Maximum…Max.  I’m talking the Matrox MAX system…the H.264 encoding engine in their MXO2 with MAX product line, and the CompressHD card.  You might have thought that this only worked on the APPLE stuff…Compressor and FCP.  But no…it works on the Avid Media Composer side too.  Because the Matrox MXO2 Mini is designed to work as a monitoring option for MC5.

OK, here’s the situation.  You are done with your cut and you need to submit it for client/producer approval, and they want you to post a QT movie with timecode for them to watch.  It’s a 30 min piece, the time is 3:30 PM, and the client would like to see it before the end of the day.  What are you to do?  That was the situation I was in last week, and I’ll tell you what I did.  The twist to this story is that I was on my laptop.  So no power from my tower on this one.

First off I must tell you that if I did things the normal way…or one of the two normal ways…this would have taken 3:24:18…that’s three hours, 24 min, 18 seconds.  I know this because I tested it later on…just to see.  Well, that was the timing it took exporting directly from the Avid as H.264, 640×360.  And when I tested exporting a Quicktime Reference and using Sorenson Squeeze, it took 3 hours 12 minutes.  Compressor (because I have Final Cut Studio on the same system)…3 hours 18 minutes.  All of those would have put me past my deadline.  And if I was on my tower, I could have used Compressor and Q-master to utilize all my processor cores to do this.  But, I wasn’t on my tower, and if you don’t have Final Cut Studio, or a tower with multiple processors…what are your options for the fast encode from Avid Media Composer?

MATROX MXO2 Mini with MAX!

Last year Matrox and Avid got together and made the MXO2 Mini work as a monitoring solution for Avid Media Composer 5.  And I thought that the benefits stopped there.  I got the MAX version to help with encodes on the Final Cut side…I didn’t know that it could be used on the Avid side until recently. It might have been included in some press release somewhere, but I think it is the best kept secret about the MXO2 Mini with MAX that should NOT be a secret.

Here’s what I did.

STEP 1:  CHOOSE EXPORT AS… in the export setting, choose Quicktime Movie.

Click on OPTIONS…then you get this window:

Choose VIDEO and AUDIO…click on format options:

Choose the Matrox Max H.264… I kept the default settings:

…and you are done.

When I exported this time, it was just about real time. The 30 min project (OK, 29:45) exported out…with timecode window burn…in 31min 14sec. ON MY LAPTOP.  That’s fast.

I ran tests on my Tower, just to see.  And without the MAX, doing it the Avid way, I didn’t save much time.  It took 3 hours and two minutes.  But with the Mini with MAX, it was FASTER than real time.  29 min and 19 seconds.

If you want to know more about this box, and happen to be going to NAB, I will be manning a station in the Matrox booth showing off this and other capabilities.  The show is from April 11 to April 14 in Las Vegas.

FYI – This was done without rendering the timecode overlay filter before I started exporting.