For the details on the releases see my story at the Digital Production BuZZ AJA’s NAB Announcements.
The Ki Pro is the most exciting announcement I’ve heard at NAB so far this year and is likely to garner a number of awards before the week is out. A direct shot at Panasonic who are constantly touting AVC-Intra as “pristine 10 bit full raster capture”, that quality is now available to any camcorder, regardless of format, direct to ProRes 422. It’s even possible to shoot with an SD camera and have the Ki Pro scale to HD before converting to ProRes. At $3995 it’s comparable to similar recorders from Panasonic for AVC-I and AVCCAM.
It’s a smart device – recording either to removable hard drive modules that come complete with FW800, or to Flash RAM modules in the ExpressCard 34 form factor that will go directly into any modern Mac laptop. I’m told there’s also an ‘exoskeleton’ that mounts the Ki Pro under the camera between camera mount and camera so it doesn’t need to hang off the camera.
This is a great product for those who mostly want to shoot, say, XDCAM EX/HD but require higher quality at times; or for those with older cameras who want to move forward to a ProRes workflow. Unlike the JVC GY-HM700 or GY-HM100 “Final Cut Pro ready” camcorders, the Ki Pro is full raster ProRes master quality while the JVC records in XDCAM HD within a QuickTime movie.
Definitely the Ki Pro is an amazing product, if only they could get the price down a little.
The Io Express appears to be a direct challenge to Matrox’s MXO 2, at a slightly lower price point. The key difference is that the Io Express, like the Io HD, converts to ProRes 422 in hardware before sending it to the computer. The MXO 2 pushes uncompressed video through the ExpressCard34 slot (or PCIe slot on a desktop) where it can optionally be converted to ProRes on the CPU. (Of course Matrox have new products as well, the MXO 2 mini at $449, which I’ll cover shortly.)
With fewer inputs than the Io HD (although not that many fewer, mostly reduced audio input support) the Io Express at US $995 is pretty darned cool.
Finally, the Kona LHi and Xena LHi (essentially the same card with minor differences due to platform support) seems to be everything the Kona 3 was with added support for HDMI in and out but at only US$1495 it’s cheaper than the Kona LH/LHe with more capability than the Kona 3 that was twice the price. Plus the new cards have analog input support missing from the Kona 3.
A great set of new tools for us all to play with. Now, let’s see what everyone else has been up to!