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Re: Keycode Readers

Dear Emil,

We've had a bit of experience with both the Evertz and Aaton Keykode systems,
having installed four Evertz systems over the years--then replacing them with
four Aatons.

Our main reason for changing to the Aaton systems is because a substantial
part of our business now has Aaton code which needs to be recovered.  We also
do a lot of dalies for nonlinear editors, and we found that the Keylink is
much better at making reliable EDLs than the Evertz readers and the "Key Log"
program were.  (On the other hand, you can't edit an EDL on the Aaton, one of
its biggest drawbacks.  "Key Log" at least had some editing facilities,
user-unfriendly as they were.)

Generally speaking, the Aaton systems have been more stable than the Evertz
units.  Aside from a few minor bugs in some releases of Aaton's software,
we've had no problems with the systems--and we run them 20 hours a day, six
days a week.  The Evertz units constantly needed NOVRAM reboots, and unless
jammed to a VTR, they sometimes bobbled numbers and did other irritating
things.  We never did get a 4025 to change smoothly from NTSC to PAL and back
again without burping it!

An Aaton system is more difficult to set up than an Evertz.  The automatic
head offset routine on the 4025 works well, and makes installation relatively
painless.  On the other hand, if you don't follow the Aaton calibration
procedure exactly as set forth in the manual, heaven help you!  In fact, if
you've never done one before, I would recommend that if possible, you work
with somebody who knows the routine before tackling it on your own.

As for product service, we could never get Evertz to tell us when software
upgrades were available; we heard about some after other facilities got them
and clients asked why our equipment didn't do what everybody elses' could!
 Aaton, on the other hand, kept our software up to date automatically.  Aaton
upgrades are unusual in that they install without any fuss--just put the disk
in the drive and type a command.  Evertz upgrades usually take a bit longer,
as you have to remove and separate the boards, change some PROMs, and then
hope that you got it all back together right!

For hardware support, Evertz was always an engineer's dream to deal with--on
more than one occasion, they bent over backwards to help us out with parts
and repairs.  Aaton used to be very good as well, but we haven't even had a
need to test their support since Rank started handling it in the U.S.  I also
like the fact that Aaton puts four boards plus software into a very ordinary
computer.  Chances are good that if a system ever dies, you could
"appropriate" a PC from somebody's desk, transplant everything, and get going

Christopher Bacon,
DuArt Video

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