As much as it may seem like it, I have not totally abandoned this site. I have been very busy recently, and will continue to be occupied elsewhere for the next 3 months or so. Once that is complete and I return to Southern California, I hope to have time to continue extending the content on this website. In the meantime, here are a few things I have come across recently that are of interest.
One thing I missed during the NAB crunch was a new product from Matrox, the MXO2. Now this is a Mac based solution, but bears mentioning none the less. It is a full SD/HD I/O device, with digital and analog connections, as well as internal video processing capability. It is similar to the AJA IOHD, but uses an External PCI Express connection to interface with the computer instead of the much slower IEEE 1394b connection on the IOHD. While it seems that it cannot be used as a standalone unit like the IOHD, it does have hardware resolution and framerate convertors, important for flexible 24p digital workflows. It also supports realtime compression and playback of a number of formats, including DVCProHD, ProRES and fully uncompressed files. This allows full HD-SDI capture onto a laptop via the ExpressCard slot. When the product was first described to me, I didn’t “get it” but now that I have examined its feature set, I have to agree that it is pretty exciting. Now if they would just add MPEG I-Frame HD support and write some Windows drivers, we would have a mobile AXIO system.
Elsewhere on the mobile recording front, I have been using some prototype units that record HD-SDI directly to SATA drives. We tested them in some pretty extreme operating environments, and when used with Solid State SATA drives, they held up pretty well. While we weren’t without our share of problems, the units were able to capture some pretty amazing footage when combined with an Iconix camera system. I won’t post a full review until the creators have had an opportunity to solve some of the issues with the units, that our tests exposed.
Nvidia also released a new high end professional video card, the QuadroFX 4700 X2. This card has two independent GPUs that can be harnessed together with SLI or used separately to drive 4 separate displays. The stats are not much more impressive than the current top of the line 4600 and 5600 solutions, so they are really just updating the previous 4500X2 which was made obselete by the new generation of GeForce8 based cards released last year.