First Day with the Ki Pro Mini on my AF100

I took delivery of my AJA Ki Pro Mini yesterday (I lucked out and found one at Adorama – they had two at the time, but I suspect the other one is already gone), and after ferreting out two CF cards that are fast enough to handle the ProRess422 (HQ) stream that the Mini will drop onto them, I took it to set this evening to shoot another scene for the “Piracy” trailer.

But before I did that, I made sure to do a couple of comparison tests with footage that was captured to the camera’s SD card. Below is a combined screen cap of the scopes in Final Cut Pro of frames that were recorded simultaneously.

The top image is if a frame that was recorded to the camera’s SD card via the AVCHD codec, than transcoded to Apple ProRes422 (HQ) with the FCP log and capture function. The bottom image is of a frame that was recorded to the AJA Ki Pro Mini from the camera’s HD-SDI port, and converted on the fly to ProRes422 (HQ) by the mini. Visually both clips were very similar, with the slight nod going of course to the HD-SDI frame. However, the real advantage to the native ProRes recording comes in post.

Both clips were dropped into the same FCP timeline and had the same [very] basic color correction filter applied to them. Note the difference in the histograms between the two after the color move was applied. The frame that was recorded with the Ki Pro Mini held together nicely, while the AVCHD frame broke apart immediately. Imagine how much worse it would be with larger color moves applied to it.

AJA Ki Pro Mini and Panasonic AVCHD post color data comparison
AVCHD>ProRes422 (HQ) on the top, and HD-SDI>ProRes422 (HQ) on the bottom, with the same simple color filter applied to each.

The AJA Ki Pro Mini is really easy to use on set. It automatically detects timecode in your SDI signal and starts recording when you hit the button on the camera. By my estimation, a 32GB card gets you about 20 minutes of storage. Not bad.

It’s also smaller than I thought it was going to be. It actually fits on the rails quite nicely behind the camera. One thing that I do find unsettling about it, though, is that it gets quite hot. That’s understandable, considering the amount of work it’s doing, converting uncompressed video to ProRes422 in real time. That takes a lot of horsepower. Still, though, when you pull the cards out of it, they can be very hot indeed. Not sure if that affects the life of the card or not.


AJA Ki Pro Mini with Panasonic AF100 video camera
AJA Ki Pro Mini with Panasonic AF100 video camera


AJA Ki Pro Mini with Panasonic AF100 video camera
AJA Ki Pro Mini with Panasonic AF100 video camera


Frame Grab from the feature length motion picture, "Piracy," currently in production
Frame Grab from the feature length motion picture, "Piracy," currently in production

Look for more Ki Pro Mini updates to come…

4 thoughts on “First Day with the Ki Pro Mini on my AF100”

  1. Thanks for sharing your experience. I think the comparison of your post production image quality is surely indicative to the ultimate need for the field recorder. I have also decided to go with the same camera and the same field recorder, but a bit confused about the power solution and mounting flexibility of the Ki Pro Mini, which would definitely be dependable on the field. You have written that, “it (Ki Pro Mini) automatically detects timecode in your SDI signal from the AG-AF100 and starts recording when you hit the button on the camera”, which implies that the need for any extra LTC timecode input via BNC is not needed in your case. Would you please further reveal this issue? I would also like to know your build details (specially the Ki Pro Mini mounting on the rod system, outdoor battery Power and connection details) if you really want to share some of your findings. Thanks again for your article.

    1. When the Ki Pro Mini is connected to the AF100 vis SDI, there is no need for additional TC delivery. The camera embeds TC in the SDI stream when the record button is pressed. The Ki Pro Mini detects this embedded TC and automatically starts recording. FYI, the auto-record function is an option in the menu settings. You can also set it to ignore the timecode and only record when the Record button on the Ki Pro Mini is pressed, instead.

      Also note that when you record from the SDI port, be sure to set your OSD-out option to off, otherwise you’ll get the A/V display recorded on your footage. I found this out the hard way. 🙂

      I have my Ki Pro Mini mounted to my camera via an old c-clamp that has an articulated 1/4″-20 post on the other end of it. I clamp one end to one of the rods, and screw the other end into the Ki Pro Mini’s mounting plate (a necessary option), and it works like a champ You can see photos of this setup in earlier blog posts. There is an adapter that allows mounting of the Ki Pro Mini mounting plate to rods, but I haven’t found out which one it is yet. It can be seen on the Sony EX1 that is used in the AJA Ki Pro Mini video on their website. Another option is to simply use an articulated arm, like a Noga or Bogen, to mount the recorder onto any one of the 1/4″ or 3/8″ standard threaded sockets that can be found on the AF100 body itself, or on any one of various mounting plates made by companies like Zacuto, Redrock Micro, etc. This will undoubtedly be a popular option.

      Anton Bauer has released a plate for the AF100 that will allow the camera to be powered by their batteries, which can also be used to power the Ki Pro Mini recorder simultaneously via a standard 4-pin power tap from the Anton Bauer plate. Ideally, you would have a mounting plate on each side of the Ki Pro Mini. On one side, attach the rod adapter so the recorder is mounted securely to the rods, and on the other side of the recorder, mount the Anton Bauer plate and battery to provide power and also some counterweight for hand-held shooting. This configuration can also be see in the AJA video for the Ki Pro Mini.

  2. Thanks for this. Really helped me out. My af100 and ki pro mini are working fine, but for some strange reason, I cannot record to the ki pro without an SD card in the camera. Have I missed a setting on the camera?

    thanks in advance

    1. You haven’t missed a setting. There is no camera that I know of that will let you initiate its record function without media in its deck or card slot. If you want to operate without an SD card in the camera, your only option is to manually hit the record button on the Ki Pro Mini while your camera is sending its live feed thru the SDI port. Personally, I like having an SD card for backup at all times, because sometimes, the Ki Pro Mini will trash a file or three if it drops power unexpectedly, if the battery dies or the power cable gets knocked out. I’ve had to rely on the SD backup a couple of times now.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *