PBS ‘Antiques Roadshow’ goes tapeless with AJA Video Ki Pro

The PBS hit television series “Antiques Roadshow” used nearly a dozen Ki Pro tapeless recording devices from AJA Video Systems to capture Season 15, which premiered on Jan. 3. It is the first season that the show has used a file-based, tapeless acquisition workflow.

In its previous three seasons, the show shot 1080i and captured on videotape, recording to Sony HDCAM decks. To streamline post production by eliminating the digitizing step and move toward a fully file-based workflow, the show opted to capture digitally with AJA Ki Pro.

Ki Pro is a portable tapeless device that records native Apple ProRes 422 QuickTime media, which editors can access directly in their Apple Final Cut Pro or Avid Media Composer systems.

For its 15th season, the production shot with four HD 1080i cameras, all ISO’d, feeding into four Ki Pros housed in a mobile unit (a fifth Ki Pro captured the line cut). The crew shot for 10-12 hours straight, stopping only to change drives. Five more Ki Pros were used for backup, and one remained at WGBH’s editing suite back in Boston and was used to reformat drives for the next city’s shoot.

The show’s producers said the Ki Pro workflow saved valuable time and eliminated significant equipment rental and tape stock costs during the production. Tape changes that used to take about seven minutes every hour were eliminated.

Now the production can change all 10 drives in two minutes, and that usually only has to happen twice over the course of the day — giving capacity of under three-and-a-half hours of record time on every drive.