Matrox MXO2 Mini and MAX Star at Geneva Motor Show

Richard Atherton is a full-time video post-production trainer. He teaches for the BBC Academy, Granada, S4C and many other television companies as well as independent producers and training centres. In 2007, he became the UK's first Apple Certified Master Trainer. He is also a co-founder and organiser of The West of England Final Cut Pro User Group (weFCPug).

In 2009, Richard was commissioned by the Morgan Motor Company to film their Centenary events and produce twelve half-hour programmes called "Morgan 100". He still films their major events to this day. The exciting new Morgan 3 Wheeler sports car was unveiled to the press at the Geneva Motor show in March 2011. With over 300 advanced orders taken prior to the official launch, the world was buzzing with anticipation as this latest edition to the Morgan range made its world premiere. Richard was there with a Canon XF305, an Apple MacBook Pro and a Matrox MXO2 Mini equipped with the MAX H.264 encoding accelerator option.

"On the morning of March 1st, I filmed Charles Morgan (Chairman & Managing Director and grandson of founder HFS Morgan) launching the new Morgan 3 Wheeler at the Geneva Motor Show. In the afternoon, I edited my efforts in the press room and by the end of the afternoon had uploaded it to my PickProd.co.uk and Morgan's website. The encoding into H.264 was speedily undertaken by a Matrox MXO2 Mini with MAX and I have to say, it did its job superbly."

A week later at a weFCPug meeting, a live demonstration was given of its capabilities:

"Initially we took about one minute of my finished piece and exported it as a self-contained Quicktime movie with the timeline codec: 1280 x 720 50p ProRes 422. It came out at 1.09 GB...

Next we put it into Apple Compressor to use the software to turn it into an H.264, still1280 x 720 50p but with 44.1 KHz AAC audio at a bit rate of 4.4 (Mbps). The resulting file came out at 40.5 MB - some difference! But it did take just a shade over 13 minutes...

Finally we used the Matrox MXO2 Mini with the MAX H.264 encoding accelerator built in. This was accessed via Matrox presets within Compressor and matching the settings of the previous example; we sat back and waited as it did the encoding. A file of 41.9 MB was produced in just...wait for it...one minute and nine seconds! We were all impressed. That was nearly 12 times quicker!

We put this up alongside the original and, without a doubt, the Matrox encoding had very accurate colour rendition and a 'sharp' looking picture with little artifacting...

That in itself makes the Matrox MXO2 Mini with Max great. But it's everything else this little box does that really makes it shine—most notably the ability to turn your HDMI screen (i.e. a standard television) into a pretty colour accurate video monitor using the Matrox HDMI Calibration utility. I tried it with a 32" Panasonic—Superb!

I think every edit suite should have one of these and the fact that you can pack it in your suitcase and encode in the field is a real added bonus."

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