media and storage page one of one


AJA is a very well respected company that makes I/O capture cards, video adaptors and converters etc. They always seem to come up with a product that seems to wow. The talk of NAB this year was their Ki Pro unit. The AJA Ki Pro is a tapeless video recording device that records high-quality Apple ProRes 422 onto computer friendly media, ie. a hard drive.

I have placed this AJA product in the media section of this report, because media isn’t just tape anymore, and media isn’t just a solid state memory card or a blu-ray disk. Media can also be a hard drive.

The Ki Pro features SD/HD-SDI, HDMI, and analog inputs so it will interface with virtually any type of camera you might own. It also has outputs and controls and can act just like a conventional VTR. It is rugged and portable and the 250GB hard drive is removable and can be used much as a film magazine would be used.

Pictured to the left is the Ki Pro attached to the Canon XH-A1, a small camera that has excellent resolution but in standard configuration records to HDV tape. Well, you get the point. There are many cameras, not only small camcorders like this that could benefit from being able to record to a 10-bit virtually uncompressed file.

Recording to a common file format can help workflow. Recording direct to a file eliminates log and capture pains. Good work AJA. At $4,000 you will probably sell a lot of these.

A traditional tape media company that continues to expand its product line is Maxell. They are now selling XDCam disks as well as P2 cards and their very own and very rugged pocket sized hard drives called iVDR Xtreme. Originally designed to military specs these 250 GB hard drives are designed to be dropped from 4.6 feet and also withstand thermal shock and vibration.

Maxell has now started shipping their 50 GB XDCam disks which should help give Sony some competition and bring down the price of these larger capacity blu-rays.

Ditto for Fujinon:

Remember the company that claimed they were building a digital video recording unit to go on the back of the Sony XDCams? That was Focus Enhancements. Focus Enhancements makes the famous firestore. They have been doing direct record to file and hard disk for a long time now.

Their FS-4 and FS-5  are very innovative products, which allow for direct recording to disk in  very small lightweight packages. The FS-5 designed for small camcorders weighs only 12 ounces. The FS-5 has a wireless connection that allows for adding of metadata on the fly as you are recording. These units record mostly in DV and HDV formats, not in ProRes like the Ki Pro but they are much much lighter and smaller.

The new Focus Enhancements product, called the Focus FST-1001 camera mount XDCam EX recorder, looks very cool, but I have seen no announcement of its impending birth so perhaps it is just a concept at this point. I assume it will perform as advertised recording XDCam EX at 35Mb to the Sony SxS cards.