The real deal
So the RT.X2 wins a high score for its capture and editing preview options, but what about the editing capabilities themselves? Here, again, RT.X100 users will find themselves in a new world. As the RT.X2 is based on Axio rather than the RT.X architecture, the effects plug-ins are entirely different. In fact, Matrox has entirely integrated them into Premiere Pro 2, so they work within the latter’s interface rather than via pop-up applets. The RT.X2 is also missing many of the RT.X100’s more esoteric effects, including 3D tiles, particle effects, twirls and cubes. These may be added at a later date, but they’re not ones you’d use everyday anyway.
What you do get are a host of professionally oriented CPU and GPU effects. As well as primary and secondary colour correction, there’s very intuitive chroma and luma keying, and the Premiere Pro clip speed controls operate in real time. Again, the range of transitions is more pedestrian than the RT.X100, but many of Adobe Premiere Pro’s options are rendered in real time in SD and accelerated in HD. Matrox has supplied its own motion control filter, too, which brings the third dimension and borders to the mix.
You can add blur, glow and soft focus. There’s a lens flare – an old favourite on the RT.X100 – and various mask effects, plus pan and scan. Perhaps the most whacky options are crystallise, surface finish, and old movie. The first of these makes your footage look like it’s made of crystal glass, whilst surface finish lets you emboss it with various materials such as bricks, wood, or metal. The old movie effect offers the ability to add noise, dust, scratches, jitter, flicker, and a number of other blemishes. In fact, it has about as much control as the equivalent effect in Boris Continuum Complete – one of the best software filters around. But we felt it could have done with a few presets to get you started.
You’re also encouraged to try out as much as you like, as the RT.X2 provides about the best real-time editing performance we’ve seen. Previously, Canopus’s EDIUS range of products have held the crown for being able to mix multiple streams of video in real time. Although you clearly need a powerful system to get the best out of it, even our slower Opteron 270-based Gladiator workstation was able to play six streams of DV with a filter and 3D DVE on each without noticeably skipping frames. The Gladiator struggled with more than two layers of HD MPEG-2 I-frame footage, but the HP workstation managed three of HDV, and still achieved a usable frame-rate when mixing four streams of HDV, although it did skip frames. You can also mix SD and HD footage with ease, with specific support for upscaling SD to HD and downscaling in the other direction. The RT.X2 won’t allow you to output via FireWire whilst editing, though, leaving you to use the Export to Tape feature in Premiere Pro instead.