are typical LCD black... (not quite there) Nevertheless, it's doable for more projects than not I'd think.

Jerry


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gary adcock
Re: Building a FCP/Aja IO HD Workstation
on Dec 2, 2007 at 12:06:06 pm

[Jerry Hofmann] "The MXO can be calibrated exactly to match on a 23" CD what I'd see on a CRT with a blue only gun. However the blacks are typical LCD black... (not quite there)"


While that may work for people not broadcasting their work, but not for my clients, and most standards approvals will fail materials monitored in this manner.

gary adcock
Studio37
HD & Film Consultation
Post and Production Workflows
Inside look at the IoHD




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Jerry Hofmann
Re: Building a FCP/Aja IO HD Workstation
on Dec 2, 2007 at 1:27:42 pm

I'd venture to guess there's more work for non broadcast than broadcast... but that said, if you watch the scopes, and use the MXO's output, you're certainly going to be within broadcast safe, and very close to what you'd see if you were using a calibrated broadcast monitor for the work.

I'd agree that there are better solutions, however the cost differential is pretty large.. JVC's line of LCD's are looking good for sure... but they start at about 3500... Cripes they quit making CRT's too soon IMHO. Add an MXO at the lower end of things and you're over 5k for a monitoring solution. The Io HD would add another 2500 to the solution.

Best of course would cost a lot more than that, but hey, I've used the MXO with a 23" CD as have many others for broadcast work, and I've not had anybody send back the master because it didn't pass...

Shane's review of the MXO is pretty much what I experience with it. If you don't see a difference side by side with a calibrated monitor, I think there is no difference. Other than those blacks not being really really black. I watched scopes for that measurement. It's certainly better than naught. It does a fine job showing interlaced video on an Apple LCD too.

Jerry


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Jerry Hofmann
PS...
on Dec 2, 2007 at 1:54:06 pm

I don't totally dissagree with you Gary... I think though there is a place for the MXO...

I have an Io HD coming my way and will use it for the finish with a broadcast SD CRT, and the JVC LCD for HD work. Wanna see the blacks...

Hue and saturation and brightness sure look the same to me though.

Jerry


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gary adcock
Re: Building a FCP/Aja IO HD Workstation
on Dec 2, 2007 at 11:43:43 pm

[Jerry Hofmann] "f you don't see a difference side by side with a calibrated monitor, I think there is no difference. Other than those blacks not being really really black."

However jerry judging black and white are part of the process, if the black level is not correct, the images will not pass standards guidelines.




gary adcock
Studio37
HD & Film Consultation
Post and Production Workflows
Inside look at the IoHD




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Jerry Hofmann
Re: Building a FCP/Aja IO HD Workstation
on Dec 3, 2007 at 2:06:28 am

But gammas are alright, and checking scopes would keep you legal, right?

Jerry


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Shane Ross
Re: Building a FCP/Aja IO HD Workstation
on Dec 2, 2007 at 8:28:59 pm

[gary adcock] "Not to mention that there is not a way to properly monitor an interlaced signal on a progressive TFT display."

Please remind me to demo the MXO for you the next time we see each other. Or just go to the Matrox booth ans ask to see it in action. The MXO can MOST DEFINATELY show you interlacing on the LCD...BOTH fields.

Gary...you have the same attitude I had when I was told about this. I didn't believe it...I thought there was NO WAY you could get that image on a computer monitor. And I told this to the Matrox guy. SO he sent me one. And, as I stated in the article, I compared the image on the ACD to that of my PVM-14L5 and I'll be darned if it wasn't NEARLY identical. Nearly because the black levels of an LCD...ANY HD LCD, cannot compare to that of an HD CRT. But I'll wager that this setup could stand up against the image quality you'd get on the other $4k range LCDs..

But we have thoroughly hijacked this thread with this topic...



Shane


Littlefrog Post

GETTING ORGANIZED WITH FINAL CUT PRO DVD now for sale!
http://www.lfhd.net


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John Crane
Re: Building a FCP/Aja IO HD Workstation
on Apr 17, 2012 at 8:29:35 pm

FCP X 10.0.4 & AJA Driver v.10.3 External Monitoring Success At Last!?

If you are interested in finding a solution to external monitoring with FCP X as I have been determined to do; AJA and Apple has finally come up with a solution – or so it appears at first install. The two new latest releases from Apple FCP X 10.0.4 and AJA Driver v.10.3 seem to be a winning combination – but then I have only had it on my tower for about two hours, but so far so good. If it remains stable I will be very happy. So put me down as optimistically cautious.

Just 10 days ago I was completely frustrated with external monitoring via AJA LHi for FCP X – it was killing me – as I was unable to reliably playback my shows on my broadcast monitor for my clients. In fact, I had to use my desktop monitor to play a recent cut for my client while the big screen sat dark because during playback the video would stall and the audio would inexplicitly drop out – horrifying to me and unnerving to clients – completely unacceptable by any professional standard.

After months of work around and beta solutions, I was determined to solve the external monitoring problem – once and for all – even if I had to buy a new solution from Blackmagic, Matrox or other. Or make the move to Premiere and/or AVID as so many colleague have done. But I actually love some of the new FCP X features. Specifically I think the magnetic timeline is huge improvement and I really love the background transcoding that saves me tons of time. The event browser also allows you to work visually - but those advantages will be discussed in a different article or blog.

On April 4, I called AJA tech support and discussed the problems I was experiencing. They were awesome and provided me with detailed instructions for a process that would delete Kona, QuickTime’s, and FCP preferences; reset the PRAM and then reinstall AJA drivers from their website. I was determined to do this immediately upon my return from a short trip.

When I returned from my trip, I set time aside to take on the task of re-configuring FCP and AJA - and to my immense pleasure Apple had an update 10.0.4 as did AJA 10.3 (released 4.10.12). This was a stroke of luck – but also a clear indication that both companies are determined to solve problems for their customers.

And best of all - it seems to be working...so I am cautiously optimistic...and have hopes that it will remain stable. Here is what I have learned and here’s what you need to know:

1) Use a dedicated boot drive for FCP X just as AJA recommends. I have FCP 7 with AJA LHi on one boot drive, and FCP X and AJA LHi on another – same AJA hardware – the difference is the software configuration.

2) Set Energy Saver to “Never” for Computer Sleep and Monitor Sleep. Go to Apple Icon (top left) > System Preferences > Energy Saver and move both sliders all the way to the right to “Never”.

3) Delete any and all existing KONA, FCP and QuickTime preferences.


· Delete KONA preferences

Go to Mac HD: /library/preferences/ and delete all the com.aja files

Go to Mac HD: /users/username/library/preferences and delete com.aja.KonaControlPanel.plist.

Go to Mac HD: /users/username/library/preferences and delete com.aja.Kona(your particular card/serial number)

Reboot

· Delete QuickTime preferences

Go to Mac HD: users/username/library/preferences/

Delete com.apple.quicktime.plugins.preferences.plist

Delete a file called: "quicktime preferences”

Reboot

· Delete FCP preferences

Quit FCP

Go to Mac HD: users/username/library/preferences/ and Delete com.apple.finalcutpro.plist: Drag the FCP user data folder to the desktop

Reboot


4) Install KONA LHi Driver Version 10.3 go to http://www.aja.com/en/support/kona/mac/kona-lhi/ and go to the software downloads section.

Try the first download; KONA LHi Driver Version 10.3, Control Panel,and Notes. but be forewarned that it may not work: This killed my Monitor; but AJA release notes clearly addresses this snafu - specifically:

After installing the AJA driver, if you experience any issues booting your computer, restart the computer while holding down the shift key (safe boot), uninstall the AJA driver and then install the NDD driver version instead.

The AJA NDD driver versions are the same as standard driver versions, but they remove the Macintosh Desktop Display feature.

So I "safe booted" (restart the computer while holding down the shift key for a safe boot - which eliminates all drivers except though essential to apple OS) my Tower, uninstall and reboot.

Then go back to AJA download and install the NDD Driver version instead. The version that you need is: KONA LHi NDD Driver Version 10.3http://www.aja.com/en/support/kona/mac/kona-lhi/, Control Panel, and Notes. Install and reboot.

5) Re-launch FCP, and it should work without much trouble. In fact, I was very pleased to find that automatically found the KONA card audio; and when I turned on my external monitor the video worked perfectly, too.
But if you don’t get that lucky go to: http://www.aja.com/pdf/FCP_X_and_AJA_10.3.pdf for instructions on “Working with Final Cut Pro X and AJA.”

So far it appears to be very stable and I can actually jump around the timeline without the video freezing, or audio dropping out or FCP crashing – but let me know what you discover!



John Crane
Blogs

jcf


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