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AJA Kona or IO HD with HDV and XDCAM HD

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dave matti
AJA Kona or IO HD with HDV and XDCAM HD
on Mar 14, 2009 at 12:55:22 am

Hi all,
I am new here and would like some help to this very basic problem.

I am upgrading to a Apple / Aja editing system (first time Apple, first time HD), and I have this question:

I will do editing for broadcast stations as well as industrial videos. I know I will use footage in DVCAM, Digital Betcam (output to that only), XDCAM, XDCAM HD (both @35 "HQ" as well as "422" @50) for broadcast, and I am pretty sure I will also have to handle some footage in HDV (720p and 1080i depending on customers cameras). Some of this footage will be ingested by tape machines, some directly from the cameras. I do not own all formats tape machines and some clients will come in with their own or with their cameras.

I will initially be monitoring on SD professional monitors, while I earn some more cash to upgrade to an HD monitor. So downconversion is a must in top quality. But that shall be important also for my end products, as much of the HD footage shot this year, will end up in SD when edited.

Having said all that, and having decided on a Aja card, should I go for the Kona 3 or the IO HD? The Apple I will use is a new 8-core 2009 model with 12 GB RAM and external eSATA RAID storage. I am worried about having to render the HDV footage and also about having to render every bit that FCP does, like transitions, titles, etc. The same for XDCAM.

Please note I will not edit 2K, nor 4:4:4.

Can you help me get the pros and cons? Like, Aja states that Kona3 has HDV acceleration. They don't say the same for the IO HD, yet they say it has the same power as the Kona. So? What is the thruth here?

Thank you

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dave matti
Re: AJA Kona or IO HD with HDV and XDCAM HD
on Mar 14, 2009 at 9:57:54 am

Sorry, I forgot one more thing. At present I do not have had any P2 needs, but this could too become a necessity. One station in this market is choosing the P2 HD format and so some of the freelancers in the area might do the same. So the question added to the above is, which if any, of the Kona or IO HD will give me an advantage when working with P2 files. As with the above mentioned XDCAM, I would love to benefit from the file transfer modes, not video capture, from those cameras.

Thank you!

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Matthew Causon
Re: AJA Kona or IO HD with HDV and XDCAM HD
on Mar 19, 2009 at 2:57:55 pm

As you have a MacPro I would probably advise you get a Kona 3. Unless you wanna unhook a device and use it with a Laptop in the field (in which case that's IoHD)

The IoHD is really about portability and it's unique ability to capture ProRes in hardware connected to a MacBook Pro.

Otherwise the Kona 3 opens up other formats (uncompressed HD, DVCPro HD etc.) as well as 2k, dual link, keying advantages with red workflows etc. Even if you don't want them now it's an option for the future. And yes is does have raster 'acceleration' for DVCPro HD, HDV and RTFX. The IoHD does not because it really is about ProRes for HD (so the answer is to capture these format to ProRes - see below).

You could also take a look at the Kona LHe which is less money (not that the K3 or IoHD are expensive in my book). This does not have 2k, some of the Red advantages of the Kona 3 and has only hardware down-conversion, but still has the raster stuff as above uncompressed HD and is good for analog connectivity to cheaper cameras (Kona 3 is digital only, though you can buy AJA converters to go with).

Best to check the Kona models here:

But either way both XDCAM HD or HDV are 8bit long-GOP codecs and are at best a hassle or at worst complex for computers to edit with, and DVCProHD is not full raster so you might do better to capture them to ProRes which is iframe and 10 bit full raster 1920 x 1080 unless you are doing the most basic edits. Then if you have to push some colours add graphics you'll have a better chance and the computer will edit better with ProRes HD 422.

Many of these codecs are good but designed with the limits of linear camera tape. ProRes is designed for editing HD with pretty much no visual difference to uncompressed HD but at uncompressed SD bandwidth.

Best regards

Matty Causon

European Business Management for AJA Video Systems Inc.

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