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HomeIndustry SectorFilmManolo Rojas Chooses AJA Signal Converters for True Blacks in High-Resolution Monitoring

Manolo Rojas Chooses AJA Signal Converters for True Blacks in High-Resolution Monitoring


Manolo Rojas
Manolo Rojas
Manolo Rojas has been working as a Steadicam operator for more than 22 years on high-profile feature film, commercial and music video projects including Godzilla, Don Jon and Walking with Dinosaurs 3D.

Part of Rojas’ function on set is to deliver signal conversion from the camera’s SDI output to HDMI for monitoring. On a recent shoot that required monitoring live picture from 1080I/24 camera video signal, he noticed that the gradation of black shades within the frame was getting crunched. This is a problematic by-product of many signal converters when dealing with live picture monitoring from ARRI Alexa and RED Epic cameras.

In order to get to the bottom of the problem, Rojas went to Los Angeles-based BandPro Film and Digital to conduct side-by-side tests of every major signal converter on the market.

“Directors and DPs need to see a full range of blacks in live-picture monitoring to make sure that lighting and camera angles are where they need to be,” explained Rojas. “It’s my job as a Steadicam operator to deliver that to them through my wireless system. From the same signal, using a pattern generator to create test patterns, I ran signal conversion tests with converters from Data Video, Blackmagic, Atomos and the AJA Hi5 and AJA HA5 Mini Converters. The AJA Hi5 and HA5 were the only converters that could handle pristine picture and audio while delivering true blacks.”

Rojas works closely with the VTR operator on set to make sure that the process of getting the signal out of the camera’s SDI to monitors for playback is seamless. There are several steps to making this happen, and how the signal is converted is key to delivering the best possible picture for live monitoring of 1080 or high-resolution video signals.

“The AJA Hi5 Mini-Converter and HA5 Mini-Converters are a bit more expensive than some of the market alternatives, but it’s a small price to pay to ensure that I’m providing my clients with the best possible picture and most reliable kit out there,” said Rojas.

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