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Tribeca Film Festival finds new playback solution for 18 theaters

AJA Video Systems’ Ki Pro tapeless recorder played a key role at the 2011 Tribeca Film Festival, handling digital playback of trailers and preshow content for all 400 screenings in the festival’s 18 theaters. Host to 430,000 attendees, the Tribeca Film Festival (TFF) was held April 20 through May 1 in New York City.

TFF technical director Karl Mehrer and his team were responsible for the receipt and QC of festival films (on film or in HDCAM format), coordinating technical upgrades and load-ins for the participating theatres and the smooth operation of all screenings. Mehrer also coordinated the playback of preshow content and trailers — reels that contained one 32-minute clip that played while audiences were seated and as many as 30 different clips used for trailers and screen backgrounds during panel discussions.

In past years this content was projected from film, DVD, HDCAM and other formats. “I knew there was a digital solution out there that would make it easier to deliver this programming to the screen,” Mehrer said. “Part of the trick was finding something that was easy for projectionists to integrate and use, that would give us high quality, and be flexible to handle last minute changes. Ki Pro was the perfect fit.”

AJA Ki Pro is a tapeless recording device with flexible SD/HD-SDI, HDMI and analog inputs and outputs, enabling it to both record and play back 10-bit Apple ProRes digital files and interface with a range of professional video devices.

Mehrer’s team created clip reels for each theater on removable drives for each of the 18 AJA Ki Pros. The Ki Pros were installed in each of the theaters, connected to HD switchers, and fed preshow content and trailers that were projected in high-quality HD.