Jun 22, 2010
AJA KONA LH/E Review
In the world of professional video editing there's one thing that is tantamount to creating good looking sequences that will look good the viewing audience: You need to have an external monitor (properly calibrated, mind you) to see what the end result will really look like.
For non-linear editing systems such as Adobe Premiere Pro, Apple Final Cut Pro, Media 100 and others that means you need a video card that translates this information out to your external monitor and for that you need something like the AJA KONA LH/e.
AJA has been in the commercial film and video industry for decades and not only understands the needs of NLE editors but has also created a few of the standards that many use today for setting up video.
One of the benefits of the KONA is that it will take HD formats/signals and downscale them to SD-widescreen out to any monitor that has an RGB component input (not composite, which is not the same thing). Let's say for example you're working on a sequence that was shot in HD (of any format) but it's final output is to DVD. The only way you can view *beforehand* what your final output will look like is to actually see it on either an SD broadcast-monitor or, tube-type home TV set or a flat-panel TV. The KONA will automatically downscale the HD signal along with audio and send it out to your preferred viewing device and voila, you've got an exacting preview of your soon-to-be DVD content. Pretty neat, huh?
Of course using a external video card like the KONA has much more features and benefits than simply downscaling HD to SD, such as discrete XLR in's and out's for 2-channel audio, a software-based hard-disk tester to make sure you have enough speed on your single drives or RAID array to handle your edits and, it has a plethora of internal setups for making sure you get a properly balanced external monitor. And that's just a start.
AJA has been tightly partnered with Apple for it's KONA lineup and is constantly developing newer drivers for their cards making them forward and reverse-compatible with the greatest range of Mac Pro or G5 users.
There are competitive products on the market that sell for slightly less than the KONA series, however my experience has been that AJA tech support is much more accessible than those others and, their drivers tend to be more stable and released less often making the KONA platform more reliable, which in the time-intensive world of editing can make or break a production schedule.