Matrox MAX Technology Revolutionizes H.264 Encoding Workflow at BrightDawn

BrightDawn is a strategic marketing firm serving a variety of political, industrial, and commercial entities from its Richmond, Virginia headquarters. Along with his responsibilities as senior managing partner, Dana Love also has special involvement in the creative side of the business. His experience as a Steadicam operator, video editor, and field producer was instrumental in bringing production and post-production expertise in-house over the past two years. He's created a boutique facility to help BrightDawn's clients cost effectively promote and extend their messages by capitalizing on new opportunities in the rapidly evolving media market. Since he discovered Matrox MAX H.264 encoding technology, the firm's bottom-line has been greatly enhanced. "I can easily say that we are 20 times more competitive than we were six months ago."

"The Matrox MAX technology has revolutionized our workflow. Our camera crews typically would record to tape or FireStore drives using our Canon HV20/HV40, Sony PMW-EX1, and Panasonic HPX500 camcorders. They would then ship the tapes or drives back to our facility where staff would transfer the footage to Final Cut Server. It would take us a day just to see it, then another three or four hours to add all the metadata so the editors could get to work. Once the editing was done we would output from Apple Compressor. That could take anywhere from three to seven hours, depending on the timeline format and the customer's final format preference (usually full-res MOV files or Blu-ray). It wasn't just 'go get a coffee'; we had to do it at the end of the day and let it render overnight. The end result would be that around day three we would be able to release footage."

"Acquiring two Matrox CompressHD cards and two Matrox MXO2 Mini I/O devices with the Matrox MAX technology not only saves us hours and hours of encoding time, it really changes our workflow – it's like night and day. We are now able to deliver a fully-edited video of a live event to a customer the same day and in many cases within half a day. For example, we recently covered a political event where two cameramen filmed the action and the crowd non-stop looking for positive moments from our clients and negative moments from the opposition. We needed to run those shots by our client as quickly as possible so that they could identify the most interesting sights and sounds. The Matrox MXO2 Mini with MAX let us quickly create H.264 MOV files right in the field on a MacBook Pro so they were ready to be viewed virtually instantly. In this case, the client triggered on a statement by the opposition about raising taxes that completely contradicted a statement made just a few minutes earlier. Delivering such a scoop more than 3 days later wouldn't have had nearly the same impact."

"The Matrox MAX technology has also streamlined our client approval process. In the past, we would show our clients whiteboard mock-ups or a single version of their project because outputting previews was so time consuming. Our clients had to come to us for previews or we had to go to them with Adobe After Effects loaded in a system and perform a RAM preview. Now with Matrox MAX speeding up the encoding, what used to take up to five hours to render out to H.264 from After Effects takes about five minutes. We can easily create five different flavors and interpretations of the footage and the client can see a virtually finished product on the web. It's easy for them to share the images with their entire team and give very quick feedback on any necessary modifications. They are thrilled to be able to see their projects in the making, in a way they never could before."

"The entire firm is delighted with our new workflow. It certainly saves time and money but more importantly, it fosters our creativity. When we're working at creating a vision and close to having something ready for the customer to look at, we no longer have to wait for long, inspiration-sapping renders. We don't have to jump from one project to another while we wait for the machine to crank out the preview. We can focus on one task until it's right."

"The return on investment of our Matrox purchases is incredibly high, and we haven't even used every feature yet! With the MXO2 Mini's HDMI capture capabilities, on some projects we will be able to completely eliminate the tape or FireStore step and capture directly to the computer. This makes our field teams even more powerful, since small, consumer cameras can now shoot full colorspace HDMI footage. Higher quality footage from lower cost cameras, a smaller footprint for our field teams which saves on shipping and baggage costs, and tremendous increases in processing speed all add up to a major competitive advantage that we couldn't achieve without Matrox."

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