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Greg Ball
shooting on P2 back-up
on Apr 11, 2009 at 8:33:32 pm

I'm travelling across the country to shoot a 4 camera event. We're using P2 cameras. I'd like to use firestores for each camera, and then transfer all of the firestore footage to a hard drive for me to take back to our shop for editing. My concern is reliabliity. Are the firestores reliable? What kind of back-up can I have if a firestore fails on thismulticam live event/interview?

I thought we could record to tape at the same time, but I understand that EVERYTHING would need to be shot in SD for us to have tape back-up at the same time as the firestore recording.

Any thoughts on how best to shoot and have a safety? I'm using a local crew in the city I'm travellng to. They are renting the firestores, and would need to rent p2 cards if we chose that option. I just want to guarantee that we have good footage and a reiliable back-up before we start shooting.

Thanks for your help.


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Steve Eisen
Re: shooting on P2 back-up
on Apr 11, 2009 at 10:19:14 pm

I would rent P2 cards instead of Firestore.

Steve Eisen
Eisen Video Productions
Board of Directors
Chicago Final Cut Pro Users Group


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Michael Sacci
Re: shooting on P2 back-up
on Apr 11, 2009 at 11:16:49 pm

Ditto.

Especially since it sounds like you do not use Firestores often. Unless someone on site is very comfortable with them I would stay away. (2) 64 GB cards should rent for about $150/day.

What cameras are you shooting?

Also Firestore are really for locked down cameras when used.



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Greg Ball
Re: shooting on P2 back-up
on Apr 11, 2009 at 11:33:03 pm

I think they are using HVX 200's Most of the shooting will be a combo of hand held and sticks, shooting 5 people having a roundtable discussion. Maybe we'll but one camera on a jib. My problem is the crew will need to download the footage for me to a hard drive to take back to Florida, but I'm concerned about a firestore going down on the shoot. The crew would need to rent P2 cards and I'd still need the footage.

Are you suggesting I rent 2 64 GB drives per camera? That would get pretty expensive and labor intensive wouldn't it?


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Matthew Romanis
Re: shooting on P2 back-up
on Apr 11, 2009 at 11:47:26 pm

Just curious, but since when do rental P2 cameras come with no cards? (sorry if I'm assuming your local are renting, but an owner op not having cards sounds fishy).
All the rental houses I deal with supply cards (64GB now) with the cameras, maybe it's worth getting another rental quote.
How much footage will each camera shoot at one time?



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Noah Kadner
Re: shooting on P2 back-up
on Apr 12, 2009 at 12:17:06 am

Ditto on the rent P2 cards, forget about Firestore. You can always wait around to transfer from P2 to a hard drive to take with you. Or worse comes to worse they FedEx you the drive when it's ready. That's like $20.

Noah

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Michael Sacci
Re: shooting on P2 back-up
on Apr 12, 2009 at 1:50:21 am

Matt, It is all over the place with what comes with cameras on rentals. A lot of times base prices have (2) 16 GB cards. My point was it shouldn't be much more than a FireStore which is typically about $100/day.

Greg, you will need either the cards or a firestore for each camera. Also you really need to hire a DIT to handle your media. They can be transferring one set of cards as the others are being shot. They should be able to help you determine how many cards you need. P2 workflow is pretty solid once you understand it. Doing into a situation without a firm understanding of it is really dangerous.

Where are you shooting this?



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Matthew Romanis
Re: shooting on P2 back-up
on Apr 12, 2009 at 3:33:32 am

The thing with data wrangling to understand is that offload times double per camera. If you shoot 720 24,25, or 30pn then you will be already in front in terms of GB p/m off load from the cards.
With 4 cameras you'll need to consider getting a 5 card reader (AJ-PCD20) which only has FW 800/1394b as the fastest data funnel. Pour 4 cards worth of data into that funnel and it takes much longer to offload than one card, so you have to make allowances for that in how fast you need to get cards back to cameras. Using 4 x 32GB cards will take one hour (give or take) to offload all cards, not counting any verification times.
Using just a duel adapter will take more time as the fastest the P2 cards can offload data is 80MB p/s (and that is the fastest, more often than not its around 70MB p/s), so the extra head room in using an express port for speed is never realised. At least with the multi P2 reader, the excess in transfer headroom is taken up with part of another card (in rough terms).

The other thing to remember is that if you do use any of the 720pn frame rates, you can't use a firestore as the camera deactivates the FW 400/1394a port in these modes.



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Michael Sacci
Re: shooting on P2 back-up
on Apr 12, 2009 at 4:28:31 am

Good points...
but there are several different ways to do it, but without knowing the shooting scenario it doesn't make much sense to suggest how to handle the data. I know in Nashville I can round up several dual adapters and laptops easier than I can get one of the 5 card readers. I have been on jobs that were one hour of shooting and 2 hours of waiting. Each job requires a different way of handling data offload.

But my main point is if you don't have experience with the workflow, (not point at you but, Greg) it is wise to hire someone that does. Every easy to erase the wrong card.

DIT are one of those positions that most people think are a waste of money, until something does wrong.



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Matthew Romanis
Re: shooting on P2 back-up
on Apr 12, 2009 at 10:53:41 am

I absolutely agree Michael.
For someone who is not completely competent in on site P2 management for one camera, let alone more, then having someone on the crew whose job is to structure and perform transfers, backups, and verification is a necessity.
Just thinking about how you sometimes find it easier to round up laptops and adapters, it got me thinking just how many old Powerbook G4 laptops are kicking about. They would be useful for dealing with transfers only, having a 54mm pcmcia slot negates the need for an adapter. Viewing the footage might be hard in some circumstances, but when simple transfer grunt is required they might be a good way to go.



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Dave Neyman
Re: shooting on P2 back-up
on Apr 12, 2009 at 2:40:18 pm

Just thought I'd weigh in on the issue although you may have already decided. P2 cards are the way to go. Get as large as you can afford. Hire a GOOD DIT who will be working full time transferring the data to either a Raid 1 system or 2 separate hard drives. It may be a little more money this way but doing it right is cheaper than a reshoot.



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Greg Ball
Re: shooting on P2 back-up
on Apr 12, 2009 at 4:36:09 pm

Thanks to all who have replied.

Here's a dumb question. What's a DIT? Why are most of you against firestores?

Please keep in mind that I'm the director, I'm not a P2 person. But the crew is asking me how I wish to have this shot

Again we're doing a 4-camera shoot. So wouldn't there be a large amount of P2 cards?

What we're doing is a mock interview set with one moderator and 4-5 Participants in a roundtable discussion. The following day we're shooting Broll. We're doing this on the west coast and editing in Miami. We're hiring a local crew on the west coast I'm bringing back the footage on a drive. So Raid 1 won't really help me.

Another question. Is the drive in any danger going through airport security?



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Matthew Romanis
Re: shooting on P2 back-up
on Apr 12, 2009 at 11:10:37 pm

D.I.T is an Digital imaging technician in Video, Doctor of Information Technology in IT.

The really important thing to know, in order to help you further, is how much material you think you are going to shoot per camera per day, and what version of HD do you have to shoot?
The HVX 200 is capable of shooting 1080/60i, 1080/24p, 1080/24pA, 1080/30p, and 720p/60p, 720/24p (over 60p), 720/30p (over 60p), 720/24pN native, 720/30pN.
So a total of 9 different HD variants across two formats.
720/30pn and 720/24pn may be of interest to you because you can fit twice the amount data/time on a P2 card than the other variants. Normally you would get 1 minute of HD per GB (roughly) but by shooting in these p/n modes you get 2 minutes per GB in 720/30pn, and 2 minutes 30 seconds per GB in 720/24pn.
If you get 32GB cards (at least 2 per camera) then that is at least 2 hrs of footage, 64GB cards would mean at least 4 hrs of footage per camera. You just need to know that you can use these format variants in post.
Re the firestore, the later firmware versions are capable of recording pn variants too. You will need a firestore per camera.
The firestore earned a bad reputation when first released because of loss of communication through the firewire connector, but later versions had a right angle connector that helped solve this issue.
The camera displays little to no warning if something goes amiss with the firestore, so the operators need to keep an eye on the control panel for the firestore.
Whether you go with cards or the firestore, you will need to transfer data from both to your own HDD.
You should never travel with your P2 data on one drive only, either use a Raid 1 dual enclosure, or use two separate drives one a clone of the other. There is software available to help automate doing this.



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Michael Sacci
Re: shooting on P2 back-up
on Apr 13, 2009 at 7:42:03 am

[Greg Ball] "Why are most of you against firestores?"
All the reasons are listed in the posts, nobody is crashing firestores, they are generally harder to work with.

[Greg Ball] "Please keep in mind that I'm the director, I'm not a P2 person. But the crew is asking me how I wish to have this shot "
We know that is why we are telling you to hire a P2 Wrangler (DIT), someone that know have to handle and organize all the media for you to bring back with you. This person should also have a high level of understanding on how to set up all the cameras. You NEED this person on set.

Whether you use P2 or FIrestore you will have the same about of data to deal with.

Raid 1 drives that people are talking about are dual hard drive set up in FW800 enclosures, they copy the data twice. Since you are traveling I would just bring 2 separate drives do you have all the data in 2 places. Check one in your luggage and carry the other one on the plane with you. Or ship one of the drives. redundancy is your friend.






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Rocky Robinson
Re: shooting on P2 back-up
on May 7, 2009 at 10:49:03 pm

I shoot with a Firestore drive. I like it a lot. The only times I have problems with it is when the firewire cable gets yanked..Doesn't happen all the time, but it has happened once in a while. I also run P2 cards as a backup, but the trick is to remember to not run out of space on the cards if you have less storage in P2 cards than the Firestore drive holds. Then, with P2, you have to think about offloading and archiving while on-shoot - the realm of the DITs.

The P2 cards are bigger now. Honestly, if I had access to two 64GB cards, it would cover most the shoots I do, and I'd consider changing workflows. I do like having the Firestore recording in Quicktime format on the fly, you can just drag and drop the files right to the FCP timeline, vs P2 importing. If the P2 cameras/cards could do this (record .movs), I'd change in a heartbeat.

But, you've got 4 cams going at once? If 2 64GB cards per cam will cover the shoot, and you can afford it, do that. There is extra hassle of the Firestore in making sure it has power and a solid firewire connection. Mutiply by 4, and throw in the wildcards...There IS less to go wrong with P2, lack of moving parts and cables and such. But there's also the workflow in post factor too. Depends on how you want to work.



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