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Old February 24th, 2006, 08:36 AM   #1
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Transferring HVX Footage - via P2 or camera?

What are you all finding to be the better workflow for transferring footage from the HVX? Inserting the P2 cards into a PCMCIA slot or downloading it with firewire connected from the camera to the computer?

If the shooting conditions are right, I would think Robert Lane's "mode 3" would be the best (and fastest) workflow possible. But what are you doing if you are not going direct from camera to laptop/desktop while shooting?

Pro's & Con's of each? (speed, reliability, ease of use, etc.)

Speaking of PCMCIA - has anyone found a good internal or external PCMCIA solution to connect to a G5?
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Old February 24th, 2006, 08:56 AM   #2
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Hey Derek,

My PowerBook setups were designed as an interim option for those (like myself) who don't have any P2 of our own yet. However, my P2 cards will finally be here next week in which case we won't be using the PB capture methods at all.

I've always considered the simplest and most efficient workflow to be that of using 2 cards in the camera and transferring directly to an external drive, bypassing any laptop. Many would argue that flow doesn't allow for constant shooting, in which case having a laptop with a PCMCIA slot to allow for the constant hot-swapping of cards would be easiest.

With exception to docu-drama/reality shows or events where the action is non-stop, I can't think of a reason why anyone would want a constant hot-swap situation.

Quite frankly, I like the built-in breaks that come from the traditional tape or film workflow while the media was being swapped out. It gives time for talent to get a breather, crew to reposition stuff and general scene or setting tweaks if need be. Not to mention time for the camera operator/DP to rest the eyes for a bit. So the minimal time required for transferring clips to an external drive gives a great opportunity for all those things to happen - and especially if you're a one-dude crew then taking a break is extremely important for both brain and eyes!
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Old February 24th, 2006, 09:12 AM   #3
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Thanks Robert,

When you say -
Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert Lane
I've always considered the simplest and most efficient workflow to be that of using 2 cards in the camera and transferring directly to an external drive...
Do you mean that you will use a firewire connected from the HVX itself directly to the external drive? Or will you put the P2 cards in PCMCIA slot of your PowerBook and move the data from the P2 cards to the external drive that way?

Thanks!
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Old February 24th, 2006, 09:54 AM   #4
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HVX direct to external FW drive. Since the camera can act as the drive controller having a PB or any laptop would be redundant. The only other benefit to having the PB on-set would be to take those clips and dump them into a timeline (or in the FCP viewer) and see how they look. But, since we'll be using a production monitor in the studio and a Varizoom TFT monitor on location it still makes the PB just extra baggage.
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Old February 24th, 2006, 10:00 AM   #5
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Cool, thanks Robert!
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Old February 24th, 2006, 11:23 AM   #6
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Shooting on Location

OK,

Here's a likely scenario for me. I'm away from my G5 shooting at someone's office, house, outside, whatever. I've got 2 8GB cards which is enough for 40 minutes of 720/24pN footage. I've just finished using up the 40 minutes -

What's the quickest way to store the footage I just recorded to continue on with shooting again?

A) P2 Store
($1,800 retail)

B) Directly to an external hard drive
($200-$1,000 retail depending on disk space)

C) Directly into a 17' PowerBook's hard drive via inserting the P2 cards into the PCMCIA slot. Saving the footage to the desktop and then later transfering it to an external hard drive.
($3,000 retail for the decked out PB + the cost of the external hard drive of choice.)

How long does it take to transfer the 40 minutes of 720/24pN footage? Is it various times for the three methods above? Is one method quicker than the other?

PS - My HVX200 should be arriving next week and I'm just trying to think ahead here, and get any other stuff that I may need to make life easier.
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Old February 24th, 2006, 05:44 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert Lane
I've always considered the simplest and most efficient workflow to be that of using 2 cards in the camera and transferring directly to an external drive, bypassing any laptop. Many would argue that flow doesn't allow for constant shooting, in which case having a laptop with a PCMCIA slot to allow for the constant hot-swapping of cards would be easiest.
That's my suggestion.
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Old February 24th, 2006, 09:03 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Derek West
A) P2 Store
($1,800 retail)
Reasonably quick, and allows you to shoot while the card's offloading. So with a P2 Store, you would *not* fill up both cards. You'd fill up one card, then when the cam starts recording onto the second card you'd eject the first one and put it in the P2 Store. The P2 Store will be done offloading it and have it fresh & ready for you before you're done filling up your second card. Wait time = zero.

Quote:
B) Directly to an external hard drive
($200-$1,000 retail depending on disk space)
Can be 8 minutes to offload 20 minutes of 720/24pN, but you *must* stop shooting. This is my least-favorite way to offload footage, but it is the cheapest. Two full 8gb cards will take around 16 minutes to offload; about 30 minutes if you "verify".

Quote:
C) Directly into a 17' PowerBook's hard drive via inserting the P2 cards into the PCMCIA slot. Saving the footage to the desktop and then later transfering it to an external hard drive.
This is my favorite way to offload, because a laptop gives you so much more capability too. Doesn't have to be a powerbook though! You could get a cheap PC laptop, $499 at CompUSA on any holiday weekend, and put in a bigger drive. Grand total about $600 and you'd have somewhere around 100gb of storage. Takes about a minute per gig, so 16 minutes to offload both cards. But, again, you wouldn't wait until you'd filled both cards -- you'd start transferring a card while it's full. It'll be empty and ready to be re-used before you're done shooting the second card, so you'll have ZERO wait.


Quote:
How long does it take to transfer the 40 minutes of 720/24pN footage? Is it various times for the three methods above? Is one method quicker than the other?
Depends on what you're transferring to. If you put it in a desktop PCMCIA reader connected to a four-drive SATA array, you could offload 40 minutes of 720/24pN in about 3 and a half minutes. But if you're going to a laptop internal drive, it'll take about 16 minutes.
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Old February 24th, 2006, 09:54 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Barry Green
Depends on what you're transferring to. If you put it in a desktop PCMCIA reader connected to a four-drive SATA array, you could offload 40 minutes of 720/24pN in about 3 and a half minutes. But if you're going to a laptop internal drive, it'll take about 16 minutes.
anyone try going the sata route w/ a powerbook and one of them pcmcia sata cards?
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Old February 24th, 2006, 10:12 PM   #10
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Quote:
C) Directly into a 17' PowerBook's hard drive via inserting the P2 cards into the PCMCIA slot. Saving the footage to the desktop and then later transfering it to an external hard drive.

This is my favorite way to offload, because a laptop gives you so much more capability too. Doesn't have to be a powerbook though! You could get a cheap PC laptop, $499 at CompUSA on any holiday weekend, and put in a bigger drive. Grand total about $600 and you'd have somewhere around 100gb of storage. Takes about a minute per gig, so 16 minutes to offload both cards. But, again, you wouldn't wait until you'd filled both cards -- you'd start transferring a card while it's full. It'll be empty and ready to be re-used before you're done shooting the second card, so you'll have ZERO wait.

Barry, what do you think is the minimum speed laptop one could use to download P2 cards? I'm wondering if I could just borrow a reasonably laptop from one of my friends for a mountain shoot and otherwise load the p2 cards into my g5 desktop when shooting in studio.
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Old February 24th, 2006, 10:20 PM   #11
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Time ...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Derek West
How long does it take to transfer the 40 minutes of 720/24pN footage?
Derek,

Two 8 gig cards will take you at least 16 minutes plus or minus a few minutes. My 4 gig cards usually take me about 5 to download a full card of 720/30PN.

Honestly, I'll be sticking with the PowerBook situation for awhile. We're too busy to rest our eyes! ;o)

Ooops ... I thought the post ended with Robert's comments ... sorry for the redundancy.
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Old February 24th, 2006, 10:36 PM   #12
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Thanks all,

Barry gave me a good idea. I've been focused on using a "Mac" laptop (which I don't have). I DO have a nice Sony Vaio laptop that I bought to run two programs (non-design) on. It's only about a year old and has the PCMCIA slot. So, I'll probably use it initially as well as doing some experiments with direct to external drive options. I just ordered a 250GB G-Drive Q from Guy at DVestore. -

http://www.g-technology.com/Products/G-DRIVEQ.cfm

as well as the 2-port Serial ATA PCI Card and the SATA 2m Cable to make it all work with my dual 2.7 G5.

I also looked at the new Lacie "Two Big" (yes it's Two not Too). They have a nice 1 TB ($949 retail ) and 500 GB ($469 retail) that's supposed to be available in March (a.k.a. - next week).

Link - http://www.lacie.com/products/product.htm?pid=10490

Depending on what's going on after I use the G-Drive and laptop to see what I like, I may get the 500 GB. Anymore though, with all of this stuff changing so fast, predicting a month from now is as hard as predicting a year from now.

I'm really looking forward to getting going with the HVX. EVERY bit of footage I've seen is great. And thanks Hans for the specific off-loading times from your 4 GB P2 experience.

Last edited by Guest; February 25th, 2006 at 12:49 PM.
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Old February 25th, 2006, 03:29 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Betsy Moore
Barry, what do you think is the minimum speed laptop one could use to download P2 cards? I'm wondering if I could just borrow a reasonably laptop from one of my friends for a mountain shoot and otherwise load the p2 cards into my g5 desktop when shooting in studio.
You could probably get reasonably satisfactory results by using a $499 CompUSA holiday weekend special (you know, every holiday weekend like President's Day or whatever all the stores have some big blowout sale, and you always see CompUSA and Best Buy and OfficeMax and Office Depot offering a laptop for $399 or $499). Just get a decent hard disk in it and it should be plenty fine for the task of offloading. All you need is a 100GB 5200RPM drive, and a PCMCIA slot. RAM and processor speed really have nothing to do with the offloading process.
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Old May 9th, 2006, 01:17 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Derek West
What are you all finding to be the better workflow for transferring footage from the HVX? Inserting the P2 cards into a PCMCIA slot or downloading it with firewire connected from the camera to the computer?

If the shooting conditions are right, I would think Robert Lane's "mode 3" would be the best (and fastest) workflow possible. But what are you doing if you are not going direct from camera to laptop/desktop while shooting?

Pro's & Con's of each? (speed, reliability, ease of use, etc.)

Speaking of PCMCIA - has anyone found a good internal or external PCMCIA solution to connect to a G5?

PCMCIA will be your fastest bus, but only as fast as your target drive can transfer. I have a G5 and I get (as others have mentioned) about 1G a min via the firewire from camera. I have recently used a PB on a production and it was at least twice as fast using the PCMCIA slot. This is because I was using a Lacie Bigger Disk Extreme 1.2 TB drive, which is a raid 0.
Look at it this way... You ARE going to be buying a lot of storage. A cheap laptop is just a drop in the bucket.
I too am interested if anyone has discovered a PCMCIA solution for a G5 tower. I've been looking, but can't get past PC compatibility. I would imagine that it is because of lack of licensing from Apple. Anybody want to comment on this?
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Old May 9th, 2006, 07:04 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert Lane
I've always considered the simplest and most efficient workflow to be that of using 2 cards in the camera and transferring directly to an external drive, bypassing any laptop. Many would argue that flow doesn't allow for constant shooting, in which case having a laptop with a PCMCIA slot to allow for the constant hot-swapping of cards would be easiest.

With exception to docu-drama/reality shows or events where the action is non-stop, I can't think of a reason why anyone would want a constant hot-swap situation.
This is how I've been doing it over the past few months as I'm NOT in a position where I need the ability to hot-swap. I'm quite happy with the workflow. My 17" MacBook Pro should be arriving this week and the fact that it did not have the PCMCIA slot really did not bother me as much as it would have a few months ago before I got to spend some time actually working with the camera and off-loading footage. Clearly, if the PCMCIA slot was an option I would have selected it for the flexibility, but it was not a factor that weighed too heavily in my decision. I've actually been so happy with transferring directly to 250GB G-Drive Q's that I probably won't purchase any kind of PCMCIA solution if/when it becomes available. But that's just for the way I use the camera and I know that everyone has their own needs.
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