Videoguys User Spotlight: Review for RT.X2 by Chris & Laura Randall - Edit 1 Media at DVinfo.net

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Old November 3rd, 2006, 02:17 PM   #1
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Videoguys User Spotlight: Review for RT.X2 by Chris & Laura Randall - Edit 1 Media

Chris and Laura Randall have become known as one of the best high-end Event Videographers in the Seattle area. They currently shoot with Sony PD-170’s and rent Sony Z1U’s for HDV productions. They edit with the Adobe Production Studio Premium and Matrox RTx2 and RTx100 systems.

The Matrox RT.X2 is a long awaited answer to HDV editing. For wedding and event videographers looking for an HDV editing solution, their timing couldn’t have been more perfect. With the flood of inexpensive HDV cameras on the market, current Matrox RT.x100 users have been looking for an HDV editing solution but haven’t been willing to step up to the Matrox AXIO line due to its cost. Matrox has since released the Matrox AXIO LE, a lighter version of the AXIO at a lower cost than the original AXIO. The great thing about the RT.X2 is that Matrox used a lot of the core technologies that were created for the higher end AXIO line and folded them into the RTX2 product.

First I would like to describe what the Matrox RT.X2 card does for video editing. For those who are familiar with editing on Adobe Premiere Pro 2.0 or earlier versions, you are all too familiar with the Realtime Preview. The Realtime Preview allows you to see your video with effects as it would play back in realtime. Unfortunately, you often have to render out these effects before you can export your video to DVD or other formats. And sometimes the real time playback is at a reduced frame rate. With the RT.X2 card, you eliminate the need to render your video before exporting your project. Video playback is smooth with multiple effects applied and scrubbing of the timeline is lightning fast.

Click here for the full article http://www.videoguys.com/edit1media.html

Gary
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Old November 3rd, 2006, 07:49 PM   #2
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I've been reading some of the articles on your site, from the GPU article to this article here, but I still don't have a clear sense of what this Matrox thing is.

Is it a software or a physical card? If a card, is it a graphics card? Is it something that only works with Premiere?

Can you use another gfx card like the Nvidia Quadro series while also using the Matrox thing?
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Old November 8th, 2006, 12:16 PM   #3
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If I understand correctly the Matrox boards (they are a board/card which would require a software driver, but they are not just software) can best be called "video coprocessors". That is, they do in hardware what could be done slower in software on the main CPU. As such, they manage to do the work (transitions, down/up res, etc.) in realtime. By that I mean that they are able to achieve full frame rate during playback without any pre-rendering.

At least, I think that is what they are. It fits with what I know Matrox does. In my day job I write realtime image analysis software for QC equipment. My latest is to locate and read numbers with full 360-degree rotation at frame rates that would astound you!
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Old November 8th, 2006, 12:36 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Flowers
If I understand correctly the Matrox boards (they are a board/card which would require a software driver, but they are not just software) can best be called "video coprocessors".
The term the industry started using was hardware accelerators. These are add-in cards that ad an extra level of performance and features to the software. You use it in addition to your graphics card. The RT.X2 is an HDV and DV real-time accelrator. With it running you can do 2 or more layers of HDV video and graphics/ transitions in real-time. RT.X2 also leverages your computers CPUs and GPU. So the faster the machine, the more performance you're going to see.

Gary
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Old November 8th, 2006, 01:03 PM   #5
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Gary, interesting that it also leverages the CPU and GPU.

However I personally dislike the term "hardware accelerator" as it is too vague? Can it make my DVD burner burn faster? Can it make hard disk reads and writes faster? Why not? They are hardware!

Despite that semantics quibble thanks for clearing it up for me. The card is what I thought it was, and someday it might be worth my while to look into it.
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Old November 8th, 2006, 02:09 PM   #6
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it's called a hardware acccerator because it is hardware. Hardware that accelerates software.

Keep in mind existed years before you had NLE software that could run on it's own. you needed a capture card back then. but capture cards just gave you just I/O. Hardware accelerators gave you I/O plus real-time performance.

Gary
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Old November 8th, 2006, 08:49 PM   #7
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hmm.. ok well heres the doozy.. i persoannly wouldnt all this a review of the RTx2... i would call this a companies experience with it. The fact that theyve only utilised the HDV functions/format on 2 of their 40 dd projects, tells me that theyre comparing it to the RTx100 in Sd mode.

Let me clarify.. its nice that they went out of tehir way to do a write upm, BUT they have left out some fundamental elements of inofrmation which is IMPERITIVE to the decision of going hardware.

When utilising a Hardware accelerator for video editing, you are restricted tot eh HW when it comes to effects. In saying this, GPU/VPU effects are all relian ton teh quality of the encoder/decoer for aliasing, scaling and colour sampling. In saying this, ther is no room for improvement once the HW option is chosen, so ensuring youre happy with the aliasing algorythms of the RT systems is important. Some filters and effects introduce jggies and the like, and this has always been an issue with RT systems. With the newer GPU cards, this has been adressed, but for these effects through the GPU, there is still room for improvement.

Another fundamental element to take note of, is the the RT2 IS NOT COMPATIBLE WITH 720p or 1080p.
It only supports 1080i or 576p/480p. THe highest possible resolution of the card is 576p actual frame, and 540 (1080i) temporal. Those wanting to take advantage of the newer sony and canon camera will be in for a rude shock when they relaise they can only get 1080i happening on the timeline.
Even if canons 24f is within a 1080i stream, the fact remains that pulldown is NOT an option in the way the RT manages HDV. In addition, the card, being Hardware, cannot physically go higher than 540 temporal lines when working HD..
Its imperitive that peoplo KNOW this.
The JVC camera may have support soon, but it wont be for 720p, as the card cannot physically exceed 540 lins in any hd mode.

moving on.

to cal this card a realtime card, i would have to disagree.. i would call it a realtime preview card. As with premiere on its own, ur still stuck with prerenders of those red bars. so oftimes, prerendering is required before u can view ur work in full frame full resolution.
Most of the time, prerendering isnt needed, but this depends on what kind of work your doing.

I have to say that with PremPro2, without a RT2, that 2gb ram, a kick ass gfx card and some clever filter chaining (keypoint), that the RTx2 would be nigh on obsolete. the RT2 can handle 2 video tracks of HDV, but ive achieved 5 hdv tracks on prempro2 (no rt2) on a lowly 3.0ghz system running 2gb ram with an nvidia 6800gs system. Granted rendering isnt as fast, but then again, i didnt pay 3 extra grand for an RT card, which locks me into the 1080i HDV format..

Im not dissing the Rt, but if ""reviews"" are going to be written, they should be accurate and informative. In this case, i cant say what this this was, it seemed more like an article on how "XYZ"company find the uses for the RT2 within their line of work. Thats no bad thing, but if this is designed to entice people to buy, then it should be accurate.

the newer HDV formats (1080p) and teh older 720p are not supported. THis is paramount to any decisionmaking when it comes to NLE support of ones camera equipment.

Its a great system, and those using 1080i wil no doubt find it useful and extremely fast, however a well configured PP2 can do most of what the RT can do.
In addition, going back to my "keypoint"of filtering... not many people know this, but the RT systems (as well as the PP engine itself) rely on your filter chainign to determine teh behaviour of the encoder/decoder
In saying this, filter chaining and positioning are as important as teh filter selections themselves. Seems like a basic thing to consider, but its the difference between prerendering and no rendering. Certain filters work differently when thrown into a chain, so putting them in the correct spot along the chain is important when it comes to performance.

At the end of the day, the RT system has its uses, but its not for everyone..

hope this helps clarify certain things.
Any more q's on the RT system, feel free to drop a line here
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Old November 9th, 2006, 08:25 AM   #8
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Pete - some very fair and good points. These are user based workflow articles, not in depth reviews. I need to make sure of that when I name them. A better title would have been something like "Using the RT.X2 for producing Hi Definition Wedding Event Video"

A few comments about 24p:

The new ver 2 drivers will support JVC cams w/ 720p, but as you pointed out, not the 24p flavor. Matrox just doesn't / didn't see this as a big enough volume segment of the market to put the extra engineering & cost into the product. Time will tell how big an issue this is for them, but keep in mind that the Sony 1080i HDV cams are still more than 75% of the HDV marketplace.

With 1080i footage you will see a good amount of real-time performance and improved workflow with the RT.X2. Not so much for straight cuts, but for color correcting, chroma keying, 3d transitions, slow-motion and multiple PIP layers of video.

The hardware vs software algorythm is a fair comment, but not necessarily correct. Software or hardware encodes can be damaging to footage if not done right. But they can be tweaked or improved. Sure it's easier to fix a software only issue, but it can be done with hardware accelerated affects as well. An example of this is the original rela-time slow motion filter Matrox put into the RTX.100. It looked awesome on really fast moving action footage, but it was terrible on normal footage. So wedding guys had a fit because they had poor results when they used the Matrox slow motion. It took a few months, but Matrox fixed it by adding another setting for slow motion designed for that type of footage.

One of the points you made was about how you really need to match your HDV camcordr and the settings you use to the right NLE. This is PERFECT advice. Videoguys is working on a comparison / matrix / table to better explain this and offer you the best choice. It's no easy project. But we are working on it. I have been begging my NLE vendors tot ake the same approach.

Gary
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