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Old July 21st, 2011, 11:56 PM   #1
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Matrox Mini question

I've been a long time Matrox RT .X2/Premiere user, and have a question about the Matrox Mini...
Well, maybe it's a Premiere question also.

Since i'm totally within Matrox presets, it's a no brainer.
All my Sequence settings are Matrox based.
I've got dual monitors for real estate, and my card allows me to view on a broadcast monitor simultaneously.

I'm looking to upgrade my computer, and still want to have the ability to color correct.
I don't see how it's possible to do this without some sort of I/O card.

Is the Cuda hardware acceleration independent of any sort of Matrox sequence settings i'm using?
Can they be used together?

How are most people monitoring their edits?
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Old July 22nd, 2011, 09:24 AM   #2
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Re: Matrox Mini question

Hi Peter,

If you build a new PC with MXO2 Mini, you will still have the same Matrox Color Correction as with RT.X2, and of course any Adobe-native effects can still be applied at the same time, with CUDA acceleration. In other words, you'd not be losing anything by using a Matrox sequence preset - you still get the benefits of the Mercury Playback Engine in CS5.5.

Any other questions, just let me know. I created the MXO2 tutorial, and am of course a user myself, so can answer most questions.

Thanks
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Old July 22nd, 2011, 01:43 PM   #3
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Re: Matrox Mini question

Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter Manojlovic View Post
I've got dual monitors for real estate, and my card allows me to view on a broadcast monitor simultaneously.

I'm looking to upgrade my computer, and still want to have the ability to color correct. I don't see how it's possible to do this without some sort of I/O card.
Well, it depends on whether you want to continue using three-screen set-up for monitoring and color correcting or, instead, would be satisfied using only a two monitor set-up. CS 5 and 5.5 will output accurate RGB color to a second computer monitor via almost any of the current crop of CUDA cards. If you have not already done so, check out this lengthy thread:

Previewing HD on second monitor

How precise does your color correction need to be? If you are doing serious color grading, Steve Kalle has numbers of posts discussing the color accuracy that he obtains with this method, and you might search for those. There is a considerable price to be paid for this approach. To get the accuracy that Steve relies on, you need to invest in at least one very expensive new monitor (about $2500, I think, for an HP Dreamcolor or a comparable Eizo) and professional screen calibration equipment.

My personal preference is a three screen set-up and that is why I went with an MXO2 Mini.

As Jeff has pointed out, getting the Mini would allow you to continue doing what you do now. This includes feeding the "broadcast monitor" with at least the level of color accuracy you got from the RT.X2. I found that the latest iteration of the MatroxUtils software (5.5.0) is a step-up in calibration accuracy from prior versions. It probably is not sufficient for, say, color grading for big-budget theatrical release projects, but I've found the Mini to be excellent for the event and wedding projects I handle.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter Manojlovic View Post
Is the Cuda hardware acceleration independent of any sort of Matrox sequence settings i'm using? Can they be used together?
Yes. My nearly two-year old system now runs CS 5.5 under Win 7 Pro. I use hardware MPE acceleration via GTX 260 card with which I run the twin computer monitors. I use the mXO2 Mini to feed an HDMI signal to a Sony HD Bravia rather than the broadcast monitor as you do.

I've bumped up against a couple of issues with CS 5.5 and the Matrox MX0 5.5 software that I did not have under CS 5. On some multi-cam projects, I get intermittent delays in switching screens where playback will take between 1 and 5 seconds to start after the change. This can be switching between source and program monitor as well as switching between the multi-cam screens. It does not happen all the time, but does happen often enough to be annoying. Matrox mentions this issue in the notes for the 5.5 upgrade. This tempts me to go back to CS5.

I also have experienced occasional failure of the program monitor's playback button. Everything in CS 5.5 will works except the playback button on the program monitor. One minute, it will be fine. The next minute, it becomes completely unresponsive. Pressing the space bar does not work either. I can scroll through the timeline and view output, but playback simply stops working. I have save the project, close and then re-open PPro CS 5.5. Everything is then back to normal. Since this has also happened to me on a project where I was not using Matrox presets (and thus not using the Matrox hardware), I suspect that this is a CS5.5 bug rather than a Matrox issue
.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter Manojlovic View Post
How are most people monitoring their edits?
I have not seen any statistical data but my impression is that a lot of people go with a pair of monitors and use the second one for a full screen display of the program monitor. Check out the thread I cited above.
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Old July 22nd, 2011, 03:01 PM   #4
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Re: Matrox Mini question

Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter Manojlovic View Post

I'm looking to upgrade my computer, and still want to have the ability to color correct.
I don't see how it's possible to do this without some sort of I/O card.

Is the Cuda hardware acceleration independent of any sort of Matrox sequence settings i'm using?
Can they be used together?

How are most people monitoring their edits?

The good thing to know about the Matrox line of boards is that with the MAX technology integrated in the boards, they have the ability with CUDA to help accelerate effects in premiere. In other words, no red barring when applying effects to clips in the timeline.
One other feature for anyone who would consider doing color correction on an HDMI monitor would be the HDMI calibration tool.
This can allow HDMI monitors to get calibrated to ensure that they are also coming out with proper color output.

What kind of broadcast monitor do you have?
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Old July 22nd, 2011, 04:00 PM   #5
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Re: Matrox Mini question

A point of clarification. I do not believe MAX does anything for timeline effects and playback. My recollection about the MAX circuitry is that it gives tremendous acceleration for H.264 encoding from the timeline. Whether than is worth the $400 it adds to the price of a basic MXO2 Mini will, obviously, depend on how much H.264 one does.

And, going back to the point about using a "mini" versus CS5/5.5's built in ability to handle accurate YUV to RGB output via HDMI and Displayports from video cards, here is a link to Alan Tepper "Techno-Tur" blog that discusses it in some depth.

http://provideocoalition.com/index.p...ation_moni/P0/

You will note that he is forthright about his favorable bias while being quite clear that the reasons it may not be appropriate for everybody.
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Old July 22nd, 2011, 04:43 PM   #6
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Re: Matrox Mini question

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff Pulera View Post
In other words, you'd not be losing anything by using a Matrox sequence preset - you still get the benefits of the Mercury Playback Engine in CS5.5.
Thanks
Actually, i was hoping to use the native files and sequences of HDV, or other tapeless formats. But having the advantage of realtime monitoring and CC outside of any Matrox sequence.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jay West View Post
Well, it depends on whether you want to continue using three-screen set-up for monitoring and color correcting.
How precise does your color correction need to be?
Yes. My nearly two-year old system now runs CS 5.5 under Win 7 Pro.
Definately 3 monitors...My CC isn't broadcast critical, but i'm still a disciple of removing color cast, and enhancing luma levels. Since most of my delivery is DVD and BluRay, ( I do weddings mostly), i get the advantage of editing in HDV, and viewing what it should look like as DVD on my SD broadcast monitor.

@ Peter
I have an older Panasonic BT H1350Y, and the downconvert to SD allows me to know what to expect when outputting to DVD..No guesswork..

Unfortunately, at this point, i can't accurately monitor my HD material, but that isn't an issue for me currently. Although i future proof my clients with BluRay's, only about 5% of them actually have BluRay players..

I'd definately buy something with the Max technology, but as far as the Max technology goes, i was under the impression that this was strictly a product of encoding, and not playback as you suggest..

So let me get this straight.
I can create any use any preset sequence, use the native footage of that sequence, and monitor out my Matrox, without relying on Matrox's software to view my footage?

I have a hard time believing that any serious CC or downconverts can be done via the video card.
If so, AJA, BlackMajic, and Matrox would've been out of business..But i will read up..

Thanks..

Edit...
Holy crap Jay, you beat me to the punch...Took the words right out of my mouth.
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Old July 22nd, 2011, 06:01 PM   #7
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Re: Matrox Mini question

"I can create any use any preset sequence, use the native footage of that sequence, and monitor out my Matrox, without relying on Matrox's software to view my footage?"

Not exactly. You certainly can use virtually any kind of native footage without any conversions. You can put that footage in any kind of sequence you choose from DV24p on out to 1080/60i. So, there is no need to convert any of your HDV footage to some other format with any Matrox software. (Nor, if you are using tape, is there any need to capture via the Matrox capture utility, either).

BUT, to monitor via the Mini with PPro, you have to choose a Matrox sequence preset for your timeline. Only Matrox sequences can be output via the Mini to your external monitor. I do not know what version of PPro you are coming from, but there is no need to match a sequence to footage. You can put any kind of native HDV, AVCHD, XDcam, etc. into any kind of timeline

So, if you want to edit HDV footage in, say, a widescreen DV24p timeline, you choose would click on File -->New---> Sequence. The new sequence dialog box appears with the left side of the box being a list of possible presets. Everything from SD to Red and including Matrox HD and Matrox SD presets. TYou go down through the Matrox SD categories and select Matrox SD widescreen 486p @23.98fps. This will output the timeline to your monitor via the Matrox. I might just as well have picked, say, the "Matrox HD 1920x1080 1080i@29.97 fps" sequence preset because I am editing a mix of AVCHD and HDV.

So, what can't you do with the Mini? There is no Matrox preset for 1080/60p (aparently, that will be in the next update of the MatroxUtils software). Matrox only gives you 23.08 and 29.97. So there is no true 24p and 30p if you need them (as some people apparently do.) Also, Matrox does not have presets for very high resolution footage such as Red 4k.

If you need to work with such footage, there is a workaround that is sort of like using proxies only easier. For a ridiculous example, let's say I have Red 4k footage and want to output my finished edit in that format. I would import the files into PPro, open a Matrox 1920x1080 1080i @29.97 sequence, and then do all my editing using the Matrox Mini to monitor on my third screen. When I have everything edited with titles and etc., I block and copy the entire timeline (or hit CntrlA followed by CntrlC). I open a new Red4k timeline and paste the clipboard contents into it. I now have a 4k timeline which I can export/encode via AME. No rescaling is necessary. "Copy and paste" points to the HD source files. (You use "copy and paste for this because the alternative of "Nesting" a sequence, however, gives you an image filtered through the presets of the first sequence.) In the new very high res sequence, I cannot monitor via the Mini, but I can export it to another file which, presumably, I could watch through some other device.

That is a ridiculous example, but this work around has other uses. For instance, some folks like to edit in a widescreen SD timeline (apparently very speedy and saves on file sizes). They can then output the timeline for a DVD. If you also wanted to make a Blu-ray, as well, you would just copy and paste those edits into a 1080i timeline, check the third screen (via the Mini) to make sure there are no odd artifacts or glitches in the HD version, and use "dynamic link" to put it into an Encore Blu-Ray project.

And, speaking of Encore, you can switch from the Abode playback engine to use the Matrox instead and can continue checking you DVD/Blu-Ray authoring as you do it.

One other Matrox oddity to be aware of. If you feed your 3rd monitor via HDMI, the Matrox engine defaults to routing your timeline audio through the HDMI cable to the tv/monitor. If you want to use your computer system's audio and speakers, you have to go into the playback settings and check the box for "use system sound card."
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Old July 23rd, 2011, 07:29 PM   #8
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Re: Matrox Mini question

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jay West View Post
BUT, to monitor via the Mini with PPro, you have to choose a Matrox sequence preset for your timeline. Only Matrox sequences can be output via the Mini to your external monitor.
Thanks for taking your time Jay.
Okay....That's what i needed to know..
I see many similarities in the RT.X2 card, as i do the Matrox Mini, in terms of setup.

Except of course, the fact that the Mini allows for full raster 1920x1080..
Does this spell doom for the Axio line of products???
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Old July 25th, 2011, 05:19 AM   #9
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Re: Matrox Mini question

Just be aware that using anything Matrox will lead to serious performance degradation in disk intensive operations, like exporting. We have seen disk I/O results slowing down by a factor 6 - 8 in comparison to non-Matrox systems.
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Old July 25th, 2011, 10:46 AM   #10
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Re: Matrox Mini question

Hi Harm,

I mean no disrespect because you really know your stuff and do a lot for the edit community, but I must disagree with your blanket statement that Matrox hardware slows down exports. I have seen NO slowdown in exports, and certainly not "6-8x longer", when using Matrox MXO2 Mini. Can you elaborate on how the tests were performed and what the results were?

I've just ran several tests, exporting both HD and SD source clips to various formats, and whether using a Matrox Sequence or an Adobe Sequence, the export times were always identical - to the second. Just to be safe, I then uninstalled the Matrox hardware and drivers and ran the same Adobe exports with identical results again.

I know that you have the benchmark program and probably got the "slow export" results from an end user. Is it likely that perhaps this user's particular hardware setup is to blame? Maybe he is using a hardware RAID controller that is conflicting with the Matrox hardware and/or bottlenecking on the PCI bus? Is there a chance even that the way your test runs that it skews the result with Matrox? Something is going on.

Test system is a Core i7-2600 with Quadro 4000 and 16GB RAM, with a 2TB Windows RAID 0 stripe set (2x1TB SATA) and Matrox MXO2 Mini with MAX, running Premiere Pro CS5.5.

I don't believe you actually use the Matrox hardware, so you may wish to do further research before issuing public warnings. Yes I work for a reseller, but I am also a satisfied long-time Matrox user in my own video business and want the MXO2 to be fairly represented and avoid the spread of misinformation.

Thank you

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Old July 25th, 2011, 11:51 AM   #11
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Re: Matrox Mini question

Jeff,

I took a look at the old PPBM5 results list. There was one configuration with a Matrox MXO2 LE Max card that had a whopping 566-second AVI time and a 696-second overall time. I discovered that that system does not even have a RAID array at all: It uses just two hard disks - one for the OS, programs and pagefile, the other for everything else - a less-than-optimal disk setup to begin with.

For the record, none of the high-ranked (fastest) systems appeared to use an I/O card at all (or if any of those were using such a card, the I/O card wasn't specified).

Also, the reason why you didn't notice a difference with or without the Matrox card installed is that you were using Microsoft Windows software RAID. That Windows software RAID is extremely slow to begin with: I tested a 2 x 1TB setup using that Windows software RAID, and that setup consistently needed more than 600 seconds just to complete the AVI test compared to about 60 seconds with the onboard Intel RAID with Intel Rapid Storage Technology drivers. In fact, there is so much latency within the Microsoft software RAID drivers that a setup using such software is far slower in the Disk I/O test than even a single hard drive without RAID.
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Old July 25th, 2011, 01:48 PM   #12
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Re: Matrox Mini question

Hi Randall,

Sorry but you lost me. I don't know how the benchmark functions in relation to real-world exports.

All I can tell you is that no matter what format I exported to - MPEG-2 for DVD, H.264, or .avi, I saw no difference in an Adobe Sequence or a Matrox Sequence, with or without the Matrox hardware installed.

Please elaborate on what your test results show, in terms we can all understand in relation to actually using Premiere, not a benchmark test.

When you say one computer took 600 seconds, but another took 60 seconds to do the same thing, it sounds like the one is 10x faster than the other, but let's be realistic. By that reasoning, the 1-minute DV clip exported to MPEG-2 that took :07 seconds would take less than :01, or the 1080i to Blu-ray would take 3.7 seconds? No matter how fast the hard drives are, it still takes a certain amount of processing to encode the video, regardless of the theoretical speed that the drives can supply frames, right? So what is the benchmark showing?

Thanks

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Old July 25th, 2011, 03:24 PM   #13
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Re: Matrox Mini question

Jeff,

Where we noticed the significant drop-off in performance was with exporting a one hour SD DV AVI as AVI. This entails writing 13 GB to disk. It is the Disk I/O test in the PPBM5 Benchmark

We have asked people that showed very disappointing results on that specific test and that use Matrox to repeat the test without Matrox and in general, where their results where say 460 seconds with Matrox, those results dropped to figures around 80 seconds without Matrox.

Whenever we see high figures in the Disk I/O test, it is 9 out of 10 that Matrox is involved. Notice that we do not see those results with exporting small files of 100 MB, and using MPEG2 or H.264, We only see it with large files that stress disk R/W activities
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Old July 29th, 2011, 02:06 AM   #14
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Re: Matrox Mini question

My nose was itching....was someone talking about me ;)

To let you know how much I like my Mini - it has been used once since being relegated to the shelf in 2009. Way too many problems and their HDMI calibration tool was a complete and flat out lie. Plus, opening Matrox projects/sequences on a non-Matrox computer caused constant crashes. Not good for future-proofing.

I have been using a BlackMagic Decklink Extreme 3D but it has its issue as well; so, I don't use it on a daily basis. However, I can use ANY sequence and still get an output thru the Decklink card via SDI to my panasonic 1710w, and I can open BM sequences on my home non-BM PC.

For daily work, I use my Eizo CG243W (down to <$2000) connected via DisplayPort to a Quadro FX3800 just like Alan writes about in his article. Plus, I get a true 10bit pipeline all the way from Premiere to my Eizo

So far, I have found the Aja Kona to be the best and most reliable I/O for the PC.
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Old July 29th, 2011, 05:42 AM   #15
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Re: Matrox Mini question

Not to hijack a thread, but what kind of issues do you have with Blackmagic Extreme 3D? I'm asking, because we've just bought the card, and would like to know what I should be aware of.
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