AJA Kona, Apple Final Cut Pro Provide Editorial Tools for "Assignment Earth"
AJA's Kona 3 video capture and playback card was used to enable real-time editing for Assignment Earth, a new half-hour series for PBS. Kona 3—AJA's top-of-the-line uncompressed capture card for SD, HD, Dual Link HD and 2K for PCI Express (PCIe) Apple Mac Pro systems—was an integral part of the Final Cut Pro editorial for the series. Assignment Earth will air on PBS affiliate stations later this year.
Walter Biscardi, owner of Biscardi Creative Media in Atlanta, developed a Final Cut Pro editing and post workflow for Assignment Earth that allowed him to work quickly and easily with the large variety of formats in which the series was shot.
"The Kona's ability to do cross-conversions is crucial to this show," Biscardi explains. "We shot in just about every HD format available in this particular run of the series. The Kona 3 allowed us to convert everything to DVCPRO HD at 720p, and then go out to our master at 1080i, all in real time. The 720p files are much smaller than the 1080i files, so we save on storage space during editing and the whole show transfers over beautifully."
"The most important feature of the Kona 3 is that it allows us to do anything to anything," Biscardi continues. "We can bring in footage at any rate. Two of the episodes required us to bring in archived material from Beta SX and Beta SP, and the Kona 3 does a great job converting those formats to HD. For analog sources, we used an AJA HD10AVA digital converter. The fact that we can up-convert, cross-convert and down-convert, all in real time and in full broadcast quality, is why we choose Kona over everything else. There are other products out there but not everyone delivers the amount of real-time capabilities and image quality as Kona."
Walter Biscardi of
Biscardi Creative Media
Click for Large Image
The AJA Control Panel application is another feature of the Kona 3 Biscardi has come to rely on. "I love the independent control panel because it allows the Kona 3 to work independently from Final Cut Pro. You install it, put in the drivers and then forget all about it," Biscardi says. "There's no worrying about whether you can or cannot do something; you don't have to think about it at all—you're just free to work."
Biscardi also depends on the input pass-through feature, which allows him to run Kona 3 independently of a computer. "Having an independent hardware conversion box is a huge asset that almost no one ever talks about," says Biscardi. "If you have high-def tapes you need to down-convert to Beta SP for one client, you just put the Kona 3 into input pass-through mode and go deck-to-deck while you continue to edit in Final Cut Pro for another client. I can also use the input pass-through feature to capture material from my high-def deck directly down into a Beta deck in real time without ever going into Final Cut Pro. Or I can go the other way around, always in real time, and without going into the system."
Other AJA Video News
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AJA Kona cards are in use by the post team on Steven Bochco's Raising the Bar. When the show was greenlit, Assistant Editor Nick Berrisford was tasked with designing an editorial workflow based on Apple Final Cut Pro.
- AJA Helps Fuel FCP Edit Platform for Burn After Reading, Aug. 27, 2008
AJA Kona 3 video capture and playback cards were in use during editing of Ethan and Joel Coen's latest comedy thriller, Burn After Reading, to streamline the film's Final Cut Studio editorial pipeline.
- FCP for The Forbidden Kingdom: DigitalFilm Tree Grows Its Tapeless Workflow, April 23, 2008
The creators of the martial arts movie The Forbidden Kingdom brought two of the genre's top attractions—Jackie Chan and Jet Li—together for the first time on screen. This is certainly a significant event for their fans, but behind the scenes, Hollywood-based postproduction facility and consulting company DigitalFilm Tree had to bring together disparate technical elements to facilitate the project's editorial. The film, which was directed by Rob Minkoff, edited by Eric Strand and shot by Peter Pau, was the first major feature shot on mainland China with the Panavision Genesis.
- AJA Debuts Mini Converters, April 22, 2008
AJA Video Systems released four mini converters at NAB 2008. The products, designed for the broadcast and postproduction markets, provide support for a wide array of the latest video and audio formats.
- AJA Xena v3.5 to Support DVCPRO HD, April 14, 2008
At NAB, AJA Video Systems introduced Xena 3.5, which offers support for real-time DVCPRO HD capture, playback and editing support in Adobe Premiere Pro. Xena 3.5 will be available as a free upgrade in the third quarter of 2008.
- AJA Kona v6 Supports RED Post Workflows, April 14, 2008
AJA Video Systems debuted support for RED Digital Cinema postproduction workflows at NAB.