Matrox MC-100 User Report
By Shaun Miller
Technical Director at Northview Church
Northview Church services are held in a 2,100-seat auditorium that represents one of Indiana’s most advanced A/V facilities. The room is outfitted for 5.1 surround sound and features a massive lighting infrastructure with intelligent lights. Spanning the back wall, an 80-foot-wide and 30-foot-tall Christie projection screen provides a stunning backdrop that can transform the stage into just about any kind of environment. Every week, we use this phenomenal technology to create an unusually dynamic and immersive worship experience.
Our creativity with technology and our problem-solving capabilities have made Northview Church a strong site for testing the latest equipment, and we’ve developed a close relationship with the Matrox Video Products Group through which we use and provide feedback on new products. Often these products, such as the Convert DVI Plus HD-SDI scan converter, become essential to our operations. This proved true once again when we got our hands on the Matrox MC-100 dual SDI to HDMI mini converter. In fact, shortly after delivery, the MC-100 saved Christmas for us.
We were having a major issue in that our CG computer was losing sync with the rest of the system so that when we’d switch to it, our projection system would flash to black and back. We had shifted over a very expensive piece of equipment to fix the problem, but we needed that gear for the extra cameras we’d be putting on stage for our Christmas service. We rewired the projection system with the MC-100 in line with it, between the signal router and our dual projectors, and the box solved our problem instantly, providing the time-base correction required.
Some of the cameras we use for filming lack genlock, and the MC-100 solves this problem for us, too. Because the box has two inputs and two outputs, with the ability to route any one to any other, we are able to send the program signal into one input and then route a camera feed into the other. We’ve configured the unit to grab the genlock from the program input and video from the other input, and we’re set; problem solved. Since then, we’ve added two more of the Matrox MC-100s to support additional cameras.
We have an all-SDI infrastructure here at Northview, and the MC-100 is an inexpensive box that lets us feed SDI from our video room to affordable consumer-grade monitors and/or flat screens with DVI or HDMI inputs. We use these screens, connected via the MC-100, for off-stage monitoring during our productions, as well as for convenient signal testing and monitoring throughout our facility. Because the Matrox box has dual inputs, we can run two different video streams into the box while we’re monitoring a live production and switch between the program and static camera as needed with a simple button press.
Downstairs in our production studio, we film a lot of special elements that we incorporate into our services. The MC-100 has come in handy there, as well. The portable cameras in the studio output SDI video, and the conversion performed by the Matrox box allows whoever is directing to sit behind a few consumer-brand LCD monitors rather than more costly true SDI monitors.
For the price, the MC-100 is an amazing little box. Because it’s self-contained and doesn’t require any external software or system to run it, it’s essentially bulletproof. With its remarkable versatility, the MC-100 is a great addition to our toolbox. We move several of the systems around our facility, using them in all different sorts of things. What makes the MC-100 box so cool is that even with all that we’ve done with it, we haven’t even scratched the surface of its capabilities and uses.
As we continue to develop innovative programming for our services, I’m confident that we’ll find many additional uses for the Matrox system. We’re already imagining the types of 3D productions we might take on — and how the MC-100’s 3D processing capabilities will support them.