This blog post is not for everyone.
If you own an AJA Ki Pro recorder or plan on buying one, I suggest reading this page. If you found this page because you are having trouble updating the firmware on your Ki Pro, you have come to the right place. I had a hard time finding information on the internet that provided step-by-step instructions on how to do it. Ultimately, I had to call the company direct and speak to a technician.
This instruction will be based on getting the Ki Pro dialed in using an Apple. If you own a PC, you should probably buy a Mac.
The AJA Ki Pro is an amazing device. It is an Apple ProRes hard drive recorder. It is simple to use and it works really well as a stand-alone deck for capturing an HD or SD signal. It deals with all flavors of HD (including 1080p) and it converts to all formats. You can up-convert, down-convert or cross-convert footage in real-time to the drive or just as a pass-thru.
My primary use for the Ki Pro is for capturing straight off a camera’s sensor into ProRes 422 (HQ) 1080p. This provides excellent post work-flow and color grading because of the amount of information collected. I use the Ki Pro to capture the uncompressed HD SDI output from the Phantom high speed cameras instead of dealing with the raw .cine files.
The 250GB hard drive module has never failed me and it provides hours of storage. You can buy additional hard drive modules up to 500GB for more space and flexibility.
I have been running an older 1.1 version of the firmware on my Ki Pro since last year. Recently, AJA have updated the firmware to fix a few problems and add new functionality to the device. I have tried to flash the chips on the Ki Pro a few times without any success. I was confused on how the firmware update was even applied. I wished that I could just dump the .bin file to the Ki Pro hard drive and install it from there. But, I needed to use cat5 cable and connect the unit to a computer network!
I called AJA and got the information I needed. It was actually very simple. I was very upset when I found out that the Ki Pro still does
NOT support the express34 card slots on the front of the deck. That was why I wanted the new 2.0 version firmware. I thought I would be able to use my SxS cards on the Ki Pro. I still shoot with my EX1 and would like to offload content using the slots! AJA, please work on this.
UPDATE 3/3/12: VERSION 3 adds SxS slot support!
A major update to Ki Pro, version 3.0 software contains new features including: LANC support, increased RS422 support, ExpressCard/34 (SxS) support (slot 1), Camera Data, FireWire 800 port support, FireWire 400 port support, data transfer via LAN, continue to record on loss of video, playlist creation, saving/recalling presets, super out (window burn) for SDI, and much more.
Older info for previous versions….
Release Notes: New Features Implemented with Version 2.0 Ki Pro Firmware:
• 8 channel embedded audio support—choose between 2 channels or 8 channels of audio via embedded SDI
• Multi-unit Gang recording via the Web UI—use the web UI and ethernet connections to Ki Pro units on a common network to start and stop recordings
• Custom Clip Naming—allows users to define their own naming convention using the front panel UI or the web UI
• RS-422 support—allows interaction with some serial control devices and some non-linear editors
Note: AJA has specifically tested with JL Cooper and FutureVideo 9-pin serial controllers. Other controllers may also be used, but may have not yet been tested by AJA. AJA has specifically tested 9-pin serial control with Apple Final Cut Pro’s Log and Capture and Edit to Tape for RS-422 compatibility. Other non-linear editors, such as Adobe Premiere Pro, Avid Media Composer, Autodesk Smoke and Sony Vegas, do not yet fully support ingest/output control via RS-422 when used with Ki Pro. Future firmware updates to Ki Pro will continue to add support for additional non-linear editors when controlling Ki Pro via RS-422.
Be sure to consult the Ki Pro Manual for detailed information about 2.0 features and configuration guidelines.
The following features are not implemented with this firmware release, but are planned for future firmware releases:
• ExpressCard/34 media support
• LANC and Lens Tap control of the device
• Use of FireWire 400 port for timecode data
• Use of FireWire 800 port for connecting Ki Pro to host computer as “media reader”
Special Operational Notes and Considerations
• After a firmware update of Ki Pro, the web browser (Safari, Firefox, etc.) may lose its connection to Ki Pro. A refresh of the web browser will reconnect the web UI with Ki Pro.
• After a Factory Reset (CONFIG menu parameter 99.0) the unit may not display the word “Reel” or the reel number on the front UI display. To resolve this issue, unmount the media using the SLOT button (you do not need to physically remove the media), then remount the media by pressing SLOT once more; the reel number should then reappear on the UI display.
• Some clips created by Ki Pro may cause Final Cut Pro to bring up a “not optimized” prompt when imported. These clips are still valid and can be used within Final Cut Pro.
Please consult the Ki Pro Manual for a full description of Ki Pro’s many operational features.
Now for the step-by-step directions to connect your Ki Pro to a computer. This can be both used to update firmware and control the device using a web browser.
The first thing you need to do is plug a cat5 cable into the back of your Mac. If this is how you get the internet, no problem, just unplug your broadband connection temporarily. Plug the other end of the cat5 cable into the back of the Ki Pro.
Turn the Ki Pro on (let it fully boot up and mount the disk) and get into the menu by pressing the “Config” button on the front of the deck. You want to go to menu page 50.1 and be sure the “IP Config” is set to “Static Address”.
Preform a factory reset on the KiPro by pressing “config” button. Scroll to menu 99.1 and press “adjust up” button for 2 seconds. Leave the KiPro on and move over to your Mac computer.
Next, open up “System Preferences” on your Mac. Under “Internet & Wireless”, click on the “Network” icon. A window should open up.
On the left side of the Network window, choose “Ethernet”. On the right side, set the “Configure IPv4” to “Manually”. Then, enter “192.168.0.1” as the IP Address and “255.255.255.0” as the Subnet Mask. Leave the rest of the fields blank. Click the “apply” button on the lower right of the window to change the settings.
In the Network window on your computer screen, you should see the Ethernet red dot on far left turn green and indicate “Connected.” Your Ki Pro is now recognized by the system. If this does not work, it is time to call AJA support at +1 (530) 274-2048.
Now you are ready to download the newest firmware from AJA.com.
Download the Ki Pro Firmware and Operations Manual here:
The file is a .zip file and needs to be unzipped. You can use many programs to do this (like stuffit or winzip). Search on google if you must. Once unzipped, look for the .bin file. This is the piece that you will “browse” for in the next step to update the firmware on your Ki Pro.
To access the Ki Pro, launch your web browser (Safari or Firefox). In the URL area (the spot you would type a web address), type in http://192.168.0.2 and press enter. This will open up the Ki Pro web user interface.
Click on “Update Firmware” (or on newer versions, just “firmware”) on the navigation list on the left side. This will take you to the screen above. You will see the current version of firmware you are running. In my case, I had version 126.96.36.199. This is out-of-date. The newest version (at the time of this blog) is version 188.8.131.52. And as of 3/3/12, I added the newest firmware, version 184.108.40.206. And as of 1/13/13 the newest version is 220.127.116.11.
Click on “Browse” and find the newest firmware .bin file you downloaded earlier. Click “Upload”.
Follow the on screen instructions to update the firmware. You will be asked to “commit” the firmware update. Do this and be careful not to disrupt the power or connecting of your Ki Pro deck during this procedure.
That is all! You now have the newest firmware update inside your Ki Pro unit. You can also using the web user interface to change the settings on your Ki Pro, start recording or manage/delete clips on the hard drive.
Finally, remove the Cat5 cable from the KiPro and the back of your computer. Set your ethernet internet preferences IPv4 back to “Using DHCP”, click apply. Plug the Cat5 that feeds internet into your computer and you are back to normal.