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Current best practices - P2 transfer

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Grant Peacock
Current best practices - P2 transfer
on May 24, 2011 at 5:38:10 pm

I have not been asked to offload P2 cards on location for a long time, and now that the issue has come up again, I would like to find out the current best methods, and select one of them to match my existing gear (recognizing that some outlay may be needed for optimal results).

The last time I did the transfer, I used Mac Finder as the operating environment, and MacBook Pro with G-RAID drives. Transferring HD footage this way took too long for it to be done on location.

I have :

HPX-500, with P2 cards in 16GB, 32GB and 64GB sizes
HPG-20
MacBook Pro2,1 (late 2006)
USB 2.0 and FireWire cables (400 and 800)
Belkin FireWire 800 ExpressCard

The client is bringing their drive onto location, and wishes to leave for the airport with the day shoot transfered to his drive. The format will be 1080/60i (HD).

What is the currently established method for doing a reasonably rapid, on site transfer? P2CMS appears to be one method (using the computer) and Panasonic P2 Host Mode appears to be a method that avoids bringing a laptop on location.

I am unclear on the issue of attaching a client's drive directly to the camera - for this camera it would be 1394 Host Mode, if I have my facts correct - I see a formatting requirement for the drive (Goodman Guide to P2) that has me wondering what would happen in the client's edit suite.

Not to want to make this post too lengthy - but there's also mention on the Panasonic site of recording directly to an attached external drive. Is this practical, and what equipment would currently be recommended? (At the time of posting this to their site, Panasonic mentions only FireStore as the external drive of choice).

One thing I've become aware of - via a cautionary note in The Goodman Guide - it's apparently not advisable to be using the same signal protocol for in and out between a computer and the other components involved. Eg : if the camera is attached via FireWire, the drive for the offload should be attached by USB 2.0.

Thank you.


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Shane Ross
Re: Current best practices - P2 transfer
on May 24, 2011 at 5:55:11 pm

Best practice... bring a laptop on set, and some sort of P2 card reader, either built into the laptop (Powerbook G4), or external Reader (Panasonic sells a 1 card reader). Bring a RAID 1 drive, like the Caldigit VR Mini. or Multiple drives so you offload the cards onto TWO drives for redundant backup.

Use software to offload...the best being ShotPut Pro. This does a file verification, automates the process, makes new folders. Just have it running, pop in a card, click OFFLOAD. Done.

Trying to attach a drive to the camera means taking the camera out of service until you offload. NOT a good idea when you want to be efficient and shoot as much as you can, and keep short days.

Shane

GETTING ORGANIZED WITH FINAL CUT PRO DVD...don't miss it.
Read my blog, Little Frog in High Def


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Grant Peacock
HPG20 as P2 card reader? - P2 transfer
on May 24, 2011 at 7:26:18 pm

Shane,

This is great, thank you. I've already been on Imagine Products website, and gathered information.

I don't have a dedicated P2 card reader - do you by chance know if the HPG-20 will work in this role? I suspect that it would.

Grant.


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Shane Ross
Re: HPG20 as P2 card reader? - P2 transfer
on May 24, 2011 at 7:46:01 pm

Yeah, that will work fine. You just need to make the drive a TARGET, and do the backing up in the menus. Not as easy as laptop and Shotput. A bit more involved. And the drive will need to be formatted by the device. And when you plug it into your computer, all the card backups will show up as separate drives...ALL of them NO NAME.

A lot more complicated than it needs to be.

Shane

GETTING ORGANIZED WITH FINAL CUT PRO DVD...don't miss it.
Read my blog, Little Frog in High Def


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Grant Peacock
Re: HPG20 as P2 card reader? - P2 transfer
on May 24, 2011 at 8:27:05 pm

Shane, this issue of being formatted by the HPG-20 - according to the user manual, the client's drive ends up being 'S-FORMAT'.

Will this be recognized as a workable drive/volume outside of this connection - eg : when the drive is taken off to the client's edit room?

Grant.


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Shane Ross
Re: HPG20 as P2 card reader? - P2 transfer
on May 24, 2011 at 8:51:17 pm

As I said, the drive will mount as several volumes...one for each card. If you offloaded 6 cards, you will see six NO NAME volumes on your desktop.

Shane

GETTING ORGANIZED WITH FINAL CUT PRO DVD...don't miss it.
Read my blog, Little Frog in High Def


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Matthew Romanis
Re: HPG20 as P2 card reader? - P2 transfer
on May 24, 2011 at 9:19:45 pm

The target volume will be formatted FAT 32. If your client is cutting with a MAC this could be a problem for them. There are some software solutions for this that allow a MAC to read/write a FAT 32 and/or NTFS volumes.
For some jobs I have used the camera in DV100 mode, attached a MBP laptop via FW400, and used FCP log and capture DV100 "non controlled" to capture direct to HDD. The problem with this method is each captured clip starts 00:00:00 time code, and has no TC relevance to the P2 cards.
The best method would be to rent/buy/beg/borrow/steal a card reader, and transfer each card as it finishes writing in the camera. This means at the end of the job you are only waiting a relatively short period of time for the final transfer to occur.
Lately I have been transferring cards via a PCD 20 connected to an MBP laptop by USB, I have a RAID 0 (mirror) HDD connected via FW 800, and use Shotput to transfer the files with verification. Each 32Gb takes around 18 mins to transfer this way.
My MBP laptop has a large Capacity HDD so I use it as a secondary target for Shotput as a short term BUP for the client whilst they are traveling with their drive.
On larger data jobs I will have a second MBP hooked up via Ethernet to provide more connectivity to other drives/devices.
This solution of course works best in controlled locations such as in doors/studio, though I have used it in the back of a car with a sine wave 12v inverter with protection.



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Grant Peacock
Alternative P2 card reader, avoiding S-FORMAT
on May 24, 2011 at 9:35:37 pm

Thanks Matthew. It sounds like I was right to be suspicious regarding the TYPE-S format for the client's drive. So many variables to deal with these days!

I've since learned that the StarTech CardBus to ExpressCard Adapter should allow me to attach the P2 cards directly to the laptop. It will at least do for one shoot, especially with Shotput as the controlling software.

With this setup, I can check with the client whether the preferred format for their drive is DOS or MAC, format accordingly, and being the transfer process.


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Shane Ross
Re: HPG20 as P2 card reader? - P2 transfer
on May 24, 2011 at 9:25:10 pm

As I said, the drive will mount as several volumes...one for each card. If you offloaded 6 cards, you will see six NO NAME volumes on your desktop.

Shane

GETTING ORGANIZED WITH FINAL CUT PRO DVD...don't miss it.
Read my blog, Little Frog in High Def


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