AJA Solutions Go To School
June 16, 2008
AJA KONA, XENA and Io HD Products Help Ohio State University and the University of Oklahoma Streamline Video Production.
AJA Video Systems, a leading manufacturer of professional video interface and conversion solutions, is experiencing rapid growth in the educational sector with a rise in adoption of the company's popular KONA, XENA and Io HD products at top educational institutions.
At Ohio State University, executive producer Kevin Theessen uses AJA's KONA cards and the Io HD to help produce programming for the Big Ten Network and WOSU Public Media (PBS), funded via a broadcast deal with Fox Sports and other Big Ten schools. The four programs in production take advantage of the amazing technology and connectivity of the school's students, faculty, alumni and partnering organizations to deliver shows in HD that include footage shot on XDCam HD, Sony HD Cam as well as contributed clips from people who might not have access to high-end video equipment.
"Because we work with so many different formats including DV, HDV, AVCHD, HDCAM, and in the case of an episode that centered around a researcher working on an ice floe in Alaska, even Webcam, among others-Io HD is key to our workflow, Theessen continues. "My favorite thing about the Io HD is its versatility-there's rarely a format that I can't up-convert for our shows."
The Io HD allows Theessen to ingest footage using an 8-core Mac with a Mackie control surface along with Fusion D800 and the portable Fusion F2 drives. "I'd always dreamed of having a lightweight edit system with a handle," Theessen says. "When we're in a pinch and the production schedule doesn't allow me to be back at the studio, I can edit in Final Cut Pro on set or while I'm flying between stories. Once our shows are finished, tapes are shipped to Pittsburgh for captioning, and then down to Houston for broadcasting from Fox's main control room. We also post everything we do online for approval, and the finished product becomes a flash movie that airs on our web site (http://www.wosu.org/imix), iTunes, YouTube and others. It's sweet that we can get such high quality versions for so many different formats coming out of Io HD."
At the Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Oklahoma, Station Manager George Lynn Franklin depends on AJA's XENA card to stream student-produced content onto the TV4OU web site (http://tv4.ou.edu) 24 hours a day. "Our entire facility is SDI/AES, which means we can provide a higher quality delivery based on the interface provided by the XENA card," Franklin explains. "We've been very pleased with the picture and audio quality, but what was pivotal to our decision to purchase the XENA card was its ability to work with Windows Media Encoder, which is the cornerstone of our streaming capabilities. And, the fact that footage can be viewed on both platforms-Macs and PCs-makes it crucial to our web strategy. AJA provides the solution we need at an affordable price."
The University of Oklahoma's 2,500 square foot state-of-the-art facility, Gaylord Hall, has three separate control rooms-production, master and converged-outfitted with digital equipment from Grass Valley and 10 non-linear Avid and Apple Final Cut Pro edit bays. Gaylord Hall studios are dedicated to the production of 30-minute live newscasts five days a week, as well as documentary film and video projects and multi-camera shows featuring sports talk, variety and music. Expansion is underway that will double the facility's size.
"We're very much focused on giving our students real-world, hands-on experience," continues Franklin, who also teaches audio and video production classes at the University of Oklahoma. "Students leave our program ready for the broadcast environment, and a working knowledge of the latest technologies from companies like AJA is essential for getting them employed in the broadcast industry."
"Our products are designed to deliver the flexibility and versatility required of a high-volume university broadcast environment. We're very pleased to see AJA solutions in use at these top educational facilities serving such a wide variety of production needs." said Nick Rashby, President, AJA Video. "It's a true testament to the reliability and adaptability of our product lines."