Podcast Producer Gray Jones Streamlines His Workflow Using Matrox MXO2 Mini MAX

As a busy TV editor and colorist by day and a podcast producer on nights and weekends, I am juggling a lot of projects and always "on the go." All of my work is very deadline-based, which means that I need to crunch data fast when moving from one project to another. I usually work from a home suite, delivering H.264 edits or color grades online.

For years, I spent very late nights waiting for H.264 proofs to export in time for a 7 a.m. deadline. Earlier this year, however, I purchased a Matrox MXO2 Mini with MAX and Thunderbolt for my quad-core 27-inch Apple iMac. In doing so, I have been able to reduce what used to be a two- to three-hour process to 15 minutes or less without any loss in quality.

My workflow before buying the MXO2 Mini was, in all honesty, a real pain. In trying to speed up H.264 encoding, I distributed the compression processing across four computers. Now I can compress much faster using just one computer. Regardless of the software editing system I am using, the Matrox unit converts video to H.264 faster than real time. The system uses a dedicated hardware processor to accelerate the creation of H.264 files, whether they're proofs or podcasts, and its Thunderbolt adapter support is another great thing about this solution for me. I can now connect a pro video solution to an iMac, something that was not possible before. Also, I am often switching workstations, and it's great to know the same unit can be moved easily to a PCI Express-equipped Mac Pro.

There are only so many hours in a week, and being able to cut processing time and reclaim eight or ten hours per week has been monstrously huge for me. The speed at which I can deliver H.264 proofs is valuable in that I can export a timecoded window dub to producers for approval, and as soon as I get word back, I can keep working. A quick turnaround is vital, as I can crank out the proof and get feedback quickly. The H.264 encoding of the MXO2 Mini also comes in handy for delivering final proofs to the network, which stores the file for matching against tape, and in processing my podcasts—"TV Writer Podcast" and "Chuck vs. the Podcast"—for upload to the internet.

In everyday use, the number of presets for very specific applications also has proven convenient. Though Apple Compressor does have presets of its own, I am now uploading a lot more video to YouTube simply because the MXO2 Mini presets make it so easy to accomplish. I used to have to dedicate time for R&D—changing this parameter and that compression—and it could take hours or even days. Now, with so many projects going, I'm happy to depend on the time-saving presets included on the Matrox unit. Thanks to a suggestion by Matrox, I also am now using the MXO2 Mini for broadcast monitoring, using an HDMI to DVI cable to attach to my JVC HD broadcast monitor.

In the relatively short time I've been using the MXO2 Mini, it has made a huge impact on my professional and personal life. (I can get more sleep and do more work.) It's been a very reliable and easy-to-use solution for delivering H.264 files to different destinations, and the speed of the unit's H.264 encoding allows me to do the same volume of work much faster, giving me the freedom to work on personal projects that are important to me.

Learn more about Matrox MXO2 Mini MAX