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“Conan” Broadcasts Powered by AJA


When selecting equipment for Conan O’Brien’s highly anticipated return to late-night television, his production crew chose mini-converters from AJA Video Systems.

Over 90 units are in use to ensure the weekly, one-hour variety show runs on time, including the Hi5, HA5, HD10CEA, HD10C2 and HD10DA models. “Conan” is shot in front of a live studio audience in Burbank, Calif., then prepared for the east coast feed, which airs one hour after taping wraps.

The show features segments called ‘Conan Video Blog,’ where an AJA HA5 mini-converter pulls video signals from a laptop. The editing workflow uses AJA KONA 3 and KONA LHi capture cards, along with AJA VTR Xchange software for remote deck control via the KONA’s RS-422 interface.

13 60-inch LCD monitors hang above the audience’s seating area, and were originally rigged for an SD signal. When it was discovered that fluorescent lighting caused a roll in the picture, AJA Hi-5 units were brought in to convert the HD-SDI to HDMI, providing an HD feed and resolving the issue without the need to change the existing infrastructure.

"The needs of the show change every day -- with varying requirements for monitoring, computers, new camera feeds and sometimes even video material that guests bring onto the show,” said Chris Savage, lead camera utility for "Conan." "AJA's Mini-Converters provide us with the flexibility to accommodate whatever needs arise and the reliability that our quick turnaround production cycles depend upon."

Keycode Media designed and installed the edit system and server, and production equipment was set up by NEP Broadcasting.