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Re: Reduced latency soon

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Mel MatsuokaRe: Reduced latency soon
by on Apr 22, 2005 at 10:14:40 pm

[Tony!] "Hmm, I don't understand your post. Why would compare the AJA Io to the BlackMagic cards if latency was an important issue to you? The Io has more latency because it uses Firewire (which has some advantages over PCI). For myself and many others pro editors the latency has been a non issue, but I understand why it could bother others. Its my opinion you should have compared the BlackMagic cards to the Kona 2 and/or Kona LS cards from AJA. Don't get me wrong, BM has some very interesting and competitive offerings, I'm just saying, don't slam the Io for something AJA can't control and at the same time condemn all AJA's products by not even mentioning them.

The Kona LS or Kona 2 with the K-Box option would have been a great choice for you based on what I know. I like that with the Kona/K-Box setup you don't have the messy cable bundle. Additionally, Kona cards have excellent compatibility with the Io if you already have one. BlackMagic has also recently introduced some very nice breakout box like options of their own, but compare the price of those to the $299 K-Box and you'll see that the Kona cards are very competitive with good features and quality.

AJA has also already released the updates for FCP 5/Tiger for the Kona cards. This was made possible by their very close working relationship with Apple. In fact the Kona 2 cards were the only cards used by Apple in their NAB booth and for their presentations on stage. Anyway, I'm not saying you made a bad choice with the Decklink cards because I know they have some nice capabilities and features, but I am saying that the Io the Kona cards are a very good pieces of equipment used in pro environments all over the world. For example, the Io's and/or the Kona cards have been used heavily in an amazing number of high profile events with great success including the Superbowl, the Datona 500, the World Series and many Sundance films. Fox Sports can use just about whatever equipment they want for their high profile sporting events. They picked the AJA kona cards, Io's and other AJA devices for a reason. I'm guessing Apple picked them for a similar reason as well.

Even with your BlackMagic choice, I hope you keep AJA in mind for your future purchases. They have some great products and are worth your consideration"

Don't get me wrong. I love the IO and think it is absolutely wonderful for getting multi-format signals in and out of the G5. And AJA's customer support has been among the best we have ever experienced in all our years of being in this business. I don't need to be evangelized as to the excellence of AJA's products and reach within the industry.

However, do not make the assumption that we just got instantly wooed by all the shiny objects (and lovely card-swiper girl) at the Blackmagic booth. We spent many HOURS going back and forth between both the AJA booth (including the smaller booth upstairs) and the BM booth. I'm certain that by the end of the show, the people at BOTH booths hated us because we had so many questions to ask. We tried to find a solution to our needs within the AJA booth. After talking to both salespeople *as well* as software/hardware engineers for both the Kona and IO product, the obvious conclusion was that the solution was not to be found in the AJA booth.

Yes, we took a very serious look at the Kona boards (in fact, I have been championing for our company trying them out, ever since we got the IO box), but our problem is that we are outfitting a new facility that has a machine room feeding THREE seperate edit suites, all of which require identical I/O routing and in-suite SDI/analog monitoring setups. Dropping a Kona board in each of the workatation probably *would* work (from a technical standpoint), but it's WAY overkill and way too expensive for the simple problem we are trying to solve. For the cost of buying 3 IO boxes, 3 Kona boards, building an analog/SDI router and Firewire repeater system (it's about a 50-60 foot run between each edit suite and the machine room), we could get a Blackmagic Workgroup Videohub, Multibridge and 3 Decklink Pro cards, plus have several thousand dollars left over in change.

We were just about to (painfully) plunk down $7,000 for a PESA Osselot router at the show (thinking that we were going to somehow stick with our AJA IO setup at the new facility) but the next day, our extensive demo'ing of the BM stuff just ended up sweeping all the AJA and PESA stuff off the table.

I'm not "slamming" IO or AJA. Where you got that idea escapes me. I'm just an unbiased reporter of truth, and honestly, what I saw at the BM booth totally impressed me. I cant say the same for AJA's booth (although I really wish I could, since I'm a big fan of the company). The modularity and integration of thier product line is incredibly well thought out, and as such, they happened to have EXACTLY what we were looking for for our setup. Routing and switching SDI to the rooms (rather than long firewire runs) makes a lot of sense.

The funny thing is, the latency issue with the IO box never really bothered me :) But since I mainly do motion graphics and online/finishing work, I never felt the need for the level of precision that my offline editor (who is considered the best editor in my town, so every director and agency in town uses him) demands. In fact, I recall Walter Murch (in the awesome book, "Behind the Seen") mentioning in his notes that he also found the latency issue *very* disconcerting while editing Cold Mountain, so it's a very real problem among discriminating editors.

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