Matrox RT.X10 video editing package

With Pinnacle and Matrox seemingly in a race to see who can bring down the cost of real-time video editing more quickly, now is a great time for enthusiasts to buy. The RT.X10 is an attempt to bridge the gap between Matrox’s high-end products and home users, coming in at a distinctly affordable $1395.

Open the box and you will find a PCI board, a breakout cable and some software.

The cable features S-Video and com­­posite A/V sockets for people using analog equipment. It also acts as a video throughput, allowing you to view your work as you edit on a TV set or second monitor. On the card you’ll find the requisite FireWire port for connecting a DV camcorder.

As with previous Matrox realtime pro­ducts, the RT.X10’s install­ation pro­cedure is reas­onably tricky. Along with the system requirements, there are details of approved systems, graphics cards, motherboards and video cameras posted on the Matrox Web site. We heartily recommend that prospective buyers check these before committing to a purchase. Indeed, where possible, we’d advise you to purchase a system that has been specifically pre­configured and built around an RT.X10 board.

Once it’s up and running, DV users will find Matrox MediaTools extremely handy for capturing from tape. Plug your digital camcorder into the FireWire port and you’ll get full remote control of its functions. Single-pass scan and capture means that you can log your tapes and grab clips from them at the same time, thus minimising wear on both the tape and your equipment.

The main bulk of your editing will take place in Adobe Premiere. Surprisingly, the RT.X10 comes with the full version of Premiere 6.5, which alone would usually set you back about $1350. Quite how Matrox has swung this is beyond us. Still, it’s best not to complain when you are getting a good deal. Of course, Premiere isn’t the easiest of editing applications but it’s still one of the best. The timeline-based system is pretty logical and the Matrox real-time effects and transitions work just like standard plug-ins. Drag-and-drop a swirl or a fade on to a clip on the timeline and a window will pop up allowing you to tweak the effect to your satisfaction or choose from a number of presets.

Pretty much every func­tion in the edit suite can be performed in real-time over two layers of video and two layers of graphics. This means that titles as well as sophisticated 3D wipes and effects can be added, all without waiting ages for your changes to render.

Additionally, in a marked improvement over the RT2500, slow motion and colour correction can now be implemented in real-time. So, even if you forgot to set the white balance on your camcorder while you were filming, you can still rescue your footage without rendering — and all at the click of a button.

And, once you have finished your master­piece, the RT.X10 has everything you’ll need to output your work to a wide range of different media. You can export your final movie to tape or create compressed, Web-friendly versions for Windows Media Player, RealPlayer or QuickTime. You can even create MPEG-2 files and use them with the bundled Sonic Solutions DVDit LE program to author your own DVDs and VideoCDs.

We definitely wouldn’t recommend the RT.X10 to people new to desktop editing, but for anyone with a serious interest in digital filmmaking, this could well be the package you’ve been waiting for.

In brief: Matrox RT.X10

A feature-packed mid to high level real-time video editing solution consisting of PCI board, breakout cable, and software bundle that includes a full version of Adobe Premiere 6.5.
Price: $1395
Distributor: Focal Point Computing
Phone: (03) 9372 6600

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