Perfomance issues CS5 AVCHD & MXO2 MINI workflow - comments welcome! at DVinfo.net

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Old November 20th, 2010, 03:07 AM   #1
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Perfomance issues CS5 AVCHD & MXO2 MINI workflow - comments welcome!

When I'm editing AVCHD-files in Premiere CS5, playback was very smooth on my i7, 8GB, GTX460, Win7 system.

Now I've added a Matrox MXO2 Mini, mainly for HDMI output for color correction. Apparently you have to choose a Matrox-preset in CS5 for the MXO2 output to work. Playback is still smooth, but I've experienced some minor hitches along the way. For example: scrubbing in the source monitor isn't as smooth anymore and when using the slip-tool I have to wait 1 or 2 seconds for the double screen to appear in the program monitor, and when I'm already done 'slipping', the footage seems to continue for 4 or 5 frames before stopping. Somewhat irritating when it was buttery smooth at first.

I was almost ready to throw everything out of the window and going back to Mac again, but instead I've been experimenting. So here's what I come up with, comments welcome:

1) I start a new project, sequence with the CS5 AVCHD preset, I import my AVCHD-footage. (I've heard some people say it's better to convert AVCHD to cineform or another intermediate to hold up better when color correcting, but others say the cineform intermediate is just a waste of disk space, as the AVCHD files are converted within Premiere as well...)

2) 50pfs (PAL-land) footage is imported as 50i AVCHD, but I interpret the footage as 25p.

3) Editing my sequence, without any color correction and external monitor. This goes without a glitch, slip tool works works immediately, source scrubbing goes buttery as well...

4) After I'm done, I create a new sequence, this time using the Matrox preset, and just copy all the edited clips from the AVCHD-sequence to the Matrox-sequence for color correction...

Comments/feedback very welcome!

It seems the problem becomes worse when using many clips. For example, a project with 20 source clips will edit and play fine within the Matrox preset, but now I'm editing a wedding with 400+ source clips and the problem becomes more apparent. Could be down to my low amount of RAM... How do you guys and gals handle large projects within CS5?
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Old November 20th, 2010, 08:45 AM   #2
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Problem:

"When I'm editing AVCHD-files..."
"I've experienced some minor hitches along the way."
"It seems the problem becomes worse when using many clips"


Answer:

"I've heard some people say it's better to convert AVCHD to cineform or another intermediate"
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Old November 20th, 2010, 10:25 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Perrone Ford View Post
Answer:

"I've heard some people say it's better to convert AVCHD to cineform or another intermediate"
Thanks Perrone, although just using AVCHD's without the Matrox preset and MXO2 gives no problem at all. But I'll try Cineform, although I'm a little bit sceptical, since Cineform-files are bigger in size than the original AVCHD's, and I think the data-rate is larger as well. But I assume it's easier for Premiere to playback Cineform files than the raw AVCHD.

What Cineform quality setting would you advise when converting AVCHD to Cineform, for simple Canon HFS21 footage, 1080i, for export to DVD?
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Old November 20th, 2010, 10:47 AM   #4
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I don't use Cineform. But I do use other intermediate file types. Each have their pluses and minuses. Larger files typically mean less compression. AVCHD uses a type of compression that is very efficient, but requires significant computer power to decode and play. Other types of compression, such as that used in Cineform, DNxHD, ProRes, and others, is MUCH easier to decode quickly, and thus you get less lag as you put more demands on the system.

I don't know the Cineform levels well enough to advise you what to choose. Hopefully, others will chime in. Do you already own Cineform?
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Old November 20th, 2010, 12:00 PM   #5
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I'm a longtime Premiere-editor, and I did purchase Neoscene for my HD footage a while ago, before CS5... but after that I did a project in FCE on my 13" Macbook Pro, so I didn't find the time to test Cineform. But then I switched back to PC when CS5 came out... really like the way After Effects en Premiere work together...
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Old November 20th, 2010, 01:17 PM   #6
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Use the Cineform encode quality of "High" at your native frames size (Presumably 1920x1080 or 1440x1080) You should be able to upgrade to the newest version of NeoScene for a small fee, which should be well worth it. Cineform files are supposed to work with the MXO2, but I can't confirm that from personal experience.
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Old November 20th, 2010, 01:43 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike McCarthy View Post
Cineform files are supposed to work with the MXO2, but I can't confirm that from personal experience.
They work fine from inside Avid. Not sure about CS5.
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Old November 20th, 2010, 10:32 PM   #8
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Cineform NeoHD conversions have worked very well for me within CS5. I use the Matrox 1920x1080i preset with my MXO2 mini. I've never seen lags with the source monitor, but I have seen some on the playback monitor when I've mixed HDV with AVCHD in multi-cam timelines. I've found that working with more and shorter sequences helps avoid these problems. Periodically cleaning out the CS5 media cache also helps.

8 gb of RAM might be contributing to the Michiel's problems. I run 12gb in my system, and I have all the slots filled. I think Randall Leong (and maybe Harm Millaard) may have commented on there being minor annoyances under CS5 when working with 8 and 16 gb of RAM as opposed to 12 or 24. Sorry, I can't find the references just now.
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Old November 21st, 2010, 12:36 AM   #9
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Thanks Jay. Overnight I converted my footage to Cineform, will try today. If I still see lags, I can assume it's 8GB RAM...
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Old November 21st, 2010, 02:23 AM   #10
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Your problems are not due to 8GB of ram. It is due to Matrox's software.

I mean, c'mon and think about it. If it works just fine WITHOUT the Matrox preset, and THEN does not work so well WITH the Matrox preset, then the culprit is the Matrox software. That's my final answer :p

Just read these threads to decide if you still want to use the Mini anymore: Matrox MXO2 Mini Calibration Issues : Matrox Video Systems

Matrox does not calibrate monitors?
(many here know that I have not been a fan of the Mini, and for good reason: Matrox claims the Mini's "color-calibration tool can be used to turn your HDMI monitor into a professional-grade video monitor". I'm sorry, but it does not make a $500 LCD as accurate as a $2000 Eizo or $2800 Panny. Notice my post in this thread and specifically, the last sentence.

FYI, just a heads up to anyone using the Matrox MPEG2 codec, be aware that any video with this codec cannot be played/edited on any system WITHOUT the Matrox software installed. I learned the hard way after capturing some video from a DVR, and then trying to edit it on my 'work' OS installation. (I have 2 drives in my workstation, both w/ Win 7 and one has the Matrox software which is my 'testing' drive since I have had many problems due to the Matrox software. My main 'work' drive only has the absolute minimum software installed to prevent software conflicts & problems).

On a side note: since you mentioned AE & PPro's integration, I'd like to mention an oddity I encountered tonight. Rendering from AE took 7 mins but the same AE comp imported into Premiere and then encoded thru AME took only 133 seconds. And all 24 cores were pegged at 100%. I've never seen this happen with an AE comp within a PPro sequence - usually, the CPUs drop to ~40% when rendering the AE comp.....now that I think about it, I bet AME somehow is encoding from the file I rendered from within AE (QT+PNG).
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Old November 21st, 2010, 05:01 AM   #11
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Thanks for pointing that out, Steve. With growing amazement I've read the discussion on the MXO2 Mini calibrating issues. Seems I was lured into this 'Matrox trap' as well, for the main reason I've bought the Mini was CC. Of course, how could a $500 box compete with a $2000+ broadcastmonitor, but the idea: tweak the HDMI output sounded believable...

MENTAL NOTE TO SELF: before buying product X, google 'issues with product X' first!!!!

Although, since I assume the Matrox sends out HDMI signals in the correct colorspace, if you have a calibrated broadcast monitor or HDTV, would that be an advantage over using your regular computer monitor for CC/grading? My Samsung HDTV has a built in blue-only function, so if I feed it the MXO2 signal & colorbars and then do the calibration on my Samsung itself, would this be an acceptable solution?

I do not have the funds for a dedicated $2000+ broadcast monitor...
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Old November 21st, 2010, 09:29 AM   #12
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Very interesting discussion.

My Matrox Mini 02 w/Max cost about $850.

Why did I buy it?

1. Because it's the only non-Avid solution that allows me to monitor in HD.

2. Because after testing the colors, it appears to be better than what I had before.

3. Because my budget simply will not allow me a $2500 monitor.

4. I am not doing film or broadcast level grading. When I buy a DaVinci or a Pablo, I'll worry about my Matrox.


Will the product replace a broadcast level monitor? No. Sadly it won't. Not for color critical jobs. And people do need to understand that. However, I've found that it gives me repeatable results with good color rendition (even if not perfect) and for a few hundred dollars, I consider that good value.

Someone could easily bring in a real color correction system and calibrate that way, and if you are doing that level of work, that is what I would recommend.
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Old November 21st, 2010, 11:00 AM   #13
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Converted my AVCHD to Cineform; first thoughts: editing goes smoother than AVCHD. Haven't tried with Matrox yet (party because above MXO2 facts...)
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Old November 21st, 2010, 01:34 PM   #14
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@Michiel

I'm not sure of this, but if you've got Matrox hardware, why not try converting into a Matrox codec??
The cineform codec is a proven workhorse, but if you've already paid for hardware, i'm sure that the codec should be down loadable from their website.
Don't they have a 1920x1080 supported codec? It might be with their Axio line of products.
If that's the case, then running a Matrox sequence should be a breeze...

Warning, i use an RT.X2 card, and have no familiarity with the MXO...
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Old November 21st, 2010, 01:45 PM   #15
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I have the Matrox codec, and have used it. It's an Mpeg2 based codec and works very nicely. It is AVI based and that can be problematic in some workflows. I used AVI based workflows when I was using Sony Vegas primarily because that is what it wanted. Avid workflow is best centered around .MOV. Not sure about CS5.
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