Price: 699 . 949
Until this autumn, Matrox’s line of DV-editing hardware looked to be in trouble. Tied to an ailing piece of editing software – Premiere 6.5 – the systems were facing redundancy, made obsolete by software-only NLEs and the power of host machines.
The release of Premiere Pro in September set things right again. While it wasn’t going to win anyone back who had moved onto Apple Final Cut Pro or Avid Xpress DV/Pro, the revitalized Premiere is a great tool for users who don’t want to throw away years of experience in that package. A hardware bundle that uses Premiere as its NLE is a lot more appealing than it was six months ago.
The RT.X100 Xtreme Pro is an attempt to combine Matrox’s hardware with Adobe’s focus on interoperable products. The RT.X100 hardware provides extra real-time support within Premiere. This includes features not possible in software such as real-time DV output – as well as DV and analog capture, and a real-time output to a PAL monitor from within Premiere, After Effects, and Photoshop.
The RT.X100 hardware, though more powerful than before, features the same old strengths and weaknesses when compared to the competition. It focuses on pre-defined flashy effects that simplify the process of creating video. This approach will help you satisfy a certain type of client, but offers less manual control than its main competitor, Canopus’ DVStorm2. Unlike that product though, the RT.X100 exists alongside Premiere Pro, rather than taking it over. You can use footage already captured by Premiere in real-time without recapturing, and still use Premiere’s entire standard and plug-in effects in real-time.
One of the main selling points with the RT.X100 Xtreme Pro bundle is that there’s little reason not to buy it – as there’s little difference in price between buying Matrox’s bundle featuring the RT.X100 card and Adobe’s bundle without it. Adobe offers no bundle of Premiere Pro, Audition and Encore, so the RT.X100 Xtreme Pro Suite technically saves you a whopping £419 against buying the Adobe products separately.
The RT.X100 Xtreme Pro Collection costs £50 more than the Adobe Video Collection Standard, which is still a bargain – though it’s a shame that there’s no equivalent to Adobe’s Video Collection Professional with After Effects 6.0 Professional. Importantly, upgrade prices for users of older versions of the Adobe products are equally well priced and flexible.