Matrox MXO2 LE Performs to the MAX at Glyndebourne Opera House

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Glyndebourne CarmenGlyndebourne is recognised globally as one of the great opera houses. Its productions travel worldwide, are performed live in other opera houses and are screened in cinemas from New York to Tokyo. Yet it remains a very English institution. Its global reputation stems from a passion for artistic excellence. The late founder, John Christie, insisted on doing, "not the best we can do, but the best that can be done anywhere." For over 75 years, that has remained Glyndebourne's touchstone. Glyndebourne's commitment to quality has earned it a loyal following and its reputation enables it to attract the world's finest artists. Today, its festival and tour present over 110 performances each year, to some 150,000 people.

Simon Yapp (Digital Media Technical Producer) has worked for the Glyndebourne Festival Opera for nine years during which time he has been involved in the A/V and lighting for over 60 operas, six Glyndebourne opera tours, and numerous in-house recitals. He has also designed the lighting for education and development projects. During his time running Glyndebourne's audio visual department, Simon not only provided technical support for show effects and all communications, he also put in place a state-of-the-art video recording and editing facility. This now enables directors and designers to have immediate replay access to their rehearsals and shows at any stage of a performance.

Matrox MXO2 LE with MAX is used by Glyndebourne to produce up to 40 short films a season. Simon comments, "At Glyndebourne, operas are filmed on HDCAM. We use the MXO2 LE with MAX linked to a hired deck to capture high quality HD video into our edit systems. The key thing is that it enables us to record in a variety of video compression formats such as Apple Pro Res HQ or any codec of our choice."

Simon describes a workflow employed on a production of Mozart's 'Don Giovanni' last summer, "We had a truck on site recording the opera live. The MXO2 LE with MAX enabled us to take a copy of the HD-SDI feed from the truck, straight to the edit system. This meant we could start the edit of the DVD extras immediately using the material recorded live, without the time delay of a tape process. The conventional method would have been for the truck to supply HDCAM tapes for off-site conversion into edit assets. The MXO2 LE with MAX cut out a lot of unnecessary expense and delays in the process of getting the footage from the OB truck to the Final Cut system. Also, at the end of the edit process it enabled us to export the final timeline into H.264 in real time using its in-box MAX H.264 encoding accelerator. This external task done by the MXO2 LE with MAX avoids placing any large computing loads on the editing system's processors, thus enabling the editor to continue working uninterrupted on other material."

In the summer season Simon, together with a small in-house producing team, is involved in conducting interviews during rehearsal periods that are used to create short and informative films for cinema screenings, DVD extras, and the Glyndebourne website. He says, "When we're making these films we need to provide many draft exports for approval from management and/or senior directors. The MXO2 LE with MAX helps us to get these exports ready in real time, so it saves a huge amount of time."

He further comments, "Finally it has to be said the Matrox unit is tough and clearly built to a high standard. This means it can be taken out on location and used for its capture and conversion abilities on site, with no fear of it breaking etc. An additional advantage is that it can connect into both vehicle power and external batteries."

"With all its features—from importing from a variety of sources, providing a live full-resolution preview window from your edit timeline, exporting in real time, as well as being a high quality product; the Matrox MXO2 LE with MAX is not only very versatile, it's invaluable to us for our workflow. Just like Glyndebourne opera, it produces the best quality possible."

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