AJA Io HD Helps Horror Meet Comedy for Microsoft's Xbox LIVE
February 24, 2009
For "Horror Meets Comedy," a series of six short pilot filmscommissioned by Microsoft for Xbox LIVE, online director John Clishamjoined a group of a-list and up-and-coming horror directors thatincluded James Wan of "Saw," Andrew Douglas of "The Amityville Horror"remake and David Slade of "30 Days of Night." Clisham's directorialproject, "Janitor," opened the series with its debut two days beforeHalloween, and received 16,000 downloads the first week alone. Thenine-minute short, available to Xbox LIVE's 15 million subscribers,remained the number one download of the series through the end of 2008.
Shoton a Sony F900, "Janitor" is an homage to gory 1980s slasher filmsstarring scream queen Jenna Dewan ("Tamara"). Clisham employed AJA's IoHD to record and playback footage captured during the shoot over thecourse of four grueling 20-hour days. Io HD is the first device tonatively support Apple's ProRes 422 post production format in hardware,and delivers HD editing to the MacBook Pro and Mac Pro via its uniqueFirewire 800 (IEEE-1394b) interface.
Clisham first startedusing the Io HD while on the job at James Cameron's production company,Lightstorm Entertainment, where he is currently working on the highlyanticipated stereoscopic 3D film project, "Avatar." "I'd been droolingover the Io HD since it was first announced at NAB in 2007, andcouldn't wait to get my hands on it," Clisham said. "At Lightstorm, wecarry it wherever we go. It's perfect for those times when we have toget someone a file for approval and we need something portable we canrecord to quickly."
For "Janitor," Clisham and the rest ofhis production team gave the Io HD a thorough workout. "I thought itwould be really cool to test it out while shooting under extremeconditions," Clisham explained. "On set, we had a secondary outputgoing from the camera straight to a Mac system. We kept all of thematerial on the hard drive and when we got back to the edit suite,everything was already captured and was right there. It was likeinstantaneous editing—I didn't have to log, didn't have to capture—Ijust pulled all of it into sequence."
"The Io HD worked sowell, that half the time we ended up using it for playback because itwas right there and we could just hop right into Final Cut and it wouldplay for us," Clisham continued. "We really wanted to put it throughits paces. At one point we ran the footage through a Christie CP2000DLP projector, and it completely held up. I'd take my camera originalfrom the HDCAM deck and run it through the Io HD input and didn't seeany degradation or compression artifacts."
Clisham alsofound that using the Io HD allowed him to hand off ProRes filesdirectly to the VFX artists to work from. "I didn't have to findanother system to capture uncompressed frames, which saved us a lot oftime and money," Clisham said. "There are a lot of other solutions outthere, but nothing else is super easy out of the box like the Io HD.It's like you just add your movie, and it's done."
Clishamand the rest of the production team for "The Janitor" were extremelyhappy with the results. "The Io HD helped us maintain the highest levelof quality," Clisham declared. "I was able to do the entire project in1080, and it looked great. I didn't have to down-convert and edit on a720 timeline and have it conformed elsewhere."
"Theproject held up extremely well compared to the other films in theseries and I think that's largely because of the workflow. The otherfilmmakers used different processes, for a number of reasons, but nonewere able to handle the amount of data we were pushing through ourMacs. I am completely sold on the workflow," Clisham concluded. "It hasto be ProRes, it has to be Final Cut, and it has to be Io HD."
IoHD brings HD editing to the MacBook Pro and Mac Pro utilizing Apple'sProRes 422 technology—the only device to do so natively in hardware,while also supporting SD editing workflows. Along with unparalleledvideo and audio connectivity, Io HD includes a feature set similar toAJA's industry-leading KONA lineup: 10-bit hardware-basedup-conversion, cross-conversion, and down-conversion, all performed inreal time. Io HD runs on an AJA-built driver, similar to the KONAdriver, supporting features such as Core Audio, and very low latency.Within its portable and high style chassis, Io HD offers SD/HD analoginputs and outputs, SD/HD digital I/O including HD-SDI and HDMI, aswell as RS-422, Genlock, Balanced analog and AES audio, and even LTCtimecode connections. Io HD is available through AJA's global channelof dealers and integrators, and includes AJA's 3-year internationalwarranty and support.