I have pretty much settled on the Kona LH as my capture card of choice. The analogue I/O is a big plus. It will come in handy if we have any other non-DVCPRO HD footage to add to this that needs to be upconverted. Plus down the road if I get any other work that is on BetaSP, or needs to be captured or output to any analogue format (big possibility). So the card is a known.

What isn’t quite so clear is what drives to get, and how to monitor HD for color correction.

On the monitoring side, sure, I could go with the Decklink HD Link or the AJA HDP (just to note that the AJA option is $79 more than Decklink’s option) and another Dell 2405. I hear some people say it is very good, and close to what a CRT produces, and some who say that they’d never trust over a professional HD Monitor. Coming from a background of on-lining and color correction I tend to agree with the higher end equipment. I went to an open house of a post facility on Sunset Blvd. recently and got to witness the wonderment of the ecinemasystems HD LCD monitor, the DCM-23. If only I had $16,500 (or thereabouts…depending on the options you add)…for it looked DAMN good. Rivals the $43,000 Sony CRT I saw at the first post facility (in Santa Monica) I visited. So here’s what I decided that I’d do when it comes time to color correct. I will use the Kona LH and Decklink HD Link connected to another Dell 2405 to do a majority of the color correction. Then rent an HD monitor for a couple days for final finessing. I will most likely tackle this with the color correcting tools available in Final Cut Pro (3-way CC and others) and possibly Magic Bullet Editors 2 or Nattress Film Effects for the recreations. If I really feel like splurging, I might go with Color Finesse by Synthetic Aperature ($575) as I have done some playing with the demo and really like what it can do…but I would need a bit more training by a professional colorist familiar with this interface before I felt comfortable using it.

No onto hard drives. The ones I have been really looking at are the XServe Raid, the Burley 8-Bay rack mount SATA, the Firmtek external SATA, The Huge Systems Media Vault 320R and the Medea FCR2X. The XServe, the Huge Systems and the Medea are all preferred, as they are have either fibrechannel or ultra SCSI 2 connections that get me the 200MB/sec I’d need for uncompressed 10-bit. I have spoken with the Burley people, and they say that if I fill all eight slots with drives and Raid stripe them, then I’d be able to handle 10-bit uncompressed HD. And A few other external SATA boxes claim the same thing. I am still researching but wanted to get out all the models I was considering. If I had the money, I’d lean towards the Huge systems Media Vault. It is a good box at a great price. If price was no object, then of course the Apple or Medea RAIDs would be prominent on my mind, but I like the speed and cost factor the Media Vault has to offer. I might test a SATA Raid to see what it can do. I will try to arrange a demo from a couple local dealers.

Oh, and I might be testing and reporting on FW 800 drives from LaCie. I was contacted recently and asked to compare them to the G-Raid, as I have become quite a G-Raid touter. Look for that report soon.

UPDATE: I just received an advanced copy of Magic Bullet Editors 2 and am running a few tests as I type this. I will give my results VERY soon.