HDMI Capture with Matrox MXO-2 / Macbook Pro (for 5D Mark II) at DVinfo.net

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Old April 4th, 2009, 08:55 AM   #1
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HDMI Capture with Matrox MXO-2 / Macbook Pro (for 5D Mark II)

I accepted delivery of the 5D Mark II about a week ago. Since then, I have been trying to figure out how to edit this footage on a Unibody Macbook Pro with Final Cut Pro 6. Simple edits are fine. It's just when I want to see the gorgeous images this camera captures on my Panasonic 17" HD-SDI monitor that things get difficult.

The MXO-2 will output ProRes, DVCPRO, or HDV files out to an HD-SDI monitor, no problem. But, for some reason, these AVCHD clips from the 5D Mk II require rendering. Lots and lots of rendering. I mean, like hours of rendering just to simply playback all the footage from a single 8GB card. In other words, it's not a workable solution.

So, my next thought was to use the handy Cineform NeoScene converter to get ProRes files. That works OK, but isn't exactly lightning quick (on a Macbook Pro) and it makes my computer run hot. In past experience, a constantly "hot" laptop is a sign of trouble. So, that's a non starter, as far as I'm concerned. Not to mention, it still takes a long time..

Next, I tried capturing the HDMI output of the camera into the MXO-2 HDMI input. Simply put. That would not work at all. All I get are garbled images. I can only guess this is from the auto sensing HDMI output on the 5D Mk II, which can't decide which resolution (480, 720, or 1080) to use. Really, the MXO-2 would be an ideal product, in my opinion, because it can capture 720p Pro Res files on a Macbook Pro, from 1080i inputs. Thus, I would not have to render anything to see the footage on my HD-SDI monitor. Which is my goal.

So far, this has been the least encouraging format I have tried to edit. At least with RED ONE, the software conversion to Pro Res (at 1/8th debayer resolution) is basically real time on my Macbook Pro (using RED Rushes), allowing me to at least do basic cuts and see the results on my nice big, expensive HD-SDI monitor. But, not so with the 5D Mk II.

Any ideas on how to make this process go better?
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Old April 4th, 2009, 09:11 AM   #2
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You might consider using the search function, as this has been discussed plenty of times in this forum.
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Old April 4th, 2009, 10:05 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by David W. Jones View Post
You might consider using the search function, as this has been discussed plenty of times in this forum.
Thanks David. Currently, there are no other threads for "Matrox MXO-2" on this forum. I am looking for specific information pertaining to the use of the HDMI capture feature of Matrox MXO-2 with the 5D Mk II.

It is my impression that there is a lot of "chatter" about what is possible with these products, but so far my searches have not resulted in a single success story about HDMI capture from a 5D Mk II during playback.
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Old April 4th, 2009, 11:29 AM   #4
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The best you can do with HDMI capture is to go into Live View - Stills Only and press "Info" multiple times to clear the overlay. You can move the magnification box into the corner, but you don't quite get 16x9. You can do wider, or crop both horizontally and vertically.

Even still, the output doesn't cover the full 1920 pixel width. There is serious subsampling and aliasing going on.

IMHO, the compressed MOV files recorded on the CF card are superior to the HDMI output.
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Old April 4th, 2009, 11:54 AM   #5
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The best you can do with HDMI capture is to go into Live View - Stills Only and press "Info" multiple times to clear the overlay. You can move the magnification box into the corner, but you don't quite get 16x9. You can do wider, or crop both horizontally and vertically. Even still, the output doesn't cover the full 1920 pixel width. There is serious subsampling and aliasing going on. IMHO, the compressed MOV files recorded on the CF card are superior to the HDMI output.
I really just want to capture the AVCHD files, like a tape, so I don't have to transcode them. Are saying that isn't possible because the camera puts a small (20-30 pixel) black border around the entire image, when playing back the recording on the CF card, and outputting via 1080i HDMI? I just want to make sure I understand exactly what you're saying, and not confusing it with the border the camera uses in 480p letterbox.

My problem so far has been that I haven't been able to even connect the camera directly to the BT-LH1760's DVI-D input, because it defaults to 480p, 100% of the time, for everything. So, honestly, without a HD monitor, which accepts a 1080i input over HDMI, and with underscan, I really have no way of seeing the border in the 1080i HDMI output.. How did you see it? What monitor should I be using to see it?
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Old April 4th, 2009, 01:03 PM   #6
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Brian,

Now I understand. I thought you wanted to capture HDMI live, rather than capture the contents of the card. In theory, live HDMI capture would avoid the camera's compression. In practice, the result is poor.

I believe that playback from the card is full screen. You can press the info button to remove any overlays.

Personally, I use Cineform. On a year and a half old quad core PC, I can transcode at speeds that are roughly real time (maybe a tad slower or faster, but very close). With transcoding at real time, there's no advantage to capturing playback at 1080i @29.97 over HDMI.

I'm not sure what the camera does for the 30p -> 29.97 conversion. Maybe it skips frames and maybe it slows playback. If it slows playback, then how does it keep the audio in sync?

BTW, Cineform NeoScene is available on the Mac, and there is a free 1-week trial. You might give it a try. It automatically slows the video to 29.97, and slows the audio to match. For single camera or 5D-only shoots, this is fine. For external audio recording or when mixing with 29.97 cameras, additional steps must be taken...
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Old April 21st, 2009, 12:14 PM   #7
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HDMI output drops to VGA

I read elsewhere that the processing power for HDMI is huge and that requires that the output resolution is dropped to VGA while recording HD.
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