This guide has been updated in JUNE, 2011 with information regarding Matrox MXO2 with MAX support for the Adobe CS5.5 Mercury Playback Engine and Matrox MXO2 Mini support for Avid Media Composer 5.5!
Matrox Hardware is "Triple AAA rated" Now Supports Avid, Adobe & Apple!
It was only three years ago that Matrox introduced the MXO2, their first Mac and PC based I/O device. Since then the MXO2 family of products has grown to include I/O at every level. From the affordable Mini at $449, to the MXO2 LE with SDI for under $1,000 up to the MXO2 Rack at $1,995. MXO2s are being used in Broadcast trucks, Cable News Rooms, and professional edit suites all over the world. The quality of the products and the video they produce is outstanding. So it should come as no surprise that the Matrox MXO2 Mini was the FIRST I/O device recommended by the big 3 NLE vendors Apple, Avid and Adobe. That is why we say Matrox MXO2 family of products are AAA rated. No other hardware company can make this claim. So whether you use PC or Mac; Desktop or Laptop; Adobe, Avid, or Apple, an MXO2 family I/O box is the right choice for you!
The Matrox MXO2 is an award-winning product that evolved into a complete family of Hardware I/O devices from Matrox. The Matrox MXO2 Family includes 4 product variations (actually, twice as many if you count the Matrox with MAX variations).
This Videoguys FAQ on the Matrox MXO2 Family is dedicated to the SDI products including the MXO2 LE, MXO2 and MXO2 Rack. The MXO2 Mini will be discussed in some parts but we recommend you check out the Videoguys' dedicated MXO2 Mini FAQ.
The answers to these frequently asked questions relate to the Matrox MXO2 LE, MXO2 and MXO2 Rack versions.
What are folks saying about the new MXO2 family?
The original Matrox MXO2 was a great start! We have sold it into a wide variety of users ranging from cable news, local call letters, high end production houses, independent film makers, event videographers and more. Some are using it for uncompressed HD & SD footage, while many others have integrated MXO2 into their tapeless workflows both in the field and in their main editing suites.
In the edit suites we have customers reporting fantastic results vs comparable hardware from Aja or BlackMagic costing 2-3x as much! Not only do they save big bucks, they get the added versatility of the MXO2. It works great as the I/O cornerstone of their Mac Pro based editing workstation, and it serves double duty in the field with their laptop! Now there are even more options to choose from with the MXO2 LE at a more affordable price and the MXO2 Rack rackmountable version, perfect for news van installations.
How does Matrox MXO2 connect to my Mac or PC?
The Matrox MXO2 products all connect to a Mac Pro or PC Workstation via an internal PCIe card or to a MacBook Pro or Windows Laptop via an ExpressCard/34 or via the new Thunderbolt Adapter ($299 coming in July). The MXO2 LE includes your choice of either the PCIe card or the Express Card although bundles are also available with both. The MXO2 and the MXO2 Rack include both the PCIe and ExpressCard in the box.
If you are installing the ExpressCard into a Laptop you may have been told that this precludes you from using the best storage solutions available but FireWire storage is actually more than adequate for editing multiple layers of SD or compressed HD footage. Firewire 800 storage has the bandwidth to transfer up to 6 layers of DV, 8 layers of HDV 1080i, 2 layers of DVCPRO HD 1080i, 2 layers of ProRes 422 1080, or 2 layers of 10-bit uncompressed SD in real time.
Connecting the MXO2 to a desktop PCIe card will allow you to use any storage solution you'd like. The benefit of using the PCIe connection is that you can work with uncompressed 10-bit HD video as well as any other format including ProRes 422 HQ. You have complete flexibility.
Matrox Announced Thunderbolt Technology Support for All MXO2 Devices!
Matrox Video Products Group announced at NAB 2011 Matrox MXO2 devices featuring the all-new Thunderbolt technology developed by Intel® and brought to market with collaboration from Apple.
Thunderbolt technology is a high-speed I/O technology running at 10 gigabits per second that brings together high-speed data transfer and high-definition (HD) display on to a single cable. It is currently available on the Apple MacBook Pro and newly annonce iMac line. The Matrox MXO2 devices provide broadcast-quality video and audio capture, monitoring, output, and H.264 encoding for use with leading editing and content creation applications.
The full range of Thunderbolt technology enabled Matrox MXO2 devices will be available in July 2011. However, there's no need to delay your purchase if you eventually want Thunderbolt connectivity. Purchases of any MXO2 device between April 10th and July 31st, qualify for a discount on the Thunderbolt adapter when it ships in July. In the meantime, you can connect your MXO2 device via the PCIe or ExpressCard/34 adapters.
What NLEs and Operating Systems are supported by the MXO2 Family of products?
All of the MXO2 family of products are now cross-platform and they support the latest 64 bit Operating Systems - Snow Leopard and Windows 7! You can use them with Apple Final Cut Pro 6/7 and the Final Cut Studio 2/3 applications on Mac (Leopard and Snow Leopard). Adobe Premiere Pro CS4/CS5 and the Adobe CS4/CS5 Production Premium applications are now supported on Mac and Windows (XP, Vista32/64 and Windows 7).
What NLE software does MXO2 Mini Support?
Matrox Hardware is "Triple AAA rated" Now Supports Avid, Adobe & Apple!
The the Matrox MXO2 Mini is the FIRST and ONLY I/O device recommended by the big 3 NLE vendors Apple, Avid and Adobe. That is why we say Matrox MXO2 family of products are AAA rated. No other hardware company can make this claim. So whether you use PC or Mac; Desktop or Laptop; Adobe, Avid, or Apple, an MXO2 family I/O box is the right choice for you!
Matrox MXO2 Mini for HD Monitoring with Avid Media Composer 5
Just as important was Avid's announcement with Matrox that the MXO2 Mini can now be used as an HD monitoring device! That's right, for under $500 you can monitor your timeline in full HD via your choice of either component video or HDMI. One important feature of Matrox MXO2 family of products that Avid editors are sure to appreciate is it's professional monitor calibration tool. Using this tool you can easily turn any flat panel HDTV into a broadcast monitor. Think about that. You can use an off the shelf HD LCD TV instead of spending thousands of dollars on an HD broadcast monitor. With the money you save on glass, you can get that new DSLR you've been coveting so badly!
Matrox Mini MAX hardware is now officially supported with Avid Media Composer 5.5!
Matrox announced support for the newly released Avid® Media Composer® V5.5 editing system. Matrox MXO2 Mini turns a user’s HDMI screen into a professional-grade video monitor with the unique Matrox HDMI Calibration Utilty. MXO2 Mini is a small, lightweight, external box which is ideal for file-based workflows in studio, on set, in the field and in OB vans. It provides HDMI, analog component, S-Video, and composite output and cross-platform support for Macs and PCs, laptops and workstations. Users can also take advantage of the Matrox Vetura Capture application for quick and easy capture to Avid DNxHD or other popular Avid-supported codecs. Media Composer V5.5 adds support for new 720p and 1080p workflows with Matrox MXO2 Mini including the ability to select PsF or true P output in 1080p modes.
“We spearheaded our openness initiative with the Matrox MXO2 Mini and this decision has proved very fruitful. This platform has given Avid Media Composer release 5.0 an excellent HDMI monitoring tool for digital workflows,” said David Colantuoni, Director, Product Management, Avid Technology. “In addition, our new release of Avid Media Composer 5.5 brings new format and frame rate support and unique H.264 delivery options with Matrox MAX technology. Our continuing relationship with Matrox is a benefit to our mutual customers.” Click here to read the complete Videoguys' FAQ on the Matrox MXO2 Mini.
MATROX MXO2 MAX now with Real-Time Editing for ADOBE PREMIERE PRO CS5/ CS5.5
Matrox announced support for Adobe Creative Suite 5.5 Production Premium software with the Matrox MXO2 family of I/O devices. The award-winning Matrox MXO2 devices provide cross-platform Mac and Windows support and can be easily moved among desktop systems in a facility, installed in an OB van, or taken on the road with a laptop. Key features include: full-resolution, full frame rate, multi-layer, realtime video editing via Matrox RT™ technology; lightning fast H.264 file creation for smart phones, iPad, the web, and Blu-ray via Matrox MAX™ technology; and professional audio and video input and output with 10-bit hardware up/down/cross conversion. In addition, the Matrox MXO2 devices ship with a variety of productivity enhancing applications: Matrox A/V Tools (PC) for fast capture/ playback of audio, video, and still frames, Matrox MAX H.264 Capture (PC) for direct capture to H.264 files, Matrox Vetura Capture (Mac) for quick and easy capture to a variety of QuickTime codecs, and Matrox Vetura Playback (Mac) for convenient playback of H.264 and .mov files.
"Having a range of I/O options is important for our customers," said Ginna Baldassarre, senior product manager for professional video editing at Adobe. "The unique features of the Matrox RT technology such as hardware encoding to popular formats gives our customers more capabilities for both Macintosh and Windows. Combined with software innovations such as the updated Mercury Playback Engine in Adobe Premiere® Pro CS5.5, we jointly provide productivity advantages that positively impact nearly every area of professional editing and I/O."
"Content creators catering to the broadcast market, in particular, will benefit from the tight integration of the new Adobe Premiere Pro CS5.5 software with Matrox MXO2 devices to view closed captioning data of SD and HD timelines on HD-SDI, SDI, or analog SD monitors," said Alberto Cieri, senior director of sales and marketing at Matrox. "In addition, they can simultaneously deliver HD and SD masters containing closed captioning."
The Matrox MXO2 platforms with MAX feature Matrox RT technology that enhances the Adobe Mercury Playback Engine to provide full-resolution, full-frame-rate, multi-layer, realtime video editing. Matrox RT technology is designed for use with or without the presence of GPU acceleration. It provides many of the benefits of GPU acceleration but works with any system, even laptops. It optimizes your system to output to professional monitors at full-resolution and full-frame-rate. In addition, Matrox RT provides advanced realtime Matrox Flex CPU effects such as primary and secondary color correction, smooth speed changes, and many more! We have added much more detailed information about the Matrox MAX RT engine for CS5 later on in this article.
Videoguys' Tech Note: We have received many requests and questions about MXO2 Mini supporting Sony Vegas Pro. We have passed this information to Matrox. Unfortunately, as of March 2012, these programs are not supported. If anything changes in the future we'll be sure to let you know.
What additional benefits does the MXO2 offer with Adobe CS5 software?
The Matrox MXO2 platforms go far beyond the capabilities of systems that combine Adobe Premiere Pro CS5 and a simple I/O card.
The additional benefits you get include:
Convenient form factors for use with laptops and desktops in studio, on set, in the field, and in OB vans
10-bit HDMI input, output and monitoring with unique Matrox color calibration controls including blue-only
10-bit realtime hardware up/down/cross conversion on capture and output
Capture to HD and SD video to 8- and 10-bit uncompressed AVI files
Capture to HD and SD video to the highly-efficient Matrox MPEG-2 I-frame intermediate codec at bit rates from 50 to 300 mbps
Playback of 32-bit MPEG-2 I-frame AVI files with alpha
Extensive application support including Adobe Premiere Pro, Adobe Encore, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe After Effects; Autodesk Combustion; and NewTek LightWave 3D
Audio VU meters on capture
Matrox A/V Tools application for fast capture/playback of audio, video, and still frames
When you add the Matrox MAX option to your MXO2 device you also get:
Matrox MAX technology for lightning fast H.264 encoding with Adobe Media Encoder, Adobe Premiere Pro and Adobe Encore
Matrox RT technology that enhances the Adobe Mercury Playback Engine to provide full-resolution, full-frame-rate, multi-layer, realtime video editing and advanced realtime effects
Adobe Creative Suite 5 support for the Matrox MXO2 devices for PC will be available to registered users as a free download from the Matrox website in June 2010.
Matrox RT technology and H.264 encoding acceleration can be added to systems using versions of the MXO2 family without the MAX option by adding a Matrox CompressHD card.
What are the system requirements for MXO2 family?
Matrox MXO2 LE, MXO2 and MXO2 Rack require the following configuration:
- Intel-based Mac Pro or MacBook Pro
- Mac OS X v10.5 or later
- One free PCIe slot on the Mac Pro to install the Matrox PCIe host adapter
- One free ExpressCard/34 slot on the MacBook Pro to install the Matrox PCIe host ExpressCard/34 adapter
- 2 GB physical memory (RAM) when working with compressed HD and uncompressed SD sources, or 4 GB physical memory (RAM) when working with uncompressed HD sources
- HDMI monitor that supports 1920×1080 and "dot-by-dot" mode is recommended for 1:1 pixel mapping.
- Dual-CPU, or one dual-core CPU or faster.
- Microsoft Windows 7 Professional or Ultimate (64-bit), Windows Vista Business or Ultimate (32- or 64-bit) with Service Pack 2, or Windows XP Professional (32-bit) with Service Pack 3.
- 2 GB of RAM for 32-bit Windows systems, or 4 GB of RAM for 64-bit Windows systems.
- One free PCIe slot on a desktop computer to install the Matrox PCIe host adapter, or one free ExpressCard/34 slot on a laptop to install the Matrox PCIe host ExpressCard/34 adapter.
- If you want to use MXO2 with Adobe Premiere Pro, you must have Adobe Premiere Pro CS4 version 4.2 or later. For Matrox MAX H.264 encoding, you must have Adobe Media Encoder CS4 version 4.2 or later.
Note: Adobe Media Encoder is included with many Adobe programs, such as Premiere Pro, After Effects, and Encore.
- We recommend an HDMI monitor that supports 1920x1080 for previewing all HD formats, and "dot-by-dot" mode for 1:1 pixel mapping.
Can I use the MXO2 with multiple workstations and laptops?
You may be able to use one of the Matrox MXO2 products instead of many I/O cards in your facility because you can easily move any of the MXO2s from system to system as the need arises. The "brains" of unit is in the box and it attaches to the Mac Pro via a small interface card. One interface card comes with the unit and additional cards can be purchased.
For example, if you have a 4-system facility, you can equip all your editors with I/O for under $2K vs. over $5000 if you were considering purchasing even mid-range I/O cards for each system. In addition, the MXO2 products are compatible with an ExpressCard/34 adapter to use with a MacBook Pro so you can take your Matrox MXO2 on the road too.
What can the Matrox MXO2 upscaling and downscaling feature do for me?
Matrox MXO2 provides realtime 10-bit hardware scaling on the outputs. You can upscale from NTSC or PAL to either 720 or1080. You can downscale 720 or 1080 HD footage to NTSC or PAL.
Matrox MXO2's realtime scaling feature is particularly useful when you need to master both HD and SD because it lets you output both simultaneously from the same timeline. It is also invaluable when you need to proof DVD content from an HD video source or make quick SD rushes from HD material.
Can Matrox MXO2 scale on capture?
Yes, Matrox MXO2 lets you capture to a different format than your source video. You can benefit from MXO2's high-quality 10-bit hardware scaling to conform all your various source footage to a single format up front, before you begin to edit. Currently when you mix formats you spend time rendering your timeline to conform your footage to a single format to share with other editors, send for final color grading, or deliver to your client. With MXO2's ability to scale the input during capture, you save time bypassing the usual rendering step. This feature is also useful for converting SD archive footage for HD broadcast.
Matrox MXO2 will upscale, downscale, or cross-convert your source video to the desired capture format. Through the Matrox Control Panel, you identify the input source then select the resolution in Final Cut Pro that you would like to capture. Matrox MXO2 will scale prior to capturing to your codec of choice. The scaled video can be monitored on all Matrox MXO2 outputs during capture. Options for 4:3 and 16:9 source input from SD sources are available. The following conversions are supported on capture (frame rates must match).
- SD to 720 (not applicable to HDMI input)
- SD to 1080 (not applicable to HDMI input)
- 720 to 1080
- 720 to SD
- 1080 to 720
- 1080 to SD
Can Matrox MXO2 convert my 720p timeline to 1080i and vice versa in real time?
Yes. Matrox MXO2 products provide realtime cross conversion in hardware, saving you hours of rendering when your source material does not match your client's delivery requirements.
I shot at 23.98 fps, but now my client demands 29.97 fps for broadcast, can Matrox MXO2 help?
Yes. Matrox MXO2 provides realtime frame rate conversion in hardware. It can output a 23.98 timeline to tape at 29.97 fps in real time, saving hours of rendering. This feature is also beneficial if you work in 23.98 but your monitoring equipment does not support that frame rate. Matrox MXO2 lets you view your 23.98 fps project at 29.97 fps to ensure correct title placement and accurate color temperature of your 23.98 fps project. Conversion from 23.98 fps to 25 fps is handled by Final Cut Pro and the host.
Can I use the MXO2 with Apple Xserve?
Yes. Matrox MXO2 products can now be used with the Apple Xserve systems commonly used in OB vans, broadcast environments, and networked facilities.
Does Matrox MXO2 support ProRes?
Yes. All Matrox MXO2 products support ProRes 422 and ProRes 422 HQ. It also gives you the freedom and flexibility to use a wide variety of other codecs and video formats.
While you edit, your ProRes HD timeline will play out directly via the MXO2 outputs. Matrox supports all the new ProRes flavors introduced as part of the new Final Cut Studio 3 with the e