Indie filmmaker and Cinematiq Founder Aaron Owen understands the blood, sweat and tears that go into launching a film on the festival circuit. Inspired by a passion to help emerging talent, he formed Cinematiq in 2013, and brought John Crossley on board as Executive Producer. Together, the duo manages content for film festivals across America, in addition to offering transcoding, conversion, standardization and disc-based authoring services for indie filmmakers. To screen each film reliably at the highest quality, they've formulated a file-based workflow that banks on AJA Ki Pros for playback via venue projectors.
Cinematiq most recently deployed the workflow for the Wild & Scenic Film Festival in Nevada City, CA – marking their third consecutive collaboration with the organization. With the festival featuring nine pop-up venues and a touring component, Owen and Crossley began preparations several months prior. As films were accepted into the festival, the duo collected master QuickTime files from filmmakers, and then transcoded each film in order to prevent playback disruptions throughout the event. Once ready for primetime, Cinematiq loaded up the films on AJA KiStor drives in the festival’s desired order for HD playback. The duo then QC’ed (Quality Control) every film on the Ki Pros to ensure that the files were free from corrupt frames or additional artifacts.
Owen shared, “There are so many advantages and efficiencies to a file-based workflow like this. When we walk on site with our Ki Pros, we’re ready to project the films in 10-bit ProRes, confident that audiences will get a high quality viewing experience. They also give us the flexibility to make any changes to the lineup on the fly; we just log into the interface and re-order the playlist as needed.”
Cinematiq first implemented this pipeline three years ago alongside partners at the Wild & Scenic Film Festival. Since then, they’ve deployed it for several other productions, averaging one festival per month. Whether the Napa Valley Film Festival, San Francisco Jewish Film Festival, Big Bear Lake International Film Festival or Other Worlds Austin, each project requires different connection types, for which Ki Pro has come heavily into play. Its extensive range of professional connections allows Cinematiq to integrate into almost any venue environment.
“When we arrive on site at these festivals, we’re not always certain of the kinds of connections that we’re working with or might need, and the Ki Pro has been a huge lifesaver for us in that department,” Crossley shared. “If we plan to connect via component, but the projector doesn't work, we need a plan B and C, and Ki Pro gives us unparalleled flexibility to implement those plans; it’s one of the main reasons we chose it and continue to use it.”
Wherever the venue, Cinematiq sets up two identical KiStor drives and a backup Ki Pro chassis to prevent downtime in a worst-case scenario. “When you have a lot of eyeballs on something, Murphy’s Law would dictate that something will go wrong, but it hasn’t so far, which is awesome; the physical construction of the Ki Pro is so well-engineered and rock solid,” Owen said. “It’s really the only box in the industry that’s overbuilt to handle everything you need, and bulletproof in the field. Our Ki Pros have certainly been a worthwhile investment, not only for our clients, but also our company as a whole.”
About AJA Video Systems, Inc.
Since 1993, AJA Video has been a leading manufacturer of video interface technologies, converters, digital video recording solutions and professional cameras, bringing high-quality, cost-effective products to the professional, broadcast and post-production markets. AJA products are designed and manufactured at our facilities in Grass Valley, California, and sold through an extensive sales channel of resellers and systems integrators around the world. For further information, please see our website at www.aja.com.