Sorting through and transcoding the myriad forms of source material into post production is a major challenge, but axle ai has come up with a clever, mid-priced solution
In keeping with their “Radically Simple” philosophy, axle ai has developed a browser-based, Artificial Intelligence (AI) enhanced, media management and transcode system intended for small to medium sized productions.
It’s called axle ai Gear, and because it uses the computing power of Apple’s newest version of the Mac mini, released on November 7, 2018, it can be afforded by almost any serious content creator.
“Just a week or so ago, Apple brought out an upgrade to their Mac mini with enough horsepower to run our software,” Sam Bogoch, CEO of axle ai (previously “axle Video”), began during our exclusive interview. “Historically, media management has been somewhat of a science project, but our goal has been to make it not only affordable but also ‘radically simple’.”
The new Mac mini comes in two versions: one with a 3.6GHz quad-core Intel Core i3 processor, 8GB DDR4 RAM and a 128GB SSD (£799/$799) and its bigger brother with a 3.0GHz 6-core Intel Core i5 (configurable to the i7 processor) with Turbo Boost up to 4.1GHz, 8GB DDR4 RAM and a 256GB SSD (£1,099/$1,099).
Importantly, these new models feature four Thunderbolt 3 USB-C ports, two USB-3 ports, an HDMI 2.0 port, a Gigabit Ethernet port (upgradeable to 10Gb) and a 3.5mm audio jack
The Mac mini has no screen, no keyboard, no speakers. All you are paying for is processing power. Click to enlarge.
“We configure the Mac mini with our software to make a turnkey system called axle ai Gear,” Bogoch explained, “and we use only the fastest processor configuration of the Mac mini with the 10 Gb Ethernet connector, which can be down shifted to 1 Gb if that is the level of network configuration the customer has installed.”
There are already 500 customers world wide running axle ai software on more expensive Mac platforms such as Mac Pros or iMac Pro. But this new configuration brings the price down below what the previous platform itself might have cost.
The largest configuration axle ai currently offers is:
Axle ai Gear 2, which includes 2 Mac minis – one running axle ai 2018 AI-capable, browser-based media management software, with a 5 user license; axle ai’s Advanced Transcode module with support for R3D and ARRI as well as other 4K formats; the Intel Core i7 processor, Apple’s Mac OS Mojave operating system--and a second Mac mini running: axle ai’s new connectr workflow automation software, all under Apple’s Mac OS Mojave operating system.
axle ai Gear 2 is priced from $9,995.
You can also get axle ai Gear 1 which is the same set of software but with a 2 user license and runs on a single Mac mini. ($5,995)
Each of them come with 8 GB external hard drive, 2 for for the ai Gear 2 and one for the ai Gear 1.
But what about that AI capability? It seems everyone is throwing the concept of Artificial Intelligence around these days, but axle ai is serious about it.
“Our axle ai Gear software includes options for facial, object, image and character recognition and even phonetic speech-to-text conversion,” Bogoch said. “That lets you search your incoming material with very little operator involvement.”
The results get outputted as an XML file which almost any other system can read. And, since axle’s interface runs in a web browser, it works with any mix of Macs, PCs, and mobile devices (iOS or Android).
axle ai may have discovered a significant need in a market segment of the digital creation community that has been long under-served at this price point.
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