AJA Mini-Converters Power "CONAN"
Grass Valley, Calif. - Getting the one-hour variety show, "CONAN" to air every week is no small feat. The program is shot in front of a live studio audience in Burbank, California, and employs a variety of AJA products including Hi5, HA5, HD10CEA, HD10C2, and HD10DA -- over 90 total AJA Mini-Converters -- to keep the production flowing smoothly.
While the show is pre-recorded, it's produced and cut as if it were live since the east coast feed is transmitted one hour after taping wraps. "AJA equipment definitely allows us to work more flexibly and more quickly," said Chris Savage who serves as the Lead Camera Utility on "CONAN". "The needs of the show change every day -- with varying requirements for monitoring, computers, new camera feeds and sometimes even video material that guests bring onto the show. AJA's Mini-Converters provide us with the flexibility to accommodate whatever needs arise and the reliability that our quick turnaround production cycles depend upon."
There are 13 60-inch LCD monitors mounted above the audience in the studio seating area. The stage was initially designed to run an SD signal to those monitors, but in production the feed interfered with fluorescent lighting on stage to cause a roll in the picture. The show turned to AJA Hi5 Mini-Converters to convert the HD-SDI signal to HDMI to drive an HD feed of the program onto the monitors. The Hi5s provided a quick, easy and cost-effective solution that was plug-and-play with the existing production infrastructure.
For the show's 'Conan Video Blog' segments, the AJA HA5 Mini-Converter is used to pull a video signal from a laptop used in the broadcast. AJA KONA 3 and KONA LHi capture cards are also used as part of the show's Apple Final Cut Pro editing workflow and AJA VTR Xchange software is used for remote deck control via the KONA card's RS-422 interface.
Savage stated that the biggest benefit of using AJA Mini-Converters is their portability, "Being able to plug and unplug, and not have to go to a rack or moreover to another building to patch and down-convert or re-clock is a huge advantage," concluded Savage.
Keycode Media in Burbank designed and installed the edit system and server, and
NEP, a national outsourced tele-production services company, designed and set up a lot of the production equipment for the show.
For more information about AJA's Mini-Converter products, please visit http://www.aja.com/products/converters/ and for more about the KONA family of professional video solutions, please visit