Matrox has recently released their codec package to the general public and no longer requires you to have a hardware card installed or USB key to use them. Depending on your workflow, they could serve as a nice intermediate codec. Possibly even an alternative to Cineform in some situations. The best part is they are free.
I have been testing the Mpeg2 I Frame codec at 100Mbs and been very pleased. Here is the link and the Press release.
In the past, Matrox has offered the Matrox M.Key/100 USB device that unlocks the Matrox MPEG-2 I-frame HD, DVCPRO HD, HDV, and other Matrox Video for Windows (VFW) codecs for use on 32-bit systems that don’t have Matrox editing cards. Since the launch of this product, M.Key/100 has supported only 32-bit Windows operating systems. With the recent surge of 64-bit operating systems, M.Key/100 is now incompatible in many environments. The popularity of Matrox codecs has also grown, which has increased the market demand for open codecs from Matrox. Therefore, Matrox will no longer be offering the Matrox M.Key/100 USB device. As an alternative to M.Key/100, Matrox is pleased to announce our new Matrox VFW software codec package, which will be available for download free of charge from our website. This package provides the following VFW software codecs for use on 32-bit and 64-bit Windows operating systems:
Matrox DVCPRO HD
Matrox MPEG-2 I-frame in SD and HD resolutions, with or without alpha
Matrox Uncompressed in SD and HD resolutions, with or without alpha
Matrox Offline HD
Matrox M-JPEG and HDV (playback only)
The new Matrox VFW software codec package will allow any system to use AVI files that have been captured on Matrox Axio, RT.X, and MXO2 systems, and to also create these AVI files for use on Matrox systems. This flexibility lets you use any workstation to do a rough cut, then copy the project and assets to an Axio, RT.X, or MXO2 system to finish the job. There is no need for time-consuming recapturing. As well, dedicated compositing or animation workstations can render finished elements that will play back in real time on Matrox editing and playout systems.
The new Matrox VFW software codec is available to all Matrox Axio registered users as a free download from the support section of the website.
Matrox Video Product Group
I just finished my testing with the new Matrox codecs on a non-Matrox system: Win 7 x64, nVidia GTX280, Dual Quad Core Xeons, 16 GB RAM, 2xRAID0 media drives.
Although the codecs produce terrific results, they don't play nice with Premiere Pro CS4 or my other VFW-enabled apps like VirtualDub, GSpot or AviSynth.
They prevent CS4 from closing properly - the Pr task remains in memory even after the UI is closed. Ditto for the AME. Duing Pr CS4's launch, they cause Pr to appear to hang while it loads the ExporterAVI plugin.
VirtualDub and GSpot both take a long time to access the codecs, which slows my workflow down significantly. Both give the appearance of hanging. AviSynth in MT mode can't handle Matrox Uncompressed.
After the CS4 tests, I didn't bother to test in CS5.
I am not sure they were designed for CS-4. I tested them in CS-5 and CS-5 AME and didnt notice any problems. They are version 1 and for free so its hard to complain too much. Give them a try in CS-5 and see if they work better for you.
Both CS5 and CS4 exhibit the problem of the processes remaining in memory. VirtualDub and the AME take about 10 minutes to end by themselves, and Pr takes about 20 minutes to end on its own. In all cases, the remaining processes slooooooowly release memory, until some threshold is reached. The threshold is either an absolute number or a percentage based on how much memory was in use when the exit command was issued from the UI. For example, the Pr process ended with about 10x the memory-in-use as the AME or VirtualDub did. Of course the Pr process started with about that same memory advantage.
So the codecs are usable as long as you are aware of the startup/shutdown behavior of the apps that acutally access the codecs. I plan on running some more AviSynth tests to see if I can tweak the Uncompressed HD codec so that it behaves well with AviSynth/MT.
I was reading this thread a few days ago about the processes not shutting down correctly. Take a look. I suspect this is a current bug in the CS-5 release and possibly not related to to the Matrox VFW codecs
Thanks for that, but it doesn't apply to the issue I've discovered.
There are 2 reasons: one, the CPU usage in my case is zero and stays at
zero. Two, the issue appears in both CS4 and CS5.
When I uninstall the Matrox VFW codec package, all returns to normal
with CS4, CS5, VirtualDub, AviSynth and GSpot.
hi all guys, i just have same problem like jeff,seem Matrox VFW Codecs have some problem,(every used codec application will saty in memory,and never quit )if use old codec worked fine .matrox should fix that,that is lame!
Jeff, if you wouldn't mind telling me HOW you tested the matrox codecs on your system. I also have Windows 7 64 bit with a GTX 285 - 6GB RAM. I have been unable to use the matrox codecs . . . and I'm not sure why. I've tried avisynth and virtualdub but the resulting file will not play. I've also tried Prism Video Converter (suggested to me by a friend) and it gives me an encoder error - and again, the resulting file won't play. At this point I don't seem to be able to get the matrox codecs working on my system. Any suggestions would be more than helpful. Thank you.
It takes a *very* long time for VirtualDub to load an AVI file with the Matrox codecs installed. Did you wait long enough?
Regardless, for now I believe you are better off without them. I know I am.
Jeff, Have you had any luck withtheMatrox vfw codecs in CS5?
I'm trying to work on an old Axio/cs4 Porject and all the video clips that I re-link arenothing but PINK matte color all the way through with very garbled audio.
Matrox released a new build of the VFW codecs(build31) that fixes the issue you have. You can find the latest build (build33) on the following link- http://www.matrox.com/video/en/support/windows/vfw_software_codecs/dow nloads/softwares/version1.0/build33/
I hope it helps.
I got a chance to install the new codecs, and you're right -- the crashing and memory problems have gone away! It still takes longer than I would lilke for Premiere Pro to launch when the Matrox codecs are installed, but the delay is more reasonable now. It's on the order of 10 - 15 seconds instead of minutes. VirtualDub's Compressor dialog is also slow to load, but again it takes a few seconds now instead of a few minutes.
I like the high bit-rate Matrox MPEG2 I-frame codec in an AVI wrapper as utilitarian intermediate codec. It's kind of like Lagarith in that it encodes a bit on the slow side, but it decodes much faster. It's better than Lagarith because it plays back smoother in Premiere Pro at HD resolutions.
Still, the very best performing intermediate codec is UT. Version 11.1 is lightning fast and very stable (as long as you never select the Assume Interlaced Video check box).