Imiporting AVCHD into Matrox RT.X2, using Intensity Pro at

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Old December 13th, 2009, 06:16 AM   #1
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Nottingham, MD
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Imiporting AVCHD into Matrox RT.X2, using Intensity Pro

I took a look at the Sony NXCAM via Google searches, and now I am thinking this might be the way to go for me for my next camera. I like HDV from my Z7U cameras, it doesn't tax my PC with Matrox RT.X2 and it looks great, but in the long term, I don't see much of a future in HDV.

So, I did some research to see how to I could use the AVDCHD format the NXCAM uses with my present HDV workflow the the Matrox RT.X2. I don't want to buy another computer and all new software again (just did that 2 years ago) so I was wondering if anyone uses the Blackmagic Intensity Pro card along with the RT.X2? The Intensity Pro card is cheap, can accept HDMI input and has HDMI output and comes with a cable bundle that has component out. The Matrox RT.X2 cannot edit 1920X1080, but can edit 1440X1080 (HDV spec) and also import any format via its component inputs on its breakout box. It converts the incoming video to 1440X1080, using MPEG 2 I-Frame, which uses 4:2:2 color space (a better spec than HDV).

Unless the new Sony NXCAM has component out, the only way I can see to get the video into my computer, in a format that I can presently edit, is to import it via component connectors on the RT.X2, in real time of course. Does anyone know if I can import NXCAM (AVCHD) footage via HDMI on Intensity Pro, then output from the Pro card via component, then import back into the component connector on my RT.X2 breakout box, all at the same time, all on the same computer. I think it will work, but of course I have no idea until I get the intensity card and the camera, which won't be till next year. If it doesn't work, maybe another solution is to use another computer for the Intensity Pro card and transfer files from that computer to my computer, which has the RT.X2 and the breakout box. If anyone has any thoughts, I'm all ears.
Stephen Gradin
Dockside Video Productions
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Old December 13th, 2009, 07:12 AM   #2
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Location: Rotterdam, Netherlands
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You are making some assumptions that are incorrect.

HDMI is of no use for ingest. A plain copy of files is all for a tape-less work-flow. A tape based work-flow does not profit from HDMI, it only loses all time code information, all metadata and does not improve the quality. HDMI is a display transfer, not a data transfer.

AVCHD requires top-muscle in computing power. A two year old PC is likely not enough. You may need an overclocked i7 with lots of memory at least.

Better skip the Matrox RT.X2 altogether and spend your budget on better components that will benefit all applications and save you a lot of headaches.

For real time ingest use HD-SDI, which precludes AVCHD.

Your suggestion that Matrox uses 4:2:2 color space and it is better than HDV which is 4:2:0 format is nonsense. Once recorded in 4:2:0 format, all Matrox can do is add some zeroes to the data stream, but not improve the image. That has been irretrievably lost when recorded.

If HDMI were capable of real time output in 4:2:2 format, your disk setup would not be enough to handle the data stream unless you have a sustained transfer rate of around 200 MB/s, while still losing all time code and meta-data. AVCHD cameras do not support that, at least not the ones I know in the consumer area.
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Old December 13th, 2009, 07:47 AM   #3
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Location: Nottingham, MD
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Harm, thanks for your quick feedback. The new Sony NXCAM will have SD/HD-SDI out as well. What if I bought one of the smaller Blackmagic or AJA boxes that can convert HD-SDI to Component and then hook it up to Matrox breakout box? This is just for the next year or two. I would eventually ditch the RT.X2 and go with new, faster computer with Adobe CSNext, then use file based editing with NXCAM.
Stephen Gradin
Dockside Video Productions
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Old December 13th, 2009, 07:13 PM   #4
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Location: Hamilton Ontario
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Hey Stephen....
The fact that you're recording to stick, suggests that you need to find a solution for Codec Conversion. The ingest and output options of your camera does nothing for you if you're an event videographer/editor.
If you're suggesting to recapture via HD-SDI, then you might as well stay with HDV.

Basically, if you're gonna drop HDV for a tapeless environment, and still have a similair workflow, then the better option would be to use a dedicated codec like Cineform.
If colour correction is important, than i don't see any other way to do it.
And once you've decided to move to Cineform, the question would arise on how to monitor the video..

Otherwise, i'm very surprised that Matrox hasn't developed a cross conversion for AVCHD users, that allows for native editing of their proprietary I-Frame codec..
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Old December 14th, 2009, 03:44 PM   #5
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What I have found is that you will probably need to ditch the RT.X2. The main reason is that you can't drop 1920x1080 onto the timeline and monitor it. I just sold mine recently and have moved to a MXO2 Mini setup from Matrox. It gives HDMI and component in/out and 1920x1080 monitoring to an external HDTV. It just doesn't do any accelerating, like the RT.X2 does for HDV.

If you move to AVCHD, this is what I've found you'll probably need:

1. NOT the RT.X2. Get something that can do 1920x1080 monitoring out, like the MXO2 Mini.
2. You need a different codec to convert to. I just purchased Cineform NeoScene, as it has been highly recommended. This eases the load on your processor and makes the files easier to work with than the highly compressed AVCHD.
3. A better system. This is where I'm at. My Core2Quad q6700 chokes a bit on this stuff even with Neoscene. I can edit, but it's much slower than editing HDV with the RT.X2. I'd look at the i7 920 as a starting point. Haarm has a better grasp of this than I do though.
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