AJA had a number of new products on display, and it seems that the new revisions fix most of the issues that I have had in the past. The Xena LH card used to prevent realtime preview in AE, at 1920×1080 due to frame caching bandwidth limits. The new Xena LHI is supposed to fix that problem, as well as add 3G SDI and HDMI 1.3 I/O. The new SDI to HDMI Mini-convertor adds 3G SDI support, full 10bit output, and now allows remapping 8 available audio channels. HDMI expects L,R,C,S,Ls,Rs while Premiere outputs L,R,Ls,Rs,C,S for surround sound, and this has led to the need for some interesting work arounds in our editing rooms. I mentioned the IO Express in my last post, and this differs from the IOHD in having a faster PCIe interface to the host system, with similar I/O connectivity, in a smaller physical unit. It is also the first AJA IO product that is PC compatible. I am hoping that this device is similar enough to the Xena series of cards, that Cineform will adopt integrated support for it, giving us 10bit compressed HD I/O on a laptop.
AJA’s new Ki Pro is pushing into a totally new territory for the company, as a standalone recording device. It records from SDI, HDMI, or analog, directly from a camera or any other video source. It encodes video into Apple’s ProRes 422 codec onto either a Firewire 800 removal hard disk or an ExpressCard34 Flash storage device. With output connectivity as well, it basically functions as a ProRes based VTR. It is actually quite similar in capability to the next new product on my list.
Convergent Design had both of their digital recording devices on display. The Flash XDR has been available for a while, but I have been waiting for the smaller NanoFlash. It can record full 1080p HD-SDI or HDMI onto CompactFlash cards in the same MPEG format as Sony’s new XDCam-HD422 gear. It is absolutely tiny, at about half the size of a 3.5″ hard drive, and is solid state. I can envision a number of uses for it in rigging small camera’s on vehicles and in other rough spots. The most challenging spot is usually as a backpack recorder for a helmet cam. If Iconix ever releases a smaller CCU for their Studio2K, the backpack may someday become a belt. The HDMI input allows cheap camcorders to record at much higher quality than their internal storage allows.
One other thing that I didn’t notice until after the show was over, was that NVIDIA announced a new SDI I/O solution, which should become available later this year. SDI output is nothing new for NVIDIA, and has been available as an option since back when the AGP based QuadroFX 4000 was the top of the line. I had heard over two years ago that SDI input capability was in development, but the Quadro Digital Video Pipeline has been the first sign of it becoming a reality. Based on the developments in GPU accelerated encoding with the Quadro CX, I predicted last year that this must be coming soon. I am still curious to see the details on how this will be implemented at the software level, and more specifically, what types of realtime HD compression will be supported. The fact that it supports multistream capture is somewhat unique, and will be very useful as stereoscopic video production becomes more common.
That pretty much sums up the main things that stood out to me at NAB. I have deliberately steered clear of discussing a few products that I will be using a lot in the near future. I plan to post much more detailed info on those products and the related workflows once I have experienced them first hand on large projects.