Sterling Group uses AJA’s Ki Pro GO and Ki Pro Ultra 12K for on-site live event recording, valuing its reliablility, video quality, plus options to record to a NAS and simultaneously record backups.

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Because live events only happen once, real-time monitoring and redundant recording are crucial to live production workflows. They are also central to the operations of Sterling Event Group, a technical event production and rental company in the UK, who supply sound, lighting, video, sets, stages and other live event production services to corporate, private, public, sporting and live music event productions, locally and overseas.

When working on a project like the 2024 British Small Animal Veterinary Association's (BSAVA) Congress in Manchester, held 21-23 March, Sterling Head of Vision Joseph Timmons often uses AJA Ki Pro GO and Ki Pro Ultra 12G recorders within their workflows.

Multi-channel, Multi-format Recording

"Ki Pro GO especially suits HD video recording for us because we can record synchronised, multi-channel video with various encoding settings, which is a great advantage," he said. "The fact that we can use regular 'off the shelf' media, combined with Ki Pro GO’s ability to generate compact clip file sizes, means the client can access footage immediately after an event finishes. It reduces the hours we'd otherwise spend collecting and transferring event footage to our client by a large margin, especially when producing an event like BSAVA."

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The BSAVA conference and exhibition features a programme of diverse, individual sessions and presentations, attracting veterinary professionals from across the UK. Throughout the event, Sterling produced specialised sessions held in small breakout spaces, as well as larger-scale panels and talks in 1,000-seat halls. Joseph set up AJA Ki Pro GOs to record live footage in H.264 and content from nine separate event spaces to a centralised NAS drive using the devices’ network (SMB) recording feature.

Extended Recording and Redundancy

This functionality uses external storage to extend the device’s recording capabilities. A NAS system is connected to the Ki Pro GO over a Gigabit Ethernet network and can then be used as the primary storage location or as secondary backup media. Ki Pro GO auto-detects the SMB dialect of the user’s NAS system and self-configures to match. Recording to NAS and local USB storage at the same time is another option – it gives Sterling the opportunity to set up shared storage without losing portability.

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The centralised configuration at BSAVA meant that collecting and distributing physical media from each event space was not an issue, and that Joseph was able to deliver footage immediately to off-site editors. With the most recent firmware update for the device, his team was also able to remotely monitor all live event videos in real time as an extra layer of quality control. The built-in Ki Pro GO support for redundant recording to USB media also gave the team a physical backup, should the need arise.

Both Ki Pro versions can record to four channels simultaneously, and in single-channel mode the Ki Pro Ultra 12G serves as a 4K/UltraHD/2K/HD Apple ProRes or Avid DNxHR recorder as well as a player.

No Complacency

"We're a fan of Ki Pro’s approach overall, be it the Ki Pro GO for an event like BSAVA or the Ki Pro Ultra 12G, when the client may be working with 4K/UltraHD," said Joseph. "These devices are extremely reliable and deliver high-quality video, two of the most important features we could ask for. It's also important to have variable recording settings as these devices do, so that our team can adapt to the requirements of a particular project."

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As for the future, Sterling Event Group has grown considerably over the last several years and plans to continue scaling to accommodate new growth. As it does, Joseph is paying close attention to trends like AV over IP and higher resolution workflows, especially as demand for both steadily increases among its client base.

He remarked, "While we still see live event signal flow running predominantly in HD, the demand for 4K/UltraHD is rising. AV over IP is very likely to help improve transmission of high-bandwidth standards, as well as improve interoperability, versatility and reliability. Resisting complacency is one of our key tenets, so as we evolve, we plan to continue using equipment that meets our high standards, like the Ki Pros."