Aurora Video’s PipeStudio

Aurora Video’s Pipestudio provides composite, component and S-Video, 10 bit SDI along with as analog audio and digital audio all in one package. An advantageous and time-saving feature is that all its outputs are simultaneously live without latency.

Aurora Video’s Pipestudio consists of the PCI card, breakout box (with 2meteres of cable), an installer disk, rack mount kit, desktop kit, Aurora faceplate and grey foam. The card is compact compared to the Igniter card coupled with a smaller size without a daughter card.

The installation in Dual 1.25 MDD G4 took a few minutes. Further, I installed the ATTO UL3S card connecting to a large media vault, and I installed keyspan serial pro card for G4 configuration alone. It provides up to four serial ports for connecting four decks, and the Pipe built with RS-422 allowing up to 5 decks. The keyspan cannot be installed in G5 PCI slots.

Having powered up, you can download version 3.0 (latest) of the driver and install it. If you have an earlier version of Aurora, you need to uninstall the Aurora product or the igniter, and freshly install the Aurora Video’s Pipestudio drivers. After restarting the computer, I checked the ‘about this mac’ ensuring that the computer saw the card.

System preferences window allows you to choose PipeStudio preference from the lime green Pipe icon in the pane titled ‘other’. Once the desktop output is enabled, Aurora Video’s Pipestudio allows you to view After Effects and QuickTime or Photoshop files by simply dragging them towards the NTSC monitor. It is a handy tool for creating graphics, as it is possible to view and edit with the NTSC monitor, and then import them to the NLE program. Even LiveType windows could be dragged over for checking graphic qualities on the screen.

The STILL FIELD CONTROL is a suitable option for clients. When both fields are checked, pausing at the wrong frame gives an interlacing effect, whereas turning to single field causes the Aurora Video’s Pipestudio to display one field provided the media file has been stopped. It also helps to check field related dropouts.

The Aurora Video’s Pipestudio card works well with American as well as Japanese NTSC standards. NTSC blacks in Japan are set as 7.5 with color burst frequency of 4.43MHz. In America, the standard is 7.5 with 3.58MHz as color burst. The NTSC MODE option helps to set appropriately.

GENLOCK CONTROL is useful for live studio setup. In case, you are editing a live sports event with FCP and Aurora Video’s Pipestudio, the Genlock mode can be used to time output from the PipeStudio to render integration with the surrounding without using the tape. The output can directly be sent to the switcher for playback. It will auto-detect the reference signal to lock the outputs rightly. COMPONENT VIDEO OUTPUT is the option to choose between YUV and RGB depending on the monitor or deck that is connected.

With the UNBALANCED AUDIO OUTPUTS option, Analog allows going to the board in the current setup, or to the analog deck. SPDIF allow sending SPDIF audio to digital decks like Sony DSR2000 or an outside card with SDPIF input.

With the BALANCED AUDIO OUTPUTS option, Analog allows going to the board in the current setup, or to the analog deck, and AES/EBU allows pumping out four channels of the balanced AES digital to the digital decks like Sony A500, or an outside device having balanced AES input.

Eight channels of 24 bit embedded digital audio are always available in SDI outputs. Thus, you can archive the project to the D-88 machine or send it to the digital board to monitor each channel separately, or send four audio channels to BVW series Betacam VTR, or to the Digital beta deck. All this functionality is expected to be available in the upcoming versions of QuickTime and FCP.

The Aurora Video’s Pipestudio installer loads presets for integration in FCP. They include SDI for DV output and input, SDI 8 and 10 bit uncompressed, a COMPONENT 8 and 10 bit uncompressed, a COMPONENT for DV output and input, an S-VIDEO 8 and 10 bit uncompressed, an S-VIDEO for DV output and input, COMPOSITE 8 and 10 bit uncompressed, and COMPOSITE for DV output and input. It also supports Apples SD DV/DVCPRO 50 codecs.

The Aurora Video’s Pipestudio can be plugged in with one SDI input, one Component input, one Composite input, two AES/EBU inputs, two Balanced Analog Inputs and two Unbalanced Analog inputs. Its outputs are simultaneous giving two SDI outputs, one Component output, one Composite output, two AES/EBU outputs, two Balanced Analog outputs and two Unbalanced Analog outputs.

In a small studio, D-beta, DVCAM, Beta SP and VHS can be constantly hooked in or out of Aurora Video’s Pipestudio. An RS-422 patch bay to control any of them will serve as a time saver. As the whole A to D conversion has been built in, no converters are required.

The Aurora Video’s Pipestudio is professionally designed to function in a real time environment. With an editing system set up with fast hard drives, this card in combination with FCP gives excellent results. The modest Aurora team deserves 4.5 out of 5 marks for the product. An RS-422 cable included in the package would help deck inter connectivity.

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