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  • The Matrox MXO2 Part 2

    The Matrox MXO2 Part 2

    April 30, 2010, 9:53 am
    Continuing look at the Matrox MXO2

    Last week I began to take a look at the MXO2. I was pleasantly surprised at how easy it was to set up. Shortly after purchasing it, Matrox released an update v. 1.1. I immediately downloaded and installed it. Just remember to follow their directions to the letter, otherwise it may cause problems with your FCP. You can download the update here:
    http://www.matrox.com/video/en/support/mxo2/downloads/softwares/
    Now I know there has already been an update for FCP as well. However I am weary of updating it. For my purposes I am still running running 6.0.4. As they say "If it ain't broke don't fix it!" I have already seen problems caused by the new FCP update. I will test that out on a later date.
    Working with the MXO2 has been a joy. First I wanted to cover the basics. I began with monitoring on an HDMI screen. Then I used both my MacPro and my Macbook Pro with the Matrox. I was previewing on a Sharp 52' Aquos. The image quality was truly outstanding. Matrox recommends using a monitor that is capable of a 1:1 ratio, or a "dot-by-dot". This ensures that there is no scaling done by your monitor and you view your exact image. There was also a calibration mode for my monitor. This is great for color correction and viewing a broadcast quality signal.
    Capturing through the MXO2 was relatively easy. Just hook up your deck and begin a normal capture process. Now I know you don't have to use any specifc codec with the MXO2, however using the "Easy Set Ups" provided by Matrox keeps it simple, and you are less likley to run into any issues.
    The Matrox MXO2 Part 2
    Now I did test out several formats using various inputs. However I did find that the HD/SDI input works best for me as my decks support it and I wanted the best possible quality. I injested footage that was on DVCam, HDV, P2/720p, and I also got my hands on some XDCam 1080p footage. All of them went into FCP without any hiccups. Now comes the fun! Lets throw them all into one timeline and see what happens.
    Matrox claims that you can play multiple formats in the same timeline without any issues. I concur. There was no render needed to preview and edit. The MXO2 is fully capable of up scaling and downscaling in realtime. The downscaling created great images for SD, from 720p without any real issues. However, not being a fan of up scaling to HD, I found the results to be less than favorable. Scaling from DV to 720p or worse to 1080p, created plenty of activating and pixelation. Matrox had improved the downscaling feature with the new firmware update, and one can only assume that another will resolve the up scaling issues. I was impressed that I was able to playback several layers of HD footage without any drop frames or lagging issues. The MXO2 has proved itself there. Just take a look at the picture I took of an HDV (1440x1080) shot up scaled to full 1080p (1920x1080).
    The Matrox MXO2 Part 2
    I also tried to use different frame rates in one timeline and speeds. This again proved to be no problem for the MXO2. However, when I was converting from 29.97 to 24p I did find that FCP would give me a dropped frame warning. This is normal, and yet another reason to let your deck convert the footage frame rates. This could easily be bypassed by turning on "Unlimited RT" in your time line. The only real limitation I found so far was a timeline I created using only 720p footage. I created 1 layer of 720p then I threw on another layer of 720p with speed raised up by 150% on top. Then I threw on a text layer. Finally underneath all that I threw on one more 720p footage but added a Bloom effect. After all of that, then the Matrox said it was time to render, and it could not play back a preview either. That is a lot for any device to handle. Thus far, I am amazed at what the Matrox MXO2 is capable of-It is truly a portable I/O. It is quiet, easy to install, and most of all it is far cheaper than their competitors. If you have a need for an I/O that is mobile and affordable, then look no further, Matrox has delivered. Matrox has also told me that with upcoming new firmware updates you can expect a whole lot more coming from this little box. I can't wait to see more out of this little gem.

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