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P2/ Mac Workflow Questions

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Kyle Benjamin
P2/ Mac Workflow Questions
on Feb 27, 2010 at 9:55:22 pm

We've got a project coming up in a few weeks and are scrambling to make sure we have the proper gear and workflow in place before we head to south Florida. There are some set in stone requirements that must be met, and I have been tasked with making sure it all works, but I have a few questions. So I'm going to present what we have, what we need and the options for making it all work as I understand them. If you have a solution, or have been faced with this problem, feel free to let me know how you made it work!

We HAVE to shoot in HD
(There is a discussion about 720 with a 1080 upconvert due to different client requirements...would this pose a problem? Heck, is it even possible?)
We ARE using a HPX300 with 2 64gb P2 "E" cards
The post production house HAS at least FCS 2 (maybe 3 but I'm not positive)
We CAN'T really use the camera as a deck/card reader. ( Live Sporting event)

The problem I'm tasked with solving is how to transfer the data from the cards to a portable hard drive (or two...safety first!) for transport to our editor.

As I understand things, we can use:
1) a Powerbook G4
2) Plug the camera into a macbook pro w/proper P2 drivers
3) A windows based solution
4) One of Panasonic's multiple card readers, and thus the macbook pro
5) A firestore drive
6) Something I haven't thought of yet.

Questions:
A) Will I be able to use the computers as a bridge between the camera/card and the portable HD to just move the files, or do I need to capture the files off the card with Final Cut on the Macbook Pro?

B) Will our editor be able to read the P2 data on his workstation?

C) Can we use a firestore drive in lieu of the P2 cards, back up the data to multiple hard drives, and then send the firestore and backups to our editor?

D) What's the best/most efficient way to quickly transfer the data? As I mentioned earlier, this is for a sports event, (specifically auto racing) so we have to be able to transfer on the fly, or quickly during a "cold" track session.

We'd like to avoid traveling multiple laptops (airport security, small crew, and, as far as I know, no extra luggage budget) so the most ideal solution would involve the Macbook Pro, which is my primary daily comptuer.

We also need a primary plan, and a backup plan, just in case, as this is our first event of the year, our first time working with P2, it will make for a very boring show without ENG A and B roll, and I'd like to keep my job.

Further, the laptop is coming from North Carolina, and the camera from Denver, so we don't have the option of trial and error prior to the event.

Sorry for the lengthy question, and thanks in advance!

-Kyle


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Michael Sacci
Re: P2/ Mac Workflow Questions
on Feb 27, 2010 at 11:41:21 pm

No 1 suggestion. Hire a P2 wrangle to handle the offloading and back up of the data. It is not rock science but someone that know the process is worth the day rate. Loss of data is a lot more than their fee.

Have you the 300s in this situation before. CMOS (3MOS for Panny) can give some waviness to fast moving images. Search rolling shutter effect.

Workflow is all through this forum, take a read through it and then if anything is not clear ask for help.

Firestores are not for run and gun, okay at best on a Tripod but you do not edit from them, you dump it to a hard drive and edit from the hard drive not the FireStore.

G4 laptop is the easiest (lest amount of equipment also) to offload P2 cards (making sure you are using one with a cardbus slot.)



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Noah Kadner
Re: P2/ Mac Workflow Questions
on Feb 27, 2010 at 11:52:01 pm

[Kyle Benjamin] "A) Will I be able to use the computers as a bridge between the camera/card and the portable HD to just move the files, or do I need to capture the files off the card with Final Cut on the Macbook Pro?

B) Will our editor be able to read the P2 data on his workstation?

C) Can we use a firestore drive in lieu of the P2 cards, back up the data to multiple hard drives, and then send the firestore and backups to our editor?

D) What's the best/most efficient way to quickly transfer the data? As I mentioned earlier, this is for a sports event, (specifically auto racing) so we have to be able to transfer on the fly, or quickly during a "cold" track session."


A- Sure you can just copy as data to a hard drive- that's the preferred workflow anyway. That way you keep a spare of the original camera data intact before transcode in FCP.

B- As long as he/she has FCP 4.5 or so and up.

C-You could but personally I think that the P2 cards are way more reliable than a Firestore- also restricts you on certain frame rates depending on the Firestore. Bottom line- not a big recommend from me though some folks swear by it. If you can get your hands on a reader and you have the 64GB cards already- stick with the that. The Firestore is one more piece of gear to carry and potentially screw up your shoot.

D-The 'fastest' is with the P2 card readers from Panasonic, but truth be told they are quite slow. So you want to have at least enough P2 cards to get through a day without stopping and have a transfer station set aside to move the footage off the cards at all times during the day. Don't let it become a bottleneck.

PS- shameless plug time- I have a 2+ hour video tutorial that goes over every inch of the P2/FCS workflow and is a heck of a lot cheaper than flying me out there to be your DIT:

http://www.callboxlive.com/products/panasonic-p2-workflow-with-final-cut-pr...

Noah

Check out my book: RED: The Ultimate Guide to Using the Revolutionary Camera!
Unlock the secrets of 24p, HD and Final Cut Studio with Call Box Training. Featuring the Sony EX1 Guidebook, Panasonic HVX200, Canon EOS 5D Mark II and Canon 7D.
Watch Formosa- My indie movie shot with the SDX900 and finished with Final Cut Studio.


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Dave Neyman
Re: P2/ Mac Workflow Questions
on Feb 28, 2010 at 2:06:12 am

A couple of rules I live by with this workflow.

Be sure that the hard drive that you transfer the P2 cards to is set up as a Raid 1 or "Mirrored" Raid. You can also copy the data to 2 different drive if you are set up that way. That way you are less likely to use data if a drive goes bad.

Always verify your P2 data before you re-format the P2 cards for use. You can use Shotput P2 or Shotput Pro for this but I also make it a habit of opening FCP and using the Log and Transfer window to check and make sure the transfered data on the drives is all reading fine.

Best of luck.



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Kyle Benjamin
Re: P2/ Mac Workflow Questions
on Feb 28, 2010 at 3:49:35 am

First of, thank you all for the prompt and helpful responses. I realize I threw a lot of questions at y'all.

If I understand everything, I can dump the files from the card onto my PCMCI slotted Powerbook, and then from there to a portable harddrive, which can then be used by our editor...?

Follow up questions...

-I did a little more surfing on the forum and found a post that said it was not a good idea to drag and drop the folders from the P2 card onto the laptop and then the portable. What software should I use?

-Also, how do I raid the HDDs?

-Furthermore, is there a tutorial on exactly what I need to copy off the card so we dont lose anything? Havent had a chance to look at the videos Noah, so if you mention it there, nevermind.


Thanks again, guys.




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Noah Kadner
Re: P2/ Mac Workflow Questions
on Feb 28, 2010 at 4:06:27 pm

It's not the worst idea at the Finder level but it provides no data verification- i.e. if something fails with the copy you might not find out until it's too late. So you can use something like this instead:

http://www.imagineproducts.com/ShotPut.html

Typically RAIDed hard drives come ready to go out of the box, such as:

http://www.g-technology.com/Products/g-raid.cfm

Regarding what to copy off the card- that's easy- absolutely everything intact in the structure on the P2 card. I.e. clone it completely and each card goes into it's own separate folder... All of this is in my video. :)

Noah

Check out my book: RED: The Ultimate Guide to Using the Revolutionary Camera!
Unlock the secrets of 24p, HD and Final Cut Studio with Call Box Training. Featuring the Sony EX1 Guidebook, Panasonic HVX200, Canon EOS 5D Mark II and Canon 7D.
Watch Formosa- My indie movie shot with the SDX900 and finished with Final Cut Studio.


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Craig Swanson
Re: P2/ Mac Workflow Questions
on Mar 2, 2010 at 10:23:26 pm

If it wasn't mentioned already, make sure the drives you copy to are properly formatted. I format mine FAT32. This way both my mac and pc can read the files. A warning though: Don't edit from those those drives. Give them to your editor and have him copy the files to his edit drive/raid. You will eventually run into a problem with file sizes if you edit from FAT32 drives.

I've experienced these formatting problems while taking on projects before and it is a nightmare. I've had one camera Op give me 2 drives with different formatting and I couldn't read one of them. Too bad you can't test your workflow first.

And don't even attempt to format FAT32 from a PC. Windows has a 32 gig size limitation while formatting FAT32, however, larger drives can be done with some helper applications (but I hear the results are mixed). I format on my mac with no helper applications and no hassle (and in about 15 seconds).



Macbook Pro 17
10.6.2
2.6 ghz
4 gigs ram
GeForce 8600 GT 512 mb
Caldigit HDOne Raid 5
QT 7.6.3 / QT 10.0
FCS, CS4 Production



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