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Old September 5th, 2006, 08:28 AM   #1
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P2 Store - Good investment ?

I was planning to get a P2 Store when I purchase the HVX-200, but have heard some rumors that it has problems. Any users of this unit have advice ?
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Old September 5th, 2006, 11:07 AM   #2
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I have a P2 Store and it works great. The USB interface is a little slow and P2 copying isn't lightning quick, but it's not a big deal since I'm not shooting documentaries or long takes.

If you're not in a rush, get the Cineporter instead when it comes out.
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Old September 5th, 2006, 02:46 PM   #3
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The P2 Store works flawlessly in the field and with my Mac. As noted; not quick, but I have never had an issue with it.
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Old September 5th, 2006, 09:13 PM   #4
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Cheaper to get a small PC laptop and P2 Genie.... plus you get a computer, DVD burner, P2 viewer, etc. etc. etc.



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Old September 6th, 2006, 01:23 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Ash Greyson
Cheaper to get a small PC laptop and P2 Genie.... plus you get a computer, DVD burner, P2 viewer, etc. etc. etc.
My thoughts exactly. One of the beauties of the P2 workflow is that you can injest while shooting (assuming two people and at least two cards). You can also slam together some quick edits and check for flow and double-check your work. If you just cram the video into a temporary-use hard drive without looking at it, you might as well have used tape.

That said, when I rented an HVX, we didn't do much reviewing. Now, we were doing outdoor stock footage, rather than narrative video under the lights, so it wasn't so critical. Reasons that we didn't review much: 1) I was the data manager, but I was having more fun collaborating on the shots, 2) I was flying by the seat of the pants, I hadn't developed a flow, and 3) I use Vegas, so I needed to convert everything with Raylight. That doubles the time before you can play with the goods.

I'd recommend two laptops though - you want a backup. Sure, you could use a laptop and P2 Store, but two laptops gives you full redundancy.
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Old September 6th, 2006, 09:32 AM   #6
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I second the motion for a cheap computer. With current notebook prices, this should be considered whether or not you get a P2 Store.

As for the P2 Store. It does work just fine... But it doesn't fit everyone's needs. First of all, it's only 60GB. If you have 2 or 3 4GB P2 cards, it works out OK. If you're using 8GB P2 cards, it's not as good. The hard drive is fairly slow with a real-world capacity of about 55GB -- which means it holds 13 4GB cards, but wait, it doesn't... The thing has some kind of safety limit that only allow it to store 12 records, no matter how small. So if you're shooting 3GB on each card before you dump them, you'll only get 36GB stored on the drive before it shuts you off. Did I mention it's slow? It's berely real-time and if you're not quick or don't have someone helping you, it's hard to keep swapping cards so you don't miss anything. Best to have 3 cards and not just 2. This isn't a fault of the USB interface, it's the drive itself... Very few HDDs can approach the headroom of the USB2 interface. The thing is bigger than you might expect and is rather cumbersome to attach to a belt or to try and clip it onto yourself if you need to be mobile while using it.

So the P2 Store may work for you or it may not... Because the price on the thing is rediculously over-inflated, you may want to rent one and test drive it before you plunk down $1600 or so on it. The upcoming Cineporter seems to make a lot more sense and be a much better solution to consider if you can hold out a bit longer. Personally, I would just buy a couple more P2 cards instead of a P2 store and be happy. Actually, that's what I did... I'm still working with 2x4GB cards and 2x8GB cards and I rarely run short where I have to race to my notebook to dump a card or two. Shooting 720pn24, I get about 70 minutes of record time with those 4 cards. Also my notebook can offload a card to an external RAID (or even it's internal 100GB 7200rpm HDD) several times faster than a P2 Store ingests it.
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Old September 6th, 2006, 11:09 AM   #7
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The cheap laptop route doesn't work for all occasions. If I'm out in the field on the move and need to dump a card it's much easier to bust out the little P2 store, dump the card and keep moving. Say what you will about it being more bulky than one would think, it's still smaller than a laptop and will run forever off a battery. It's expensive, but for the kind of work I do it's a life saver. I do wish that there was a way to ugrade the HD to a larger size though. I've run out of space before.
An added benefit of the P2 store is that at the end of a shooting day (if I'm out of town) I can offload the footage to an external drive and keep it on the P2 store as a backup until I get home. Once I'm home I dump the footage to yet another drive and clear my P2 store. Maybe it's just me but I don't trust hard drives one bit and it's always nice to have a backup.

By the way, I've read very little about the cineporter. Someone care to fill me in on what the big deal is?
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Old September 6th, 2006, 12:04 PM   #8
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The laptop solution is just as easy as the P2 Store, cheaper, and gives you many more options. A buddy of mine is offloading his cards to a $750 little Acer laptop that is TINY, hard to imagine you would not have room for such. As far as back-up, the P2 Genie allows for simultaneous back-up to an external drive.

My workflow is... eject P2 card from HVX, insert into laptop PCMCIA slot, which AUTOMATICALLY launches P2 Genie and makes a copy of the card on my internal hdd AND external battery operated hdd then formats the card and I am ready to go again. It does all this faster than the P2 Store and when I am done shooting I can hand the client the external drive and be done...



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Old September 6th, 2006, 01:58 PM   #9
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I just looked up the cineporter and read up on it a bit. Now I understand why someone might want to wait on it's release. Seems like a nifty little piece of gear if it works as advertised. When it hits the market anybody wanna buy a couple 8 gig cards and a P2 store? Make you a good deal...
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Old September 6th, 2006, 01:59 PM   #10
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Thanks for all of this information, everyone. I'm still undecided as to which route to go. Most of my shooting will be in the field, including sports events, probably using two 8 GB P2 cards. The P2 Store would seem to be the easiest solution requiring minimal attention during the download, but a small laptop might even work better if the download is faster (and the overall cost is less).
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Old September 6th, 2006, 04:32 PM   #11
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Mark,
Depending on the format you are shooting, the P2 store's slower download time may not be an issue. It takes less time to download a card than it does to shoot one (when shooting 24PN).
You can also decrease the download time by turning the verify feature off.
Again, I seem to be the P2 store apologist around here but if it were me and I were in a fast paced environment and was having to move around a good bit lugging my camera, tripod and storage device around with me I'd go for the P2 store. But that's just me. I don't know. I could see it taking a hit better than a laptop.
I'm sure someone will tell you otherwise.
Now the cineporter... looks great for field work. It got my attention.
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Old September 6th, 2006, 06:33 PM   #12
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I agree with Ethan. if you are running and gunning it the P2 Store is the only way to go. It is built like a tank and meant for field work. Some $700 laptop is definitely not. I agree it's over-inflated in price and the HDD size needs to be increased, but because of it's scarcity it is also renting for nutso rates some places (they were going for $200/day in LA not long ago). The only problem I've had (knocking on wood) with the P2Store is that sometimes all the volumes fail to mount on my MacBook Pro. This is a bit scary and has led me to keep a tally on how many cards I copy to the drive. It is slow, but it is rugged, and I think Panasonic knows how to do rugged fairly well from their Toughbook experience. I wouldn't trust a non-ruggedized HDD in the field, whether it be an Acer laptop or a Cineporter. My two cents,

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Old September 6th, 2006, 10:14 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon Fairhurst
I'd recommend two laptops though - you want a backup. Sure, you could use a laptop and P2 Store, but two laptops gives you full redundancy.
Not necessary -- just use one laptop and copy to its internal drive, and to a cheap external drive (either USB or FW). With the P2 cards being so fast, I find that I can execute both copies in barely any more time than it takes to just offload once. So I copy to the internal drive and to an external drive at the same time, and it still finishes a 4gb card in 4 minutes. Instant backup, no hassle!
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Old September 6th, 2006, 10:16 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ash Greyson
As far as back-up, the P2 Genie allows for simultaneous back-up to an external drive.
Not simultaneous, it's sequential. I hope they update the program for simultaneous, that would rock.
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Old September 7th, 2006, 09:22 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by Barry Green
Not simultaneous, it's sequential. I hope they update the program for simultaneous, that would rock.
In the mean time, simultaneous can be achieved by using a couple third-party disk tools. Or in Windows the disk manager can help turn a disk into a mirrored volume, even an external drive. However, I haven't tried it on a more dynamic application like what we're talking about here, but I might give it a shot. I bet there's a way to do it.
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