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AJA IO Review

It has been awhile since I’ve had to use the AJA IO box. I was pleasantly surprised at how flawless my experience was. I last time I had to use the unit was about a year ago and I didn’t have the same experience. At the time the MAC OS was 10.2.4 and version 1.1 of the IO software. It was buggy to say the least. I am not sure where the issue was, but as I recall, AJA was aware of it and working on it. What I do remember, was the great technical support at AJA. I really felt there was a passion for what they were doing. And the unit itself at its price point is a modern marvel and the power it gives in a serious edit suite you almost have to have. Well, I am happy to report the same great technical support was there but this time the software was ready for prime time.

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I am now working in a suite running 10.4.4 on a G5 dual 2.5 gig and 6 gigs of ram with version 2.0 of the AJA driver. This time I had to install the unit myself. In the previous scenario there was a video engineer on staff who installed and configured the suite. I was a little hesitant to delve into the endeavor on a deadline. The goal was to hook up a beta SP deck via component and convert it to DVCPRO 50. Then use a single external firewire 800 drive to capture to. Of course, AJA doesn’t support this configuration and they said that actually the capture window might not even work. Its true that the AJA box does all its IO functions through a single 400 firewire port. And the other 400 port is on the same controller. If you want to use a 400 drive it can be done by installing a second PCI 400 port. I am happy to report that from the time of opening the box to rigging up the all the cables including audio mixer video monitor and installing the driver and presets was less than two hours. I launched final cut picked the appropriate ‘easy set’ up and transcoded the beautiful analog to digital footage. The RS422 device control plugged right in and worked perfectly. Just for the heck of it i decided to capture 10 bit uncompressed video to the same drive, and lo and behold that worked too! But why would you want to waste the space on this, the DVCPRO 50 codec is fantastic. Its almost scary how cheap and simple it is to do high quality desk top video these days, thanks AJA!

P.S. And this time when I called for tech support it I went straight to a tech, and he didn’t even ask for my name!

SATA or serial ATA is the latest low cost hard drive solution. There are an abundance of of third party vendors now offering SATA configurations for the MAC. One that stands out is FIRMTEK. They offer a verity of PCI-X solutions for the G5 MAC. I haven’t personally tried it but you could buy a SATA card and a low cost duel drive enclosure stripe it as a 0 raid and have no problems playing back multiple streams of uncompressed SD video or DVCPRO HD material. 800 gigs for less than $500 dollars! They also make 4 way controller cards that would let you take your internal drives off the motherboard completely. Freeing up valuable processor power!

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Avid Express Pro Capturing was the previous entry in this blog.

Photoshop Tips Part 3 is the next entry in this blog.

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