Wednesday, April 29, 2009

NAB and other news I think is cool!

NAB News

Lets start with today's good news on the Apple front. As many of you share my frustration with apple's hardware shortsightedness over the years, the latest graphics cards choices of "Crap and Crappier" were offered with the latest "Nehalem" systems in late march. I am now happy to say that Nvidia will be releasing a Mac version of the Quadro 4800! probably available in May or June. All you guys who bought the new Mac Pro and found your AFX/Shake/Color performance wanting will be very happy with this model. It's going to be expensive, but far less than the 5600 that apple offered with it's "Harperetown" systems, I am thinking around $2K.

Head over to the Nvidia website for specs and yummyness.

As you all know, I was working in the AJA booth at NAB this year which was quite an experience. Crazy is the best term to describe it. I heard rumors and garnered some hints about what was coming but I was abjectly refused an NDA no matter how much I begged. So literally a day before the show I head over to the booth to find out what I'll be talking about for the next week hoping I won't make a fool of myself to the masses. When I got there all I could say was "AWWWW YEAAHHHH" (obviously I'm talking about the Ki Pro DDR; the other new products are good but... come on!) From the mind of John Thorn comes this little recorder that really covers almost every production problem I have ever encountered. Right, I need a new paragraph.

OK let me start with the problems my clients have always encountered when shooting. There are 80 million different cameras with different acquisition codecs that are all equally a pain in the ass to edit. From high quality long GOP formats to low bitrate anamorphic crap, no matter what.. you were crashing if you tried to edit the stuff natively. One always had to convert it to something while usually destroying it's initial quality. One of everyone's' favorites being Prores HQ. Now 2 years ago I had my worries about it, and who could blame me... seriously 10-bit 4:2:2 codec at about 220 Mb/s in 1080p (not to mention my variable bit rate transcoding worries). However 2 years later, most of my worries have been unfounded. Enough on that, and on to the mind of Thorn and the very very talented engineering team at AJA.

So the KI Pro is essentially a DDR that bridges the gap between production and post, all in an easy to use lightweight low power kind of way. In a nutshell, you have every input source you can currently use (HD/SD SDI with embedded audio, HDMI v1.3, Component, XLR, etc.) and every output source (those plus Composite SD and Headphones) with hardware up/down/cross conversion. This means "In" from any camera and "out" to any monitor, so no matter what camera(s) you have this unit will work with it. Add the optional (and also lightweight)
Exo-skeleton surrounding chassis, to mount the Ki Pro between a camera and a tripod, and rod kits and you're good for virtually any tripod/steadicam/handheld setup.

On to recording. The Ki Pro records data into ProRes or ProRes HQ (around 100 and 220 Mb/s respectively) onto 250GB magazines (which will be priced around $300, more for the SSD version out later). This means not matter what camera you use, from your $500 AVCHD b-roll camera to your F35, you are going to instantly access a 4:2:2 10-bit file that you can edit frame accurately and in full raster and frame rate (up to 1080p 50/60) right then and there. The magazines are as easy to remove and replace as tapes and have a FireWire-800 port on the back so you can plug them right into you laptop (they will auto mount like any regular disk).

And the really cool part! You an control it wirelessly for anything that can open a webpage. It come with a built-in wireless Ethernet. All you have to do is connect it to your router by typing in your WEP or WPA password (your router dooes have a real wireless password, doesn't it?), then watch it shows up among your network devices, click on it, and up pop all your controls. You can even do it from your i-Phone you mac hungry gadget heads!

Right, it's time to go home and I'm rambling. There is soooooo much more cool stuff you can do with the Ki Pro that I'm not getting in here. Read up on it at the AJA website.

More NAB news tomorrow... Maybe the next day.

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