Do I need a Matrox MXO?

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by Chris7, Dec 9, 2008.

  1. Chris7 macrumors 6502

    Aug 8, 2008
    Lost in Thought
    The following quote from

    I was told by a tech at FCP AppleCare that, if I plan to watch my video on a LCD or Plasma TV (rather than a CRT), a computer monitor would give fairly accurate color. This is contrary to everything else I am hearing here.

    These questions for anyone:

    1. If I am making videos only to be shown on DVD (and later Blue Ray) feeding flat screen TV's (LCD or Plasma), do I need to use a MXO plus quality monitor when editing to see what it will look like when shown?

    2. Is the answer to #1 different if I am working with progressive scan/de-inerlaced footage, rather than interlaced (will be using both, but still curious)?

    3. Does a DVD/Blue Ray player feeding flat screen TV use RGB or YUV?

    4. Is a flat screen TV capable of showing interlace?

    5. Do today's DVD players generally de-interlace videos automatically?

    6. Does a MacBook Pro have the CPU to even handle working with effects in HD, using an external monitor, or am I out of luck for RT playback with a setup like this?

    7. Does a matrix MXO allow you to set it to make color inaccuracies more apparent for to more easily color correct, like on a broadcast monitor. What I mean here is described clearly by the FCP manual: "Broadcast monitors offer manual control over every aspect of the video signal being displayed, including brightness, chroma, phase, and contrast. Additionally, broadcast monitors can often display different parts of the signal using modes such as blue only (only the blue gun traces the screen; the green and red guns are turned off), underscan, and H/V delay. Without these controls to accurately calibrate your broadcast monitor’s display with the signal being output from your computer, you run the risk of making bad color correction decisions based on an inaccurate view of your program’s picture.

    Thanks in advance.
  2. ChemiosMurphy macrumors 6502

    Sep 25, 2007
    Warminster, PA
    Hey Chris.

    If you want to do color accurate stuff, you will need an MXO and ACD/Dell.

    The monitors that you run FCP in are RGB, when in fact video you watch on a TV is YUV. When you see a video in your viewer or Canvas, it is not color accurate, that's why you need a broadcast monitor.

    Personally, I have cheap Acer screens for OSX and FCP. I know they aren't color accurate and crappy, but that's why i have the MXO rig. but i suggest getting nice screens so that your eyes don't get tired after looking at them.

    1. Yes. you need a way to show the YUV video.

    2.Nope. Still need a broadcast monitor.

    3. YUV Data. (99% sure)

    4. I think LCD TV's are progressive but can show interlaced stuff, but not like a CRT would. Lethal, please correct me.

    5. Depends if it is on progressive scan. If you make interlaced progressive scan, they can look kind of crappy, especially during pans. I try to keep progressive stuff progressive, and interlaced stuff interlaced.

    6. i have a mac pro, but it should work. i've gotten DVCProHD to work on an original macbook pro over FW400 in a 2 drive software raid. You're milage may vary.

    crap. at work and the tape just finished capturing. i'll answer more during next ingestion



    7. The MXO acts like a RGB->YUV converter with proc amps to control brightness, contrast, etc. you can do blue only, you can add a virtual bezel, but no underscan. you can also accurately display fields for interlaced material. I'm a 19 year old Editor at Drexel University, and it works for me. I got the manager of the University TV station to buy one not only for the station, but for his home rig. Shane West at Little Frog in HD Recommends, and so do i.

    Lethal, if i screwed anything up please correct me.
  3. LethalWolfe macrumors G3


    Jan 11, 2002
    Los Angeles
    I won't go as far as to say never believe anything you hear from Apple regarding ProApps, but I will say that in my experience w/anything beyond run-of-the-mill problems Apple employees are not very helpful when it comes to problems relating to ProApps (especially when those problems start to include how the ProApps interact w/other devices). An accurate video signal cannot come off a computer's DVI port. The color space is wrong, the frame rate is wrong, most computer monitors don't support TV frame rates, etc,. This is where a device like the MXO comes into play. It takes that inaccurate video signal and transforms it into a broadcast quality video signal.

    If you want to accurately see what your image looks like you'll need a device, like the MXO, that can output a b'cast accurate image as well as a monitor that can display a b'cast accurate image. What the image looks like on other peoples' TV sets depends entirely on how their TVs are setup. So you can spend a lot of time using a proper monitoring setup getting all your footage look just right but most of that effort can go to crap if Joe Bob is looking at it on a screwed up TV.
    Digital TV signals use YCbCr where as analog TV signals use YUV (which often times leads people to say YUV when they really mean YCbCr kinda like when people talk about 24p in video but really mean 23.976).
    Yes, but interlaced footage on a progressive scan monitor/TV won't look the same as interlaced footage on an interlaced TV.

    Most DVDs you buy are 24p and DVD players will add 3:2 pulldown on output so the TV gets a proper NTSC signal (29.97, interlaced). Progressive DVD players will output a progressive signal for people whom have progressive scan TVs.

    Yes. Even PowerBook G4s could handle some HD flavors such as DVCPro HD. The real limiting factor w/the MBP isn't CPU speed but HDD speed. DVCPro HD or HDV will be fine from a good FW800 drive but if you want to use ProRes or Uncompressed you'd need a faster eSATA RAID to handle it properly.

    That is an odd way of phrasing it but yes, the MXO coupled w/a recommend monitor (such as the 23" ACD or Dell 2407) gives you the ability to fine tune the calibration of the monitor in such a way that you can get a solid representation of how the video image looks. The 23" ACD has an advantage in that it supports frame rates of 29.97/59.94. TVs and Computer monitors are typically designed to generate 'pretty' images but that's not what you want in a reference aka broadcast monitor. For a reference monitor you want an accurate image, not necessarily a pretty image.

    Even if you can't afford an MXO+monitor just buying a BlackMagic Intensity card and decent HDTV would be better than viewing FCP's Canvas window on your computer monitor. Just make sure to full research your purchase because there are lots of incompatibilities out there.


    EDIT: For the record I've never personally used and MXO, but ChemiosMurphy seems to like it so I'll let him field any direct Q's about the MXO's setup and operation.
  4. KeithPratt macrumors 6502a

    Mar 6, 2007
    1. The MXO (and not the MXO2) is designed for the 23" ACD. Apparently the Dell is pretty close, but that refreshes at 60Hz rather than 59.94Hz, so footage will play the tiniest bit faster than it should and then stutter occasionally when it has to stall on a field to compensate. It's a waste to use other LCD monitors or TVs with the MXO — for that, look to the MXO2.

    2. A little bit. Whilst LCD monitors being fed from a computer video card will be progressive, they will most probably be 60Hz rather than the 59.94Hz you ideally want. In reality, if you were to take a good quality monitor and calibrate it to the Rec. 709 video you were wanting to watch on it, the image would probably be quite accurate. I can't really quantify how accurate.

    3. YCbCr. But Blu-Ray could potentially use RGB in the future.

    4. Some LCD TVs show interlaced by line-doubling (so it doesn't look like you're looking through a blind) and refreshing at 59.94Hz, others only show one field, chucking the other away, and essentially refreshing at 29.97Hz.

    5. No.

    6. The experience will be the same as if you didn't have a monitor. The processor is doing the same calculations whether you are watching them on monitor or not. I'm not sure if the graphics card has to do anything more in order to feed the MXO, but if it does I would imagine it's minimal (i.e. not like having to feed another computer display).

    7. The MXO has a reasonable amount of adjustment I think, but someone else will undoubtedly know more. I don't think it does blue-only (at least not proper blue-only), but has its own calibration alternative. Underscan and phase are not really applicable to LCD monitors; and generally LCDs should keep their calibrated values longer than CRTs.

    The irony of the whole RGB/YCbCr thing is that, with however many people now grading in Color, most will be grading YCbCr material in RGB with a LUT to convert it back to YCbCr for their display. (If you're grading within FCP it will be YCbCr all the way.)
  5. ChemiosMurphy macrumors 6502

    Sep 25, 2007
    Warminster, PA
  6. Chris7 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Aug 8, 2008
    Lost in Thought
    Many thanks to the three of you for your replies. It’s so hard for a non-pro like myself to get info about this stuff, when tech support does not even know.

    Another member here, bigbossbmb, is using a JVC DT-V20L1U fed by an Intensity Pro card. Looks like about a $1300 combo. Would this work as well as a MXO plus ACD? (Obviously I would need a Mac Pro for this set up).

    Are there other relatively cheap (under $2K) LCD broadcast monitors that I should check out? Will they all need a different card than the my Mac Book Pro has? I’d be fine with going even smaller, like 17”, if the monitor could just downscale the HD video I’m working on to SD for viewing.

    Interesting. I had misunderstood what a line doublers was, mistaking it for a primitive de-interlacer (just putting the A and B frames together without calculating the appropriate blur). So it’s actually just replicating, for example the odd lines in a frame so that they cover the even lines too, and refreshing at 59.94Hz?
    Confused here. If they were to show only one field (say only the A frames), even with line-doubling, wouldn’t this make the picture choppy?

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