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Wednesday, 18 September 2013 01:46

IBC News: AJA TruZoom Extracts ROI from 4K Cameras

Written by  Gordon Meyer
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aja-corvid-truzoom-mlb-networkFor live sports events, avid fans always want to get up close and personal to watch select plays. Well, AJA Video Systems has a new tool to make that dream a reality, at least for technical directors. AJA TruZoom software enables users of AJA Corvid Ultra to extract highly detailed region-of-interest (ROI) from 4K video. In the analog days, this would be the high-tech equivalent of electronically creating a picture-perfect artificial close-up by using an optical printer to enlarge select portions of the frame. 

The TruZoom application controls AJA Corvid Ultra with TruScale hardware, which supports 4K/2K/UHD/HD/dual-link and SD workflows to produce scaled output video at 1080p, 720p or 1080i. AJA TruZoom software allows customers to rapidly keyframe scaled elements onto a timeline from 4K sources to deliver “incredible image quality.” The MLB Network’s cable sports channel will be one of the first users of this new technology. “In sports production, replay clarity is paramount,” reports Brad Cheney, MLB Network’s director of engineering. “Fans want a replay that is clearly definitive. With TruZoom, we can capture the entire image and then enlarge plays in the same frame, so viewers can verify for themselves how close the game of baseball can be when a runner steals a base or a ball flies over the fence. The 4K source imaging provides us an extraordinary look at the game of baseball, and the quality that AJA has been able to reproduce is far and away better than any other scaling solution we’ve seen. The best feature about the 4K imaging with TruZoom is that we can see close plays in a much better light than we’ve ever been able to before, and offer our viewers an unprecedented look at the game of baseball.”

The MLB Network uses Canon C500 and Sony F55 cameras to shoot first base and second base on a preset. The camera signal is delivered over fiber to an OB truck where it’s converted back to electrical video and plugged into the AJA Corvid Ultra with TruScale card, which is housed in a custom configured HP Z820 Dual Xeon 3.10GHz workstation using an NVIDIA Quadro K4000 GPU. The workstation is equipped with an internal SSD RAID array made up of eight Samsung 840 Pro 512GB SSD drives connected to an Areca RAID controller. “MLB Network expressed interest when we first announced Corvid Ultra, and their feedback has helped shape TruZoom into a viable application that is incredibly user friendly for camera operators and editors alike,” says AJA President Nick Rashby. “We’re thrilled to see the applications of TruZoom in live sports broadcast, and anticipate additional inventive uses across customers in live-event production, professional AV, broadcast and film.”

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