AJA KONA and Mini-Converters Keep the Picture Moving for Aardman Animations
November 3, 2009

AJA KONA and Mini-Converters Keep the Picture Moving for Aardman Animations

Grass Valley, Calif. - AJA Video Systems, a manufacturer of professional video interface and conversion solutions, announced that 15 KONA video capture and playback cards are in use at the UK's Aardman Animations, producers of the Academy Award-winning "Wallace and Gromit" films and television series. The KONA family is AJA's line of 10-bit uncompressed capture and playback cards for video and audio input and output on the Mac platform, including KONA 3, AJA's top-of-the-line video card for SD, HD, Dual Link 4:4:4 HD, and 2K formats.

Recent Aardman projects using AJA's KONA 3 include the second season of the stop-motion animated children's series, "Shaun the Sheep," a "Wallace and Gromit" spin-off airing in late 2009 on CBBC, the children's arm of the BBC network, and "Timmy," Aardman's first major foray into pre-school programming, which will premiere in 2009 on Playhouse Disney channels worldwide.

"We use the KONA cards for monitoring on all our broadcast projects," says Paul Reeves, Aardman's technical support engineer, who has been with the company since 2004. "KONA cards do everything we need them to, and they do it well. Once we decided to upgrade to Mac systems in 2006, we put a KONA card directly inside each one, and they've never failed us. We even have an extra KONA 3 we keep on the shelf as a backup, and it's never been used."

Aardman also employs AJA's breakout boxes with all their KONA cards. "The breakout boxes make installation so much easier for us," Reeves explains. "The driver software is also simple to use, much simpler than any other software I've seen for similar products."

In addition to the KONA video capture and playback cards, Aardman employs AJA mini-converters throughout the facility. "We bought the first ones in 2007, and use them literally everywhere -- in the studios, in the edit bays, and in our new theater. They can do just about anything: HD and SD distribution, SD to HD up-conversions, HD to SD down-conversions, SD audio embedders, SD audio de-embedders, et cetera. We use them all the time and have found them to be perfectly reliable. I've never had to send one back," says Reeves.