March 20, 2023 - In an era of widespread streaming, viewers have come to expect a high level of quality from content providers, whether sharing a large-scale corporate event, short form videos on social media, or live concerts. To help clients deliver polished video, technology and services provider Hash Pixel develops and implements workflows for streaming and broadcast projects. Founded in 2020 and based in Beijing, China, the company also offers DIT support for commercials. With an ever-shifting range of requirements for projects, Hash Pixel relies on AJA gear for its versatility and stability, and was an early adopter of AJA ColorBox, which has proven essential as HDR production demand has taken off. Recently, we sat down with Hash Pixel CTO Hugo Wang to learn more about the young media company and its projects.
Briefly introduce us to Hash Pixel.
We provide technical services and solutions for a range of projects, including large-scale events, such as HUAWEI CONNECT, as well as streaming HUAWEI PGC e-commerce, "You Came with the Light" TikTok concert, the gaming finals for JJ Cup Doudizhu (Fight the Landlord), the feature film "Sacrifice," and an announcement for Chinese bicycle-sharing service Hellobike. Our streaming events usually include sending video to an internet platform, like TikTok, BiliBili, Douyu, and WeChat video channels. A handful of technicians form the backbone of our team.
What role does AJA gear play at your company?
AJA products are extremely stable. I have a KONA 3G that I bought in 2012 and it is still working to this day. Because of this, purchasing AJA products ultimately saves you time and money. Each product consistently surprises us with its versatility. Since our business at Hash Pixel involves different industries, we have different clients and target audiences. For remote IP production and SD-WAN, we have our own IP video solutions, which allow us to remotely adjust the color of content via ColorBox. Our control panel is located in Beijing with our own server, but we use ColorBox to easily adjust parameters on live imagery and the resultant files.
Our full range of AJA gear includes Ki Pro Ultra 12G, Ki Pro GO, Ki Pro Rack, KONA 4, Io 4K Plus, Io X3, UDC, Hi5-4K-Plus, U-TAP SDI, U-TAP HDMI, KUMO 1616, and FS-HDR.
When did you start using ColorBox?
We learned about ColorBox through our AJA distributor Esan and are honored to be one of the first ColorBox users in China. We needed a solution to support HDR workflows and heard that it was a high-performance color management solution that can be utilized for different color transform needs in live broadcasting, live event production, and post-production. ColorBox really fits into our workflow, the price is reasonable, and it supports 12G-SDI. It is an all-in-one ideal solution.
How are you using ColorBox?
We connect ColorBox with the PGM signal from a video switcher, convert color, and transmit the output to our recording and broadcasting department. ColorBox supports a full series of HDR and SDR conversions and our DIT can easily download, adjust, and save the settings. An added bonus is that the signal's metadata is preserved in ColorBox's SDI output, so it really puts our minds at ease using it in conjunction with QTAKE.
As 4K streaming and recording in live production workflows have become more common, our kit that supports 12G-SDI has become essential. With ColorBox, it's easier for us to manage different color grading needs across versions of content and higher resolution productions, thanks to the frame store function. This function allows us to screenshot directly from the lens and capture metadata. In film production, live 4K monitoring for DIT is also enabled.
Describe how you're using other AJA tools in production.
With FS-HDR, we can do color conversion, frame synchronization, and AES, Madi, and SDI audio embedding and dis-embedding. It serves different functions in one single device. For us, we really like a device that is compact and has multiple features to fulfill our production needs.
We also rely on AJA's Hi5-4K-Plus to correctly transmit SDI HDR signals from our color software to our HDMI reference monitor for HDR production. I really love the fact that users are able to see all the parameters - signal input and output from the Mini-Config managing software, and the settings are clear and detailed on the UI.
We use AJA's Io 4K Plus with QTAKE software on Mac. AJA's Io 4K Plus is not only really stable but most importantly, it perfectly supports SDI-embedded metadata like HANC and VANC, across different video camera brands. We often use it alongside AJA's KUMO 1616-12G router, which is surprisingly thin in size and makes system integration very easy. AJA's gear is perfectly compatible with QTAKE's software, which makes it effortless to make changes on KUMO via QTAKE's system.
AJA ColorBox is a compact, high-performance converter for color managed workflows designed to meet the conversion needs of broadcast, live events, and on-set applications. Supporting Standard Dynamic Range (SDR), High Dynamic Range (HDR), and Wide Color Gamut (WCG) signals, it utilizes 12G-SDI and HDMI 2.0 for singer wire 4K/UltraHD HDR up to 4:2:2 10-bit 60p or 4:4:4 12-bit 30p with a unique color processing pipeline. ColorBox includes processing pipeline modes from Colorfront and NBCU LUTs, as well as a powerful AJA Color Pipeline. ColorBox also offers licensable upgrade options for advanced color managed workflows, including BBC HLG LUTs and the ORION-CONVERT engine. www.aja.com/colorbox