Review: Jeff Pulera's HDV and Blu-ray for the Matrox RT.X2
Posted Oct 13, 2008

With the jump to HDV shooting and editing, a lot of Adobe users have found the workflow more complex, especially if you throw in Blu-ray authoring. With different frame rates, frame sizes, and various flavors of HD, you have enough complex details to make any editor’s head spin. Jeff Pulera has created a brand-new tutorial disc for editing HDV and Blu-ray with the Matrox RT.X2 card. In this latest title, Pulera goes into great detail on various HD workflows and export options. He also guides you through creating a Blu-ray Disc with Adobe Encore. Be sure to check out Jeff’s previous tutorial, Matrox RT.X2 Revealed, where he goes in to depth about all the features that the RT.X2 card provides.

The tutorial is available as a download or on CD-ROM from Safe Harbor Computers. The video is set up for familiar DVD navigation with chapters, and is viewed in Windows Media Player. The opening chapter is an overview of what is covered on the disc. The next two chapters cover the specifications of HDV and the other HD formats that are utilized by the RT.X2.

With the basics out of the way, Pulera goes into detail on setting up project presets to ensure that you are choosing the best preset for the type of HD editing and authoring you will be doing. The next chapter talks about setting up your camera’s VTR for capturing. Because most cameras allow you to down convert in-camera, it is important to have the proper settings before attempting to capture your HDV footage. Even one wrong setting, such as TV Type, will have you scratching your head as to why you aren’t seeing your footage in the capture window. This is by far the No. 1 troubleshooting issue that people have when trying to capture or export to HDV. Pulera shows both Canon and Sony cameras along with the various settings that should be selected based on the type of project. This information alone is worth the cost of the tutorial ($49.99).

The next few chapters go over HD workflows, various types of mixed-format editing, HDV zoom and pan, upscaling and downscaling in HD and DV projects, as well as monitoring your HD project on an HD television or compatible computer screen. Pulera includes a useful tutorial on bringing HDV material into a DV project, and then scaling the image to allow zooms and pans within the larger HDV frame size. This adds another dimension of creativity when working in DV projects that include HDV material.

The final chapters discuss export options for DVD, HDV, and Blu-ray. Several chapters go into detail on how to export your HDV project directly into Adobe Encore, create your menus, and burn to Blu-ray Disc. This is must-have information for those who are looking into authoring their first Blu-ray Disc. Speaking of encoding options for Blu-ray, the chapter titled "Encoding for Blu-ray" goes over the difference in encoding MPEG-2 versus H.264. Each setting the of Matrox Media Encoder is carefully reviewed to provide the best encoding workflow based on the output format desired.

Also included is a work-around for a color-space issue that Adobe Premiere Pro has when creating a DVD from HDV source material. There have been reports of jagged edges and flickering horizontal lines on some material when an HDV timeline is exported to MPEG-2 for DVD creation. Pulera offers a few solutions to eliminate those issues.

Overall, this tutorial is an excellent resource for any Matrox RT.X2 user wanting to get the most out of HDV and Blu-ray production. It greatly helps the viewer get up to speed and learn the various encoding and export options for HDV Blu-ray projects. I would recommend it to anyone who uses the Matrox RT.X2 card with Adobe Premiere Pro and Adobe Encore.

Chris Randall (info at edit1media.com), a 2006 & 2007 EventDV 25 honoree, is co-owner of Seattle-area studio Edit 1 Media with his wife, Laura.