If you didn’t get a chance to see AJA’s new KiPro–the tapeless video recording device that records high-quality Apple ProRes 422 QuickTime files onto computer-friendly media–at NAB 2009, it’ll be in Los Angeles tomorrow (June 17). Sign up here. The event will take place from 2:00 to 4:00 pm at the Gnomon School of Visual Effects, Stage 15 at 1015 N Cahuenga Blvd.
I got a chance to see the KiPro up close and personal. This is the device that, AJA says, attempts to bridge production and post,
by letting users shoot on the same codec as they edit with, full raster 10 bit Apple ProRes 422, built natively into Ki Proâ€™s stand-alone, portable hardware.
AJA is half-way thorugh its 23 city, 15 country tour. The KiPro got a good reception in Asia, said president Nick Rashby who reported that the company is in the midst of building a new 70,000 square foot facility in Grass Valley.Â “We saw a gap between production and post,” he said. “Recording media influences the quality of the end product and recording with small media or solid state created limitations. We wanted to work with an efficient compression scheme.” When Apple introduced ProRes, AJA saw its chance to use the codec to create a versatile recording device.
KiPro offers several strengths: Like other competitive devices, it enables the user to download content directly to an editing system (in this case, Apple’s FCP). It also brings with it a very small recording media– small enough for a back pocket–with 250 or 500 GBs in a single unit. As–if not more–important, the KiPro can input material from any prosumer or professional camera and output to a common standard. “The back of the KiPro is packed with connectors,” said Rashby. “Because it features SD/HD-SDI, HDMI, and analog inputs, you can interface with virtually any type of camera you might own or rent. There’s no transcoding. It’s instant access.”
“The use of disparate cameras has always been a nightmare,” he added. “This sorts out the melee.” He noted that a Windows-based user can still use the KiPro, because Apple provides a ProRes decoder.
The media is reasonably priced, at about $1 per gigabyte, said Rashby. “You can also use this as mass storage,” said Rashby. “There’s no proprietary formatting and naming conventions are easy.” The form factor of the KiPro isn’t dissimilar from a VTR, which is not a coincidence.
In addition to its post production uses, the KiPro can also play a central role on set. “All the audio can go into it, and it can be the center of video village,” said Rashby.
The KiPro can now also be mounted on a camera They’ve created an exo-skeleton that the KiPro can be slotted into. For handheld cameras, 15mm rods can be used to mount the unit behind, to balance out front-heavy cameras. “It’s fully adjustable and locks into place,” said Rashby. “You can really trick it out. It supports everything from the big professional cameras to prosumer models.”
The AJA KiPro, which is still on track to come out this month, will retail for $3,995.
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