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Old February 23rd, 2006, 11:58 PM   #1
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Dumping P2 to a hard drive through the camera

The thing that first got me interested in the HVX200 was the ability to dump the P2 cards right to a firewire hard drive through the camera (albeit not real time).

I'm curious as to how well this is working for people, how long does it take to transfer a 4GB card through the camera to a HD? Any problems or issues? Any minimum requirements for the hard drive?
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Old February 24th, 2006, 06:44 AM   #2
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Transfer limit

Dylan,

Since all you can do is transfer data from the HVX to an external drive the only real requirements would be that you have a drive large enough to handle the amount of content you want to transfer.

The speed of transfer will vary depending on the fastest data rate of the drive the HVX is connected to; the faster the drive, the faster the transfer so in theory there really is no minimum drive requirement. Remember, we're talking about *simple* data transfer, not capturing.

There is a strange limitation however: since the HVX is the controlling device when in HOST mode it only allows a maximum of 15 transfers to the same drive. After that you'd have to either use another drive or, dump that external drive, wipe it and start again.

There's been no explanation that I've seen as to why this transfer limit was created and I personally don't understand the logic but "it is what it is" and we all just have to learn to deal with it. Maybe in future firmware updates this limit will be greater or better still, just lifted altogether but for now it's a characteristic of the transfer process you need to know about.

Keep in mind, this limitation applies only to HOST mode transfers, not capturing to external devices.

This limitation has direct consequences on just how much footage you can shoot if you only have one drive to transfer to. Here's some examples of what I'm referring to:

Let's say you only have (1) 4gb card to shoot with and you're shooting 720p/30PN which gives you approximately 8 minutes of record time. That means with the 15-transfer limit you can only shoot and transfer a total of 2 hours of footage to the same drive.

However, using the same shooting scenario above except now you have (2) 8gb cards to work with. Now you have about 32 minutes of total shooting time before the cards fill up, and with the transfer limit a total of 8 hours of footage transfer to one drive. That's a significant difference.

Keep this in mind for your shoot planning and do the math based on your P2 media size.
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Old February 24th, 2006, 07:05 AM   #3
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Well Dylan, as I'll be looking at the HVX pretty soon, I've been wondering the same thing. From what I've read, everything that Robert just said is true about the copy restrictions in host mode.

However, the chances are apparently about zero that you'll actually run into the 15 dump limit because there doesn't appear to be a portable Firewire drive on the market that will even stay powered that long. I think the last one that was tested made it through 5 transfers (at 4G each).

I suspect someone could make a lot of money selling a firewire drive enclosure running on standard Pana camcorder batteries. The price for the P2 Store is just too close to the Firestore and Cineporter.

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Old February 24th, 2006, 07:32 AM   #4
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Philip,

Self-powered battery drives aside there are options for having an external drive with limitless power.

Any typical A/C powered external drive will work for studio shoots. For location work less than $40 gets you a Xantrex X-Power inverter that plugs into a lighter socket of any vehicle to power both camera and external drive.

And, when getting to a car isn't possible because of location restrictions you can also get portable power in the form of large, rechargeable battery packs. They range from $150 to $1500 depending on how much wattage you need and the physical size limitations you may have. These packs often amount to a typical car battery inside an enclosure with a built-in inverter and A/C plugs to plug your devices directly into. Xantrex, Tripp-Lite and others make such packs. However, you won't find them at places like Best Buy or Radio Shack you'll have to go to a specialty electronics store or on-line.
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Last edited by Robert Lane; February 24th, 2006 at 08:09 AM.
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Old February 24th, 2006, 09:20 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert Lane
<snip>you can also get portable power in the form of large, rechargeable battery packs. They range from $150 to $1500 depending on how much wattage you need and the physical size limitations you may have.<snip>
Indeed, that seems to be the best solution right now.

In the meantime, if I get my hands on an HVX we'll probably stream live to a PC in the studio and I'll just use a laptop in the field at first. I'm hoping someone comes up with a nice compact battery powered Firewire drive in the coming months, otherwise I might bypass the whole "host drive" option and put the money saved towards a Firestore or Cineporter and be done with it!
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Old February 24th, 2006, 11:24 AM   #6
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Hmm... I didn't know about the 15 transfer limit.

As far as self powered drives, what about using an Ipod as people were talking about months ago? Did anything ever come of that? Small, plenty of power, and a 60GB drive is 15 transfers of 4GB cards...

For travel and such, running it into a laptop, or carrying a large battery pack to run a hard drive is not a viable option for me.
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Old February 24th, 2006, 11:32 AM   #7
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Good question. You may find the following thread a good read. I know you did not ask about the Cineporter, but there's some good info from some experienced forum members on the iPod portion of your question.

http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthrea...pod+cineporter
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Old February 25th, 2006, 10:47 AM   #8
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Thanks Derek, that was a good read. I'm still liking the iPod, although I'm looking for other low-cost, high volume storage. The Lacie portable Firewire drives would work, now I just have to find a small battery adapter. Or make one......
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Old February 25th, 2006, 11:16 AM   #9
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I'm really wishing Panasonic had just thrown a couple of bucks on the price and provided a powered firewire port. Yes, it would drain the HVX batteries quicker, but batteries are cheap and portable.

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Old February 25th, 2006, 12:50 PM   #10
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I'm really wishing Panasonic had just thrown a couple of bucks on the price and provided a powered firewire port. Yes, it would drain the HVX batteries quicker, but batteries are cheap and portable.

www.philipwilliams.com

Or a USB2 port which would open up a ton of other options.
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Old February 25th, 2006, 02:19 PM   #11
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Well, there is a USB2 port.

Just not one that supplies bus power.
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Old February 26th, 2006, 11:12 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by Barry Green
Well, there is a USB2 port.

Just not one that supplies bus power.
In host mode, can you transfer your files off the P2 through the USB (with a powered USB drive)? I'm asking instead of just assuming you can. :)
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Old February 26th, 2006, 12:44 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert Lane
There is a strange limitation however: since the HVX is the controlling device when in HOST mode it only allows a maximum of 15 transfers to the same drive.
This limitation is no stranger to me. I'll throw in my ten cents here.

The AG-HVX200 creates a hard drive partition for each P2 card transfer, regardless of the amount of footage or clips on each card. The 15 transfer limit likely (*ahem*) has to do with the limitations of the MBR (Master Boot Record) that is standard on x86-based PCs running MS Windows or Linux. Technically, MBR allows only four partitions, but the fourth partition may be delegated into 12 partitions within itself, which gives us a maximum of 15 partitions. It is no surprise then that the Operating Instructions manual states that the product includes software licensed under the GPL and LGPL (See page 4). If you visit the URL listed in the manual, and go to download the source code, you will notice that the software is based on a.out binaries running under the Linux operating system, which includes some applications and libraries relevant for this camera such as DOS filesystems, Busybox, and PCMCIA controllers. Am I surprised? Not at all.

This means at least a portion of this camera is running some form of the Linux operating system. The file system tools for Linux and DOS, specifically fdisk, allow for the creation of up to 15 partitions on a single hard drive.

So there you have it. Perhaps the next question is whether or not there is going to be a firmware update that allows multiple OP-Atom Content "bins" from multiple cards to reside on a single partition, which to me seems entirely feasible. Panasonic took the easy way out on this part of the design. The need for such a feature is especially important for today's increasingly large hard drive capacities.

Cheers!
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Old February 26th, 2006, 06:53 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dylan Couper
In host mode, can you transfer your files off the P2 through the USB (with a powered USB drive)? I'm asking instead of just assuming you can. :)
No, because the camera doesn't have a USB Host mode, it's only a USB Device. So the drive would need to be the host.

If you're using a USB2 On-The-Go drive, then yes you can do exactly what you're asking. But the drive has to be the host (hence the On-The-Go requirement).
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Old February 26th, 2006, 06:57 PM   #15
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Ah...
Gotcha.

Thanks Barry!
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