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P2 offload issues using new MacbookPro and Duel

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Chris Cardno
P2 offload issues using new MacbookPro and Duel
on Feb 4, 2009 at 10:07:13 pm

If anyone has a workaround for this or some further information then I'd love to hear about it, but this is more of a notice than a request. Also, if this has come up before my apologies in advance for rehashing stuff.

We bought a new MacbookPro (2.53GHz, 4GB SDRAM) and started loading on the various software items we need for both here in the office and on shoots. Loaded on was Photoshop, P2CMS, the necessary P2 drivers, SxS drivers and ShotputPro. The computer appears to be working fine but yesterday refused to start up. After some hard shut downs we finally got the machine to start after 5 minutes 30 seconds and sounds not unlike an aircraft taking off. We re-set the PRAM and the power system on the laptop but eventually (after some advice from AppleCare) committed to a full erase and re-install of the OS and applications.

The computer started fine after that an so I loaded ShotputPro back on, plugged in the Duel Adapter and started to offload a 32GB P2 card. After a minute or so the computer froze and displayed a warning that it needed to be shut down or re-started. After some research today I now realize that it was a kernel panic.

I sent out some emails looking for some answers and I got a very swift response from Dan at Imagine Products that nailed the issues I was having exactly. Apparently:

* There is "a serious codec conflict between the Duel drivers (shipped with OSX 10.5) and the P2 codecs."
* "The kernel panic comes on when your computer has more than 2 GB of RAM, OSX 10.5, the Duel adaptor, and large P2 cards (16+ GB)."
* The problem "can be avoided by booting in safe mode or using a different reader such as Panasonic's 5-card reader or P2 Gear, or direct connect from the camera."
* Duel seems "to be waiting on Apple or Panasonic to do something. Apple OS team is "well aware of the problem" but no promises on correcting it."

So. Back to the older Macbook for the moment.

There is, I'm sure, going to be a certain "you get what you pay for" response to this post and, yes, in an ideal world I'd like to have the PCD20 or PCD35 or a P2 Gear -- actually, in an ideal world, I'd like a Panasonic backed single card reader that doesn't cost an arm and a leg. Like I said at the beginning this post was more to bring some attention to an issue than search for a solution (although that would certainly be cool if there is one) as I'd rather save someone else the hair-pulling nightmare that I had yesterday.

I would like to also say, again, that Dan at Imagine could not have been more responsive or helpful. Nice to know that they have good people working there that put out a good product. He did tell me that they are looking at "tak[ing] another pass at seeing if we can limit the RAM usage of ShotPut to 2 GB. Maybe that will prevent this
problem".

Best to all,

Chris Cardno
Visual Edge Productions
Bethesda, MD


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: P2 offload issues using new MacbookPro and Duel
on Feb 5, 2009 at 6:10:18 am

If RAM us really the issue, then why not pull 2 Gigs?


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Michael Sacci
Re: P2 offload issues using new MacbookPro and Duel
on Feb 5, 2009 at 8:09:31 am

I only have 2 GB in my MBP but have used the Duel a bunch, even had a multicam shoot with 5 systems going (MBP with Duel in each) with no problems. I will say that I have had an adapter go bad but it was exchanged for a new one under warranty.

I thought there was no driver for the Duel under OS 10.5, or are you saying that there is but it is already installed with 10.5 itself?



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Chris Cardno
Re: P2 offload issues using new MacbookPro and Duel
on Feb 5, 2009 at 2:53:50 pm

Michael, the Duel site says that you don't need to download drivers with OS 10.5+, so I think they are bundled in. Dan at Imagine said the newest OS manages memory so I guess when the system throws all 4GB at the process it causes the conflict between the drivers and the P2 codec.

Jeremy, the machine came out of the box with the 4GB RAM, it wasn't an add-on -- my tech knowledge falls down the minute I start looking at circuit boards and things with exposed wires so I'm not comfortable starting to yank things out. However, the point of the post was more to put it out there that a new MacbookPro with 4GB of RAM is apparently going to have issues with the Duel Adapter and P2 offload. Like I said, I'd rather someone didn't run into this the day before a shoot or spend a day waiting for a brand new $2,500 machine to boot up correctly and then have it fail during an offload.

As a side note, does anyone else find it kind of amazing that we use all these phrases nowadays and actually know what they basically mean? Three years ago I'd have read the posts in this thread and thought people were talking another language... :-)

Chris Cardno
Visual Edge Productions
Bethesda, MD



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Jeremy Garchow
Re: P2 offload issues using new MacbookPro and Duel
on Feb 5, 2009 at 4:11:05 pm

[Chris Cardno] "Jeremy, the machine came out of the box with the 4GB RAM, it wasn't an add-on -- my tech knowledge falls down the minute I start looking at circuit boards and things with exposed wires so I'm not comfortable starting to yank things out."

Go to the Apple menu and then choose "about this mac". Click "more info". Click on "memory" on the left hand side. What does it say in the main window? It should say something like bank0 and bank1.


[Chris Cardno] "However, the point of the post was more to put it out there that a new MacbookPro with 4GB of RAM is apparently going to have issues with the Duel Adapter and P2 offload."

And that's a good point. I am just trying to make your shiny Macbook Pro a useful tool instead of a web-surfing doorstop.

Also, save up for the ideal world PCD20. :)

Jeremy


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Noah Kadner
Re: P2 offload issues using new MacbookPro and Duel
on Feb 5, 2009 at 5:42:53 pm

The "Duel" is one of the most appropriately named pieces of kit out there...

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Gerret Warner
Re: P2 offload issues using new MacbookPro and Duel
on Feb 10, 2009 at 2:05:00 pm

I too have a MacBook Pro (2.2; 4GB RAM; OS 10.5.6) with DuelAdapter. For about a year I've offloaded P2 cards by drag and drop, without any problems.

But recent warnings that Apple and Panasonic don't support Finder level copying of cards made me move to ShotPut, and once I did I experienced the same problem as Chris: of a kernel panic. The only difference is that I have only 8GB cards.

To be honest I don't remember whether I installed a DuelAdapter driver, and I don't know how to check to see if I did.

Luckily I have a couple of weeks before we next shoot, but I feel stuck. What's the best way to offload P2 cards with a MacBook Pro?



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Chris Cardno
Re: P2 offload issues using new MacbookPro and Duel
on Feb 10, 2009 at 3:39:22 pm

Gerret, Dan at Imagine Products (the folks that make Shotput) said they were seeing the problem with cards that were over 16GB in size. I don't know if that INCLUDES 16GB cards, though. If you were having the problem with 8GB cards then this may be a more reaching problem than previously thought.

I'll be posting later today with some more info, after I speak with Dan, and I'll let you know what we discuss.

Best,

Chris Cardno
Visual Edge Productions
Bethesda, MD


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: P2 offload issues using new MacbookPro and Duel
on Feb 10, 2009 at 4:02:49 pm

Do all of you have P2CMS installed as well that are having probelms with the Duel?


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Chris Cardno
Re: P2 offload issues using new MacbookPro and Duel
on Feb 10, 2009 at 4:10:11 pm

No, after performing a complete OS erase and reinstall I only loaded on ShotputPro. The computer would boot up correctly but suffered a kernel panic during offload using the Duel and Shotput.

Chris Cardno
Visual Edge Productions
Bethesda, MD


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: P2 offload issues using new MacbookPro and Duel
on Feb 10, 2009 at 4:15:38 pm

[Chris Cardno] "No, after performing a complete OS erase and reinstall I only loaded on ShotputPro. "

You didn't load FCP?


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Chris Cardno
Re: P2 offload issues using new MacbookPro and Duel
on Feb 10, 2009 at 4:21:23 pm

Nope. It was a brand new laptop and I was loading up the basics first when the boot issues started. After the reinstall I figured I should load things in one at a time and see if I could replicate the problem. While the start-up issues didn't happen, the kernel panic did.

I've used Macbooks before for offload without FCP as it's not something all our clients ask us to do, they're happy just having the raw data transferred to a hard drive or two and then they can do what they want with it. Plus, to be honest, I prefer that as it's one less step in the field that can draw questions after the fact.

Chris Cardno
Visual Edge Productions
Bethesda, MD


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: P2 offload issues using new MacbookPro and Duel
on Feb 10, 2009 at 5:13:03 pm

Yeah, no worries. I was just repsonding the the codec conflict that was mentioned in an earlier post. Why not try installing P2CMS (as it installs a DVCPro HD codec) and see if that might work better.


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Gerret Warner
Re: P2 offload issues using new MacbookPro and Duel
on Feb 11, 2009 at 2:11:13 pm

Chris and others,

Sorry for the delay in getting back to this thread. I too have been in touch with Dan at Imagine, and he sent me a Beta version of ShotPut Pro to see if it would correct the problem that Chris and I are having (MacBook Pro with 4 GB RAM/Dual Adapter/kernel panic). But while Chris is using 16GB cards, I'm using 8GB. I've sent a copy of the crash report to Dan and am waiting for their analysis.

I tried bringing in HD footage from my P2 card with the new software and had the same problem. Then I tried using P2CMS, and that also created a kernel panic.

Sure hope someone can help. Short of buying yet another expensive piece of gear I'm stuck.


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Jesse Arnold
Re: P2 offload issues using new MacbookPro and Duel
on Feb 26, 2009 at 11:33:21 am

This is a problem w/10.4.11 also.

Definitely same issues exist w/10.4.11 & latest P2 drivers, Duel drivers, and P2CMS. June 07 2.2 MBP 15.

SAFE BOOT mode works, but appears to be really slow.
Finder copy runs, but is not recommended...
Pulling 4GB & replacing it w 2GB (in a MBP that came w/2GB) works.


Jesse






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Eric Martin
Re: P2 offload issues using new MacbookPro and Duel
on Mar 2, 2009 at 5:05:53 am

I've been on Panasonic's case for a single card reader for since I got my hvx, over two years ago.

My Duel Adapter stopped working long ago (about a year I think) with my MBP (2.33GHz 2gb RAM, FCP 5.1.4, P2CMS etc) & 8gb cards.

I never used FCP or P2CMS for import - just wanted to dump the raw footage from the cards to clients' drives.

Chris, the situation Dan has mentioned regarding conflicts between Duels' drivers, Mac OS 10.5 & Panny's drivers has been going on for some time. When I first had trouble Duel customer service had me uninstall latest Panny drivers and put in older ones - that f%3ed up everything (even Safari!) and I've had two useless Duel Adapters since (I got an older PB on ebay and use it with Shotput very happily).

Bottom line:

Panasonic has a line of cameras somewhat dependent on a workflow with Apples latest laptops but cares not that their customers languish.

Duel has a line of Adapters with serious driver issues and doesn't feel like working anymore with Apples' OS.

Apple has bigger fish to fry than worrying about some small company's (Duel) driver issues not upgrading well with their plans to upgrade their OS (whoa - they upgrade software?! who knew?).

Not happy with any of these companies performance on this issue!


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Gerret Warner
Re: P2 offload issues using new MacbookPro and Duel
on Mar 13, 2009 at 3:31:36 pm

I agree, Eric. How is it that this fundamental problem hasn't been fixed?

Here's Duel Adaptor's response to my problem:

The DuelAdapter works fine with the p2 card at it's base level of operation. If you are wanting to use third-party software with the DuelAdapter, we suggest you contact the software vendor for a fix.

Thank you for contacting the DuelAdapter email support.
Ryan


I've asked what base level means to them, but haven't yet gotten an answer. If it means that the adapter works only at the Finder level--where both Apple and Panasonic say we shouldn't copy P2 files--then the adapter doesn't work with P2 cards and the company should make that clear.

As far as I can see my only recourse now is to move back to my G4 for P2 offloads in the field.

Extremely frustrating. Maybe time to go over to Sony.




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Barry Green
Re: P2 offload issues using new MacbookPro and Duel
on Mar 26, 2009 at 7:43:22 pm

Having looked into this issue a bit, it does seem like the problem is limited to 4GB systems. As Jesse found, pulling out 2GB (and thus turning it into a 2GB MBP) works.

Whether the problem is with Duel, or Apple, or Panasonic, or Imagine, that part hasn't been figured out yet. But the problem definitely appears to be related to having 4GB of RAM. I know Panasonic and Duel are aware of that and are trying to figure out what the problem is.

In the meantime, to get up and running, you pretty much have two choices: either pull out 2GB (not exactly a preferred solution) or use the Terminal application to convince the operating system to limit itself to using only 2GB. And that seems the best practice, because you can swap over to "2GB" mode for your Duel usage, then swap back to "4GB" mode for everything else.

These are the instructions that I've had sent to me from a Mac user who says this will work, so I'm forwarding them on in hopes that it will help you guys out.

To Turn Your 4GB MBP Into A "virtual" 2GB MBP:
1. Launch the Directory Utility from the Application->Utility Folder. Click the "key" icon to unlock it. Then click "Edit->Enable Root User."

2. Launch the Terminal program, from Application->Utility Folder. Then type in the following command: "sudo nvram boot-args="maxmem=2048"

3. Launch the Directory Utility again, and click the key icon to unlock it, then choose "Edit->Disable Root User".

To Revert Back to Using All 4GB:
Follow all the steps above, but in step 2 you'd forget that "maxmem" line and instead type in this command in the Terminal program: "sudo nvram boot-args=""


-----------------
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