On Cable, Public Access, Video Encoding

Mike (from an AOL account) submitted this question: “We got a grant to create consumer programming for the local cable operator. They say they need to have the mini DV run through a Matrox 2500 to use it. Any ideas where a used one might be or who has one? Or what else would do it?”

I asked Keri Stokstad, Executive Director for Puget Sound Access, for her suggestion:

Only Matrox 2500 I’m aware of is the predecessor to the RTX100. Basically, if they’re saying run it through I think they’re asking to encode it to a MPEG file for playback. But saying ‘run through a Matrox 2500’ is like asking someone to open up a file using Word on a Windows 98 machine and save it as a .DOC. It’s older hardware you don’t need to find and there’s plenty of new stuff out there to do the job.

If they want the program as an MPEG1 or 2 file for playback – any encode card or software will do (I’ve used Osprey, Digital Rapids and Hauppauge). Nothing with a bitrate below 8mbps though (6, if it’s just talking heads and no action).

They should probably get more info from the cable provider for the specs they’re requesting. They may have specific demands for file type and/or video quality. If they need help, we can show them how we do it at PSA and provide a training session. It’ll give you an excuse to see the place. Currently we use Premiere Pro 2.5 with the Matrox RTX100 Extreme Pro.

Maybe I should venture down there to see the studio. YouTube is pretty much ‘Public Access’ of the future (today). On a side note, Keri and I once had accounts on ISCABBS. I was known as “The Locker Gnome” and had a user number around 30,000 back in 1992. Matt May used to be on ISCA, too.