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Switching to P2. Workflow questions?

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Steve Martin
Switching to P2. Workflow questions?
on Aug 29, 2009 at 9:37:08 pm

Hello fellow bovine friends!

We're a relatively busy production company specializing in corporate production. After many years of SD productions (BetaSP and DV), about 2 years ago, I dipped my toe in the HD waters. We started with HDV - Sony V1 and then later, the Sony Z7. I like the pictures from the cameras - especially the Z7. However, I'm not at all enamored with the tape-less editing work flow (i.e Long GOP MPEG). I also miss having a full size, shoulder mounted camera.

So I am considering P2 - specifically the HPX300. From everything I've read it sounds like a good camera for us and I'm hoping to get my hands on a demo that I can put through it's paces soon.

My question is about the editing work flow. I suspect that for small shoots, I can simply make sure I have enough P2 cards and bring them back to the studio for downloading. However, I can anticipate times that I'll need to offload on location. For example, we recently did a 3 day "reality type" shoot with multiple cams where we rolled 40+ hours. In HDV, that equated to a little more than 500GB of data. DVCPro HD or AVC Intra100 would have been 2TB+.

Granted, this was an extreme case with more footage than is typical for us. But in those kind of situations, I'm curious to hear what others are doing manage media. What kind of problems do I need to look out for?

As an FYI, we edit in Final Cut 7 with a Kona3. Has anyone evaluated the new AVC Intra work flow in the new FCP?

I'm trying to gather as much info as possible before I stroke a big check for cameras, cards, etc... So any insights, advise, article links, success stories (or horror stories!) would be very helpful.

Many thanks,
Steve



Production is fun - but lets not forget: Nobody ever died on the video table!


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Steve Eisen
Re: Switching to P2. Workflow questions?
on Aug 30, 2009 at 1:00:25 am

If time is money then P2 is the way to go. Just to capture your 40+ hours of HDV footage is going to take a minimum of 40 hours. With P2 yes your data size is going to increase to 1 GB per hour but you are are recording at a higher data rate. Hard drives and RAID configurations are at an all time low. Your offload times is where you are going to save time. Maybe a couple of hours to offload vs a couple days. That is based on your 40+ hour shoot. Normal offload times are about 8-16 minutes each card depending on which P2 card you are offloading.

P2 workflow with FCP 7 is very easy and works flawlessly.

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


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Mike Gluckman
Re: Switching to P2. Workflow questions?
on Aug 31, 2009 at 12:04:20 am

Hi Steve,

It's been I while. I hope you're doing well. I use my old powerbook G4 with a Lacie rugged drive to download cards in the field. You might need to consider hiring someone just to wrangle data if you have a shoot like you mentioned. Also, you can rent P2 cards locally to fill in as needed. The bigger P2 card you use, the longer it will take to download. There are also some cool devices out there to download P2 cards without a computer. Nexto has an interesting box that is a hard drive with a card reader built in. I haven't used one, but they look interesting.

http://www.nextodi.com/en/product/ND2725_en.html

Hope this helps.

Cheers!

mike gluckman



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Steve Martin
Re: Switching to P2. Workflow questions?
on Sep 8, 2009 at 3:17:06 pm

Hi Mike,

Thanks for the insight! I'm looking to get my hands on an HPX300 in the next few days for some testing. From everything I've read it appears quite good - with the exception of the lens. But I have a high end cannon lens from a 1/2" camera that I can use with an adapter. Granted, I'll give up some width.

BTW, who do you rent P2 cards locally in Orlando? VER? Others? I'd like to catch up with you - perhaps we can talk off line?

Thanks again for the feedback!

All my best,
Steve

Production is fun - but lets not forget: Nobody ever died on the video table!


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Helmut Kobler
Re: Switching to P2. Workflow questions?
on Aug 31, 2009 at 8:32:05 pm

P2 is great, farrrrr better than using tape. It has so many advantages during production, but also in post, as Steve mentioned (I can capture 13 hours of 720p footage in about 50 minutes using a Panasonic PCD35 5 card reader...try that with tape).

Here's my advice:

If you use multiple cameras a lot, you might get 32GB E series cards, because you can spread them among multiple cameras more easily. Otherwise, I would get the new 64GB E series cards, because I've found that shooting to a bigger card is simply more convenient (less swaps, less need of a data wrangler during the day, etc.)

You might consider getting Panasonic's PCD35($2K) for your desktop workstation at the office. It is the fastest P2 card reader around. When reading data to a RAID, I transferred a full 32GB E series card in 4 minutes. You can also connect it to an ExpressCard/34 port with a $199 adapter, so it works on laptops in the field.

For heavy shooting projects that are in the field (40 hours of footage), your best bet is to bring along a laptop with a card reader, and transfer footage to a RAID 1 hard drive (Raid 1 is comprised of 2 drives, where each one is a mirror copy of the next). If you have enough P2 cards, you can shoot all day and transfer in a hotel room at day's end. If not, you'll probably want someone on set to manage data wrangling, but I avoid that at all costs. Oh yes, there's also a new piece of hardware that makes it very easy to transfer cards without a laptop or external drives: http://blog.abelcine.com/2009/08/25/nexto-video-storage-pro-2/

It's expensive but looks very convenient. Except the hard drive tops off at 500 GB (wouldn't fit your 40 hours of footage) and is not a RAID 1 for extra protection. But apparently, you can attach external drives to the device, which could solve that issue.

As for Final Cut 7, that's great. I've had no problems importing AVC-I footage into it. Final Cut itself doesn't recognize the metadata from your P2 footage, but the data remains intact, and can be seen by Final Cut Server (if you use it). Otherwise, you could use a product like MXF4Mac / P2 Flow to bring the raw MXF AVC-I files right into Final Cut (no putting a QuickTime wrapper around the files beforehand, as Final Cut does when you use Log and Transfer), with the Metadata carrying over to Final Cut's logging fields.

Good luck!









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Matt Gerard
Re: Switching to P2. Workflow questions?
on Dec 18, 2009 at 6:28:34 pm

[Helmut Kobler] "You might consider getting Panasonic's PCD35($2K) for your desktop workstation at the office. It is the fastest P2 card reader around. When reading data to a RAID, I transferred a full 32GB E series card in 4 minutes. You can also connect it to an ExpressCard/34 port with a $199 adapter, so it works on laptops in the field. "

I just ogot one of these, man is it crazy fast. But, where do I get this ExpressSlot adapter yo're talking about? I can't find it online.

Thanks!

Matt

Its more fun to ride a slow motorcycle fast than a fast motorcycle slow...


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Rick DeSalvo
Re: Switching to P2. Workflow questions?
on Sep 1, 2009 at 8:33:34 pm

Steve, I looked at the 300, as well and was disappointed with the quality and durability of the lens. If you can spring for a better lens or pull the lens off of your beta rig until the cash becomes available, that might be a better solution.

I sprung for the 500 and put a nice Canon lens on it. So far so good. I love the 500 and the P2 workflow. I did purchase a used P2 reader so I wouldn't have to use the camera to ingest.


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Steve Martin
Re: Switching to P2. Workflow questions?
on Sep 8, 2009 at 3:24:41 pm

Thank you to all who took the time to respond to my post. Your kindness and willingness to share information is very much appreciated!

I'm leaning towards making a switch to P2 and am hoping to get my hands on a Pany HPX300 from my dealer for testing this week.

Thanks again!

Steve Martin
Omni Productions
Orlando, FL

Production is fun - but lets not forget: Nobody ever died on the video table!


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