Picture This Productions enhances productivity and creativity with Matrox MXO2 Rack MAX and Convert DVI Plus
By Curt Pair
As the owner of Picture This Productions, a small, full-service production company in Glendale, Arizona, I often have to wear many hats. I am a producer/director, director of photography/cinematographer and an editor/motion graphic artist. As a boutique shop, the selection of equipment that we use is paramount to our success. We need to be fiscally responsible, efficient and creative all at the same time.
One of our equipment choices is the Matrox MXO2 Rack MAX. It has every input anyone could want including HD-SDI, HDMI, composite, component, Y/C, XLR, surround sound, AES/EBU and RS 422 for control. The beauty of this unit is that it’s both PC and Mac compatible and has a variety of connection options (PCIe, ExpressCard/34 and Thunderbolt) so it can literally be used anytime, anywhere, on any system.
We travel a considerable amount and like to stay productive on the road. It’s nice to know that I can start a project in the edit suite and take it with me. I use the PCIe connection on my tower and either the ExpressCard/34 or Thunderbolt connection on my laptop. With the HDMI monitoring function, I’ve often used the televisions in hotel rooms as my edit monitor. The Matrox HDMI Calibration Utility lets me use an inexpensive consumer TV to emulate a broadcast monitor.
What’s more, the Matrox MXO2 Rack MAX has a secret weapon found only in Matrox products. The MAX technology speeds the encoding of H.264 files tremendously—up to 5 times faster than using just the NLE alone. We don’t have to worry about sacrificing quality for speed either, the quality is superb.
In this day and age, nearly all of our clients want their finished product as quickly as possible. We’ve found many of our clients also prefer to review the material online instead of sitting in during the post session at our facility. MAX lets us encode H.264 files and upload them to the web in a secure manner for review by the client or final presentation of the finished piece. It’s useful for speedy Blu-ray and mobile device content too.
Our NLE of choice is Adobe Premiere and the MXO2 Rack MAX integrates seamlessly. Our camera of choice is the RED Epic and R3D media files. We also use Sony XDCAM, XDCAM EX, XAVC, Canon 5DMIII and occasionally P2 files. The MXO2 has no trouble with any of the leading file-based workflows on the market. We can simply drop material into a timeline, hit play and everything works.
The MXO2 also works with other Adobe apps including After Effects, Photoshop, Media Encoder, Prelude, and Encore. Having a single device that interfaces with all of our favorite software applications is a huge timesaver, and very cost effective.
Another way we use our MXO2 Rack MAX is as a professional camera interface for streaming. For a Barrett-Jackson Las Vegas auction we used Livestream as our CDN to continue coverage of the auction on the internet once the Speed Channel broadcast had concluded for the day. We were also able to record the feed for use in future post projects.
Fishman Electronics tasked us with shooting several pieces, including a commercial and multiple trade show/internet pieces for their new Fluence guitar pickups. We had to shoot and post the content in just a few short days. Seamless integration with Premiere made this possible, as a variety of codecs were employed including R3D, MXF and MP4 files. The Matrox color correction made grading shots to match simple and easy. As each piece was finished, we could quickly encode the latest version to H.264 with MAX and upload it to the web for client approval.
We also use the Matrox Convert DVI Plus to record and create high quality content from computers in the field, rather than shooting them with field production cameras. This gives us a clean image and lets us focus in on the precise ‘region-of-interest’ we want to show. If the selection of the content doesn’t match the output resolution, the Convert DVI Plus scales the region for us. When we are shooting for webcasts, the graphic overlay feature lets us add logos and graphics (with an alpha channel) over our video, even on YouTube and Skype.
We work with a wide variety of broadcast and corporate clients including the Golf Channel, ESPN, Fox Sports, CBS, Barrett-Jackson Collector Car Auctions, Twentieth Century Fox, Scripps Howard, Honda Motors, Fishman Electronics, and GJ2 Guitars. Each of these clients expects the pinnacle of quality, with speed, accuracy and budget in mind. The Matrox equipment helps us maximize creativity no matter the budget and produce results that are beyond expectations.