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Old October 25th, 2005, 02:48 PM   #1
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With all of this talk about the P2 memory cards, I have question regarding the Firestore that was announced.

Since that's been announced I figured that I would be waiting to purchase the camera until the Firestore comes out. That way we should be through any first generation hickups with the camera, like the original poster talked about, and then I wouldn't need to worry about storage and P2 cards because I'd be using the firestore.

BUT, is there any ADVANTAGE to using the P2 cards instead of the firestore? I don't know of any besides the fact that you wouldn't have a firestore mounted on the camera.

Thanks,
Brian
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Old October 25th, 2005, 03:54 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian Petersen

BUT, is there any ADVANTAGE to using the P2 cards instead of the firestore? I don't know of any besides the fact that you wouldn't have a firestore mounted on the camera.

Thanks,
Brian
There are many: Size, weight, speed (especially rnd access times), noise (P2 is dead silent), reliability (drop a hard drive from 6 ft onto concrete).

Solid state storage is the way the of future. P2 is pushing the envelope, but in 10 years, many things will be solid state or other non-moving part design. In 20 years, practically all storage will be this way.
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Old October 25th, 2005, 07:48 PM   #3
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Ten years sounds about right for solid state memory to become realistic for general video recording purposes. For now P2 makes little sense for anything but well-funded projects recorded in short bursts, like news gathering or movie-making. If P2 prices fall by a factor of 2 every year, in 10 years it will be about the same price per minute of HD as HDV tapes cost today. Until then we'll keep using tapes, drives and discs because they're far more cost-effective and convenient, two things which P2 is not.
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Old October 26th, 2005, 01:52 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Kevin Shaw
If P2 prices fall by a factor of 2 every year, in 10 years it will be about the same price per minute of HD as HDV tapes cost today.
Sorry but that's not the right way to look at it. Just like flash memory cards for digital still cameras will never be as cheap as a roll of film, neither will P2 cards ever be as cheap as tape... nor should they be. A P2 card is a device for getting digital video from the camera to the computer. That's it. The whole concept is based on that. A P2 card is not a "replacement" for tape anymore than a flash card is a replacement for a roll of film. You don't buy a new flash card every time it fills up... you just clear the flash card and put it back in your digicam. Two or three are all you need. So too with P2 cards. You can shoot all day long, day in and day out, with no more than two or three or four P2 cards. Fill 'em up, ingest into your NLE, clear them and cycle as required.

Also it's no fair comparison to bring HDV into this equation... DVCPRO HD is not the same as HDV, not nearly. If you're trying to do a cost-per-minute analysis of P2 vs. tape (for whatever that reason may be), then HDV does not enter into it. Instead it's a question of P2 vs. the cost of DVCPRO HD tape, which is about $100 per hour.

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Until then we'll keep using tapes, drives and discs because they're far more cost-effective and convenient, two things which P2 is not.
Kevin, I think you have this backwards... because actually the exact opposite is true. P2 cards will pay for themselves fairly quickly, compared to the relatively high cost of DVCPRO HD tape stock. So yes P2 is highly cost effective, considering the alternative of recording DVCPRO HD to tape, to the tune of $100 per tape cassette. P2 is incredibly cost-effective, in fact.

And as far as convenience... P2 files are edit-ready. No capturing, no digitizing. Just drag and drop the files onto your editing timeline. How much more convenient can that be? For every hour of DVCPRO HD you've got on tape, a full hour or more must be budgeted to capture, not to mention tying up the equipment and using a DVCPRO HD camera as a play-back deck (not very efficient or convenient) or renting a DVCPRO HD deck (do-able, but also not very convenient).

Compared to the alternative of working with DVCPRO HD on tape, P2 is the hallmark of cost-effectiveness and convenience. And Panasonic is going to sell every single HVX200 they make because of this cost-effectiveness and convenience. Seriously, I doubt they'll be able to keep up with the demand for it. The biggest problem with the HVX200 and P2 cards in general will be that of availability. I hope Panasonic will be able to fill the backorders. Hope this helps,
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Old October 26th, 2005, 11:01 AM   #5
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So too with P2 cards. You can shoot all day long, day in and day out, with no more than two or three or four P2 cards. Fill 'em up, ingest into your NLE, clear them and cycle as required.
Chris: you make some good points, but at current sizes and prices P2 cards aren't very practical for any long-form video recording. If you only have a handful of 8 GB cards (which will cost as much as the camera itself), you're going to need someone working full time to keep copying the data to an archival storage solution while you keep recording, and you're going to be yanking cards in and out of the camera while it's running. That doesn't sound very convenient to me. I'd want a minimum of 32GB per card to mitigate these issues, and it looks like it will be a couple of years before that's available at any price.

I didn't realize how much DVCProHD tape costs, but I see it listed on Froogle for $26 for a 31-minute tape, or basically a dollar per minute. I can see how that could add up over time if you don't reuse the tapes, but the question then becomes how does that compare to archiving P2 data? If you copy P2 data to hard drives costing about 35 cents/GB, that's basically 1/3 the cost of using tapes. But this is your master video data we're talking about, so surely you wouldn't trust that to a crash-prone hard drive without making a duplicate backup, and now we're up to 2/3 the cost of tape. Or you could burn all your P2 data to DVDs at a cost of about 5 cents per minute of footage -- plus the value of the time required to burn and label all those DVDs. Dang, that sounds like a lot of trouble, so maybe it would be more convenient to archive to...DVCProHD tape? Hmmmmm.

As for comparing to HDV, that's relevant to the extent that it's the affordable alternative to using DVCProHD. Even if the HVX200 produces a significantly better image than similarly-priced HDV cameras, it remains to be seen how much of that advantage will translate through to typical HD delivery formats. For anything delivered directly to customers on HD DVDs the difference may be negligible, in which case a cost/quality analysis will favor HDV. For footage being run through a complex broadcasting network or transferred to film the extra source bandwidth should make more difference, and that's where I'd expect to see these cameras getting the most use. I agree that Panasonic will probably sell all of the HVX200s they can make, but more likely to specialized niche markets than to a broad videographer base. I'll be interested to see what happens when they start shipping next month.
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Old October 26th, 2005, 11:10 AM   #6
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P2 will record only 'active' frames, while it seems that the Firestore will have to record a full 100Mb/s stream at all times.

This means that while shooting in 720P/24 mode, the datarate being written to the P2 cards will be 40Mb/s, while the Firestore will be recording 100Mb/s (due to the duplicate pulldown frames being recorded).

So, depending on what formats you are shooting, 100GB of Firestore does not exactly equal 100GB of P2.
Considering the size of P2 cards available this may not be that big of an issue for the moment.
But, it does seem much more convenient to shoot to P2 cards instead of the Firestore.
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Old October 26th, 2005, 01:45 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Luis Caffesse
P2 will record only 'active' frames, while it seems that the Firestore will have to record a full 100Mb/s stream at all times.
Does this mean that the footage on the Firestore is not "edit ready." Can you edit directly from the firestore? Or simply transfer the firestore footage to an external drive and edit from there? I'm just wondering if there is an intermediate step added before you can edit because it DOESN'T only record active frames.
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Old October 6th, 2006, 10:22 AM   #8
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For me the P2 issue isn't so much the cost of the cards as it is the handling of the data during and after the shoot. I guess cost is a partial issue because at this point it's impractical to buy enough cards to shoot for a whole day, and the alternative is buying storage devices and having another person on the crew to handle the data moving. For us that's not practical.

Then at the other end, the files have to be moved to the editing computers and then moved to DLT, LTO tapes or Blu-ray DVD. That's another person's time. I agree that in probably 10 years solid state will be here for everybody, but jumping into it at this point is for certain applications, unfortunately not for mine. I really like the HVX camera and have seen some truly magnificant footage, so I've put a lot of thought into trying to see if this would work for us. I agree with Chris that the cost isn't horrendous. I did some arithmetic and figured we could spent about $25,000 for a package of camera, cards and storage devices and make it work--but that didn't include the extra person on location and after the shoot back at the studio...that's what makes it not work for us at this point. That $25K may sound pricey to an individual, but it's about half of what we spent on a camera/deck package last time we upgraded. What's cool about the HVX is that, for the work we do, we could actually move away from 2/3" chip cameras and achieve a better look than what we're doing now, unfortunately not with the data management hassle at this point.

In my fantasy world there would be a little device that would allow me to do this: Pull a card out of the camera, pop it into the fantasy device, push a button, go back to shooting as the fantasy device automatically takes the data off the card, verifies it for 100 percent accuracy, burns a Blu-ray DVD or makes a DLT tape or something, checks the tape or DVD for accuracy and erases the card and pops it out so I can grab it before the other one runs out. Someday we'll be there.
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Old October 7th, 2006, 11:44 AM   #9
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Some math ...

If the cost of P2 media is halved every year, and the process continues for 10 years: An 8GB card currently priced at $1,400 will sell for a dollar fifty. Less than two bucks. Or put another way, P2 storage will be $10/hour.

I'm not saying that price drop will hold at that rate, though it has in both HDD and other flash medias -- go much beyond ten years and the cost of packaging and printing will exceed the cost of the storage itself.

I rounded up, by the way. The parable of the chessmaster that offered to gamble the games with the Emperor, placing a single coin on the first square of the board and doubling the pot with every loss until the end of the board was reached ... and a dollar placed in the first square would be worth $10 billion billion dollars by end of sixty four such losses.

The power of logarithmic progression is astounding ...

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Old October 7th, 2006, 03:54 PM   #10
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A good point, and it's true you can buy SD or CF 8 gig cards for between $300 and $400 today. A one gig card I bought for my still camera cost $135 a year ago. A two gig card I bought for my audio recorder cost $85 bucks a month ago. The only glitch in your speculation is that P2 is, so far, a proprietary thing. This is where Grass Valley's Infinity is becoming very cool--you can go by Office Depot and buy media to record on. I think Panasonic will keep the price way high for as long as possible. But, things like that upcoming Cinestore that plug into a P2 slot and give you the exact functions, but onto a more reasonably priced, much bigger device are very promising. I have to admit, there is the temptation to buy an HVX, shoot DV for the near future, and gamble on the media becoming more usable. I'm not willing to take that gamble, but I think somebody else should just to prove the point:).
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Old October 7th, 2006, 07:23 PM   #11
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For all of you who are sitting on the fence regarding solid-state recording media, be aware that it will become the industrywide defacto standard.

Here's proof:

http://www.christies.com/LotFinder/s...jectID=4780346
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Old October 7th, 2006, 09:13 PM   #12
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Heheh--good one!
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Old October 9th, 2006, 03:38 AM   #13
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Am I wrong???

I assume we are talking about HD here allthough Brian (one year ago) failed to mention the format.
If so, what's all this talk of DVCPRO tape v. P2?
As far as I know you can't do HD or (DV50) on a mini DV tape, which is what the 200 has, yes?

Is there a model they made that can run DVCPRO tapes?

I was probably asleep.
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Old October 9th, 2006, 07:51 AM   #14
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All of this tape talk has sidetracked the original question, which I find much more interesting:

Does anyone have more substance to offer about the trade-offs between recording to P2 cards vs. recording directly to a hard disk recorder?

Someone mentioned quietness. How loud are those drives? Weight and durability don't impact me much, sound would.
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Old October 9th, 2006, 10:04 AM   #15
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You cannot do anything but DV on the HVX200's tape mechanism.

I have heard a couple of stories about the Firestore drives either heating up or dropping frames when moving around rapidly with the camera. One article mentioned shooting in an underwater housing, and the drive heated up and shut down. I think they shut down when the temperature gets to around 95 degrees F. That would probably mean shooting in the summer in certain parts of the country would be problematic. The guy talking about the dropped frame problem was speculating that it might have been a firewire port issue. Firewire cables and ports are pretty darn fragile. That Cinestore drive, which still isn't out yet, looks like a better deal (though more expensive) because it hangs under the camera and has a big cable that runs directly into the P2 port. That looks like a more stable thing to me. The camera would think it's got a big P2 card plugged in. I think either of these drives would be OK as long as you're using a tripod and not abusing the system. When somebody says they had a problem moving around a lot, you never know if they bashed the camera against a post or something.
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