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Old August 13th, 2006, 08:28 AM   #1
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Best way to archive P2 footage?

The problem with the P2 workflow (for me) is that you can't archive on it (unless you're a millionaire). Is hard drive archiving the only realistic way to archive your P2 footage? I'm assuming there is no affordable tape-based HD archiving solution for P2?
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Old August 13th, 2006, 09:55 AM   #2
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Mr. Bill (couldn't help that one),

This has been one of the most hotly debated topics on this and other forums. The simple answer is: Hard drives.

As little as 10 years ago unless you spent the megabucks for SCSI or the mil-spec optical drives the average HDD available to the consumer had questionable reliability. I used to own an IT firm on the side from my primary biz of commercial shooting (what a nightmare, was glad to get rid of it) so I have firsthand experience to drive failure rates.

Today, that "is it going to work tomorrow?" worry is literally a thing of the past. Of course there's always going to be that errant bad egg in a batch, but for the most part MTBF (mean time between failure) charts supplied by the drive manufacturers can be considered gospel - which means drives are near 100% reliable for years even for heavy-duty server installations.

I've been shooting digital stills ever since the first reliable digital back was available for medium format. And, I have original RAW files from those shoots dating back to the early-nineties and the drive still spins up without hestitation.

Here's one that will blow your mind; before Apple became big and even before there was "windows" there was the Commodore Amiga, which in it's last iterations had an internal (albeit puny by todays standards) HDD. That too still works! But I wouldn't trust any important data to it.

Many people are going the route of tradtional tape capture and storage mainly because it's what they're used to and they're afraid of the dark-ages days of when HDD's were'nt very reliable.

Today, HDD's are the preferred storage medium; inexpensive, easy access, no tape issues to deal with and when in a powered-down state almost nothing can make them go bad - short of a hammer!
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Old August 13th, 2006, 12:46 PM   #3
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3 days ago, i lost an entire short film i had backed up on hard drive. It was a western digital wd1200 120GB drive that went belly up. The drive was powered down and stored on the shelf since 2004 and i decided to take a look at the footage. I never took a hammer to it. :) But it still went bad. S.M.A.R.T. said something about it detects this drive to go bad so backup everything, but before i got a chace to do it, the drive was toast. Luckily i still have the original tapes from the shoot and the edl from the edit, so i can rebuild everything if i want. I think a good archive for p2 is hard drive as long as its on a raid5 setup only. Otherwise, there is nothing pratical these days.
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Old August 13th, 2006, 05:33 PM   #4
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I save everything to 2 hard drives and burn a copy of each P2 card to DVD. I burn a 2nd DVD for my editor, which I suppose he keeps a copy of on a 3rd drive. So, not sure totally, but I keep 3 copies, then there's a 4th if I'm workin with just one editor, a 5th if he makes a copy, and possibly a 6th if i'm working with my other partner on a project (like music videos).

with hard drives being so big in size and cheap, it's pretty easy to go with redundant backups.
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Old August 13th, 2006, 07:00 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jason Boyce
I save everything to 2 hard drives and burn a copy of each P2 card to DVD.
I didn't know you could do that... I assume you're fitting one 4gb card onto each dvd?
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Old August 13th, 2006, 08:17 PM   #6
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We burn the 4 Gb p2 cards to single layer DVD5 and the 8 Gb p2 cards to DL DVD9s.

Works like charm
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Old August 13th, 2006, 09:01 PM   #7
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I don't have an 8 gb card or a dual layer DVD burner, but yeah the single-layer works like a charm with my 4 gb.
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Old August 13th, 2006, 10:01 PM   #8
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Do you guys ever bring a laptop with a DVD burner on location to do this and reuse the P2 cards there and then?

Here's a cool thought: 50 gigs of data on a dual layer Blu Ray disk!
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Old August 14th, 2006, 02:13 AM   #9
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Yeah, but how long is it gonna take to backup 50gig via Blue Ray or HD-DVD?

The 4gig DVD method is a convenient solution for my 4 gig cards now, but it takes a while to burn each disk.

I assume most of the people here are primarily shooters/directors and not full time editors. Just hang out on a few of the editing forums for a while. Any Final Cut user group would suffice. You will see plenty of people trying to get help saving footage on corrupted/damaged/failed drives. Of course forums are where people go looking for help and as such over-represent devices that are having problems vs. ones that are running fine.

But still, hard drives do have issues and there is not a perfect solution yet for P2 backup.

Perfect meaning not too expensive, and especially, not too time consuming.
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Old August 16th, 2006, 11:27 PM   #10
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Archiving to Tape

The P2 files can be backed up to LTO 1, 2, or 3 tape. A copy or copies can live on hard drives for quick acces but should also be copied to a tape format for archiving. The main thing is to have your footage live in more then one place. This is your master. Once it's gone it's gone for ever. A firewire tape drive runs for only $1k.

Of course you can always rent a deck but then you loose the advantage of a file based workflow.
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Old August 17th, 2006, 10:25 AM   #11
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One word: RAID.
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Old August 17th, 2006, 01:50 PM   #12
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It seems safer and more convenient to me to continue to use tape until better solutions are available. You shoot a tape, put it in a box and it's safe until you load it up. Then you put it back in a box and 20 years later you can get it out and still use it. Assuming you still have the appropriate deck. No need to move files from one place to another onto media that's not fully safe and convenient from a price/useability viewpoint.

When I saw the HVX200 in person, and saw a great music video it shot, I was in love with the camera. But I can't figure out how to make the whole data management thing work at this point. For me, the cards have to be economical enough to afford enough for a day's shoot, and then there needs to be something like a portable Blu-ray device that would allow me to dump the contents of the cards into it and burn DVDs quickly and easily.

Seems to me that the Grass Valley Infinity may have solved a lot of that problem. It will use REV and 8 gig CF cards that are under 400 bucks apiece. At that price, a guy could buy plenty of 8 gig cards to get through a long day's shoot. But there's still the problem of transferring the data to something other than hard drives. You can't carry a Raid array out in the field when you're traveling around the country.

I think these problems will be solved, but right now the solid state concept isn't quite solid enough for me. Except for audio recording and still photography. That works because you can store enough data on the cards to do whatever you need to do until you get back to your studio equipment, where you can download and burn to CD or DVD. Grass Valley is getting very close to that, but the camera isn't available yet. Wouldn't it be cool if Panasonic opened the thing up and let you record to standard 8 gig CF cards? I'd buy that camera in a minute.

One encouraging thing, I keep reading about the H.264 codec, which will allegedly give P2 users more time on each card. I wonder if you have an HVX200 today if there'll be a software upgrade that allows it to make use of the new stuff?

Last edited by Bill Pryor; August 17th, 2006 at 04:44 PM.
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Old August 20th, 2006, 09:50 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Pryor
It seems safer and more convenient to me to continue to use tape until better solutions are available. You shoot a tape, put it in a box and it's safe until you load it up. Then you put it back in a box and 20 years later you can get it out and still use it. Assuming you still have the appropriate deck. No need to move files from one place to another onto media that's not fully safe and convenient from a price/useability viewpoint.

When I saw the HVX200 in person, and saw a great music video it shot, I was in love with the camera. But I can't figure out how to make the whole data management thing work at this point. For me, the cards have to be economical enough to afford enough for a day's shoot, and then there needs to be something like a portable Blu-ray device that would allow me to dump the contents of the cards into it and burn DVDs quickly and easily.

Seems to me that the Grass Valley Infinity may have solved a lot of that problem. It will use REV and 8 gig CF cards that are under 400 bucks apiece. At that price, a guy could buy plenty of 8 gig cards to get through a long day's shoot. But there's still the problem of transferring the data to something other than hard drives. You can't carry a Raid array out in the field when you're traveling around the country.

I think these problems will be solved, but right now the solid state concept isn't quite solid enough for me. Except for audio recording and still photography. That works because you can store enough data on the cards to do whatever you need to do until you get back to your studio equipment, where you can download and burn to CD or DVD. Grass Valley is getting very close to that, but the camera isn't available yet. Wouldn't it be cool if Panasonic opened the thing up and let you record to standard 8 gig CF cards? I'd buy that camera in a minute.

One encouraging thing, I keep reading about the H.264 codec, which will allegedly give P2 users more time on each card. I wonder if you have an HVX200 today if there'll be a software upgrade that allows it to make use of the new stuff?
You can still use REV for Archiving with the HVX. The new drives can handle 70 gb uncompressed, so it should be interesting for archiving.
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Old August 21st, 2006, 09:24 AM   #14
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That's a good idea--I hadn't thought about REV. Plus, both Sony and Panasonic now have Blu-ray DVD burners for about $1K.

So, getting the data into something that can be filed away is not as big of an issue as it was a few months ago. It's still a hassle, but probably manageable. However, what still has me hung up is the inability to shoot for a whole day without a separate person, time and setup for moving data from P2 cards to some storage device. Economical 32 gig cards could solve that problem.

I've noticed that 8 gig CF cards are now under $400. A 2 gig CF card is 85 bucks, just over half the price a 1 gig card was a year ago. Capacities are going up and prices coming down very rapidly.
For the P2 cards, the capacity went from 4 to 8 gigs, but the price of the 8 gig card is still double the price of the 4 gig card, the opposite of what's happening with storage in still photography and digital audio. It would be very nice if the P2 card was actually a CF card in a unique box, wouldn't it.

I think eventually other manufacturers may start producing the P2 cards, and competition will cause capacities to rise and prices to drop. Then the concept will become feasible for my type of shooting.
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Old August 21st, 2006, 09:59 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Pryor
I think eventually other manufacturers may start producing the P2 cards, and competition will cause capacities to rise and prices to drop. Then the concept will become feasible for my type of shooting.
With all due respect Bill, I think until either Panasonic starts producing more "consumer" oriented hardware that uses P2 or until there is mass adoption of P2 as a storage medium, I don't think any other manufacturers will want to deal with the technology and tolerances that go into P2 production and that it will remain a proprietary product. I just don't see third-parties making money from the venture.

Don't know if you're unaware or if I'm not understanding you, but P2 cards are CF cards in a special box. Four of them in series actually.
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