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  • Upgrading our suites, seriously need some advice…

  • Todd Terry

    May 23, 2018 at 2:59 am

    Hi guys…

    I’ll probably post this in Premiere or elsewhere, but thought I’d ask in here first… hope this is not too long, bear with me.

    We’re probably going to upgrade our two main suites this year, and I’m not sure what to do. When we had the last computers built we told the vendor we wanted “the most powerful badass machines they could build” (sorry for the technical computer-speak), but they are approaching five years old… so, unfortunately they are dinosaurs.

    So, we’re getting to the issue at hand…

    The last two generations of suites have been based around Matrox machines… the first ones were AXIO, and the current machines are Matrox MX02 machines (both Windows computers, Premiere CS6). The internal Matrox voodoo provides hardware acceleration, which is tethered to a big breakout box that has all the ins and outs… component, composite, HDMI, HD-SDI, balanced audio, etc. These are ins-and-outs to the decks, and feed the rooms’ monitors (a couple of desktop broadcast monitors and a big screen for clients in each room).

    Here are our two suites, showing how the monitors are fed…

    So here’s the quandry…

    The two center montiors on each are the regular computer dual montiors, the computer GUI desktop. The three other monitors in each are broadcast monitors.

    We’ve loved Matrox products for years, but they no longer make anything equivalent to the I/O boxes that we’ve used in the past. And our current Matrox hardware does not support Premiere CC, which we would be moving to.

    We probably no longer need hardware acceleration, computers being much more powerful these days… so that’s not a big deal. Nor do we need to feed decks anymore (not a single deck in the racks has been even turned on in years). But we still need to feed broadcast monitors (not just the computer monitors).

    So… I need to know what kind of hardware, software, configuration or whatever I can use to feed the rooms’ monitors. My editor says “You just need a graphics card with HDMI out”… but, no… that would only (I think) feed external monitors the full desktop, the whole GUI. I need to feed monitors only Premiere’s “Program” signal (24p, 60i, whatever the project specs are)… exactly as we’ve been doing for 20 years.

    I’ve visited a few friends and colleagues’ suites where they don’t seem to need to worry about this… they don’t use anything but their computer monitors. But 99% of what we produce is for broadcast television, we have to be able to see it on a “real TV.” Heck, our suites even still have standard-def CRT monitors so we can see what our projects look like on those. Component or SDI would be great, but even HDMI out would be fine as long as it is just the “program” signal coming out of Premiere.

    Any new machines we get will definitely be Windows PCs running the Adobe CC suite.

    Any thoughts on how to make that happen these days? There’s probably something easily out there, but I’ve lived in the Matrox world for so so long now, I’m totally unfamiliar with any other ways to do this.

    Wisdom appreciated,

    T2

    __________________________________
    Todd Terry
    Creative Director
    Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
    fantasticplastic.com

  • Craig Seeman

    May 23, 2018 at 3:26 am

    Are you thinking about the possible future need for HDR? That might be a factor in output and monitor choices. This would also mean UHD of course.
    Are you just delivering broadcast and cable or are any of the online services possible delivery targets?

    You may want to look at some AJA solutions for monitoring which will certainly work for HD Broadcast but you’ll be future proofed especially if you’re only doing a major system rebuild every five years.

    https://www.aja.com/solutions/hdr

  • Todd Terry

    May 23, 2018 at 3:41 am

    Thanks Craig, I’ll give AJA a look….

    We were AJA users quite a few years ago, before the Matrox systems, before the Canopus systems that were before that. Or did Canopus come first here?… don’t remember. Either way, I’d completely forgotten about AJA.

    No, not concerned at all about HDR or any other delivery for now… virtually all of our work winds up on the boob tube, either broadcast or cable.

    We just need to be able to isolate and feed Premiere’s program output on “real TV” monitors.

    T2

    __________________________________
    Todd Terry
    Creative Director
    Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
    fantasticplastic.com

  • Mike Smith

    May 23, 2018 at 2:18 pm
  • Todd Terry

    May 23, 2018 at 2:43 pm

    Very possibly, Mike…

    Will definitely check them out. I’ve never used any Blackmagic products, we’ve been so immersed in nothing but the Matrox world for a decade that I’m woefully uneducated about what else is out that… precisely the reason for my post. I need sum learnin’….

    Appreciate it…

    T2

    __________________________________
    Todd Terry
    Creative Director
    Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
    fantasticplastic.com

  • Craig Seeman

    May 23, 2018 at 4:13 pm

    If you’re using Resolve, BMD would be the (only) way to go for output.
    It’s just anecdotal but I’ve heard a number of people complain about output issues with BMD cards ranging from latency to jitter, etc. They update their drivers frequently which in and of itself can create a bit of the “chasing your tail” feeling on some issues.

    BTW it might be worth looking at Magewell. They seem to be very aggressive in moving their card features forward. Not quite as well known as the others but like so many formerly obscure companies, they seem to be making some headway in the market with a good professional product line.

  • Mark Suszko

    May 23, 2018 at 4:34 pm

    We use the BlackMagic Ultrastudio 4k breakout box to feed broadcast monitors and the rest of the plant playbacks from our imacs and pac pros, using both FCPX and Premiere CC

  • Craig Seeman

    May 23, 2018 at 7:36 pm

    How are you finding live playback from the timeline (both FCPX and Premiere)?
    Any latency or dropped frames issues?

  • Mark Suszko

    May 23, 2018 at 8:10 pm

    No issues so far, then again we’re not doing very high-performance work with it. Mostly we work in 720, though It hasn’t choked on higher-rez 2k either. We have no 4k stuff to work on so can’t speak to that. Once you get it configured and all the apps talking to each other, it seems pretty dependable.

  • Craig Seeman

    May 23, 2018 at 10:04 pm

    Have you tried 1080i59.54 out (that would be 1080 Broadcast)?
    Of course 720p59.54 is for a select few networks but 1080i is more common.

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