Manolo Rojas has been working as a Steadicam Operator for more than 22 years on high profile feature film, commercial and music video projects including
Walking with Dinosaurs 3D
Part of Rojas' function on-set is to deliver signal conversion from the camera's SDI output to HDMI for monitoring. On a recent shoot that required monitoring live picture from 1080i 24 camera video signal, he noticed that the gradation of black shades within the frame was getting crunched. This is a problematic by-product of many signal converters when dealing with live picture monitoring from ARRI Alexa and RED Epic cameras.
In order to get to the bottom of the problem, Rojas went to Los Angeles-based BandPro Film and Digital to conduct side-by-side tests of every major signal converter on the market.
"Directors and DPs need to see a full range of blacks in live picture monitoring to make sure that lighting and camera angles are where they need to be," explained Rojas. "It's my job as a Steadicam operator to deliver that to them thru my Wireless System. From the same signal, using a pattern generator to create test patterns, I ran signal conversion tests with converters from Data Video, Blackmagic, Atomos and the AJA Hi5 and AJA HA5 Mini Converters. The AJA Hi5 and HA5 were the only converters that could handle pristine picture and audio while delivering true blacks."
Rojas works closely with the VTR Operator on set to make sure that the process of getting the signal out of the camera's SDI to monitors for playback is seamless. There are several steps to making this happen, and how the signal is converted is key to delivering the best possible picture for live monitoring of 1080 or high-resolution video Signals.
"The AJA Hi5 Mini-Converter and HA5 Mini-Converters are a bit more expensive than some of the market alternatives, but it's a small price to pay to ensure that I'm providing my clients with the best possible picture and most reliable kit out there," Rojas concluded.
About AJA Hi5
Hi5 is AJA's HD-SDI/SDI to HDMI video and audio converter for driving picture to HDMI monitors. Embedded HD/SD-SDI audio is supported in the HDMI output allowing a convenient single cable audio/video connection. The Hi5 provides 2-channel RCA style outputs for separate audio monitoring. The Hi5 also provides a looping HD/SD-SDI output useful for connecting additional equipment or for daisy-chaining multiple monitors from the same HD/SD-SDI source.
About AJA HA5
HA5 converts HDMI to SDI or HD-SDI. Up to eight channels or HDMI audio are embedded into the SD/HD-SDI output allowing a convenient single cable audio/video connection. The HA5 provides two SD/HD-SDI outputs and supports long HDMI cables on the input. The HA5 is useful for connecting HDMI cameras to SD/HD-SDI equipment.
About AJA Video Systems, Inc.
Since 1993, AJA Video has been a leading manufacturer of high-quality and cost-effective digital video interface, conversion, acquisition and desktop solutions supporting the professional broadcast and post- production markets. With headquarters in Grass Valley, California, AJA maintains an extensive sales channel of dealers and systems integrators around the world. For further information visit
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