View Full Version : MXO2 mini and Intensity pro

Mark Webb
September 23rd, 2010, 05:47 PM
I'm thinking about buying the MXO2 mini but i want someone to conform that they have one working on win7 64 with premiere cs5?
Im using the nvidia gtx 285 (mercury playback)

also i work with cineform files so wondering if i could playback my cineform timeline in cs5 (realtime) to another lcd display for previewing , colour grading etc..

Ive also been looking into the blackmagic Intensity pro not sure how stable it is with cs5 and not sure what they are like compaired to the MXO2 mini?

Gary Bettan
September 28th, 2010, 10:19 AM
With the current drivers MXO2 family fully supports CS5 on Win7.
Matrox MXO2 I/O devices now provide support for Adobe CS5 Production Premium (

Yes yo can play back your cineform timeline. Note; You may find that with CS5, a fast computer and Mercury, that you no longer need to use cineform. See this blog article by Cineform's top guy
Videoguys Blog - For CS5 Users ? NeoScene, Mercury (CUDA), or Both? (

MXO2 is a much better choice over the BM card. Matrox has the tightest integration adn support with Adobe in the business. Especially on Windows. No contest.

Check out our MXO2 Mini FAQ,
Videoguys Blog - Matrox MXO2 Mini - Matrox MXO2 Mini is the Missing Link in Your Tapeless Editing Workflow! (


Jay West
September 28th, 2010, 02:13 PM
Mark and I have been discussing this in some e-mails. I’ll summarize our discussions for anybody else interested in this topic.

There are numbers of us who have been very pleased to use the Mini with PPro CS5 and/or Avid MC5. Besides me, Perrone Ford’s name comes to mind as another satisfied user. Other folks (Steve Kalle, for example) have experienced problems with lags and glitches that led them to discard the Mini in favor of other solutions that were better suited to their work.

I’ve never run into any stability issue with the Mini under either MC5 or PPro CS5. The intermittent stability issues I’ve had with CS5 have been unrelated to the Mini. Most of them seem to have been related to: (a) bugs in the earliest versions of Cineform NeoHD 5 which seem to have been fixed with the last two Cineform updates; and (b) the general strain of running multicam edits in PPro with 3 or 4 streams of AVCHD plus additional HDV layers.

The one issue I've run into with the Mini is with trying to run live playback from the multi-cam editing window. No problem with the play button on the main timeline. But, if I want to run the equivalent of a live mix by clicking the play button on the multi-cam window, all four multi-cam monitors squinch-up to about half their normal width and that is also what is displayed via the MXO2 Mini. It is all fine if I just pull the cursor or hit the play button on the main timeline window. My work-around is to assemble my video tracks on the synch timeline nest that into an AVCHD timeline for the multi-cam edit. I use my second computer monitor for the AVCHD multi-cam edit. Then, I nest that edited AVCHD timeline back into a Matrox sequence for finishing where I can monitor to the external tv.

On my system (which is basically the Videoguys DIY7 recipe that Gary published last year except that I use a GTX260 rather than a Quadro), I’ve also found that it is much easier to multi-cam 4 AVCHD streams using an AVCHD sequence preset than a Matrox sequnce. It is the “four or greater” situation that does this, and that limitation seems unrelated to the Mini. I’ve tested my system without the mini and “four or more AVCHD” produces the same bogging down. On the other hand, I’ve had no trouble using the Mini with a timeline consisting of a multi-cam sequence with 3 AVCHD and one HDV, plus an additional two layers of HDV for cut-away shots.

What Gary means when he says you can monitor your Cineform timeline via the Mini is that you can put Cineform files on a Matrox timeline. You only get output through the Mini when you use one of the Matrox sequence presets. You can't get output through the mini when you are using a Cineform sequence preset in PPro, but there is no need for that. Once upon a time, you had to use a Cineform preset to use Cineform files in Ppro, but that has not been true for a while. Just drop your Cineform conversions into any timeline and they’ll play fine. (Interestingly, you can have a non-Matrox timeline but still get Matrox playback of what is in the source monitor. I sometimes find it useful to have the source monitor displayed via the Mini to the tv on my left, the main editing window with a multi-cam monitor overlay on the screeen in front of me and have the program monitor displayed full screen on the computer screen to my right.)

I have never found the Matrox presets limiting but I recall reading some complaints from somebody who wanted true 720/30p or 720/24p rather than the 720/29.97p or 720/23.98p that the Matrox offers. If you have those kinds of specialized needs, the Mini is not for you.

Per the David Newman blog referenced in Gary’s post, you can edit AVCHD without Cineform conversions (assuming suitably advanced hardware) and that may be preferable when you can’t afford the conversion time or do not need to do any color adjustments. For example, when I have to deliver a next-day-edit of a wedding ceremony, I’ll skip the Cineform conversions and edit with native AVCHD files.

One of the things I really like about using Cineform NeoHD with the Mini and Ppro is that I can use Cineform’s First Light for basic color matching and correction, I can have a Ppro timeline with the Cineform files all open there as well as in First Light. I Alt-tab into First Light, adjust one of the files, Alt-Tab back to Ppro and I can instantly check the adjustment against the other video tracks via the Mini display to the tv. It is almost like using Adobe’s Dynamic link. Another great thing about this is that First Light metadata adjustments have virtually none of the slow rendering or computing overhead that you have when you use many of CS5's adjustment effects. (Not all of them are MPE enabled.) Because of the Mini’s calibration tools for your external monitor, you get a very good idea of how well you’ve matched your camera tracks.

Can you do better than the Mini for color matching? If you have the need and the budget, there is another league of equipment including professional broadcast monitors or a Dream Color or high-end Eizo, and e Quadro &/or AJA cards, and a calibration package. Most of us who consider the BMI and the Mini do not have those kinds of budgets and not playing in leagues where the other equipment is enough “better” to warrant the very large extra cost. For those in that higher upper league, some find the Mini is good enough and some do not. Depends on your needs and your market.

The post mentioned considering the BMI Intensity Pro. It has the attraction of a much lower price, but it has some limitations. The biggest one for me was that the BMI does not have the built-in calibration that the Mini does. Of course, you can buy calibration hardware/software packages but opiions vary on how well they work. If you do a search here on Dvinfo for the “Intensity Pro” and the MXO2-Mini , you’ll find praise, condemnation, opinions and experience. Back when Gary carried the BMI Pro as well as the Mini, the videoguys web site had a comparison of the BMI to the Mini. Maybe that comparison is still on the website.

Finally, there was a comment about using the Mini for a second LCD screen. The Mini only runs a tv. If you simply want a second computer monitor, use the dual-head capability that many video cards have. An nVidia GTX card with dual display (and hardware MPE capability) will costs only half of what the basic Mini costs.

Gary Bettan
September 28th, 2010, 02:17 PM
GREAT post Jay!

Have you reported your multi-cam issues to Matrox? It sounds to me like soemthing they should be able to fix in a future release.


Jay West
September 28th, 2010, 03:32 PM
I did report to Matrox about a month ago but haven't heard anything back yet. Probably time to rattle that cage.

Oh, and a couple of corrections to my previous post. First, the Cineform Tech Blog that Gary referenced was by David Taylor not Newman. Second, if it was not clear from my post, I was discussing editing with PPro CS 5. AFAIK, the current Matrox drivers and software work only with Avid MC5 and PPro CS5.

Steve Kalle
September 29th, 2010, 07:31 PM
This thread is good timing because I just had to use my Mini with CS5. My initial impression is that Matrox was hard at work fixing problems, but is NOT finished. After installing the latest drivers, I went through a normal workflow to see how the drivers held up; so, here are my current issues:

1) Can't save custom Matrox presets- always 3 stereo & 3 - 5.1.

2) Can't output 10bit through video card as I have a Quadro FX3800 and 10bit Eizo CG243W. With the 5.02 update, the screen flashes and does some funky stuff when opening a regular project - this means that Premiere changed to 10 bit output according to Adobe. The flashing and funky stuff does not happen when opening a Matrox project; thus, no 10bit through Quadro.

3) Premiere randomly takes 1-2 minutes to do normal functions.

4) In AME, it takes anywhere from 30 seconds up to 2 minutes to switch from one format to another.

5) No 1080 23.98p output. When editing 23.98p, the only output choices are NTSC, 720p 59.94 and 1080i 29.97.

Matrox fixed the lag issue, but I have not tried multi-cam yet.

I just want to reiterate and emphasize that the Mini does NOT magically provide ACCURATE colors for finishing and grading. This has been a major marketing gimmick by Matrox. If someone wants to debate the issue, then come to my studio and look at an image on my Eizo CG243W, Sony Bravia 32" 1080 LCD (brand new), Panasonic BT-LH1710W and Dell Ultrasharp U2110. The Sony is connected to the Mini; the Eizo is hardware calibrated to Rec 709, the Panasonic is connected either via DVI or HD-SDI (via BM Decklink Extreme 3D) and the Dell is software calibrated to D65.

Also, I have always been told that adjusting a monitor to Bars is for production and hardware calibrating to 601, 709, DCI... is for editing & finishing.

Let me state that I no longer hate the Mini now that the drivers are MUCH better; however, I cannot recommend it to a Premiere user who edits/finishes with clients in the room or who works on tight deadlines. Or someone who edits only 24p - for that, you need its bigger brother, which can output 24p.

Mark, why do you want the Mini or Intensity?

Jay West
September 30th, 2010, 01:23 PM
Although Steve has now found some uses for his Mini, his comments show the kinds of work for which the Mini is not sufficient and emphasizes that the Mini is not for everybody.

Steve asks: "why do you want the Mini or Intensity?"

Simply put, I got and use the Mini because it is good enough for what I do, the price is affordable, and these devices are much better than editing video with the ordinary computer monitors we would otherwise use. From Mark's e-mail discussions with me, I'd say he is in the same boat.

Steve's work has additional and different requirements. For example, take Steve's comments about not having 1080/23.98p "output" from the Mini. A little background will be helpful. The Mini has presets that allow you to create and edit 1080/23.98p footage on a PPro timeline. When you set up a timeline, PPro has playback options for matching monitoring output to the format of your timeline --- to find the menu, click on the square icon in the upper right corner of the PPro "program monitor" window, click "playback settings" and click the "video output" tab. When you have Mini, the box gives you choices for an analog-component feed and for an hdmi feed. For a 1080/24p timeline, the analog-component monitoring outputs are, of course, limited to 1080i and 720p. For hdmi output from a 1080/24p timeline, your choices are 1080i@29.97fps, 1080PsF@23.98fps, and 480p@59.94fps.

Steve needs to work in 1080/23.98p and apparently has a tv/monitor that can display this format. I hardly ever shoot any 24p (basically, I've only used it with for some low-light wedding receptions and converted that footage over to 60i for editing). If I did work in 24p, I do not have a tv/monitor that will display true 24p. While my Sony Bravia tv/monitor will accept a 24p signal, it actually processes it to display in a format compatible with a 60 Hz NTSC display. (That would be 50Hz for PAL users like Mark.) Steve apparently has monitor that can display true "24p" without conversion to "PsF" or something else, so he finds the Mini's output options to be limiting where I do not.

With regard to Steve's points 2 and 3 (about PPro randomly taking 1 to 2 minutes to do something and time lags when switching formats in Adobe Media Encoder), I'm not sure these problems are caused by the Mini. When CS5 came out last May, there were no drivers for using the Mini with it. Since I wound up doing a disk-reformat and a clean Win7 re-install at the same time I went to CS5, I also wound up running without the Mini or its software for a couple of months. I still ran into random and intermittent slowdowns with PPro. I installed the Mini and its software when the drivers for Avid MC5 came out this summer. Re-installing the Mini (and using it with both Avid MC5 and now Adobe CS5) has not affected these random irritations one way or the other. YMMV.

Steve Kalle
September 30th, 2010, 02:33 PM
How is it going Jay? Hope things are going well for you.

On a side note, I would greatly appreciate it if you wrote a review comparing MC5 and Premiere CS5 for normal editing AND multi-cam editing - if you have the time one of these days. Premiere is limited to only 4 cameras in multi-cam but I don't know the # MC supports. Probably within the next year, we will have more than 4 cams shooting sports (all xdcam), and I have been interested in MC5 for several reasons. As long as Premiere is the only NLE with such great hardware acceleration in addition to now supporting 10bit output, I cannot justify moving completely away from it to MC. However, I want to know which NLE (PPro vs MC5) works best with client sessions as I want to make TVCs a much larger portion of my work. Heck, if only Autodesk released Smoke for Windows, I would be in heaven.

Back to the Mini discussion: what driver version are you using that gives your Mini 1080psf 23.98 output through HDMI? When I used the Matrox 1080 24p preset, I clicked on the icon in the bottom right taskbar to see what outputs were available. As I stated before, the only choices were NTSC, 720p 59.94 and 1080i 29.97 through HDMI. Why are our options so different?

FYI, I almost never edit in 24p. I either edit in 1080/30p or 720/30p and record in 1080/30p 90% of the time and either 720/30p or 720/24p when I need the extra light sensitivity; thus, the lack of 24p output on the Mini does not affect me.

About AME: I tested this with a Matrox sequence and with a XDCAM EX sequence preset, and AME only took a few seconds to change formats with the XDCAM sequence while AME took 25-30 seconds with the Matrox sequence (and once took 1-2 mins).

A note about calibrating to NTSC Bars: I found a way to calibrate a regular computer LCD without any extra hardware or software by using both the LCD's adjustments and Nvidia's adjustments. Nvidia's Control Panel allows you to display bars and adjust:
1) Brightness
2) Contrast
3) Hue
4) Saturation
5) Gamma

For Blue Only, either use a piece of blue gel or as I did it, turn the Red & Green to Zero within the LCD's settings. At least on my Dell Ultrasharp, this 'blue only' trick appears to work.

Here is a cool fact that most people don't know about: the Mini with MAX engages & uses Premiere's MPE hardware acceleration.

Jay West
September 30th, 2010, 06:01 PM
"what driver version are you using that gives your Mini 1080psf 23.98 output through HDMI? When I used the Matrox 1080 24p preset, I clicked on the icon in the bottom right taskbar to see what outputs were available. As I stated before, the only choices were NTSC, 720p 59.94 and 1080i 29.97 through HDMI. Why are our options so different?"

I'm using Matrox MTX.utils v. Sounds like you are seeing the options for the "Main" output which actually is for the component video feed from the Mini. The menu might be confusing because you'd think "main" would be main, especially when its setting-boxes fill up most of the menu window/tab. But, if you look further down the option boxes, you should see a small area for "Secondary" output which is actually the one for the HDMI feed. That's where I found the PsF option. Also, it only shows up when your active timeline uses the Matrox 1080p@23.98 timeline sequence preset. If you don't have options for a "secondary" monitor, then something is wrong with the software.

"About AME: I tested this with a Matrox sequence and with a XDCAM EX sequence preset, and AME only took a few seconds to change formats with the XDCAM sequence while AME took 25-30 seconds with the Matrox sequence (and once took 1-2 mins)."

When I'm using any sequence with AVCHD in the mix, AME may take anywhere from 10 seconds to 3 minutes to come up. When it is slow coming up, then it is equally slow changing formats. It seems to be particularly slow whenever I try to select or de-select a Cineform format for export, Beyond that, I never know when it will be fast or slow. A couple of times when it was particularly slow, I tried copying the footage into a new sequence and the problem went away for a while. Another time, I tried deleting all the render files and that helped, too. As, I said, I saw this with PPro CS5 before I brought back the Mini, so I'm not sure how or if the Mini contributes to this bogging.

"I would greatly appreciate it if you wrote a review comparing MC5 and Premiere CS5 for normal editing AND multi-cam editing - if you have the time one of these days. Premiere is limited to only 4 cameras in multi-cam but I don't know the # MC supports. "

I would greatly appreciate having the time to learn MC5 well enough to do this, but it just has not happened this summer. I've got MC5 because I owned (and once tried to learn to use) Liquid and qualified for the heavily discounted upgrade to MC5 in June. I got Liquid years ago as a heavily discounted competitive upgrade to what I had been using which was Radius/Autodesk's EditDV/Cinestream, something Gary sold me back in the previous century. (He-he-he). I'm still sad that Autodesk killed that product.

Meanwhile, back at the point, what I can tell you is that MC5 has worked well (for me) with the Mini and that MC5 will do a four way multicam (2x2 matrix) or a nine-way multi cam (3 x 3 matrix). I've only experimented with the four-way (2x2 matrix, same as in PPro). You might post a question in DVinfo's Avid forum and see if anybody can give you the level of detail you want.

PPro is limited to the four-way, which is a limitation but not a big one for me. When I've multi-cammed with five or six cameras, I synch the four most-important views in a multi-cam track, nest that in a sequence with the two additional tracks above it. I use the two secondary tracks (which are locked down "b-rolls) as cut-aways for those times when my main cams do not have a good shot or don't show what I need. The Mini displays whichever I select as the active track.

I've used this technique several times this summer. I did a couple of weddings last month where I stashed a camera in the room with the wedding party as they waited to make their entrances and put another cam on some musicians off to the side and had the four other cams getting angles on the ceremony. I also videoed a big dance recital where I did something.similar.

It would have been nice to have more multi-cam windows --- which is one of the attractions of having MC5 and using it with the Mini --- but the PPro workflow serves my purposes. Other NLEs (Vegas and Edius, in particular) will do more than four-panes of multi-cam but they do not work with the Mini.

On trying to calibrate with a blue gel, I used to do that with my old JVC CRT studio monitor but every time I have tried it with a computer monitor, the colors were still off and editing adjustments and correction effect looked postively lurid when played on a tv. I understood that was because of the difference between computer LCD's RGB colorspace and tv's YUV colorspace, but I'll bet a lot of it was also the inexpensive computer monitors I used. They are just plain hard to calibrate for color and even harder to keep calibrated.

For me, the Mini has been the opposite. That ease of calibration and use is another reason I've generally been pleased with the Mini for my work and why I suggested it to Mark over the BM Intensity Pro.

"Here is a cool fact that most people don't know about: the Mini with MAX engages & uses Premiere's MPE hardware acceleration."

The Mini with the MAX built-in is basically double the price of the plain Mini. If, like me, you bought your Mini without the MAX function, Matrox makes a separate card with the Max function that you can add for about the same price as the cost difference btween a plain Minin and the Mini-Max combo. If I recall correctly, I've heard it really makes H264 encoding zip but does not do anything for Mpeg2-DVD encoding.

Steve: when I looked at Quadro cards a year or two ago, I thought they came with some kind of encoding accelerator, as well and it was supposed to be faster than the Matrox MAX. (I think I heard that from videoguys when I was upgrading to from CS3 to CS4 and was considering a Quadro card.) Have you tried that software or does it not work with CS5 and MPE?.

Steve Kalle
September 30th, 2010, 07:01 PM

The Quadro FX1800-4800 were sold as just the card or with the Elemental Accelerator for an additional $125-200; however, that plug-in only works with CS4. And from people I have spoken to about the plugin, the company has no plans of porting it to CS5. Prior to purchasing my HP Z800 this spring, I had planned on buying the plugin, but then I saw the demo of MPE and decided not to spend an additional $150 to use for only a month or two with CS4.

Your statement about adding the Matrox encoder card is valid but those with Macs don't have the 'luxury' we PC guys have because Mac Pro's only have 3 extra PCIe slots whereas most PC workstations have 6 extra assuming a single slot video card. This is just another reason why I have great disdain towards Apple. There is absolutely no technical limitation why Apple only uses motherboards with 4 PCIe slots. It is just a matter of making people buy more Mac Pro's. Moreover, the Mini with MAX is beneficial to laptop users because most of them cannot use hardware MPE and even the laptops with 1GB of Vram only use the very weakest of GPUs (unless you spend $4-8000 on a Sager-type laptop).

Back to the calibration discussion: I know it seems like I really dislike the Mini and its calibration, but I really only have a problem with Matrox stating, "its color-calibration tool can be used to turn your HDMI monitor into a professional-grade video monitor". People see that statement and think that it automagically makes their TV as accurate as the $2500 Dreamcolor/Eizo-class LCDs. Also, when grading, it is important to be viewing the correct color gamut of the video's destination, and the Dreamcolor/Eizo LCDs provide hardware calibration for each gamut.