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Old March 7th, 2005, 09:50 PM   #1
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Our company will be purchasing two new cameras after NAB and we feel it is time to go HD. So obviously when I heard about a possible new DVCPRO HD camera from Panasonic for under 10 grand I was really excited. However, when I heard it was going to be tapeless I got bummed out. Unless I'm totally missing something here, the P2 workflow will just NOT work for programs like we produce. It's just completely unfeasible! Let's break it down:

We would have to have at least 60 minutes worth of P2 cards for each camera. Recording 5 or 15 minutes on a camera and then going and dumping that to hard drives it not an option. It's just way too time consuming and many times we are out on location and would not have a computer available.

So we would need 12, 4 GB P2 cards for each camera. (From what I understand, one 4GB card holds about five minutes of HD footage) That would mean investing in 24, 4 GB P2 cards at $2100 each. A total of $50,400!!!!!!!!

Let's compare that to tape. We currently shoot on two JVC DV500s with Panasonic DVM60 tapes that we get at $2.50 each.

$50,400 will buy us 20,160 tapes! With our average of 4 tapes used per week, that is 5,040 weeks! Almost 97 YEARS worth of tape!

I know so many of you say "the price is dropping" or "in two years the P2 media will cost hardly nothing". We can't buy the cameras after NAB and then let them sit until 2 years pass and we can afford the memory. Once we were to get them, we would have to start using them to produce programs!

Man, I'm sorry, and this is no bash against Panasonic by any means... but the possible JVC HDV offering is looking mighty good! Or even the Sony Z1U.

Why no tape!? :(
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Old March 7th, 2005, 11:48 PM   #2
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Hi Tony,

<< Our company will be purchasing two new cameras after NAB and we feel it is time to go HD. So obviously when I heard about a possible new DVCPRO HD camera from Panasonic for under 10 grand I was really excited. However, when I heard it was going to be tapeless I got bummed out. Unless I'm totally missing something here, the P2 workflow will just NOT work for programs like we produce. >>

Currently the P2 workflow is ideally suited for some situations, and not for others. P2 is ideally suited for ENG (electronic news gathering) and the filmmaking environment (where takes are often short). P2 is not ideally suited at this point in time for long-form event videography (but it will be in the near future). Recognizing the positive attributes and the potential shortcomings of any new recording paradigm is an important step in your gear selection process.

Basically you could have ended your post right there with your first paragraph, but since you went on about why P2 is not right for you, I'll just go ahead and add some observations.

<< We would have to have at least 60 minutes worth of P2 cards for each camera. Recording 5 or 15 minutes on a camera and then going and dumping that to hard drives it not an option. It's just way too time consuming and many times we are out on location and would not have a computer available. >>

This is why laptops are so indespensible these days. Right now you can have a powerful, edit-ready system that can handle HD in a laptop package that you can take anywhere and use on the spot. Again, this is all about changing the current thinking process regarding how you create. You can have a computer on location, and best of all, P2 is not time consuming but rather quite the opposite. Recorded data is edit-ready, and there is no capture process or digitizing process. It's just a data transfer that happens (if I remember correctly) almost seven times faster than realtime. Downloading one hour of content from a P2 array takes less than ten minutes... much, much, much faster than tape. And your editor can begin choosing shots and assembling material right there on the spot -- it's an incredible time saver.

<< So we would need 12, 4 GB P2 cards for each camera. (From what I understand, one 4GB card holds about five minutes of HD footage) That would mean investing in 24, 4 GB P2 cards at $2100 each. A total of $50,400! >>

Hmm, I really don't know where you pulled that $2100 figure from, but it's way off. Nowhere near that expensive, in fact I think it's less than half of that now. It looks like you're saying that you'll need 60 minutes of uninterrupted shooting. If that's the case, then that is one situation where P2 is not practical at this particular point in time, because each camera would require a 64GB P2 array of four 16GB SD cards, or two 32GB P2's, or four 16GB P2's. Not currently practical at the moment. But from what you're saying, I'm doubting that you really need 60 minutes uninterrupted from each camera. What you really need is to bring your editing laptop and portable storage drives with you to your shooting location.

<< We currently shoot on two JVC DV500s with Panasonic DVM60 tapes that we get at $2.50 each. $50,400 will buy us 20,160 tapes. >>

Hold on a minute... you just said you wanted to move to HD... there's no way you'll be able to record HD at $2.50 per tape-hour, so you can't make this comparison. The least expense HD tape option right now is the consumer HDV format, and those cassettes will run you close to $20 each, and that doesn't amount to 20,160 tapes.


<< Almost 97 YEARS worth of tape! >>

97 years worth of tape that you'll never need! Isn't that great?

<< We can't buy the cameras after NAB and then let them sit until 2 years pass and we can afford the memory. Once we were to get them, we would have to start using them to produce programs! >>

Actually I've just outlined exactly how you can start using them to produce programming, but the beauty of this world is that you have so many other cameras, options and formats to choose from.

<< Man, I'm sorry, and this is no bash against Panasonic by any means... but the possible JVC HDV offering is looking mighty good! Or even the Sony Z1U. >>

Well, you're definitely in the right place, because we have an extensive HDV format community right here at your disposal, so maybe I'll run into you again over at one of our HDV discussion boards. You've found a very highly diversified user community here at DV Info Net. Whatever format you choose, we've got a forum for it where you can make yourself feel at home.

<< Why no tape!? :( >>

Hey, if you want tape, you can have tape! As for myself, I've been trying to get away from tape, and dropouts, and head cleaning and capturing for years now. P2 is designed to appeal to those who feel that no tape is a *good* thing. Hope this helps,
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Old March 8th, 2005, 01:18 AM   #3
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"So we would need 12, 4 GB P2 cards for each camera. (From what I understand, one 4GB card holds about five minutes of HD footage) That would mean investing in 24, 4 GB P2 cards at $2100 each. A total of $50,400!!!!!!!!

$50,400 will buy us 20,160 tapes! With our average of 4 tapes used per week, that is 5,040 weeks! Almost 97 YEARS worth of tape!"



Okay, now take it a step further:

Those tapes will only be used once.
P2 cards have been tested for use up to 100,000 times.

So (according to your numbers) for $50,400 you can get 20,160 hours of tape, while with 24 4gb P2 cards you would be able to record 200,000 hours of footage.

And by the way, that's comparing the cost of your current DV tapes with shooting HD footage on a P2 system.

A more realistic comparison would be to compare it to shooting DV on a P2 camera.

On one 4GB P2 card you should be able to fit about 20 minutes of DV footage. So, if you needed two hours of recording time, you would need 6 P2 cards.

Jan mentioned in another thread that the cost of the 4gb card is now closer to what the 2gb card was a year ago. That puts in around $1000. So, you would need $6000 worth of P2 cards, roughly.

$6000 would buy you 2400 tapes.

So, 2400 hours worth of tape, whereas on P2 (as they are reusable) you will be able to record up to 200,000 hours for the same price.


I'm being a bit ridiculous here just to make a point.
P2 cards can't be looked at like tapes. Tapes are used once and that's it (at least I don't dare use one again for fear of dropouts). P2 cards can be used again and again. They are an investment, not an expendable.

Also, the thing that excites me most about this system is that I can get into it (hopefully) and continue shooting DV for the time being. Once I get my edit system up to HD specs, and get the money to buy the additional P2 cards, I'm ready to shoot HD.

(meanwhile, let's not forget about the DVCPro50 option)

All in all, it may not be for everyone, but I think Panasonic is making a huge step in the right direction.

Someone had to go to solid state eventually, and the transition away from tape was never going to be an easy one. But I'm glad to see someone is finally making the move.

-Luis
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Old March 8th, 2005, 01:21 AM   #4
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And it would cost much less than $50,400.
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Old March 8th, 2005, 01:38 AM   #5
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Thanks for the responses! I did post my comments to get responses like this and not simply to complain. :)

What about archiving? I can always bring my FCP project back up and recapture all my footage from my original tapes. How do you archive your footage when recorded to a P2 card without yet another investment in lots of DVD-R discs (which wouldn't hold even five minutes of footage) or hard drives? I know hard drives are getting cheaper everyday but shooting on average of 240 minutes of footage a week, I would need to buy a new 250 GB hard drive every week.

I'm really trying to work this out because, like I said, we want to take the step to HD. However, we are a non-profit, kid centered organization with no commercial income. So the 50 and 60 grand cameras aren't an option... and I'm not so sure I'm 100% happy with the look of the HDV format. I have always found DVCPRO HD intriguing because of it's low data rate (no need to invest in expensive disk arrays & editing online), it's high quality, and it's seamless integration with Final Cut Pro (HDV currently has none).
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Old March 8th, 2005, 01:43 AM   #6
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As far as archiving goes, do you need to archive all of your raw footage, or simply the onlined footage?

Either way, it is an issue that needs to be worked out, I admit. It's the only hurdle I still have myself about the P2 system. In the end we may wind up going back to tape for archiving.

Jan had some comments about that in the "HDX-100" thread, although to be honest I haven't heard anything yet that convinced me that I would be able to get rid of tape completely.
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Old March 8th, 2005, 02:25 AM   #7
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Tony, your questions are kind of going back to format choice again, and I guess I'll have to repeat myself by saying that P2 may not be right at this time, for your particular application. You're talking about long-form content creation. At some point down the road when 64GB P2 cards are available, it'll be perfect for that. Right now, though, P2 is targeted at a concept Panasonic calls ING, or I.T. News Gathering. Like filmmaking, news gathering is done mostly in short takes, with a pressing need to get the video from the camera into a computer for immediate editing. It's all about the speed of the workflow, and thinking of video as data for immediate manipulation... no "capturing" involved.

As far as archiving, again with P2 you'll need to think about this process differently. There no capture at all, and there's nothing really "raw" because you keep only what you need. How much of those 240 minutes you shoot every week do you use in your final edit. If you absolutely must hang on to every last second of those four hours, and you're working on a tight budget, then you're in no position to consider HD, my friend. Stick with standard definition native 16:9 widescreen; it will be your only truly viable choice if you've got to have four hours per week on a permanent basis. But if you're only really using a portion of those 240 minutes per week in your final edit, then those are the only minutes you need to hang on to, and archiving becomes a much easier process. At this point, a 250GB drive could probably hold several week's worth of material (remember you're keeping only what you need), and then it becomes a business decision, as to whether your project is worth the price of a dedicated hard drive for archival (in my case, I would say yes it is). And of course, your final edit master can go to tape, on DVCPro HD. You can rent that deck by day as you need it. Hope this helps,
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Old March 8th, 2005, 02:41 AM   #8
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That's true... we do two, 30 minute programs a week so it would not be backing up all 240 minutes. I would say it would be more like 90 minutes.

It may be best for us to just wait a while, none of the networks we are on have gone HD yet... 3 may never. One will by the end of 2006 however, so the more programs we make in SD the fewer episodes we have on our shelf to air when the one network goes HD (sure they will upconvert but blah!). Hence the reason we are patiently hurrying. :)

Thanks again for your responses.
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Old March 8th, 2005, 05:32 AM   #9
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<<<-- Originally posted by Tony Robinson :
What about archiving? I can always bring my FCP project back up and recapture all my footage from my original tapes.

Hi Tony, Your questions are really valid and frankly from here you sound like the perfect P2 candidate. The archive is yours of choice. You can take the good shots and then the P2 viewer to send it out to tape. Get up and walk away. This is not the ideal, because many of the advantages of being in the digital domain are lost. See you never have to digitize again if you avoid tape.

There are other alternative, like DLT, or SAIT, or LTO. There are disk options like DVD-R, Blue-ray, HD-DVD, or Holographic Blue Laser. These are all smaller, more copact and the process only saves the good stuff, not the shots that the talent blows the line, the shot is slightly out of focus, the boom mic is in the shot, etc, etc.

>How do you archive your footage when recorded to a P2 card without yet another investment in lots of DVD-R discs (which wouldn't hold even five minutes of footage) or hard drives? I know hard drives are getting cheaper everyday but shooting on average of 240 minutes of footage a week, I would need to buy a new 250 GB hard drive every week.

I would only look at Hard Drives as an interim storage. The deal here is that you have to log and capture through those 240 minutes every week. What if you just sat dow, dragged the good shots into the time line and started to edit. You don't have to digitize. This saves time. I would go with a different archive so that I would gauruntee that the only time I have to digitize is when I am using some footage that predated my P2 decision.

We do a Filmmakers grant program and on one of the features they shot for three weeks. For the first week and a half all they did was capture footage. What a misery.

>I'm really trying to work this out .

I kinda figured that out, as nobody takes the time to write about something they really know won't work. So yes you will need to rethink your process and you will need to choose an archive medium. You can stay with tape, but why not stay digital, and non-linear.

Hope that helps,

Jan
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Old March 8th, 2005, 07:23 AM   #10
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Quote:
For the first week and a half all they did was capture footage.
But you say that as though capturing is all time wasted. It's not.

You're going to have to watch your footage a lot of times before the edit is complete, and that will mostly be done in real-time... capturing may be the first time you get to see that footage properly and judge the quality of the shots and how you can cut them together. If you're going to have to watch them anyway, there's little benefit to copying it off a P2 card and then watching the copied footage rather than watching the footage as it's captured from tape.

Again, for a news show your camera operator may say 'shots 5, 9, 15 and 23 are good' so you just copy those off a P2 card and drop in some talking heads or voiceovers to fill the gaps... job done in a few minutes thanks to P2. But for a drama you're usually looking for the best shots, which may not even have been obvious on set (heck, it's not exactly unknown to use footage from before 'action' or after 'cut', which was never even intended to go into the movie).
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Old March 8th, 2005, 04:44 PM   #11
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I have an idea.....

Why don't Panasonic just drop the price of P2 cards to around where CF cards costs? and do it when the camera comes out...not in 2008!

Problem solved.

If that's the case...I am a sure customer. otherwise, I will have to stick to a 'tape based' HD solution.

We shot a music video last week at Compton Airport in Los Angeles with Helicopters, Airplanes and about 20 minutes of airal footage. The party (for the video) was in one of the hangers, and all went smooth.

At the end of the shoot, I gave the Executive Producer his tapes: "Here ya go boss...Your masters are all nicely labeled and in your posession. Go home, get some rest and when you are ready, call me so we can offline them to a Hard Drive for your editor, unless ofcourse you rent a deck and do it yourself." That's a good feeling and work flow to go by. I am the hero and look good to Mr. Money Bags. As a result, I am called back to produce the next gig.

However, if I had P2 cards....It would go sometihng like "Ummmm, ok. I have to take your masters home with me, and you need to come by my office ASAP. Be sure to bring an external hard drive large enough to hold your footage...............huh..........what was that??..............Oh no sir, you can't take my P2 cards home. They cost me $1k each and there's no way I'm giving you 8 cards. That's almost the price of this entire production. Sorry!" MMmmmmMMmmm, I don't look so good anymore.

That's a bad way of doing business. Some may say "Bring a laptop and dump them on set" LOL uhhhhh, easier said then done guys. Try being on a fast paced set with a minimal crew. You can for get about that option.

However, if Panasonic was to slash the price of those P2 cards to someting reasonable...man oh man, that camera would be the go-to camera for 2005-2006!!

- Shannon W. Rawls
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Old March 8th, 2005, 05:13 PM   #12
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<<-- Originally posted by Shannon Rawls : I have an idea.....
At the end of the shoot, I gave the Executive Producer his tapes: "Here ya go boss...Your masters are all nicely labeled and in your posession. Go home, get some rest and when you are ready, call me so we can offline them to a Hard Drive for your editor, unless ofcourse you rent a deck and do it yourself."
That's a good feeling and work flow to go by. >>


Well you could say instead, I have all of your files right here on hard drive because your customer brought his computer, and then instead of having to come to your place to digitize, the footage has already been digitized. And either he can go on to edit or meet you in the suite tommorrow. That too can be a good feeling. Not having to spend hours digitizing footage. Just edit, and get paid. Doesn't even have to rent a deck ;-)


<< However, if I had P2 cards....It would go sometihng like "Ummmm, ok. I have to take your masters home with me, and you need to come by my office ASAP. Be sure to bring an external hard drive large enough to hold your footage. >>

If you told that producer that he should bring his laptop to the shoot, and that by the end of the day all of the footage would be in his laptop, with all the little clips sitting in the inbox, that just might be a pretty convincing thing for them to just bring that laptop, and if need be a hard drive.

If you are working in DVCPROHD, the cost of tape for I frame only, 4:2:2, real 24P is bit more than Mini DV tape, but then the footage is easily cut on the same time line as the Varicam. So it is really a matter of having the difference in reolution being consitant across the frames, each frame standing on its own with out having to sacrifice because the camera had to move.

We are not talking about long GOP HDV, we are talking about DVCPROHD. It has uncompressed audio, it is real progressive. Oh and the other cool thing is that you don't have to shoot DVCPROHD, you could do DVCPRO50 as well, so a second camera on a Varicam shoot or an SDX900 shoot.

<< huh..........what was that??..............Oh no sir, you can't take my P2 cards home. They cost me $1k each and there's no way I'm giving you 8 cards. That's almost the price of this entire production. Sorry!" >>

I think that if people want to work in a way that is moving away from a tape based reality, you find a way, as the benefits of doing so are immediately clear. From what you are saying Shannon, you are not ready to give that tape based paradigm up. You cannot think of the P2 card as Media. That is the first undertandable misconception, that is the way we have always worked. But now it is possible to work differently, and more intelligently.

<< That's a bad way of doing business. Some may say "Bring a laptop and dump them on set" LOL uhhhhh, easier said then done guys. Try being on a fast paced set with a minimal crew. You can for get about that option. >>

Until you have seen it work, then you are making a prejudgement based on what you don't know, rather than fact. The P2 cards are on a striped array of SD Memory. They have a transfer speed of up to 640Mbs. That is pretty fast. Is it one more thing to think about while on the set. Yes. Does it have its benefits, big time. I think Einstein said something to the effect that you don't get to any new way of thinking by thinking the same old way. Drop the preconceptions of what the customer is going to say, tell him that you can offer him, a hard drive full of clips and he will not have to sit or pay someone to sit and capture footage. Don't think for your customer, offer them the choice.

Best,

Jan
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Old March 8th, 2005, 05:25 PM   #13
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<<-- Originally posted by Mark Grant : But you say that as though capturing is all time wasted. It's not. >>

You're going to have to watch your footage a lot of times before the edit is complete, and that will mostly be done in real-time... capturing may be the first time you get to see that footage properly and judge the quality of the shots and how you can cut them together. If you're going to have to watch them anyway, there's little benefit to copying it off a P2 card and then watching the copied footage rather than watching the footage as it's captured from tape.

Yes, watching your footage is important, and that does happen in the process of digitizing, however, you can quickly assess whether a clip is good, delete or keep and on to the next. Watching a P2 edit is very fast, and in somecases that is fast but not in all. And you don't have to copy it off the P2 card to watch it, you can watch it playing back from the P2. The Mark in, Mark Out time is now spent assembling the clips, with virtually little batch capture time, no loss of TC, no tripped up machine interface, find the shots. move them into the bin.

<< Again, for a news show your camera operator may say 'shots 5, 9, 15 and 23 are good' so you just copy those off a P2 card and drop in some talking heads or voiceovers to fill the gaps... job done in a few minutes thanks to P2. But for a drama you're usually looking for the best shots, which may not even have been obvious on set (heck, it's not exactly unknown to use footage from before 'action' or after 'cut', which was never even intended to go into the movie) >>

Never once did I ever say that you don't look at your footage, how would you know which shots to input, You don't want them all, just the good ones. As NLEs become more conversant with MetaData, this can be aided with field notes, but until then there is the need to look and decide. Point is many can look at the beginning of the shot and know that this is not the one you wanted, or it is. Select and move on, without having to shuttle tape, just click on the next picon.

And actually you remind me of another cool feature of P2 you can put the camera into a loop record, or a pre-record so you can actuall capture stuff that happens befor and after.. My feeling is that much of the workflow is only appreciated once you see the demo. I have been around the production industry for now 30+ years. I have heard every complaint known to the production industry, not just once but many times over. My gut level on this is that to judge too quickly keeps you chanined to tape, and for some that is their comfort zone, for others the burden can be lifted and they will never look back.

Best,

Jan
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Old March 9th, 2005, 05:51 AM   #14
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logging sucks

One thing that I like about the whole tapeless thing is doing your "logging" nonlinearly. My friends are accustomed to batch capturing their clips and they incist on doing so, which requires a lot of rewinding, fast forwarding, etc. Besides taking a long time, this is lots of wear and tear on their cameras or requires a hugely overpriced deck.
I capture entire tapes and delete from the hard drive what I do not need. Vegas has a very quick way to do this. The only real hold up is capturing the whole tape. So for me, a tapeless solution may just work perfectly. Or at least it's got great potential if and when P2 gets cheaper and Blue Ray or HD DVDs become standard.
Of course, if you could only record straight to hard drive like Ignacio keeps begging for . . ., well I think you might very well see the death of HDV.
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Old March 9th, 2005, 07:29 AM   #15
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Jan, I'm very convinced about the tapless revolution, and I'm much happier with the P2 solution than the XDCAM solution, as I do think that for reasons of compactness, battery life and robustness, solid state memory is ideal for use on cameras.

I can see the rest of the workflow, but I'm missing products and features that "fill in the gaps". If I can iterate what I'd see, can you tell me if you think it fits in with Panasonic's idea of the ultimate P2 workflow, and if products are being produced that fill what's I'm currently perceiving as gaps. If they're not gaps, I'd like to be informed of why, so that I can understand the "vision" better.

I still see tape or optical disc as long term video storage media. Is there a device that's automated that will do P2 to tape, and tape back to P2 cards, or optical discs.

Or P2 to hard drive, and back to P2. Perhaps with a little firewire port so you can just plug your own drive in, remove it when it's done and plug that drive into your NLE.

Is P2 just for video, or, can you use it as a hard drive and, say, put your EDL or NLE project on there for moving a small project to another suite?

I can see that there could be a lot of "card swapping" as you record on the camera, taking those cards to a laptop or the above devices for backup to a more permanent media. Is there ideas of how this could be done wirelessly, so that the card does not need to be removed from the camera, or via, say, an ethernet cable, or firewire cable into the external device, or even a small hard drive array on the back of the camera?

Thanks,

Graeme
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