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NAB 2019: AJA Talks Ki Pro Go

Streaming Media Producer's Shawn Lam and AJA's Bryce Button discuss AJA's new Ki Pro Go multichannel H.264 recorder/player at NAB 2019.


Shawn Lam: It's Shawn Lam here for Streaming Media Producer at NAB 2019. I'm here with Bryce Button from AJA, and we're here to talk about the AJA Ki Pro GO. So, this is an extension of the very popular Ki Pro line. Last year you had the Ultra, which had four inputs. This year, this model has four inputs, but there's a bit of a twist. What is it?

Bryce Button: Well, there's a couple of twists. We actually have eight inputs. You get four SDIs, you get four HDMIs, and then you can choose which combination of the four you want to record, and this time, the recording codec is H.264. And that means you can record to ubiquitous USB 3.0 media. There are actually five ports on the device. If you look at it over here, you'll see there are four right now busy recording, and there's actually a fifth on the back. So, it's not just that you record it once, we offer you the opportunity to literally back up every single one of those four channels. So, you've got redundancy, and you can assign those wherever you want. To a single stick, spread it across, there's a lot of flexibility here.

Shawn Lam: Okay, what's the intended market? How is this different then the Ki Pro line that has the ProRes or DNx codecs traditionally in them?

Bryce Button: So, the higher-end ProRes codecs of course are pretty low compression. Obviously that gives you great-looking files, but they can be a bit massive, depending on what your task is. So, as we've gone further into the Pro AV market, for instance, and we've learned a lot about streaming with the HELO recorder, we've seen the success of that. HELO is literally one of our most popular projects. So, H.264 has got legs.

Shawn Lam: It does.

Bryce Button: And the idea here is that it's portable, it's cross-platform, it's easy to deal with, clients love it. So, not just as a standalone device, you could always use it in addition if you already have a Ki Pro, especially the Ultra Plus with the four channels coming in, you're doing ProRes, you could be using the H.264 here for proxy editing. So, you know, very lightweight editing. But in terms of a lot of the core market, and it's everything from live concerts, as we've dealt with concerts, and you've got singers that come off stage, and you've got producers are like, can I please get a cut of what we just did? I felt like we didn't get this quite right in that portion of the performance. Or they want to literally hand over their H.264 file, which can immediately be streamed on whatever service you choose to use. So, a huge amount of flexibility in this product, I think. So, like all our Ki Pro products, you actually get a web-based interface. So, you can see here, it's telling you exactly what's going on with the different channels, channel one, two, three, four, those are our recording channels. And you can see that this is actually footage coming in at 1080p, basically 59.94 here, and it reflects all the controls that are available on the device itself, I wouldn't want to stop recording right now, so I can skip that. If I choose to, though, sure, on the device itself, you'll see the recording stop. Here I have my control, and you can choose your own bitrates as well. All right, so it's a variable bitrate architecture. I can do eight-bit or ten-bit, and that's not that common with H.264, which means you can get really great-looking imagery when you want it.

Shawn Lam: And that's the 4:2:2 versus the 4:2:0 color space.

Bryce Button: Exactly, right. So, over here we can see that right here. You choose. And it could be different per input. So, you could have multiple use needs going on. Maybe you only want the 4:2:0 for a very small web file, but you want the 4:2:2 to give the clients or pass it on. And then as I mentioned, every input can be assigned to a particular USB port. And you always have the opportunity to then come in and do a backup to a different port. So, the security there, especially with live events though, is really important. 'Cause you just don't want to lose that file mid-recording.

Shawn Lam: That's right, or just even having a duplicate, right? Two copies available, or five copies available of one input. You can mix and match.

Bryce Button:Yup. And then when it comes to sound, as you'll see on the back of the unit here, so audio can come in over your SDIs, we were talking about, there's your four, all the HDMIs. Or it can come in over the XLRs. And you got to a mic, line, and a Phantom Power, which is great, say if you've got a mixing board, you know, often you're going to have an event going on, and you want to run them through the mixer, might even be a house of worship, or a service or something like that, you can bring that in, and insert that into whatever channels you want.

Shawn Lam: I know a lot of times when I'm producing, I find that the ISO recording in the cameras, we have that ability on SD cards, and AVCHD codec or H.264. But we're not getting the same audio, and having to run extra XLR to each camera, then having the camera operator then having to adjust the levels. This is just a more elegant solution.

Bryce Button: Yes, I think it's a great combination of parts. So, if you want to learn more, you can always visit, go to our What's New page of the homepage. So, a straightforward USB stick, as you can see here. As long as it's USB three, no problem. Plop it in. Hit the All Record button, and you'll see that they are currently all flashing. Again, you can do that here or off the interface. Stop. And you see how it rolls through. So, that's now closed the files out. Go back into record, away they go. And it's so simple and easy to work with. The naming schemes will tell you if it's a backup file, if it's, you know, for the channel that you assigned it to. You've got up to 20 characters to name them however you want. So, a tremendous amount of flexibility. Here's your ethernet port up here, when it comes to working with it through the web browser.

Shawn Lam: And you've got power tabs here, there's two of them.

Bryce Button: Two, because if you're in the field, you know, the AC power we give you has got XLRs on them, but sometimes you're going to be in the field, and you just want to connect up to an Anton/Bauer battery or something. So, you can literally drive it from pretty regular camera batteries. So, Ki Pro GO will be $3,995, and it'll be available a little later this summer. Basically, we're saying June. And we're very much looking forward to getting it out there, because I think it's just a fabulous complement for all the other Ki Pros that we've had prior. And just for our pro AV market, which has been growing and growing. It's going to be a wonderful device to have in that whole ecosystem.

Shawn Lam: Yeah, well, and that price, for $1000 per video input. You know, that's one way to look at that, and it's unprecedented, and it's fantastic.

Bryce Button: It's great. You know, We looked at the competition, we're very competitive there. Again you've got the choice of HDMI and SDI, and something to say about that is it's actually genlock-free. So, you can use DSLRs and those types of capture devices, and we're effectively acting as a bit of a frame sync there, to make sure that everything times up.

Shawn Lam: Yeah, another small feature too, is you actually have loop-out SDI outputs, on each input. And that's really important too, if you're going to be live switching on a video switcher after the pass-through.

Bryce Button: Yeah, you can pass through us, and it can go off to the switcher. You know, if you've got a three-camera shoot, you might take the ISOs onto three of these USB devices that you've chosen to record with, and the fourth could be coming from the line cut off the switcher. So, then you give the client, okay, this is what we caught in the moment, but here are the isolated cameras if you want to go in and make any changes.

Shawn Lam: Thank you very much, Bryce. This has been a look at the AJA Ki Pro Go at NAB 2019. I'm Shawn Lam for Streaming Media Producer.

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