AJA DataCalc: One App That Should Be On Every Video Pro’s iOS Device

AJA DataCalc iconVideo professionals are familiar with California-based AJA Video Systems, a company that produces everything from amazing 4K/UltraHD production video cameras and high-end audio/video I/O products to Thunderbolt to HDMI converters. AJA is also well known for producing a number of free apps to help video professionals optimize their Macs, PCs and storage for the demands of video production. Today we’re going to look at a free iOS app from the company, AJA DataCalc.

The universal app takes up just a tiny amount of space on an iPhone or iPad, but features a wealth of presets for calculating the storage requirements for video files.

To begin with, the length of the video is entered at the top of the app in days, hours, minutes seconds or just using a SMPTE timecode (TC).

Next, select the format of the video that is being created. A pair of pickers provide a way to choose both the resolution of the video — say, 4K/UltraHD or standard old NTSC — and the frame rate of the video in frames per second. Support for a number of RED Digital Cinema professional camera formats is included.

Three screens from AJA DataCalc

The codec (software used to encode a digital data stream) being used is selected next. AJA Data Calculator has a variety of codecs from which to select, from the AVCHD format used for high-definition consumer camcorders to capturing 16-bit RGBA directly — the latter takes up a huge amount of storage, by the way. That’s why there are storage solutions like the OWC ThunderBay 4 RAID 5 Edition available in capacities of up to 32TB! (Read more about RAID 5 and the ThunderBay 4 solution here)

Of course, most video is accompanied by an audio track as well, so the final pickers allow the user to select how many audio channels as well as sampling rate and bit depth.

Tapping Done after selecting any of the video, codec or audio formats displays an immediate calculation of the storage space required. What if you only have a bit of space left on your hard disk drive and want to know just how long a video you can store on it?

That’s where the “TimeCalc” button at the bottom of the screen comes into play. Enter the amount of space available on your drive — you probably want to make sure you have a bit of breathing room added on — select the video format, codec, and audio format, and you’ll know exactly how long you can shoot video to fill up the space.

Related: How to get started on your home video production studio

Mac and Windows users don’t have to feel left out of the fun, especially if they’re using their desktop or laptop computers to do editing and don’t want to have to haul that iPhone out of a pocket. Versions for OS X and Windows are available for download on the AJA software web page.