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Old June 12th, 2006, 02:01 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by Ash Greyson
Not that simple meaning... the cost of making a P2 is much greater than just the cost of 4 SD cards...
The extra cost is no where near the price difference, it is small, though buying SD whole sale compared to manufacturing a self contained profit might add cost too, along with the heavy Pro sales/marketing pay structure would further suck up money. They probably do this because they don't have the volume to justify manufacturing units like they do with the units I mention here. But such a scheme is adaptable to P2. I have seen USB flash card, and I think their is a new card format in Taiwan, that is similar in size to PCMCIA, so they could do it with P2.


Jeff,

I thought they still used the IDE like PCMCIA interfaces for flash storage over the PC-Card bus?

Flash technology is due to hit a wall around 2010 or so, they are searching for replacements for years (breakthroughs pushed the wall back a few years). So, we can only expect the price to maybe quarter or so, over the units I posted here. I wonder if they need a new card standard for the new technologies, are the card voltages and inter-actions tide to flash standards?
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Old June 12th, 2006, 02:50 AM   #17
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$200 cost to manufacture 64GB flash in volume.

Here is another thread on the costs of manufacturing SSD's:

http://www.theinquirer.net/?article=32336

In the end it doesn't really matter what P2 does, it becomes viable to sue this technology retro fitted to the P2, or firewire of any camera ;). Now, the P2 advantage of the HVX 200 has virtually disappeared.


An 8GB USB disk chain:
http://www.theinquirer.net/?article=32344

If 4GB USB is 100 euro, I doubt the true cost a GB is $25US, as there last article claimed.

They could have used a USB port in a sealable slot instead of P2.
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Old June 12th, 2006, 09:44 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by Wayne Morellini
The extra cost is no where near the price difference, it is small, though buying SD whole sale compared to manufacturing a self contained profit might add cost too, along with the heavy Pro sales/marketing pay structure would further suck up money. They probably do this because they don't have the volume to justify manufacturing units like they do with the units I mention here. But such a scheme is adaptable to P2. I have seen USB flash card, and I think their is a new card format in Taiwan, that is similar in size to PCMCIA, so they could do it with P2.
There's lots of different interfaces they could have chose. 32bit PCMCIA made perfect sense at the time it was chosen for P2 several years ago. If being chosen today, it obviously would not be the best choice. I think ExpressCard would be the best choice... Firewire and USB (even USB2 and FW800) don't have the bandwidth.

The PCMCIA form factor and interface has little to do with the cost of P2... PC cards are dirt cheap to manufacture as they are so incredibly common and simple. P2 cards are expensive for two reasons - specialized production/testing "zero-defect" SD chips and high profit margin. If P2 were based on USB2 instead, it wouldn't be any cheaper.

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Jeff,

I thought they still used the IDE like PCMCIA interfaces for flash storage over the PC-Card bus?
Many PCMCIA storage devices do work this way, but not necessarily P2. P2 doesn't act or work like a standard PCMCIA storage device... It is proprietary and requires a driver for the system to understand its interface. What is inside the card is entirely up to the manufacturer... Panasonic is using a multichannel memory controller that isn't IDE/ATA based. Not that it really matters, the memory controller is an off-the-shelf component and probably available in lots of 1000 units for $1 each. :-/

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Flash technology is due to hit a wall around 2010 or so, they are searching for replacements for years (breakthroughs pushed the wall back a few years). So, we can only expect the price to maybe quarter or so, over the units I posted here. I wonder if they need a new card standard for the new technologies, are the card voltages and inter-actions tide to flash standards?
I'll believe the 2010 wall estimate when I see it... Flash tech has a LONG way to advance before it's been exhausted the way CPU tech has. In fact, CPU tech isn't really up a wall, manufacturers finally decided that it was time to really push on the multiple core approach (which it was way past time) rather than continue to scale individual architectures. 10GHz quad-core CPUs are just around the corner as far as the CPU industry goes. It will seem like a long wait and will take a few years, but that's what we all thought when we had 200MHz CPUs and were talking about breaking the 1GHz barrier. It took nearly 4 years to go from 200MHz to 1GHz and we kept hearing all about walls at 400~600MHz, blah, blah... Now we're hearing about at walls at 4GHz. Yes there's a wall, we need a new die shrink and a shift to a material other than copper. Stepping up to gold on a carbon substrate would yield dies up to 1.45 * smaller than current and potentially running up to 5 times faster/cooler. Unfortunately gold has always been ignored in the microprocessor fab process... It doesn't cooperate with the photo-lithography approach the same way aluminum, copper and other commonly used materials do. It also doesn't bond to silicon the same way, hence the need for a different base material like carbon.

There's also plenty of other technologies out there that can be implemented in a flash-like way. Many of them are in prototyping and will hit the market in the next year or two... SEIMENS has a new approach to DDR2/3 manfuacturing materials that they are testing along with a couple other chip makers that gives it non-volatile abilities. We could see PCs with 32GB of DDR3 RAM in a couple years as standard and when they go into standby mode, all the power can be 100% off because the memory works just like non-volatile FLASH memory. Portable computers can save battery power by only sending power to RAM that is being used...

PCMCIA cards have plenty of voltage, connectors, etc.. to expand for the time being. 128GB P2 cards will happen as the tech is already here. It's an issue of market demand vs. production lines being brought up to support it. Beyond that who can say... In another few years when 128GB P2 cards arrive, the PCMCIA interface will be a dinosaur and Panasonic will no doubt be shifting to a new card type based on a newer industry standard. Everything evolves, to bad it doesn't all evolve coherently.
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Old June 12th, 2006, 12:43 PM   #19
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First off I hate P2... not just because of the price but because of the destructive workflow. I much prefer XDCAMs "tapeless" solution that involves a non-destructive recording format that is its own back-up. Maybe tape is dying, and sure tapeless is the future but I just dont think back-up-less destructive media is the future. If I could record 20 minutes of 720p 24p DVCproHD to an 8GB media card that cost $20 or less, I would be fine with that. At any higher price, even for larger media, it forces you to be destructive which IMHO is not a good workflow for anything but maybe ENG stuff...



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Old June 12th, 2006, 01:51 PM   #20
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Jeff, maybe a was being a bit cheap in suggesting that they could have used USB as it tends to be cheaper per GB and offers a 480Mb/s interface. But of course, the cheap ones probably are not using fast flash clips.

Thanks for the advice. I know that there are replacements for flash, but the real problem with flash is they are reaching a minimum cell size that the flash technique can work at, it is not like the silicon chip industry that have lower size restrictions. Though I notice that recently they were saying that even though the circuit size on standard chips has not hit the minimum, some of the insulation between the circuit parts are a few atoms thick (maybe that were tens of atoms, nearly 5 am here, can't remember) which causes it to leak like a sieve. New directions will make more speed possible, and even 10 Ghz, but big changes are needed to go forwards.
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Old June 12th, 2006, 11:39 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by Ash Greyson
First off I hate P2... not just because of the price but because of the destructive workflow. I much prefer XDCAMs "tapeless" solution that involves a non-destructive recording format that is its own back-up.
...And while I agree to some extent, there are workable backup options that can be a lot cheaper than shooting XDCAM, thus making the "destructive" workflow somewhat manageable.

Ironically, even with XD mdeia pricing being cheaper than a lot of pro tape formats, Sony still markets XDCAM as a destructive workflow with XD media that can be re-used 1000 or more times. I think they're just extremely proud of their re-writable media capabilities vs. tape solutions. Bun in the case of XDCAM, destructive workflow isn't all bad... Granted, we still need some form of master storage and archival just like with P2. But owning a shoebox full of XD media to shoot with isn't a big deal like it would be to try and own a shoebox full of 8GB P2 cards.

I'm not really trying to promote P2, but I do think it is a step in the right direction and where the industry is ultimately headed -- robust solid-state media. XD media is "tapeless", but is still based off of moving parts in the form of a spinning disc. I can think of several extreme shooting situations where I would trust a P2 based camcorder far more than an XD based one. There are other advantages and disadvantages to each type of media too beyond price and availability. P2 has XD media beat in terms of bandwidth for acquisition and production environments, for example. It's all the little things that make up a whole. P2 has plenty of shortcomings, but I still prefer it to working with tape and HDV and the HVX200 with 2 4GB P2s and 2 8GB P2s fit my new camera budget like a glove. ...I still curse a lot of issues with P2. Like how when I buy my next notebook PC/Mac, I won't be able to simply insert the P2 card into the computer.... I'd whine about cost of P2 cards (and I have done this), but my HVX package paid for itself with the first job I used it on... So it's a matter of perspective when considering the price and often the cost of P2 is subjective or even trivial in the grand scheme of all things if you have a proper backup/archival system in place to properly make use of it.
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Old June 13th, 2006, 12:32 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by Jeff Kilgroe
...16GB SD has already been demonstrated by several manufacturers like Samsung and should be available within a year, maybe 1.5 years. In 3 years or so, when they're commonly available for under $60 who would buy tapes?
Today's good flash cards cost ~$40-60/GB and the article referenced says Samsung expects prices to fall 40% per year. That means in 3 years it should be about $15-20/GB or ~$300 for a 16GB card which could hold slightly more than an hour of HDV or as little as 16 minutes of DVCProHD. If you think of that as reusable it may start to make sense compared to tape at that price, but then you still have to pay for some form of permanent storage for your master footage. Everyone has to draw their own conclusions about when flash-based recording becomes cost-effective for video work, but my target would be closer to $50 per hour of flash memory than $300-1200 per hour. Let's see how things look in another 3-4 years when there are more flash-based video cameras around.
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Old June 13th, 2006, 02:08 AM   #23
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you can't use recording time as a future basis for comparing how much it'll cost per hour to record video footage, because more efficient codecs like h.264 will blow the equation right out of the water.

in other words, instead of it being a 16GB card which could hold slightly more than an hour of HDV, it might be a 16GB card which could hold slightly more than 2 hours of hi-def h.264.
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Old June 13th, 2006, 10:35 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by Dan Euritt
you can't use recording time as a future basis for comparing how much it'll cost per hour to record video footage, because more efficient codecs like h.264 will blow the equation right out of the water.

in other words, instead of it being a 16GB card which could hold slightly more than an hour of HDV, it might be a 16GB card which could hold slightly more than 2 hours of hi-def h.264.
Yep.

And we also can't look at memory cards or P2 as it costing $1350 for 20 minutes of HD recording (8GB card). So many people make this comparision and that isn't the case... True, the cards cost that much, but they're a transport medium and nothing more. The end cost of shooting/archiving the footage is in the final storage media. There are plenty of HDD and tape solutions available (or combinations thereof) that are actually cheaper to archive to than miniDV tape. I've shot close to 300 hours of video with my HVX200 so far and it is proving to be far more convenientand capable with a faster workflow than shooting DV tape with my DVX100. I've already sold my DVX100 as my second camera and will be buying another HVX, I'm just holding off until I actually need it before I do. Perhaps a new revision will arrive before then.

Looking at the cost of P2 memory as it relates to the camera and workflow, it's a cost of the camera. It's like adding RAM to your computer, enabling you to do more before you have to swap to disk. I've got ~$10K in my HVX200 setup and that's everything right down to the Pelican case, Vocas/Century mattebox, filters, P2s, etc.. The whole setup was cheaper than an XLH1 with a soft bag and a box of tapes. I shoot with the camera, ingest the video from the P2 cards right onto our redundant SAN and wipe the cards clean. Once it's in our SAN, the backups/archiving are mostly automated and approximately the same price as if I was shooting miniDV tape with that XLH1 and simply throwing my master copy tapes into a closet.

YMMV... But we're seeing all the same arguments now that we saw 8~10 years ago with memory cards and digital still cameras. The ones that were affordable were just a toy and paying $750 for a 512MB CF card seemed ludicrous to most.

To stay more focused on the discussion instead of yammering over P2 and it's merits or downfalls... I guess what I was trying to say is that given the standards that the chips inside a P2 card must meet, production yields are low. Price is quite a bit higher than a run-of-the-mill SD card. I do think that Panasonic is charging a hefty premium, but comparing potential pricing to consumer-grade Sandisk SD cards that sell for < $50 per GB is foolish. A different interface like USB2 or Firewire wouldn't have any effect on P2 pricing if they had chose that rather than PCMCIA... PCMCIA is very common as a standard and dirt cheap to manufacture, all the cost is in the SD chips being used inside the cards and in Panasonic's mark-up.

Upcoming flash drives or other solid state media will continue to get a lot cheaper as it increases in capacity. But devices like P2 that are targeted primarily at a professional industry like broadcasting / ENG, are going to be held to higher standards than consumer grade junk. They have to meet higher manufacturing standards and tolerances and this greatly increases the price. We can hope that third-party manufacturers get involved and start shipping their own P2 cards. This will help drive down prices some, maybe as much as 25%. But to think that a device like P2 will be as cheap as the consumer SD card equivalent or a handful of USB keychain drives is pretty naive.

OTOH, with so many casual users and independents/hobbyists buying cameras like the HVX200, perhaps Panasonic or other manufacturers could offer a "consumer grade" version of P2 for a lot less money, using consumer grade memory chips. I'd probably buy a handful of them for a lot of my shooting needs. But when it comes to an important paying gig with one-time shot opportunities, I'd still pay up for the commercial cards and if that's not an option, I can always rent them.
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Old June 13th, 2006, 11:56 AM   #25
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Sorry I dont agree with the codec argument... IMHO that is for consumer acquistion and delivery. HDV and DVCproHD both fall apart pretty fast in any heavy post, especially HDV. Most post houses are finishing uncompressed. Right now, it is ALL about storage, or lackthereof that is driving the acquisition codecs. Why does HDV exist? Because it was the cheapest way to get HD to already existing cheap tape drive mechanisms. XDCAM HD is 35mb because that is the most BR can burn right now in real time consistently.

In the professional realm, as the tech advances in both computers and cameras you will see the move toward RAW and uncompressed. Same thing happened in the digital still and digital audio worlds. The trend is for ACQUISITION to become LESS compressed over time as the tech can handle it. I firmly believe cameras will be seperated in class not just by features, but by codecs...



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Old June 13th, 2006, 01:45 PM   #26
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Originally Posted by Dan Euritt
instead of it being a 16GB card which could hold slightly more than an hour of HDV, it might be a 16GB card which could hold slightly more than 2 hours of hi-def h.264.
I figured that might come up, which is why I said let's wait to see what cameras are available a few years from now. But even at $300 for two hours of recording capacity that's not particularly compelling compared to tape, especially after you figure in the cost of archiving your master footage. Maybe at that point we'll all be buying tapeless cameras because it's just the thing to do, but I'm not convinced we'll save any money compared to shooting on tape as a result.

Jeff makes the point that we should consider the cost of flash memory part of the cost of the camera, and there again we each have to do our own cost/benefit analysis. If I need $10K worth of memory on a $5K camera just to record a wedding without having to stop to transfer footage, that makes it a $15K camera for me -- and there will be some interesting choices for that kind of money soon. I'd rather have a $10K camera which only needs $5K worth of media than vice-versa.

The argument that P2 memory lives up to a higher standard seems dubious when you can buy standard flash memory for less than half the price which is guaranteed to deliver a corresponding level of performance. If you believe P2 is less likely to fail due to better QC then maybe it still makes sense, but I'd question whether a complex RAID of flash memory cards will be more reliable than simple one-chip products. And if you're worried about flash memory cards failing during a critical shoot you might try simultaneously recording to some other type of media - like maybe videotape? :-)

No doubt we're moving toward a tapeless video camera future, but I'm not holding my breath. And P2 looks doomed to me for cost reasons now that standard flash memory has caught up to it in terms of performance, so bring on the HVX200B!
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Old June 13th, 2006, 02:15 PM   #27
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Originally Posted by Kevin Shaw
And if you're worried about flash memory cards failing during a critical shoot you might try simultaneously recording to some other type of media - like maybe videotape? :-)
been there done that with dv tape, it cost me over $1k in lost income, and nearly $400 to replace the heads... and that'll happen to everyone sooner or later, it's just a question of when... right now the heads are shot on my little grd-1000 tape deck, and the old xl1 is sitting on the shelf because the heads are worn out.

one big dividing line here is whether or not you do long-form or short-form work... for your weddings, tape or hdd recording is the only option, but a lot of people out here don't have that limitation.

as for comparing p2 to standard flash memory, i'd suggest that you go out and compare the sustained write times of different solid state recording formats/media to get an idea of what the limits really are.
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Old June 13th, 2006, 06:29 PM   #28
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Also, the cost of P2 is more than just the cost of P2. The money you eventually save on buying tapes is eaten up by the cost of adequate redundant back-ups, additional HDDs, raids, etc. etc. etc.

Also, P2 does not save you time... by the time you back everything up it is a wash, it DOES however get you working faster by design. In theory you could do absolutely the same thing with tape. With verify on, P2 dumps to disk in virtually real time. You could just as easily take a DV deck or anther camera and dump one tape while you shoot another... then you leave your shoot with everything on a HDD AND everything backed up on tape...

I have done this in the past with projects that required a fast turn around. I used 30 minute tapes. When the tape was full, I ejected, put it into another camera (cheap JVC DV cam) hit play, then capture now on FCP. Wash, rinse repeat...


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Old June 14th, 2006, 12:35 AM   #29
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as for comparing p2 to standard flash memory, i'd suggest that you go out and compare the sustained write times of different solid state recording formats/media to get an idea of what the limits really are.
The SanDisk Extreme III CompactFlash cards are certified for 20 MB/sec sustained read/write speed, which just happens to be what the Panasonic engineers said they need for the HVX200 when they talked to us at WEVA last August. Those cards are currently $220 for 4GB at B&H, compared to $600 for 4GB of P2. That's enough of a price difference to make P2 irrelevant in the long run for widespread use, unless it proves to be significantly more reliable. Hopefully the HVX200 will be the last popular camera to use such an expensive proprietary memory solution, and future mainstream HD cameras will either use AVCHD or XDCAM HD, or something similar on high-end standard flash cards.

Agreed that there's currently a gap between long-form and short-form work with P2. Close that gap and you'll have a solution which sells to a lot more people.
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Old June 14th, 2006, 01:45 AM   #30
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Also, the cost of P2 is more than just the cost of P2. The money you eventually save on buying tapes is eaten up by the cost of adequate redundant back-ups, additional HDDs, raids, etc. etc. etc.
True that...

As I'm approaching the 400 hour mark of video shot with P2 on my HVX, I'm finding two things regarding price. 1> The cost of the 24GB worth of P2 media that I own is now trivial as the hardware has paid for itself several times over and I plan to buy more P2 cards when the 16GB ones arrive. 2> A good backup/archival system when properly implemented will work out to about the same cost per minute of video saved to HDD/tape vs. DV/HDV saved to miniDV tape. Once again, each person will have to do their own cost analysis and YMMV... Most backup solutions are big money up front and then pennies per gigabyte from there on out until the backup drive is worn out or the first RAID box is expended.

Quote:
Also, P2 does not save you time... by the time you back everything up it is a wash, it DOES however get you working faster by design. In theory you could do absolutely the same thing with tape. With verify on, P2 dumps to disk in virtually real time. You could just as easily take a DV deck or anther camera and dump one tape while you shoot another... then you leave your shoot with everything on a HDD AND everything backed up on tape...
Now this is workflow dependent and also dependent on the systems/hardware in use. P2 only ingests at near realtime on slower systems with slower HDDs like the 5400rpm drives in older PowerBooks or the 60GB HDD in the P2 Store drive unit from Panasonic. On a fast workstation, P2 can be ingested as fast as the systems can transfer it from the P2 card. I'm getting about 4.2X realtime for 4GB cards and just under 5X realtime on the 8GB cards. All my other backups are automated and handled by the SAN and the only intervention needed from a human is the approximately once a week swap of a few archival tapes, which I'm notified by the system when it's time and it takes only about 5 minutes. Also factor in that these times are for full DVCPROHD 100Mbps. At 40Mbps 720p24n it's much faster. I can ingest all 25 minutes of 720p24 stored on an 8GB card in just over 2 minutes and drop it right into the NLE.

However, you do have a valid point... So many HVX200 users, or people looking to buy such a camera, are in tougher situations. They are going to be importing P2 via FCP to a PowerBook or trying to pull it from a dog-slow P2 store drive over to their system at 1.125X realtime. Ouch. And when so many people in the forums are rather bull-headed about backup solutions that they can't see beyond using anything other than hard drives or DVD-R or waiting for recordable HD-DVD and/or BluRay... They're not really making any sense. Hard drives are practical storage and work fine in the role of redundant, storage networks that evolve over time. This is how most large datacenters do it, they don't archive to HDDs or RAID boxes and then put them in storage as so many people in the forums are talking about doing. The worst thing you can do to a hard drive (other than run it constantly) is to let it sit on a shelf. The most practical solutions I've seen yet for a low cost archival system are the VXA2 tape systems... Less than $1200 to set one up with about 10 tapes and it will store 2.5 hours of DVCPROHD-100 on one tape. At the 250 hours of stored video marker, VXA2 becomes cheaper than archiving on $3 miniDV tapes and cheaper per GB than HDDs and (believe it or not) it's more reliable/robust. With decent software and a little forethought, the backups can be very automated and only requiring a 30 second tape swap when the tape is full.

I can quote other options, but this one seems to be on of the most attractive for those looking into a $1K archival system that works and the media itself is as reliable as reliable gets.

Quote:
I have done this in the past with projects that required a fast turn around. I used 30 minute tapes. When the tape was full, I ejected, put it into another camera (cheap JVC DV cam) hit play, then capture now on FCP. Wash, rinse repeat...
With a proper P2 editing setup, the time from initial "capture" to start of edit is a lot faster. Waiting for real-time ingest of DV/HDV is a drain on a productive workflow. Now I wonder, given your example above, how would P2 not be beneficial in that situation? You used 30 minute tapes and as you swapped tapes you load the just-used tape into another camera/deck and started the capture? OK... If you're shooting 720p24n, you can shoot 26 minutes to an 8GB card and place the 8GB card in a notebook PC or powerbook and ingest the footage.

Different strokes for different folks, I guess... But from what I'm reading here, it seems that you, like many, are letting the price tag hold you back and you're firing off different reasons why you don't like P2, but many of them are unfounded or naysayer fud that was being spread prior to the HVX200 release (and is still lingering). In that 30min tapes with immediate capture situation, I could see where P2 could be a huge advantage. Rotating 3 cards, either 3 8GB cards or two 8's and a 4, you would have more options about when you break for card swaps. You could shoot 2 minutes to a card, then 20 minutes to another card and 7 minutes to the next card, but ingestion of the data into a capable system is fast enough that all the cards would be coming back in time for the next swap interval which will serve you and not a 30minute tape limit. When using tape, even if you have enough, if you start taking 15 minutes for one tape and then using an opportune moment to swap, and you end up with randomized lenghts of video on a tape, you could fall behind in your swap/capture routine. Example being you start capture of one 30 minute tape and shoot 20 minutes on the next tape. The first tape isn't done caputring so tape #2 has to wait while you go shoot tape #3. #3 is 28 minutes and is now in line behind #2, which you just started capturing and you go off to shoot #4, and so on...

Anyway, this thread has got so far off the original topic, it probably should just go away. All this stuff has been hashed over to the point of a dead horse now beat to lump of goo. The HVX200 and/or a P2 based workflow either fits your needs or it doesn't. I don't buy the long-form vs. short-form argument, it's a matter of adapting workflows to meet the tools available. For years, long-form productions were shot on film cans that couldn't handle more than 15 to 20 minutes of footage per reel. Even shooting DV, we're limited to 1 hour (sometimes 80 minutes or so with the few cameras that can use extended capacity tapes). So at some point there is a media change... It's only been very, very recently that devices like FireStore have come about to offer truly uninterrupted DV recording over an extended period.

On that note, I think I'm done with this thread because this thread is more than done.
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