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Video Monitors and Media Players for field or studio use (all display technologies).

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Old May 4th, 2012, 07:40 PM   #1
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With the upcoming Premiere CS6 and their "Mercury Transmit" capabilities, I'm looking at upgrading my monitoring capabilities... but which one?

My system, Win 7 Pro, i7 Quad Core CPU, 24 GB RAM, Asus P6T mobo, GTX580 video card (CUDA enabled for MPE), and GT520 video card. These cards support 3-22" monitors desktop monitors. I will be adding an additional HDMI monitor strictly for video monitoring/playback.

I have used the MXO2 mini (not MAX) on this system previously and it didn't play well with the two nVidia cards. It caused a major system slowdown. Any suggestions from the peanut gallery? If necessary, I guess I could remove one of the 22" monitors and replace it, but... why?? I've gotten used to the immense amount of screen real estate!

I'd like to hear y'alls experiences with other monitoring solutions ( and maybe H.264 encoding options as well). Thought?

and Thanks!
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Old May 5th, 2012, 06:31 AM   #2
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Re: MOTU/Matrox/BlackMagic???

I have a Matrox MX02 Mini, and my friend has two BlackMagic Intensity's - a Pro and normal.

The Matrox seems to be a lot more of a headache. The BlackMagic cards seem to just work. I would have bought the BlackMagic cards if I could, but the Matrox boxes seemed to be the only option to me at the time - to work on a Mac laptop without thunderbolt.

BlackMagic cards are cheap - try one!
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Old May 5th, 2012, 05:18 PM   #3
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Re: MOTU/Matrox/BlackMagic???

Thanks, Ryan! I'll have to look into the Intensity Pro PCIe card. At 199.00 it doesn't seem like a huge price to pay. Anyone used a card like that in a three monitor system? Hiccups? Thoughts?
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Old May 9th, 2012, 11:01 AM   #4
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Re: MOTU/Matrox/BlackMagic???

Both the Matrox Mini and Intesity have limitations and will introduce headaches if you are not accustomed to using I/O cards/devices (they require specific sequence presets and some can only output certain frame rates & sizes). I have had the Mini for 2+ years and its been sitting on the shelf for 2+ years because the problems it caused with Premiere. I have had a BMD Decklink Extreme 3D for almost 2 years but I rarely use it with Premiere because it adds 'issues' when used. ALL pro I/O devices cause problems; however, the new Mercury Transit seems to alleviate one issue that I have not liked - the requirement to use BM's (or Matrox's) specific sequences in order to get playback thru their card/box.

Side note: Matrox's HDMI calibration tool is a joke and does not turn a regular monitor/TV into a color accurate display. Frankly, I am surprised there hasn't been more uproar over Matrox's false advertisement.

Simply adding a Mini or Intensity to display video to a monitor will NOT provide any benefit unless that monitor is high quality and has accurate color reproduction. If you didn't know, you can set Premiere to output the Program video in fullscreen to a 2nd monitor; thus, you can have 2 monitors with windows/bins and the 3rd monitor with just video (I think the Source monitor can play to the 3rd monitor as well).

For the H264 encoding options, I recall the Matrox PCI Express device having limitations with the settings such as 1-pass VBR, but that was 2 years ago; so, I'd look into their manuals to see how configurable they are.
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Old May 9th, 2012, 07:26 PM   #5
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Re: MOTU/Matrox/BlackMagic???

At this point, Matrox does not have any drivers to support MXO devices with CS6. No point in trying to run it with CS6 for the time being.

Also, as Steve asks, why do you want an i/o card? I should explain that I've been running an MXO2 Mini since CS4 and have been mostly pleased with it, but I only run two monitors, the Mini and a raid card in my PCIe slots. This ran well in my late P6T system and runs even better in the new system. However, it seems to me that adding a second PCIe GPU video card seriously eats into the PCIe bandwidth on a P6T, bandwidth that already is being consumed by the first video card, the MXO2-mini card, and probably a PCIe raid card.

Rob, have you tried taking an HDMI feed out of the GTX520 card? If memory serves, all of the GTX cards will support two simultaneous outputs. If, as Steve suggests, CS6 will let you direct output to a third monitor on a second video card, surely it will also let you switch to the HDMI feed on the same card. I don't know if it will work, but it would seem better than adding another card to the system. At least, better if all you want is to be able to see that the edits will not look weird when played on a tv.

Color correction is a different matter. While I think Steve was being provocative when he said the Mini's color calibration is a joke, even the most recent Matrox software iterations --- which are improvements over what the calibration software was when Steve looked at it a couple of years ago --- still will not be up to snuff for serious color grading.

The Mini and the BMI units are what you get when your budget is small and "something" is better than nothing. I can say this because I'm in that category and have been using a Mini since the days of CS4. It's a matter of budget and what you need to accomplish. I look at it this way: if I have a movie budget and need a Sony F3 camera, then a tiny Sony CX550v camera will indeed be a joke. But, for many people, the CX cams are just fine.

Which brings me back to asking about feeding an HDMI output from one of the video cards. If you can try it and let us know if works, that would be very useful information to others who want multi-monitor capabilities with CS6.
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Old May 9th, 2012, 08:22 PM   #6
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Re: MOTU/Matrox/BlackMagic???

Hey Jay, its been a while since we both chimed in on the same discussion.

My comment about Matrox's HDMI tool is based on watching other threads on other forums (especially the cow) where people were in talks with Matrox about them fixing their 'tool'. Even after people pointed out that their 'tool' does not work, Matrox never changed their advertising which said that anyone can turn their regular TV into a Professional broadcast monitor. After they refused to change their advertising, I will always look down upon them and any 'bold' claims they try to make.

But, as you said, there is no way any software tool can provide accurate color reproduction with a regular computer monitor or TV. I have compared my Eizo CG243W ($2300 10bit LCD) being fed via Displayport from a Quadro FX3800 (so 10bit from PPro) versus my broadcast Panny 1710w via SDI (BMD Decklink Extreme 3D) and a Dell Ultrasharp 22" (DVI) and a Sony 32" TV (HDMI from Mini). The Sony TV could never get close to the Eizo or Panasonic which is normal. The Eizo has excellent blacks which lets me see details where most monitors fall apart. The Panasonic is great for field work but I wouldn't rely on it for grading because its blacks don't have much detail and its color seems a bit too punchy even though its calibrated using Bars - this is one reason why the Matrox HDMI tool is not very good because it relies on Bars to calibrate the monitor whereas I use a calibration puck and Eizo's software to calibrate my monitor to various color spaces (depending on destination).
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Old May 10th, 2012, 04:40 AM   #7
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Re: MOTU/Matrox/BlackMagic???

Disclosure: I beta test the MXO2 driver releases and am a very happy long time user since the RT2000 days. Call me a Matrox fanboi if you wish.

Special timeline sequences have been a necessary evil for third party hardware such as the Matrox gear. The new Mercury Transmit functionality will do away with this requirement. Kudos to Adobe for investing in this significant software architecture work.

There is a lot more to a Matrox MXO2 than a BM card. I don't know why others would have problems with their systems slowing down and whether having two graphics cards in the computer would be a factor. From my understanding of the MXO2 it shouldn't make a difference. (Disclosure: I have only used the Matrox gear.)

Personally, I've built my computer very well based on the VideoGuys DIY knowledge and I've had a fantastic time with the MXO2 unit.

There was some discussion at one stage over at the MXO2 support forums that the MXO2 and/or driver slowed down the hard drive thoroughput for PPro. This discussion eventually graduated to (from rough memory) how the specific I/O used in the PPBM5 benchmark wasn't a real world editing issue an reflected more the technical interests / bent of the people who made the test. And it also related to SD footage which is hardly a practical issue these days.

One really good thing about the MXO2 is that it is an external box, meaning that you can swap the unit between your work computer and a laptop. Great for flexibility.

Another awesome thing is the Max encoding harware which you can choose at the time of ordering. Absolutely brilliant. The only regrets are from people who wish they had paid the extra for the Max option at the time of ordering.

One user on the support forum has reported that the SD to HD hardware scaling via the MXO2 is better quality than what they were getting from their Snell & Willcox hardware. Very nice to know.

The Matrox HDMI calibration (turning regular monitors in to video monitors) has been a saga for some, including myself (and a very cheap 24 inch monitor I purchased). I'm still using my SD Sony professional video monitor for colour aspects of my work. The techs at Matrox have put an immense amount of work in to the calibration facility but the issues remain with computer monitors that still do their own extra internal processing of the signal. They've even gone so far as to bring in a range of monitors so that they can test them internally and find out why the calibration process doesn't work on some models.

Computer monitors are a cut-throat cheap product category and it's only natural that manufacturers will pull technical processing tricks to save on manufacturing costs. The huge volume of different models coming in to the market also makes things difficult in terms of Matrox providing a list of "known good monitors" to use.

There are a range of qualities when it comes to flat-screen computer monitors and you'll need to buy one of the better ones (unlike the super-cheapie that I thought I could get away with).

With the CS6 drivers: Matrox have a long history of only releasing drivers to the public when they are ready. And there is a parallel history of a few users complaining that the drivers aren't available from the very time of (insert new NLE version) release, not realising that the host app is a moving programming target until the code is finalised and released. Matrox have publicly announced that their drivers for CS6 will be available within 30 days of CS6 being available. That's not too shabby, considering there is a whole new Mercury Transmit technology/interface to integrate with. Also, the Matrox drivers go through some serious real-world beta testing before they are released to the public. This takes time to do properly and the customers get the benefit.

And waiting a few weeks to upgrade to CS6 isn't going to kill anyone who otherwise has work to get done. A little patience and it's all good in the end.

There you go. Hope this answers a bit. I'm all typed out now. :-)

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