Videoguys' FAQ: Matrox RT.X2 LE

Videoguys' Matrox RT.X2 LE FAQ

rtx2le-200w.gifOur Videoguys HD editing experts have been getting a lot of questions about the exciting new Matrox RT.X2 LE and we'd like to share some of the most common answers with you to help you decide to get the Hardware Advantage today!

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Part I - Introducing Matrox RT.X2 LE

What is the difference between Matrox RT.X2 LE and other capture cards?
Matrox RT.X2 LE is a real-time hardware accelerator. This means that it is far more powerful than just a simple Input/Output capture card. With Matrox RT.X2 LE you get real-time performance that goes beyond what you can accomplish from software alone.

Can I edit HDV footage with Adobe Premiere Pro CS3 on its own? Why do I need a Matrox RT.X2 LE?
Although Adobe Premiere Pro CS3 software alone can edit HDV footage, it's not going to give you the same smooth, quick editing environment you are used to with DV footage. Not only does HD footage contain more pixels and bits of information, the compressions used put a huge burden on your systems resources. Matrox RT.X2 LE alleviates this burden and editing HDV footage is a breeze. It is BETTER because it is real-time!

So what exactly do you mean by real-time?
Matrox RT.X2 LE hardware allows you to play back multiple layers of HD video and graphics directly from the Adobe Premiere Pro CS3 timeline without rendering. That includes adding filters, transitions and special effects. That's something that software can't do on its own, even with the fastest quad core computers. For example; our DIY 6 Quad Core machine with Matrox RT.X2 LE can play back a timeline that includes two layers of HDV video with a slow motion filter on one layer and color filters on the other, as well as a graphic overlay. This plays back in real-time, directly from the timeline, with no rendering!

Do you mean real-time preview on the computer screen or output to tape?
Matrox RT.X2 LE will let you playback your timeline in HD via the Component video output of the card directly to an LCD or Plasma flat screen HDTV. So you can view your footage in all its HD glory! There really is no reason to go out to tape other than for archiving. In fact, our real recommendation for showing off and distributing your HD production is to author and create a Blu-ray Disc.

Does Matrox RT.X2 LE help create a high-definition Blu-ray Disc or multimedia video?
In addition to its real-time editing, Matrox RT.X2 LE is a hardware accelerator for all your Blu-ray Disc and multimedia video encoding. When we created a Blu-ray Disc on our DIY6 machine with Matrox RT.X2 LE we found a more than 30% increase in speed but that number may be even faster for you depending on the type of footage you're encoding and the machine you're using. Matrox RT.X2 LE also accelerates export to Flash, standard DVD, Windows Media, Quicktime, MPEG-1, MPEG-2 and MPEG-4 - it will even accelerate export to Adobe Clip Notes.

What's the difference between the original Matrox RT.X2 and the New Matrox RT.X2LE hardware?
The features and benefits of both cards are the same except for the overall physical design and DVI Digital Output. Matrox RT.X2 LE is a ¾ length PCIe 1x card and the original Matrox RT.X2 is a full size PCIe 1x card with a handle on the end of it. This is a big deal because the smaller hardware may now fit in more motherboards and installation is a breeze. Matrox RT.X2 LE offers HD output via Component while Matrox RT.X2 also includes a DVI output. This digital DVI HD output is not necessary for most videographers but is a very cool feature for those doing professional color grading and other exacting work that requires a precise pixel-by-pixel rendition on the video.

The dimension of the full size RT.X2 card are:

  • Nominal card dimensions Card 12.2" × 4.2"
  • Card including bracket 13.875" × 4.9"
  • Overall thickness including components 0.75"

Part II - HD Workflow Questions

What HD camera do you recommend for use with Matrox RT.X2 LE?
We've been using a Canon HV20 camcorder. It uses the HDV format and we found that Matrox RT.X2 LE handled the footage with no trouble at all. Some of the guys here shoot with a Sony FX-7 and we had no issues at all editing their footage either. One of the big advantages of Matrox RT.X2 LE hardware is that you get full support for so many of the HD flavors, including some of the more exotic settings. Here’s a quick list of supported HD cameras:

  • JVC HD110, HD200, HD250
  • Sony HVR-A1, HVR-Z1, HVR-V1, PDW-F330
  • Panasonic HVX200, HDX900, HDC27H, HPX2000
  • Canon XH A1, XH G1, XL H1, HV20/HV30

Matrox RT.X2 LE and Adobe Premiere Pro CS3 does not currently support the AVCHD format so we are not yet recommending camcorders that shoot in AVCHD to our customers. For now, these cameras are really best-suited for point-and-shoot productions and video archiving. We hope Matrox and Adobe will add real-time editing support for AVCHD, but for now, it’s best to stay away.

For more information, Matrox has an excellent page on their web site that goes into more details on supported HD workflows.

What kind of hardware acceleration and real-time performance does Matrox RT.X2LE give me if I upgrade to the full Adobe Production Premium CS3 software bundle?
Matrox RT.X2 LE will allow you to see your work directly on your HD video monitor via the component video output while you are working in Adobe After Effects and Photoshop. The Adobe Dynamic Link feature is also supported so you can easily switch between Adobe applications – and the video output will automatically change to the active application.

Matrox has an excellent page on their website that goes into more detail on the productivity advantage of Matrox RT.X2 LE

Part III - Technical Support and System Recommendations

Does the Matrox RT.X2 support Adobe Premiere Pro CS4?
YES! 4.0 has been released with full support for Premeire Pro CS4!

Matrox 4.0 provides the following new features:

  • 1282.1.JPGSupport for Adobe Premiere Pro CS4, version 4.0.1 (earlier versions of Adobe Premiere Pro are not supported).
  • Support for the 64-bit version of Microsoft Windows Vista Business or Ultimate.
  • WYSIWYG support for Adobe Encore CS4 lets you preview video played back from the timeline on your video monitor by setting the player for your project to Matrox Player (available on the Advanced page of the Project Settings dialog box).
  • New DVI monitor calibration utility that turns your DVI monitor into a true-color video display for use with SD and HD video. Controls for hue, chroma, contrast, brightness, and blue-only let you adjust and control your DVI monitor exactly as you would a broadcast HD/SD video monitor. (Not applicable to RT.X2 LE or RT.X2 SD.)

Does Matrox RT.X2 LE support Windows Vista and Vista64 bit operating systems?
Yes! With the release of 4.0 the RT.x2 & RT.X2le now support Vista 64!

  • vista_64bit.jpgSupport for the 64-bit version of Microsoft Windows Vista Business or Ultimate allows users to break the memory limitations of 32-bit operating systems and install more than 4 GB of RAM on their system for improved stability and performance. Vista 64-bit also breaks the 2 terabyte disk-size limitation which exists in 32-bit operating systems. Microsoft Windows XP Professional, Windows Vista Business, and Windows Vista Ultimate (32-bit versions) are also supported.

What graphics card works best with Matrox RT.X2LE?
Matrox RT.X2 LE technology taps into both the CPU and GPU performance of your computer so some graphics cards will work much better then others. That’s why, in the system we built for our DIY6 article, we are using the less expensive Radeon HD2600XT with Matrox RT.X2 LE. We tried using the NVidia Quadro FX1700 card and it worked without conflicts but it did not come close to the real-time GPU performance of the less expensive Radeon card. In fact, we could not match the real-time performance of the Radeon card with a Quadro FX until we installed the thousand-dollar Quadro FX 3700! Now, if you’re doing a lot of compositing and effects work in Adobe After Effects CS3 the investment in the Quadro FX3700 will be well worth it.

What kind of TV monitor should I use for previewing my timeline in HD with Matrox RT.X2 LE?
We picked up an inexpensive 32" Olevia 720p LCD HD TV at our local Costco on sale for around $500 and the HD preview looks great! Matrox RT.X2 LE connects to the Component video inputs on the monitor and allows us to watch our productions on the same HDTVs our audience will be using. If you don't already have an HDTV close to your edit station our advice is to shop the sales at your local electronics superstore or warehouse club or go on-line to Newegg or TigerDirect and you'll be able to find an HDTV with Component input at a very surprising bargain. Sure, you can spend more and get an even better picture on HDTVs with higher contrast ratios or 1080p support but we find that for use in our edit suite 720p more then gets the job done and we'd rather stretch our budget for the larger screen size.

Does Matrox RT.X2 LE support Windows Vista and Vista64 bit operating systems?
Yes it does! Matrox has approved several configurations for running the RT.X2 & RT.X2 LE hardware under Vista 64. The Asus P6T mohterboard used in Videoguys DIY7 configuration is on the approved list! Videoguys recommends Vista 64 for the RT.X2 LE, just make sure you run it on a Matrox approved motherboard.

Still want to see more? Check out these informative videos featuring the Matrox RT.X2:

Learn about Matrox RT.X2 with Luisa Winters
Video clips featuring Certified Adobe Trainer, Luisa Winters, lead you through some important RT.X2 features

Adobe TV - Digital Tools Showcase – Matrox
Join Matrox as they showcase how their hardware tightly integrates with CS3 Production Premium to provide unparalleled real=time results.

Alberto Cieri Senior Director Sales and Marketing Introducing Matrox RT.X2 LE
Matrox Senior Director of Sales and Marketing, Alberto Cieri, talks about RT.X2 LE to Trade Show News reporter Jennifer Jessup.

We hope you have found this Videoguys' Guide informative and helpful. If you'd like to get the most from our new site you can click here to register. This will also give you access to our easy checkout process, special discount offers, and the Videoguys’ Insider Newsletter with articles, tech tips, product reviews and more.

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