IBC 2012: AJA’s Corvid Ultra Card Enables Real-time HD Frame Extraction From 4K Frame

AJA Video Systems added to the 4K fire at IBC2012 with the introduction of Corvid Ultra card, which promises to not only aid in 4K filmmaking but also create the ability to easily extract and scale pristine HD images from a portion of the 4K frame in real time during a live broadcast.

Corvide Ultra delivers high-quality I/O, processing, and scaling for multiformat 4K/2K and HD/Dual-link/SD workflows. First previewed as a technology demonstration codenamed Riker at the 2011 NAB Show, Corvid Ultra features support for 2K and 4K DI workflows as well as high-quality scaling capabilities for all resolutions.

“Everyone is trying to figure out how to make 4K workable and manageable today,” says Product Marketing Manager Bryce Button. “If you are a broadcaster, you are not going to be able to broadcast 4K today. But the broadcasters are really interested in using these cameras within [the HD workflow]. That is where Corvid Ultra comes in.”

TruScale Key to Ultra Workflow
Corvid Ultra’s new TruScale arbitrary-scaling–engine option allows high-quality up- or down-scaling of any raster from tiny Web video to 4K. TruScale is real-time and keyframeable, allowing motion video to be efficiently resized while maintaining pristine image quality.

In live sports production, this creates the opportunity for real-time pan-and-scan of 4K to HD. Corvid Ultra can be expanded with up to two TruScale cards for multistream scaling of up to 4K images.

“You can shoot this wider image and then choose what you want to scale out of it,” says Button. “Because you can send out multiple SDI outputs, you are effectively getting two different camera angles out of the same wide shot. For sports, that is huge because even the best cameraman will sometimes be off and miss a key moment. You can go through and scale it and move it around to take the portion of the frame that you want.”

For example, if a key moment during a Premier League football match or NFL game came down to a matter of inches (for example, a near goal or player’s stepping out of bounds), the production team could use this technology to select a portion of the overall 4K image and extract a hi-res image of that specific player during the moment in question.

Availability and Price Point
The card also supports high frame rates (48p and 60p), 4K and stereoscopic workflows, onboard debayering support, and two expandable card bays. Corvid Ultra works with a host computer via its eight-lane PCIe 2.0 interface card, which tethers to the 2RU Corvid Ultra chassis via a 3-meter high-speed PCIe cable.

Corvid Ultra will be available soon priced at US$7,995 (with PCIe card and cable) with the TruScale option card available soon at US$3,495. According to Bryce, AJA has already had initial discussions with major sports broadcasters regarding Corvid Ultra, and he expects to announce “a lot of partners on this within the next few months.”

Among AJA’s other announcements at IBC:

  • The Corvid 24 video I/O card, which supports up to
 four independent channels of video and embedded audio capture or output on a single PCIe card
  • Version 2.0 software for the FS2 compact 1RU dual-channel universal frame synchronizer and format converter, which adds a DVI signal scaler with region of interest position parameters
  • Several enhancements to the Ki Pro family of tapeless video-recording devices
  • The KUMO 3232, a new compact SDI router with 32 inputs and 32 outputs in a small, 2RU form factor
  • New price reductions for more than a dozen of its HD Mini-Converters
  • T-TAP compact, lightweight HD-SDI and HDMI Thunderbolt-powered video device, which launched at the NAB Show and is now shipping.

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