PIX240: Sound and Video, friends 4 ever – 2011

“The PIX 240 was our first video product. We (perhaps naively) thought we could parlay our digital recording and timecode expertise into a new market: video. We fielded calls almost daily about timecode and how to sync up sound with video. We figured – why not record both on one device? I could never convince camera manufacturers to integrate decent audio inputs. We decided to sort of be the camera ourselves and record our own high-quality video along with our very high-quality audio, eliminating the need for timecode. There were tons of nice cameras with great sensors spitting out uncompressed video via SDI, but the internal (tape or card) recording on the cameras was terrible. I knew that we could record the rates we needed to 2.5” drives reliably, but just needed to get a license from Apple to implement ProRes on an FPGA. I approached them several times but was told that Aja had an exclusive. I hired the engineering firm Atterotech (Fort Wayne, TX), whose engineers knew both audio and video. They found a company who manufactured an odd 360 core processor which somehow had an Apple license, so we went that route. Atterotech and I designed the hardware together – I drafted behind these very talented engineers until I learned all the ins and outs of designing video. Mike Lawson (Mechanical Engineering) designed the chassis and the docking 2.5” HDD caddy. He and I spent some time working on the cooling of this product and utilized a large-diameter, slow spinning fan on the back. It was utterly silent and cooled the massive multi-core processor well. The video topped out at 1080p30 and we recorded in either ProRes or DNxHD. We introduced the product thinking we had a hit on our hands, and we did. People still tell us they think the PIX 240 was one of the best products we ever produced.”