Continuing Education: Matrox RT.X2 Revealed
Posted Jun 1, 2007

It seems that all nonlinear editing programs come with their own collection of effects to apply to video. One thing that is missing is a good description of how to get the most out of each effect. Most manuals that come with your favorite NLE only offer brief descriptions, and the Help file may not provide any more clues on how to get the most out of the provided effects. To complicate things even further, some third-party companies create their own effects that may differ from the ones that are supplied by the NLE. This is the case with hardware-assisted cards that provide their own real-time filters. You almost need a roadmap to follow how these effects can best be utilized in your day-to-day productions. When Jeff Pulera created the RT.X2 Revealed tutorial DVD ($99 from Safe Harbor Computers), he set out to create just such a roadmap—and quite a bit more.

RT.X2 Revealed is a must-have for anyone who has recently purchased the Matrox RT.X2 card, currently owns one, or is considering purchasing one. The nice thing about choosing a Matrox RT.X2 system, is the ability to edit HDV footage in real-time with various effects applied. Not only does the tutorial DVD go over every single real-time effect that the RT.X2 provides, it also explains how to install the product on your computer. The DVD has clear and concise step-by-step instructions on installing the hardware and software. Included are recommendations on putting together a system yourself. Pulera suggests checking the Matrox website (www.matrox.com/video) to get a list of validated hardware that is compatible for the RT.X2 card. If you are not as adventurous and don’t want to build your own system, Jeff recommends considering purchasing a turnkey system built by Safe Harbor Computers (who produced and distributes this DVD). Safe Harbor has built a solid reputation for creating stable nonlinear workstations with just about every editor in mind.

The DVD is broken down into chapters that allow you to navigate easily from the installation of the RT.X2 card to the final output of your project. Once you have your system up and running, Pulera goes over selecting the proper project settings to enable full use of the RT.X2 card and its effects. This DVD assumes that you are familiar with Adobe Premiere Pro 2.0, the software that ships with the RT.X2 card. (For basic instruction on using Premiere Pro 2.0, I recommend reviewing the Total Training DVD that came with your copy of the software.)

After showing you how to create a new project with the proper settings, the next chapter on this DVD goes over capturing video using the Breakout box that comes with your RT.X2 card. The breakout box allows you to capture composite, S-Video, component, and DV via the FireWire port. The RT.X2 comes with a nice, long cable, eliminating the need to get behind your computer to make the various connections to your equipment.

The next 26 chapters are dedicated to going over the real-time effects that come with the RT.X2 card. Each effect is clearly explained with a description of what the effect does. From there, Pulera goes over each parameter of the effect, explaining how each tweak affects the final look of the video. Multiple examples are played back to give the viewer an idea of the full range and capability of each effect. Some of the many effects that are covered are Transitions, Color Correction, Old Movie Effect, Move and Scale, Shine Effect, Chroma Key, Lens Flare, and custom masks.

The final chapter covers the use of Matrox Media Export to output your video to various formats. Matrox chose to utilize the same Media Exporter that comes with Premiere Pro, but be sure to select the Matrox Media Encoder, and not the Adobe Media Encoder. The interface is the same, but by choosing to use the Matrox Media Encoder, your encoding times will be greatly reduced because it will use the Matrox RT.X2 to do the encoding. Pulera has a clear understanding of the ins and outs of the Matrox RT.X2 card, and is often referred as the “Matrox Guru,” offering countless hours of support for users on various online forums. This DVD quickly allows viewers to get up to speed so that they, too, can aspire to “Guru” status.

Chris Randall, a 2006 EventDV 25 honoree, is co-owner of Seattle-area studio Edit 1 Media with his wife, Laura.