We ordered the Ki Pro Mini last week from Adorama (the only vendor we found who had them in stock) and were finally able to test it out yesterday after the Black Magic analog to SDI converter we ordered came in from B&H.
If you are interested in the pros and cons of the to AJA devices for our workflow and also what factored into our decision click here for the last blog. In the end it came down to two things: Price and Function. Even with the core peripherals that we needed to make the Mini function with our A1′s, the price was much lower for the package then the standard Ki Pro. Some of the more convienient peripherals, like the plate that mounts it to rods and the battery can wait.
Also, the peripherals we had to buy (like compact flash cards) work with our 7D. The cost of those was more like an investment in our gear overall. As for function, we just didn’t need the features present in the standard Ki Pro that are absent from the Mini. Our primary need is footage that we could edit with immdiately, no transcoding, no capturing. The AJA Ki Pro Mini provides that.
About peripherals and setting up the AJA Ki Pro Mini with the Canon XH-A1:
For those who are not familiar, the Canon XH-A1 outputs video via Component, while the Ki Pro Mini only accepts HDMI or HDSDI. Therefore a converter is required, and we chose Black Magic Design.
After we unboxed all our new toys, we got right to testing them out. The menu on the Ki Pro Mini was incredibly easy to navigate. We plugged in two 64GB Sandisk compact flash cards and formatted them easily. Then we told the Ki Pro Mini to record Apple ProRes LT at 1080. Then we plugged in the component cable to the back of the A1, and with the help of a couple of BNC adapters, right into the side of the Black Magic Converter.
From there it was as simple as running a BNC cable to the Ki Pro Mini, turning on the A1, and then hitting record on the Ki Pro. Test one complete, we popped out the card in slot 1, hooked up to our card reader to one of our MacPro stations and we had Apple ProRes LT ready to edit.
We are still working on audio. For the test we plugged a Rode NTG-2 shot gun mic directly into the Ki Pro Mini via its XLR inputs. It recorded great, and perfectly synced.
That is a completely acceptable solution for professional work (running audio directly into the Ki Pro we mean). However, we would like to bring audio out of the camera and into the Ki Pro Mini. For that we tried using a 1/8 to two mono 1/4 audio cable shown in the pictures above, but it’s not working for us. We’re only getting one channel and the other channel is noise. This is probably user error, or maybe we’ve got the wrong kind of cable. If you know anything about audio and can tell us what we’re doing wrong please do. When we figure it out, we’ll update.
Edit 04/21/2011 we fixed the audio issue:
To bring audio out of the camera and sync it correctly through the Black Magic Converter you need to get 1/4 adapters for the A/V RCA cables that come with the Canon XH-A1.
White goes in the left, red goes in right, and yellow just hangs out.
The 1/8 end plugs into the AV/1 hole on the back of the camera.
You can use the 1/8 to two mono 1/4 cable to get audio from the camera to the Ki Pro Mini, like we originally tried to do.
The secret is that you need to plug in the 1/8 end into the headphone jack. We were able to get stereo channels that way with no noise. Also, the convention is Tip in the left and Ring in the right. (You can reverse it and they still work though.)
We don’t advise doing it that way. Stick with the RCA method, but if you’re in a pinch and all you’ve got is the cable above, it will work.
Our original problem was using that cable connect to the AV/1 hole. We realized that hole was sending out an audio and video signal to a cable only meant for audio. Thus one channel of audio and one channel of noise. User error. You live and you learn.
The only other problem that we ran into was definitely user error. The Ki Pro will record whatever feed the camera is giving it. We left the display on, so all of our timecode and other information was burned into our video. If you don’t want to do that, which we don’t, then it’s as simple as navigating through the menu on the A1 and telling it not to send that information out with the video feed. Menu> Display Setup> TV Screen> Off
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