CION™ is the new 4K/UltraHD and 2K/HD production camera from AJA. Shoot direct to edit-ready Apple ProRes 4444 at up to 4K 30fps, ProRes 422 at up to 4K 60fps, or output AJA Raw at up to 4K 120fps. CION is the union of great design and functionality, an engineered aesthetic that we are proud to describe as the Science of the Beautiful.
CION can encode 4K/UltraHD and 2K/HD directly to 12-bit ProRes 444 internally. Using this high quality and widely supported codec to record CION’s film-like image and superb color rendition will provide the easiest route to post production for 4K yet. CION allows you to capture the look you need on-set, in-camera but with the latitude to create custom grades later by choice and not by necessity.
The CION Technical Video 1 shows in precise detail the Exposure Index, Gamma and In-Camera Color Correction options available with the CION 4K/UltraHD and 2K/HD production camera from AJA. The video is split into two sections; the first shows these comparisons at 5600K and the second section details the same comparisons at 3200K. No grade or color correction has been applied to this 4K footage although some scaling and resizing has been made to create the side-by-side comparison images you see within the video. The video you see here is a compressed 1080p H.264 version, exported from FCPX and then uploaded to Vimeo. The original is a 4K 12-bit ProRes 444 master file. AJA would like to thank, in no particular order, Zacuto, Cooke, Schneider Optics, Zeiss, Mole-Richardson and EZ FX Inc for their support.
From the beginning AJA Video Systems set out to introduce ground breaking products that combine high quality engineering and passion. CION fulfills these core values but adds a new creative vision for the demanding needs of production for both today and tomorrow. CION is the culmination of years of development; from it’s foundation as an extension of the revolutionary Ki Pro range through to AJA’s long standing 4K workflow integration. The design of the camera allows complete flexibility for the user to adapt to any environment or resolution requirement. Discover more about CION.
AJA Video Systems is proud to bring you a brand new teaser shot on the CION™ camera in Grass Valley and Nevada City California. Shooting took place over three days during the first week of September 2014. The UHD 23.98 fps normal speed shots were acquired in camera as ProRes 4444; the slow motion shots were acquired as ProRes 422 with the camera operating at 59.94fps and files saved in-camera as 23.98fps.
AJA’s approach to the development of CION was not only towards the external aesthetic and it’s deliberate ergonomic styling; the image processing itself was considered throughout with the result being outstanding color accuracy in virtually any environment. CION is capable of capturing images at up to 4K 12bit 444 allowing the broadest dynamic range possible and providing excellent latitude for post production finishing. To minimize the amount of post processing required CION also allows for great flexibility in controlling the image captured by using our intuitive menu system and it’s straightforward operation on-set. A variety of gamma curves are found within the Exposure Index menu to suit the highlights and shadows within a given scene. In addition you can choose from a range of color temperatures within the White Balance menu providing standard values to suit your scene. You are also able to Auto White Balance any scene by simply holding down the ‘WB’ button on the operational side of CION for three seconds. For those situations where more precise color control is beneficial on-set you can control both the Saturation and also Color Correction via their corresponding menu options. This additional control can save valuable time in post, especially on tight deadline projects which require speedy delivery to broadcast and allows you to adapt to changing light in even the most demanding environments.
CION was designed to be comfortable, convenient and totally flexible for any shooting environment. A contoured suede shoulder pad
fits comfortably to your shoulder for hand held use. An included top handle made of high grade aluminum and wood features an integrated LANC start/stop button. The handle base itself uses a standard 15mm rod and through hole to allow the additional mounting of third party accessories.
An integrated OLPF (Optical Low-Pass Filter) reduces unwanted moiré effects while still retaining vital image detail.
The Infra-red cut filter produces high quality colors within the image by
blocking unwanted light wavelengths.
PL mount lenses are the industry standard for cinema and professional production cameras, and are widely available the world-over. In addition, CION’s lens mount has been designed to be removable so third parties may develop mounts for other lens types.
CION features a 4K APS-C sized CMOS sensor with an electronic global shutter and 12 stops of dynamic range. Lenses designed for Super 35mm cover the sensor imaging area and the global shutter eliminates the undesirable qualities associated with rolling shutter-based sensors.
CION can record at 4K (4096x2160), UltraHD (3840x2160), 2K (2048x1080) and HD (1920x1080). 2K and HD are hardware scaled from the full 4K sensor, resulting in beautiful over-sampled images, which also retain your lens’ focal length at any desired resolution. Frame rates up to 50 and 60p are supported - even at full 4K resolution.
CION uses AJA’s proven SSD-based Pak storage. The robust high speed compact storage mounts directly in-camera and allows recording of 4K/UHD and 2K/HD as ProRes 4444, ProRes 422 (HQ), ProRes 422, ProRes 422 (LT) and ProRes (Proxy). Choose from generous 256GB or 512GB capacities and by utilizing the AJA Pak Dock (sold separately) you can transfer your footage over high-speed Thunderbolt™or USB3.
CION’s considered design brings ease of operation to both field and studio based productions. For single users, set up and operation is intuitive. For complex productions that require camera operators, camera assistants and digital imaging technicians CION offers unrivalled flexibility. In such a scenario, the camera operator can use one monitor output for framing, the camera assistant another monitor output for judging focus and the digital imaging technician can use yet another monitor output as well as the web UI to configure the unit with total resolution independence. CION offers more simultaneous monitoring outputs than any other camera.
The LAN port at the rear of the CION camera brings a wealth of control to the field or studio; every feature is controllable remotely via a web browser with no proprietary software required. Using an easily set up IP address for the camera and utilizing a simple Ethernet cable you can connect to any laptop on any platform and use a web browser to communicate directly with your CION camera. A video feed has also been included to assist with remote or multi-camera scenarios. Multi-camera wireless control can be easily achieved with a standard WiFi access point, such as an Apple AirPort.
You’re able to adjust every camera parameter to suit your needs by either clicking on the section appropriate in the side bar of the browser or you can use the buttons in the window that reflect those found on the camera. You have the freedom to work either way. You can see clearly the options available to each section; navigation is intuitive at every step.
Having made adjustments you are able to save these as a preset for use later; quickly and easily recall the preset you need. You can even save a preset and deploy it to other CION cameras that you have linked via a simple Ethernet switch. Up to twenty banks of presets can be saved bringing huge flexibility and time saving whilst shooting.
All interface controls are found on the side of the camera facing the operator to provide easy single user functionality. The menu structure itself is elegant and free of cumbersome sub-menu navigation. Confidently dial settings with a robust selection knob that gives clear mechanical feedback as you adjust.
The integrated confidence monitor not only displays the menu information but also previews your real-time image, allowing independent operation.
LED VU meters are placed for easy and accurate audio monitoring. Control knobs for each audio channel allow adjustment of the input level. A headphone monitoring output and a headphone volume control knob are also provided.
No matter the scale of your production, CION offers more flexibility in operation than any other production camera. From a single user shoot through to a complex multi-cam broadcast, CION brings a wealth of unrivalled features to benefit all stages of production without the need for complex accessories that require constantly configuring. Moving from tripod to shoulder mount to camera stabiliser is lightning fast; multiple baseband video monitoring outputs feed all needs. Total control via the LAN based Web UI keeps you shooting with minimal interruption from digital imaging technicians. Make CION the heart of your production.
On-Set backup and monitoring workflow
CION provides unrivalled on-set monitoring options for 4K/UHD and 2K/HD including a hardware dedicated down convert for 4K/UHD to 2K/HD. CION’s outputs are simultaneously live allowing great flexibility in any scenario independent of resolution. When working in 4K or UHD, five outputs are always available with two for 4K via the HDMI and 4 x 3G SDI and as well as three dedicated downconversions via 2 x 3G SDI and 1 x HDMI. If you are working
in HD or 2K then every single output is live at that resolution giving you up to eight outputs to share on-set. The built in confidence monitor also allows yet another way to see the image being captured.
The AJA Pak Dock and Pak media are designed for field use, featuring a rugged and reliable form factor; unlike a bare SSD drive, AJA Pak media features a multi-insertion rated connector. Connecting to CION via the LAN connector provides real time information regarding the Pak currently in use and by utilizing a Thunderbolt enabled RAID storage drive you can quickly back up your Pak media as you shoot.
Multicam Gang Control
CION multicam shoots are straightforward to implement and manage by using a laptop with a simple ethernet switch and LAN cables. The web UI allows complete and independent set up of multiple CION cameras; you may name each camera and consolidate control of the cameras from within a web browser using the unique gang recording feature. The web UI will also allow realtime monitoring of the capacity of the Pak media used in each CION. File naming options are easily accessed in CION’s menu structure. There is even an option to create custom names for clips as well.
AJA Raw Workflows
CION is also fully capable of outputting frame rates up to 120 fps as either 4K or UHD from its 4 x 3G-SDI outputs as AJA Raw. AJA’s Corvid Ultra in conjunction with TruZoom™ software can take the AJA Raw output and replay it at up to 60 fps. Output up to 30fps AJA Raw via the Thunderbolt™ connector. CION can also record HFR 4K 50 and 60p to Pak media, as Apple ProRes 422.
CION is designed to create an open approach to accessorizing the camera.
This open system gives you immense flexibility no matter the shooting environment, both indoors and outdoors.
From shoulder to tripod and from dolly to crane, CION keeps all of your options open.
PL mount lenses are widely offered in standard focal lengths as well as zoom options. Manufacturers continue to release new and improved lenses designed for the demands of 4K resolution. Because the PL mount system is firmly established in the highest quality production, you can choose the right lens to suit your creative needs. CION’s lens mount was also designed to be easily removed to allow an even wider choice of lens system to suit your needs. Third parties now offer alternative mounts to allow you to use CanonEF/FD, Nikon F/G-Mount, ARRI Bayonet and B4 ENG lenses with ease. CION offers wider lens compatibility than any other 4K/UltraHD camera system.
The open system approach allows you to choose from a wide range of electronic viewfinders and connect them directly via CION’s HDMI or 3G-SDI. Dedicated monitoring outputs are even conveniently placed at the front of the camera. A convenient power connector near the front can also provide power for many electronic viewfinders.
Unrivalled monitoring options put CION at the heart of production. In addition to the front 3G-SDI and HDMI monitor outputs, additional rear 3G-SDI and HDMI outputs may also be used for monitoring. 4K and Ultra HD monitoring is possible via the 4x 3G-SDI main outputs and the rear HDMI output (when appropriately configured). You can configure CION so that everyone can see what’s happening.
Two balanced analog audio XLR inputs are built into CION allowing compatibility with a huge range of professional audio gear. You can choose to mount a shotgun microphone to the cold shoe found on the top handle or run longer cable from external mixers to CION. Independent switches for mic or line level as well as phantom power are provided meaning you’re ready for any audio situation.
RODS AND ON-CAMERA RIGGING
Removable cheese plates on the top and bottom of the camera make attaching accessories easy. The bottom cheese plate features 1/4-20 and 3/8-16 threaded holes. The AJA-provided top handle attaches to the top cheese plate via 1/4-20 screws for example. CION’s top handle is based on standard 15mm rods, allowing compatibility with third-party accessories and endless possible configurations. Standard- sized rosettes on either side of the camera allow easy and dependable mounting points for handles and grips. By design, it’s incredibly easy to add a wealth of accessories to CION to enhance your shooting experience.
Native codec handling enhances your editorial experience, resulting in fast and responsive playback with no compromise in quality. Apple ProRes offers pristine image quality at extremely manageable file sizes. Using the latest generation of Apple Mac Pro and the AJA Io 4K along with Apple ProRes files from CION makes even 4K and Ultra HD editing a smooth experience. CION can provide 59.94fps material ready conformed to 23.98fps for cinematic slow motion in your timeline with no post processing required.
Each CION camera includes the following accessories as standard:
The following descriptions show the accessories specifically designed for CION by AJA Video Systems.
Pak Media is a high-capacity solid state drive encased in a protective housing with rugged connection engineered to handle the rigors of repeated use in the field.
External Pak Dock with Thunderbolt and USB 3.0 connections for fast transfer of media to a host computer.
This accessory attaches to the bottom front cheese plate of CION. It features LWS spaced 15mm rod clamps. It is ideal for attaching follow focus units, lens supports and matteboxes.
This piece is attached to the AJA-supplied Battery Adapter Plate and the heel of CION. The Rear Baseplate features LWS spaced 15mm rod clamps allowing you to attach accessories to the rear of CION.
In some situations, you may want to attach accessories to LWS spaced 15mm rods above the lens instead of below it. The Upper Rod Clamps accessory makes this possible.
CION is easily fitted to ENG quick release tripod plates by using the Wedge and either additional Heel plate, depending on the base plates used. Move between a tripod set up and go directly to shoulder mount with ease. Each sold separately.
This piece allows you to connect handles or other rosette attached accessories to 15mm rods.
A simple start/stop trigger that may be connected to either of CION’s two LANC ports. The LANC Collar attaches to AJA handles or any 15mm rod. (One LANC Collar is included with CION.)
Available in 9” and 6” lengths, the Rosette Extension Arm fits directly to Hirth tooth rosettes mounted directly to CION’s chassis to allow you to configure CION to fit your needs.
CION utilises standard 15mm rods, use these to connect matteboxes to the Front Baseplate or batteries to the Rear baseplate if you are balancing a longer zoom lens.
You may configure this accessory to support electronic viewfinders or even lightweight on-board monitors. Nearly infinite adjustments are possible via sliding 15mm rods and the L-shaped bracket.
If you are using the optional Rosette Extension Arms in combination with the LANC collar and Handle Grip then the LANC cable is required to allow start/stop when recording in the field. One short LANC cable is included with CION for use with the included Handle Grip Mount and Handle Grip.
One Handle Grip with 15mm mounting rod is included with every CION. Additional Handle Grips are available to purchase so you may expand the way in which CION may be operated in the field in conjunction with the optional Rosette Extension Arms and Rod To Rosette Adapter Mount.
One Handle Grip Mount is included with every CION and it is used with the top cheese plate mounted into the CION chassis and the included Handle Grip. The optional Viewfinder Mount can also used with the Handle Grip Mount. Spare Handle Grip Mounts are available to purchase separately.
One Battery Adapter Plate is included with every CION and features standard tap-holes for popular third party battery systems. This is used in conjunction with the included Alternate Rear Door Plate. When not mounted to CION the included Standard Rear Door Plate is utilized. Additional Battery Adapter Plates are available to purchase should they be required.