Earlier when I gave my first impressions of the MXO2, I made these first impressions with a BETA version of the software. I had the 1.2 drivers but they didn’t do all that I needed. I needed to upscale SD to HD. I thought there was something that I overlooked. The website said that the MXO2 did upscaling of SD to HD…but it did it on OUTPUT, not injest. I didn’t know this, I was digging around looking for that option…couldn’t find it. So having a pal at Matrox I asked “hey, I need the MXO2 to do this, can you help me figure it out?” He did by sending me beta drivers that had the option I wanted.
Well guess what? These drivers will be coming out VERY soon. Matrox is putting on final touches and prepping them for release. I hope I get this done before they have them out there.
Here are the new features you can look forward to with these new drivers.
Scaling on capture
THis is what I was talking about…scaling on CAPTURE. The Matrox MXO2 now has a checkbox in the AV INPUT tab of the Matrox Control Panel called SCALING. If you have an SD source, all you need to do is check that box, choose SD as your source (then there is an aspect ratio box too, options for 4:3 and 16:9 source input), and then you are done in the MXO control panel. That simple. Now select the destination format in FCP – Codec of your choice. The MXO2 hardware scaling will either up/down/or cross to the destination format selected by you. DVCPRO HD, ProRes, Uncompressed HD…720p or 1080i. Connect any source and scale it to your desired resolution! And yes, it works. I captured all of those formats…with the same frame rate, of course.
This feature also allows you to monitor while you capture. Your destination format is output simultaneously for monitoring or recording directly from the various MXO2 outputs, all outputs are the same. I was able to see what I was capturing directly from the capture card to my monitor.
Direct capture of 1080p 23.98 sources from 1080p 23.98…on a LAPTOP!
Capture directly to 23.98 frame rates from 23.98 SDI sources. This feature enables support of the Apple ProRes422 codec on Intel based Core2Duo MacBook Pros in 1080p 23.98. While the other frame rates are more demanding on the processors, 23.98 has a low data rate so you can get away with ProRes encoding on a laptop…one of the newer MacBook Pros, or one generation back. I haven’t tested this yet, but I plan to soon. In case you don’t know why this is an issue, the MXO2 does not have an on-board ProRes encoder, so it relies on the computer processors to handle the encoding, and on a laptop that is asking a lot. But now, with the lower frame rates, that is a possibility.
Preserving 23.98 while Cross Converting 720 – 1080
While cross-converting 720-1080 the Matrox MXO2 now offers you an option to output 23.98 directly from the FCP timeline. You now have the option to select a 23.98 timeline to be outputted at 29.97 or 23.98 while cross converting from 720 or 1080. So if you have a 720p 23.98 timeline and you need to deliver a 1080i59.94 master (running at 29.97), the MXO2 handles that conversion in the hardware. The only other card to do this is the Kona 3…so this is huge.
RGB analog support
Analog component output now offers you the ability to select whether you would like to view your production in either a YUV or RGB color space by providing an RGB analog output option in the MXO2 control panel. This is ideal for RGB monitors or needing to work in the RGB color space. Ideal for SCART monitors.
Capture 720p 23.98 with user input
Connect a 720p 59.97 source and capture a 23.98 file directly into FCP. Set capture in-point in FCP, set cadence off-set in the Matrox Control Panel, and capture a 23.98 file from a 59.97 source, resulting in a 720p 23.98 file. Just another workflow example to enable Apple ProRes422 codec to be captured with Intel based Core2Duo MacBook Pros in 720p 23.98. An example of this would be capturing DVCPRO HD footage shot 720p24 but recorded onto DVCPRO HD tape, that runs at 59.94.
Closed Captioning – capture – edit – output
My friends…this, IS BIG.
Capture – Acquire your footage with digital closed captioning via SDI and the SMPTE334 specification.
Edit – While editing, the MXO2 will preserve your closed captioning data throughout the editing process. The Matrox MXO2 with FCP allows you to trim, add effects such as color correction, adds titles or credits and still maintain your closed captioning data. When you are ready…
Output – the Matrox MXO2 restores your digital closed captioning to your SMPTE334 compliant device – in either SD or HD. Even more, if you need to scale on capture with digital closed captioning information, or you need to scale on output, or even while cross-converting, you can count on the Matrox MXO2 to preserve your data throughout your production!
DO I really need to tell you how big of a deal this is? Currently, if you capture ANY closed captioned material with ANY capture card, and do anything that requires a render, and you render…THE CLOSED CAPTION DATA IS LOST! Gone…bye bye. But now, with this update, the MXO2 can capture that footage, and you can do all sorts of things. Replacing shots however, won’t work…as the data is encoded onto the footage, and if you remove the footage and add new footage, that section of closed captioning will be gone.
HERE IS WHY THIS WORKS: The MXO2 stores the information in an audio track, so you can cut away you video as you want/need add some B-roll for a second source, and still have the CC intact.
True 23.98p HDMI support
When working with 23.98p material and timelines. Use your HDMI monitor and the MXO2 HDMI output to view a true 23.98p signal and not a PsF signal.
Again, that I haven’t tested yet…but I will try to when the final firmware update comes out.
I really like my MXO2…glad I have it. It now does everything I need to have done. Analog capture, digital capture, upconverting SD to HD, cross converting 720p to 1080i or 1080p. Nice.