Pro AV Catalog
180 Litton Drive
Grass Valley, CA 95945
United States

AJA Video

Since 1993, AJA Video has been a leading manufacturer of video interface technologies, converters, digital video recording solutions and professional cameras, bringing high-quality, cost-effective products to the professional broadcast, video, post production and ProAV markets. AJA products are designed and manufactured in Grass Valley, California.

Model: Ki Pro GO2

Ki Pro GO2 is a portable multi-channel H.265 (HEVC)* and H.264 (AVC) recorder offering up to 4-channels of simultaneous HD or SD recording to qualified USB drives and/or network storage with redundant
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CuePilot on Helping Clients Perfect Live Productions
Posted on Wednesday, January 10, 2024
CuePilot on Helping Clients Perfect Live Productions

Jan. 10, 2024 - In live production, there are no second chances, which is why CuePilot takes great care in deploying innovative technology solutions for its clients, ensuring they never miss a beat. Based in Copenhagen, Denmark, the team behind the technology has helped execute more than a thousand live shows viewed by millions of people around the world. CuePilot Specialist Chris Abbott joined us for a conversation about the company’s latest happenings and how it’s leveraging AJA I/O technology in its hardware systems to help clients communicate live broadcast and event show plans visually in real-time across production departments. 

What is CuePilot’s specialty? 

CuePilot develops solutions that help live production teams plan and execute their broadcasts and events with optimal precision without getting in the way of the creative. We combine off-the-shelf hardware with proprietary software to help clients bring their live musical stage performances, reality TV competition broadcasts, and major corporate events to life. While all the action is unfolding on stage, CuePilot’s technology is driving visuals behind the scenes, cueing teams, and ensuring that the type of shots the director is trying to achieve are as tightly planned and tweaked as an edited music video. It’s like a symphony conductor, helping every part of the production team to work in harmony. 

Tell us more about CuePilot’s origins. 

CuePilot was originally created by our company founder to solve a challenge that he kept running up against in the field. Productions contain so many elements, from music to graphics, choreography, video, and more, and everything must be in perfect position and timing for the show to come together, so he wanted to create a better way to communicate to the camera team exactly what’s happening in real time. CuePilot does this and more. It lets you build an event production plan, communicate it, perfect it in rehearsals, and then execute it live; there's nothing like it on the market today. 

Who largely uses CuePilot, and how do you engage with customers? 

Our client pool is diverse, and our tech is used on global productions spanning Europe, the U.S., Australia, and beyond. We do everything from talent competitions in traditional TV broadcast environments to classical music stage performances and corporate events. Our team has also had a hand in concert tours for artists like Rosalia and the Eurovision song contest, which we’ve been involved with for a decade now. Any production with multiple staged elements and a need for precision stands to benefit from CuePilot. 

The way we interact with clients really depends on the history and their needs. Some of our customers have used CuePilot for years, and they’ve become part of our development process, providing ideas for features that we'd love to deliver as well. We also have others just getting started and learning how best to leverage it, so we help guide them in this process.  

How have CuePilot solutions evolved since the original concept was developed? 

What began as a tool for directors has quickly grown into a cross-production tool; everyone uses it, from the LED content team to the lighting programmers and directors. CuePilot hardware and software solutions make it easy for broadcast and live event production teams to put LED screen content renders into the timeline, communicate what's going to happen when filming a wide choreography shot, and more. The entire show plan and all its elements are available in one central place, so everyone has insight into what’s happening across departments. We offer two options: a permanent solution and a more portable option. 

Designed for studio and truck environments, our Mac Studio Production Server is a Mac studio rack mounted in a three unit enclosure alongside an AJA Corvid 44 12G BNC multi-format I/O card, which is how the solution communicates the plan visually. Four SDI outputs for four different CueScreens enable a customized view, helping generate the live video required to distribute the plan in a broadcast environment. This makes the software visible to the production gallery. Corvid 44 12G BNC also allows CuePilot to integrate with other production hardware over the serial connection, which is used to cut cameras. It further provides the time code and serial needed to control the switchers and to send frame accurate video signals with our CueScreens; that’s important because production equipment in the production gallery can be slow. We can just check the time code, pre-render, and send it out, cueing information a little bit early to prevent delays. 

Our mobile option is the MacBook Pro production kit, which includes an AJA Io X3 Thunderbolt™ 3 video I/O box integrated. Prior to Io X3, we used different PCI cards and plugged various technology in and out, but Io X3 has streamlined the solution, providing everything we need in a small form factor that fits into a 1RU alongside a digital recorder. Being able to plug a laptop in over Thunderbolt with Io X3 gives our clients the video output for all four of the CueScreens, a new feature in CuePilot 8, proper timecode reference so we can ensure everything is in sync, and RS-422, which lets users cut over serial for the switchers operated over serial. Time code input and output ensure frame accurate sync. 

Why did you decide to integrate AJA gear into your solutions? 

As a small team, it’s important that our technology can be easily deployed and will hold up in the field, which made AJA an obvious fit. We also knew its SDK would make it easy to develop both our portable and permanent solutions with the same toolset. The fact that AJA is also awesome about delivering updates that answer shifts in the field played a role in the decision too; if a Corvid update adds support for a new resolution, it’s easier for us to just install the update rather than build that functionality from scratch. The kit AJA has built for one generation will work in the next, and the SDK is so flexible, which means our solutions can grow with AJA. 

Tell us more about your role, an average day on the job, and what you enjoy most about it. 

I’m a CuePilot Specialist, so I help customers realize their potential with our solutions in a production environment. There’s no real average day because every production is different. One day, I might be in the production gallery alongside the director, guiding them through the changes they’re making, whereas other days, I might be training a team of people who are working in the software themselves.  

I love seeing a plan executed without a hitch. I’ll never forget watching fireworks and a fountain and projection show unfold in perfect timing with the Burj Khalifa as the backdrop. The team spent months planning the spectacle, so to see it unfold so seamlessly with CuePilot was so rewarding. Watching people deliver their best work with the help of our technology makes the job so satisfying.