Matrox Speeds News Production
NEW YORK—MSNBC.com is a joint venture between NBC News and Microsoft, and comprises a mainstream news Web-site and an independent news operation with its own editorial structure and hierarchy. We’re split between offices at “30 Rock” and the Microsoft campus in Redmond, Wash.
The MSNBC.com multimedia team is responsible for most of the photos and video available on the site, with the majority of content coming from NBC/MSNBC broadcasts and from our wire services.
Staff members from our offices frequently shoot, produce, and edit video in the field. We equip our staff with Mac laptops loaded with Avid Media Composer 5.5 and, when needed, connected to a Matrox MXO2 Mini MAX I/O device with Thunderbolt. We’ve found the Matrox unit to be a nice “Swiss Army Knife” for video editors, which is highly important when a staffer travels solo and carries their own gear.
The MXO2 Mini MAX provides the video and audio I/Os needed to quickly capture and edit footage. Its powerful MAX H.264 real-time encoding feature also saves a significant amount of time compressing and delivering finished news content to the studio. When footage is sent elsewhere for editing, MAX encoding provides a loose edit, with about five minutes of footage exported in just five to seven minutes, compared to the 40 or 50 it once took to move the same material.
MONITORING AND VIDEO CAPTURE
In addition to cutting delivery times, the MXO2 Mini MAX supports broadcast monitoring during edit sessions. It also serves as a capture device, as MSNBC.com reporters can supply a video signal directly to the Matrox unit and capture HD, HDMI or component video, and transform it into DNxHD files for immediate editing.
Sometimes we get requests for footage from NBC, and the MXO2 Mini MAX makes it easy to move compressed QuickTime video from camera cards to a laptop hard drive, and then play this out to a satellite truck or broadcast facility.
The Thunderbolt compatibility of the MXO2 Mini MAX also allows staffers to work on 15-inch MacBook Pros. It also provides a more stable connection with less likelihood of breaking a connection and possibly crashing a machine.
The Matrox box has been a very handy addition for us. and we’re still exploring additional ways to use it.