Dallas Mavericks Video Production Department Appreciates the Versatility of Matrox MXO2 LE and MAX

When it comes to the Dallas Mavericks, everything moves fast and the in-house video production department needs to keep the pace. From commercial promotions for the marketing and corporate sales departments to broadcast features and in-arena entertainment, Tom Ward, Director of Production, and his team provide the pictures to tell the Mavericks story. "Our job is to give the rowdy, proud, and loud Mavs fans what they want to see—entertainment and access to team information. We're the one-stop shop for everything Mavericks."

In an interview, Tom Ward, described his typical production workflows and detailed the many advantages of using Matrox MXO2 LE with MAX.

Typical Workflow

"A fair portion of our footage acquisition comes from each NBA live event. We record highlight melts and the live broadcasts to Sony XDCAM HD from their original 1080 or 720 ingest via EVS XT2 servers. We also shoot interviews, press conferences, and production elements on a variety of cameras including Panasonic Varicam, JVC HD250, and Canon HD MiniCams. Our production rig is a MacBook Pro with Final Cut Pro 7, the Adobe CS4 suite, and 3D Studio Max. A typical project would include importing XDCAM HD highlights from the previous game, editing in Final Cut Pro and compositing graphics in After Effects and Photoshop. We send a rough cut to Compressor and upload the Matrox MAX encoded H.264 QuickTime file to the producer or client for approval. We mix audio and color correct after getting the green light and export to XDCAM HD or print-to-tape via HD SDI using Matrox MXO2 LE.

We deal with a large variety of footage formats and playback/recording devices and Matrox MXO2 LE always gives us a way to interface with whatever the project requires; whether it's capturing old analog highlights from 3/4" tape or HDMI output to a monitor for a background in an interview. Matrox MXO2 LE with MAX has been a solid addition to our production toolkit. Our work is broadcast on the Mavericks Network Partners TXA21-HD and Fox Sports Southwest, in the American Airlines Center Arena, and on the Dallas Mavericks website."

Conveniently Portable I/O

"The Dallas Mavericks have two full HD production facilities which are fantastic assets, but we need a portable option to cover any last minute changes and the added flexibility of going into production anytime, anywhere. Our Matrox MXO2 LE is always on the go like we are, its small portable design allows us to take it with us wherever the job requires. The Matrox MAX technology provides us with a quick and easy way to ingest raw footage and then encode files for sharing. We've never had to send files to another machine for encoding or check if the network batch process crashed overnight.

Matrox MXO2 LE with MAX lets us ingest and output any format we encounter in the professional broadcast realm and also cover any un-expected playback/editing needs in the field. With FCP on a laptop and Matrox MXO2 LE, we can take one small rolling briefcase and set up on-site production wherever it is needed.

At the pace of the NBA season, many ideas go down to the wire for delivery. We once received a large .rar file compressed into 3 pieces, just before the deadline. The compression corrupted a portion of the file. While QuickTime was able to play it back with no visible defects, any attempt to export or re-render the file failed. We hooked up our Matrox MXO2 LE to an XDCAM HD deck via HD-SDI and played back the corrupted file from within FCP to disc with minutes to spare. The client never knew how close we came to scrapping their video and MXO2 saved the day again."

Fast H.264 Encoding

"When we moved from Avid to Final Cut Pro, we looked into different I/O solutions and found Matrox MXO2 LE with MAX offered the best combination of price, features, and physical size for a mobile editing rig. More than just an I/O for a laptop editing system, we loved the MAX fast H.264 encoding option for creating small, web-friendly files we could easily distribute.

Our website is the front door for our fans and the Matrox MAX H.264 encoding technology allows us to deliver content to the web and distribute files quickly to other outlets. The accelerated encoding also lets us better support our corporate clients. We are able to quickly encode the sponsored elements from the previous game and upload them to a file sharing website so our corporate clients can track their exposure. We also frequently use the fast encoding feature to send rough cuts and previews to our producers on the road and to clients for feedback on their broadcast elements.

We create game by game recaps for the corporate sales sponsors for all home games. After each home game, we ingest 60+ clips from 10 seconds to 10 minutes long and encode them using the Matrox MAX H.264 encoding technology to QuickTime files. It is a great way to keep the account execs and the clients in step with the production team and even share fun clips from the latest game with the fans. Matrox MAX encoding acceleration makes the process quick, easy, and painless. Without it, we would probably have to dedicate a second computer just to do encoding.

Similarly, our broadcast HD content can quickly be converted to something smaller for sharing with social media sites like friends.mavs.com or on the Mavericks website."

More creativity

"Matrox MXO2 LE with MAX lets us be more creative by allowing for more collaboration. We can quickly send rough cuts and ideas to all the creative associates for quick feedback. Plus, by quickly encoding and uploading new projects as changes arise, our clients are always in-the-loop. This avoids unnecessary changes and revisions."

Versatile Up, Down, and Cross Conversion

"As much as everyone would like to stay HD all the time, there are always projects that require up, down, and cross conversion. We still use a good bit of historical footage that has to be converted and it's a tremendous help to convert on the fly as last-minute ideas arise.

We use a combination of exporting directly to Sony XDCAM HD and HD SDI print-to-tape for output of projects. We often use the downconvert capability and the composite output of MXO2 LE for rush jobs assisting the coaching staff. One time we had a request from the coaching staff to see some of the broadcast angles of a previous NBA game. We cut an HD sequence in FCP and used Matrox MXO2 LE's realtime downconvert feature to output an SD version to a DVD burner. Within an hour of the request, we were able to take a DVD to the departing Mavericks plane—the coaching staff was thrilled!"

Final Thoughts

"Without reliable I/O and a speedy way to deliver files for the web, we would constantly have to move deadlines and delay projects. The Matrox product saves us money by providing all the features we need in one small package and eliminates the need for another system dedicated solely to encoding. Matrox MXO2 LE lets us keep our projects on time, on track, on budget; all the while boosting our creativity."

Learn more about Matrox MXO2 LE MAX.