Outdoorsman International goes end-to-end with Matrox

By: Buck McNeely
Founder and CEO
Outdoorsman International and Timberwolf Productions

Outdoorsman International goes end-to-end with Matrox

The Outdoorsman with Buck McNeely premiered in 1985 on one TV station in Cape Girardeau, Missouri. Since then, it has become the largest syndicated outdoor adventure TV series in the World. The program airs on over 500 TV stations and cable nets and is also distributed internationally. The format includes exciting hunting and fishing excursions shot on location in such far-flung places as Siberia, Brazil, Costa Rica and Africa. The series presents celebrity guests and brings important environmental and conservation issues into focus as well as highlighting travel and tourism considerations.

We do all of our own shooting, editing and post-production and have developed a workflow that lets us consistently pump out a show each week under deadline pressure. We use Adobe Premiere Pro running on a PC workstation alongside a Matrox MXO2 Rack MAX. Everything in our system is run though the Matrox unit, which provides all the connections and flexibility we might need—SDI, HDMI and analog HD video input and output, as well as complete SDI, HDMI and XLR audio I/O with direct 7.1 surround sound monitoring. It’s all right on the unit so there is no messy breakout cable hanging out of the computer to deal with.

The Outdoorsman with Buck McNeely

Streamlined workflow

Typically, our workflow is to capture footage from our Panasonic DVCPRO HD unit’s SDI output, though the MXO2 Rack, using the full-raster Matrox MPEG-2 I-frame intermediate codec rather than doing a thin-raster 1394 file transfer. The Matrox codec gives us very high quality and is a less processor-intensive way of working, so editing is smoother on multilayer sequences. Once the editing is completed, we also use the Matrox MPEG-2 codec as the rendering codec to ensure that "flattened" files maintain high quality when we are exporting or printing to tape. It is also an effective archiving codec for material that may be used in future projects. The “MAX” feature of the Matrox unit comes in handy for speeding up our H.264 encoding for deliveries to the web and YouTube.

Another TV series we have in development at Timberwolf Productions is “Burned Out”. It chronicles the rebuilding of our family home in Missouri after a devastating fire last year. We showcase the step-by-step process of constructing a new-age, energy-efficient, two-story house built of structural insulated panels (SIP), triple pane windows, high-efficiency fireplaces, geo thermal HVAC and stone and brick exterior finishes. We have shot over 100 hours of raw footage that we are currently editing to produce the series. Again, the Matrox MXO2 Rack is instrumental in getting the high quality footage into and out of the editing system.

Matrox MXO2 LE MAX

We’ve just built a new edit suite and one of the next things we are looking at is the Matrox MXO2 LE MAX. It’s a portable version that will let us maintain our current workflow but open up the possibility of doing some editing in the field with the powerful PC laptops and all-in-ones with Thunderbolt connectivity that we expect to see on the market shortly. I plan to use this on my next African safari.

Learn more about Matrox MXO2 LE MAX

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