Speeding up video effects and editing isn’t all RTMac can do, however. Final Cut Pro is normally dependent on video imported through the Mac’s FireWire interface, via a DV-equipped source like a camcorder or deck. RTMac includes both a PCI-based card which does the acceleration, and a FireWire-based analog breakout box, so you can import from and export to analog sources like Hi-8 or Betacam SP.
RTMac’s breakout box sports composite video and S-Video input and output; and supports video formats including ITU-R 601 YUV 4:2:2, NTSC 720×486 at 29.97 frames per second, and PAL 720×576 at 25 frames per second. The product also supports audio genlock to video and unbalanced stereo input and output. The card itself sports a 15-pin VGA interface, which can be used to drive a second monitor — with RTMac, you continue to use the Mac’s AGP card and monitor as your primary display.
Matrox bundles Pixélan Software’s OrganicFX Lite software, as well. It’s comprised of 50 ‘spices’ — different softenable, dynamic matte effects for use with Final Cut Pro’s Gradient Wipe transitions.
System requirements call for a 400MHz or faster Power Mac G4 with AGP motherboard; 256MB RAM; available PCI slot; Mac OS 9.1; Final Cut Pro 2.0; QuickTime 5.0; and fast EIDE/Ultra ATA or SCSI disk drives — the drives must be able to sustain two 25-megabit/second streams.
Matrox also reports that it’s working with Adobe to support real-time editing via Adobe Premiere on RTMac, though no final release date or feature set has been offered. No support for After Effects is available, by the way, because “RTMac provides real-time effects capabilities for a subset of Final Cut Pro’s effects,” according to Matrox.
Matrox RTMac carries a suggested retail price of US$999. That price includes the card, breakout box, cable, and driver software. The hardware is available for online purchase from
and from Matrox-authorized dealers.