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DNF Creates Tactile Controller for AJA’s Ki Pro Recorders

The pressures of production won’t tolerate the temerity of a touchscreen, so DNF gave us real buttons to control AJA’s Ki Pro recorders.

“In this era of virtualizing, technology tends to move away from hardware,” began Dan Fogel, CTO at DNF Controls during our one-on-one interview, “but designers tend to forget that humans need to touch things. Sometimes a touchscreen or a mouse and keypad aren’t sufficient because they force you to focus your attention on their surface. With tactile buttons, your fingers do the talking.”

That’s why at the 2017 NAB Show, DNF (which Fogel insists stands for “Darn Nice Folks”) is debuting an Ethernet-based, button-centric control panel, the new ST600-KIPRO, designed exclusively for AJA Video System’s Ki Pro family of file based recording and playback devices.

As you can imagine, the ST600-KIPRO will be on display at both the DNF and the AJA booth exhibits.

“We needed to use the Ethernet interface in order to achieve clip control on the Ki Pro devices,” Fogel said. “You could go wireless, but for as crucial a function as recording deck control, you really need the reliability of a wired connection.”

AJA's Ki PRo Quad file-based recorder.

AJA's Ki PRo Quad file-based recorder.

All four of AJA’s Ki Pro models are supported, including the 4K/UltraHD/2K/HD HFR Ki Pro Ultra unit with fiber connectivity, its non-fiber cousin Ki Pro Rack, an HD/SD-SDI rackmount edition, the Ki Pro Quad 4K/UltraHD/2K/HD camera-mountable recorder and the compact Ki Pro Mini HD/SD camera-mountable recorder.

“The goal behind this controller is: ‘Simple Stupid’”, laughs Fogel. “It does what you need to accomplish without a steep learning curve. When you look at it, you see what it’s supposed to do. And it does it.”

DNF’s ST600-KIPRO supports up to four AJA recorders with full IP controls for record, play, stop, rewind, fast forward and jog.

Using a dedicated Web page for the metadata, the ST600-KIPRO can also create, name and record clips as well as view, select, load and play from a user-specified timecode location.

“Depending on your workflow, you have options,” Fogel explained. “You can just control the recorders by hitting the buttons, or through the Web screen you can create clips, name them and manipulate them.”

Tactile and simple, but if you are under production pressure, also downright clever.

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