AJA press conference from NAB 2018

Here’s some random thoughts as I eat breakfast and listen to AJA’s newest announcements.

In the spirit of what Adam Wilt has been doing this NAB here’s random thoughts as I sit in on the AJA press conference.

Aja has been in business for 25 years!

5 new openGear mini-convertors. I’ve don’t know anything about openGear.

As an editor this type of thing is so not something I ever interface with. I wonder how much of AJA’s stuff will be just that.

New KUMO stuff with 12G-SDI support. I don’t know anything about KUMO either. I’m learning a lot this morning. They have lots of connectors, control panels to control them, USB connection for better setup and lot so of other stuff. You better have an engineer handy to set this stuff up.

As I listen to these new product discussions I come to remember / realize that AJA powers, routes and converts a lot of the media that flows around world.

HELO is a popular H.264 streamer and recorder. This has been big hit.

HELO gets new firmware, available in June. There’s a lot of streaming happening these days so I’m betting this thing is all over the place and we don’t know it.

New KONA card!! KONA 1. This is something editors are familiar with.  $595 in both a low profile and full size.

Designed for broadcast, post production and ProAV, as well as OEM Developers, KONA 1 is a robust, cost efficient single-channel 3G-SDI 2K/HD 60p I/O PCIe card. KONA 1 offers serial control and reference/LTC, and features standard application plug-ins, as well as AJA SDK support. KONA 1 supports 3G-SDI capture, monitoring and/or playback with software applications from AJA, Adobe®, Avid®, Apple®, Telestream and more. KONA 1 enables simultaneous monitoring during capture (pass-through) and includes: full size SDI ports supporting 3G-SDI formats, embedded 16-channel SDI audio in/out, Genlock with reference/ LTC input and RS-422.

Also a new KONA HDMI. 4 HDMI inputs as a capture only card. This card is great for live streaming and switching. $895 in June. Closest competitor is out of China.

A powerful HDMI video capture solution, KONA HDMI supports a range of workflows, including live streaming, events, production, broadcast, editorial, VFX, vlogging, video game capture/streaming and more. KONA HDMI is highly flexible, designed for four simultaneous channels of HD capture with popular streaming and switching applications including Telestream Wirecast® and vMix. Additionally, KONA HDMI uniquely offers capture of one channel of UltraHD up to 60p over HDMI 2.0 using AJA Control Room software for file compatibility with most NLE and effects packages. It is also compatible with other popular third-party solutions for live streaming, projection mapping and VR workflows. Developers can take advantage of the platform to build multi-channel HDMI ingest systems and leverage VL42 compatibility on Linux. Features include: four full size HDMI ports; the ability to easily switch between one channel of UltraHD, or four channels of 2K/HD; and embedded HDMI audio in, up to eight embedded channels per input.

While I’m wishing we had a Mac with PCI slots AJA says you can use an external thunderbolt chassis to use these with a Mac. Bring on the modular Mac Pro!! Or you can get a PC. I think the KONA HDMI is going to be a popular card and so does AJA. They are talking about using it with gaming applications.

And there is new desktop software to go along with these new cards as well as the older cards (like the KONA IP) in use now, available next month.

AJA makes a lot of convertors and there is a new one at the show. IPR-10G-HDMI. “Bajillion’s” of them around the world as far as AJA convertors go. If you work near a control room go and count the number of AJA convertors right now! Not sexy stuff but important stuff for AJA that makes video work.

IP video is very important for AJA.

Ki Pro ULTRA Plus gets a new v3.0 update. HDR capture via HDMI 2.0! Ki Pros are a great product.

Nice use of an open wheel car! FAST!

Las Vegas, NV, NAB Conference, Stand SL2505 (April 9, 2018)—AJA Video Systems today announced v3.0 firmware for Ki Pro Ultra and Ki Pro Ultra Plus, adding Avid® DNxHR codec support to the file-based 4K/UltraHD/2K/HD recording and playback devices. Available soon as a free software download, v3.0 allows users to record above HD rasters with Avid codecs within a native .MXF wrapper, supporting Avid editors and .MXF workflows with more flexible options. Ki Pro Ultra and Ki Pro Ultra Plus already support Avid DNxHD codecs for 2K/HD resolutions.

v3.0 firmware adds support for: 

Avid DNxHR codecs for UltraHD (23.98,24,25,29.97p) and 4K (23.98,24,25,29.97p): 

  • DNxHR HQX
  • DNxHR SQ
  • DNxHR LB 

“Avid DNxHR supports a wide range of resolutions, and speeds up the editorial process when working with high resolution material, making it an in-demand format for a number of our customers working in 4K/UltraHD. Integrating support for DNxHR into Ki Pro Ultra and Ki Pro Ultra Plus expands our customers’ ability to work with high resolution content for greater speed and efficiency,” said Nick Rashby, President, AJA Video Systems. 

Pricing and Availability

v3.0 firmware for Ki Pro Ultra and Ki Pro Ultra Plus will be available as a free download soon via: https://www.aja.com/support. Ki Pro Ultra and Ki Pro Ultra Plus are available through AJA’s worldwide reseller network for $2995 and $3995 US MSRP respectively. For more information about Ki Pro Ultra and Ki Pro Ultra Plus, visit: https://www.aja.com/family/ki-pro.

About Ki Pro Ultra and Ki Pro Ultra Plus 

Ki Pro Ultra is a portable, file-based 4K/UltraHD/2K/HD video recorder and player with a built-in LCD monitor, and is capable of capturing edit-ready Apple ProRes or Avid DNx files in a range of video formats and frame rates up to 4K 60p. Ki Pro Ultra Plus is a multi-channel recorder offering 2, 3 or 4-channel simultaneous HD recording up to 1080 50/60p ProRes, or in single-channel mode, 4K/UltraHD/2K/HD recording and playback of ProRes or DNx, with full HDMI 2.0 input and output (up to 12-bit capture and output). 

FS|HDR. Realtime HDR to HDR and more. A “complicated box” says AJA. Getting a lot of traction out in the world.

Why does AJA have these HUGE WHITE BORDERS around their press images!?

I don’t know much about this little box but it looks quite amazing for broadcast. Some of the customer images of their installs of multiple boxes are quite impressive looking. You do need an engineer!

Las Vegas, NV, NAB Conference, Stand SL2505 (April 9, 2018)—AJA Video Systems has announced v2.5 firmware with new feature enhancements for the company’s FS-HDR real time High Dynamic Range (HDR) and Wide Color Gamut (WCG) converter/frame synchronizer with Colorfront Engine™ video processing. The company also released new single and multi-mode fiber SFP options for FS-HDR and FS4. 

v2.5 firmware enhances the Colorfront Engine transform algorithm with support for ITU BT.2408-0 Operational Practices in HDR Television. Additionally, the FS-HDR now supports a simultaneous 4K/UltraHD and 2K/HD output mode with independent SDR/HDR controls. Newly integrated BBC Hybrid Log Gamma (HLG) Look Up Tables (LUTs) provide basic, mathematical HDR transforms. Infoframe generation on the HDMI monitor output provides an easy, cost-efficient solution for local monitoring on HDR-capable displays. The release will also integrate new standardized HDR test patterns. Finally, new Tangent Element Kb panel support for remote parameter control enables real-time adjustment control over FS-HDR’s key conversion parameters.

FS-HDR v2.5 feature enhancements include: 

  • Colorfront Engine support for ITU BT.2408-0 Operational Practices in HDR Television Production
  • Simultaneous 4K/UltraHD and 2K/HD/SD dual output mode: In single-channel mode with a 4K/UltraHD input and 4K/UltraHD output, configure the SDI monitor output for SDR/BT.709, PQ/BT.2020, HLG/BT.2020 or Sony S-Log3 S-Gamut3, with these output formats and frame rates independent of the main output:
    • 2K: 2048 x 1080p up to 60p
    • HD: 1920 x 1080p up to 60p; 1920 x 1080PsF up to 30p; 1920x1080i 50 and 59.94; 1280x720p up to 60p 
    • SD: 625i 50; 525i 59.94
  • BBC HLG LUTs
    • Support for HLG HDR dynamic range mapping per ITU BT.2408-0
    • SDR, PQ, and Sony S-Log3 to HLG 
    • HLG to SDR and PQ
    • Colorimetry: BT.709 and BT.2020
  • HDMI HDR Infoframe generation: Locally monitor HDR content on HDMI 2.0 HDR televisions or monitors. When an output is configured for PQ or HLG, FS-HDR will signal the selected HDR output format to the HDMI display.
  • HDR Test Patterns: BT.2111-0 Color Bars and BT.814-3 Pluge
  • Support for third party Tangent Element Kb knob-based controller for remote parameter controls

“FS-HDR is an incredibly useful tool for live HDR productions using a variety of sources and delivery formats, and our v2.5 firmware update gives customers even greater flexibility to more easily handle production demands in a single master HDR/SDR environment,” said Nick Rashby, President, AJA Video Systems. 

At NAB 2018, AJA is also rolling out new SFP options for FS-HDR and FS4 frame synchronizers/converters, including:  

12G-SDI Single-Mode SFP options

  • FIBERLC-1RX-12G  SFP 12G-SDI Single Fiber LC Receiver Single Mode 1310nm
  • FIBERLC-1TX-12G  SFP 12G-SDI Single Fiber LC Transmitter Single Mode 1310nm

3G-SDI Multi-Mode SFP options

  • FIBERLC-1RX-MM  SFP Single Fiber LC Receiver Multi-Mode 850nm
  • FIBERLC-1TX-MM  SFP Single Fiber LC Transmitter Multi-Mode 850nm
  • FIBERLC-2RX-MM  SFP Dual Fiber LC Receiver Multi-Mode 850nm
  • FIBERLC-2TX-MM  SFP Dual Fiber LC Transmitter Multi-Mode 850nm

Pricing and Availability

FS-HDR v2.5 firmware will be available June 2018 as a free download from AJA’s support page. FS-HDR is currently available through AJA’s worldwide reseller network for $7995 US MSRP. The new SFP options are now available for the following US MSRPs: FIBERLC-1RX-12G and FIBERLC-1TX-12G SFP: $295; FIBERLC-1RX-MM and FIBERLC-1TX-MM: $295; FIBERLC-2RX-MM and FIBERLC-2TX-MM: $345. For more information, visit: https://www.aja.com/products/fs-hdr.

About FS-HDR

FS-HDR is a versatile 1RU, rack-mount universal converter/frame synchronizer for real time HDR transforms as well as 4K/HD up/down/cross conversions. Fusing AJA’s production-proven FS frame synchronization and conversion technology with video and color space processing algorithms from the award-winning Colorfront Engine, FS-HDR matches the real time, low-latency processing and color fidelity demands that broadcast, OTT, post production and ProAV environments require. FS-HDR offers comprehensive signal conversion, and allows users to also convert a range of camera Log formats to HDR broadcast standards as well as to/from BT.2020/BT.709.

AJA is showing a tech preview of an HDR Image Analyzer. They do this with Colorfront. Colorfront is on-stage talking about it. HDR is very important to AJA. That’s going to be the pretties box in your rack if the front really looks like that when it ships. Shipping “very soon.”

Combining AJA’s production-proven and powerful video and audio I/O with HDR analysis tools from Colorfront in a compact 1RU chassis, the HDR Image Analyzer offers a flexible solution for monitoring and analyzing HDR formats including PQ (Perceptual Quantizer), Hybrid Log Gamma (HLG) and Rec.2020 for 4K/UltraHD workflows.

The new product is the second technology collaboration between AJA and Colorfront, following the successful integration of Colorfront Engine™ into AJA’s FS-HDR in 2017. Colorfront has exclusively licensed its Colorfront HDR Image Analyzer software to AJA for AJA’s HDR Image Analyzer.

Key feature highlights include: 

  • Precise, high quality UltraHD UI for native-resolution picture display 
  • Advanced out of gamut and out of brightness detection with error intolerance
  • Support for SDR (Rec.709), ST2084/PQ and HLG analysis
  • CIE graph, Vectorscope, Waveform, Histogram
  • Out of gamut false color mode to easily spot out of gamut/out of brightness pixels
  • Data analyzer with pixel picker
  • Up to 4K/UltraHD 60p over 4x 3G-SDI inputs
  • SDI auto signal detection 
  • File base error logging with timecode
  • Display and color processing look up table (LUT) support 
  • Line mode to focus a region of interest onto a single horizontal or vertical line 
  • Loop through output to broadcast monitors 
  • Still store
  • Nit levels and phase metering
  • Built-in support for color spaces from ARRI, Canon, Panasonic, RED and Sony 

That looks like that’s about it for AJA. No mention of the CION?

As I said, AJA is powering the internals of video all over the world. Not super sexy stuff but video and broadcast wouldn’t work without it.


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Scott Simmons was born in rural West Tennessee and didn't really realize that movies and tv had to be made by actual people until he went to college. After getting degrees in both Television Production…

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Steve M.
Steve M.

I guess they gave up on making cameras? The Cion is probably the biggest fiasco in the history of cameras. It’s a pity as they had the right idea. It had much better ergonomics and workflow than Blackmagics. But they did it the wrong way.