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Old October 30th, 2006, 05:34 PM   #1
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P2 workflow - how are you doing it ?....

Hello all,
I'd like to start a new thread on the actual workflow using HVX200 and P2 cards.
I haven't found a good discussion on it yet.
To start, let me give you an example, this is a shoot I worked on last week.
5 days shoot at a recording studio, recording musicians and engineers working on an album (can't reveal the name of the band)
We had 3 HVX200, four 8 gig P2 card per cameras so a total of 12 cards.
2 G4 laptops and 1 firestore.
What we found is that when you record continuously, you start having a backlog of P2 waiting to be dump.
We Shot everything 720p - 30PN - so 16 minutes of video per card - it takes about 12 minutes to copy the content of the P2 into a Hard drive (using the powerbook PCMCIA slot)
We created a folder for each card into the backup hard drive, naming convention was: "project name-P2-001" and so on...
The Firestore quickly became useless because once full it takes over 1.5 hours to dump it using USB2 on the mac. ( I know it's probably faster on a PC side)

We took the habit of every-time a P2 was full, we switched the record inhibit button in the back of the card and switch it back once the card was backed up, It's very easy to get quickly confused about which card is or is not backed up, especially if you're busy shooting.
I found the dry-erase square on the back of the card not very useful and way too messy for a card that needs to go back in the camera.
The workflow worked ok, but in the end we ended up with over 75 P2 content folder backed up on 2 hard drive, not knowing from which camera it came from or if the order was correct.
I know, we can tell the order by looking at the timecode later but there must be an easier way.

I'd like to find how you guys are doing it, exchange workflow tips and see if there is a better way to do this.
thanks
e.
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Old October 30th, 2006, 10:13 PM   #2
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First thing, I guess you had a dedicated person doing the off-loading?
In your case maybe two people with two laptops would help.....
Before the shoot you can make multiple folders for each camera.....
P2_CARD_001_CAM_01...etc

P2_CARD_001_CAM_02...etc

P2_CARD_001_CAM_03...etc

Then as each card comes in you dump each card to its folder.
I would have MAC G4 laptops as they have the slots and Firewire 800
drives to dump to.......
Each laptop should have P2 logger so the tech can review clips
quickly after each dump.
If you are trying to organize all of this while shooting then yes it's
too late and production will grind to a stop......
You can transfer an 8 gig card in about 8 min with this set-up....
Since an 8 gig card will last 20 min at 720 24p it should be a shoot and swap....I would only shoot with one card in each camera and have the spares ready to go and then transfer every card at every swap......
If you wait to fill up each card then yes it can get confusing......
This will work if you can set-up the tech close enough with dedicated power.....doing it remote on location with battery power only presents another set of challenges.....
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Old October 31st, 2006, 05:20 PM   #3
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thanks mike,
8gig in 8 minute?? the set up you discribe is the same we had, G4 laptop with firewire 800 drive - it took about 12 minutes to tranfer the full 8 gig cards.
Our problem was that only one laptop had the PCMCIA slot the other one was a macbook.

I wonder if anyone had experienced with the new Panasonic AJ-PCD20 P2 5 slot P2 Drive ? seems like an interresting option for mac users.

thanks for the tips.
e.
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Old November 1st, 2006, 01:54 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eric Peltier
Hello all,
We Shot everything 720p - 30PN - so 16 minutes of video per card - it takes about 12 minutes to copy the content of the P2 into a Hard drive (using the powerbook PCMCIA slot)
We created a folder for each card into the backup hard drive, naming convention was: "project name-P2-001" and so on...
...snip...
The workflow worked ok, but in the end we ended up with over 75 P2 content folder backed up on 2 hard drive, not knowing from which camera it came from or if the order was correct.
I know, we can tell the order by looking at the timecode later but there must be an easier way.

I'd like to find how you guys are doing it, exchange workflow tips and see if there is a better way to do this.
thanks
e.
Two thoughts:
If you copy out to a 2-drive RAID 0 array, you can halve your transfer time. No point in going beyond a 2-drive array, since the P2 card can't deliver fast enough to take advantage of a 4-drive array.

If you check the creation date on the LASTCLIP.txt file, you'll know when the card was last recorded to. If you use that time (24-hour military time) as part of the folder name that you download to (e.g. Projectname-P2-13:51:24-cam 1) , the folders will automatically sort in order if you sort by name.
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Old November 1st, 2006, 02:33 PM   #5
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We are using G-raids - We can transfer 1 gig per minute going from slot to drive....
I also have some 80 gig USB externals that are bus powered if we have to go battery only....
Now those take about twice as long for transfer....
Typically with batteries only I transfer to the internal drive and then
copy to the USB drives while we are shooting....
But as a best practice on-location I try to get the cards copied
to another drive that is not used during production.
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Old November 1st, 2006, 03:33 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scott Auerbach
Two thoughts:
If you check the creation date on the LASTCLIP.txt file, you'll know when the card was last recorded to. If you use that time (24-hour military time) as part of the folder name that you download to (e.g. Projectname-P2-13:51:24-cam 1) , the folders will automatically sort in order if you sort by name.

Scott,
When I check the "creation date" of the LASTCLIP.txt file, the column is blank.
I only get info in the "date modified" column which is when it was copied to the drive. so not very useful.
are you on mac or PC ?
I'll definitelly try with a dual drive raid.
I should receive the new 5 slots firewire drive on friday.
I'll post comments on it

thanks
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Last edited by Eric Peltier; November 1st, 2006 at 08:59 PM.
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Old November 2nd, 2006, 12:36 PM   #7
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I'm using Mac in the field for transfers. I do a "apple-I" info window on the LASTCLIP file while it's still on the card, not after it's been copied. When I have the camera connected to the MacBookPro, for example, and two "NO NAME" cards appear on the desktop, the LASTCLIP info window lets me tell which one was recorded first.
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Old November 2nd, 2006, 05:25 PM   #8
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Now, that's a great tip scott!

thanks.
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Old November 3rd, 2006, 02:38 PM   #9
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Score one for the home team! Glad it helped!
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Old November 3rd, 2006, 02:47 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scott Auerbach
Two thoughts:
If you copy out to a 2-drive RAID 0 array, you can halve your transfer time. No point in going beyond a 2-drive array, since the P2 card can't deliver fast enough to take advantage of a 4-drive array.
Incidentally, I'd remembered the P2 throughput incorrectly. A four-way stripe would, indeed, cut your transfer time to 25%. The P2 card's throughput is faster than FW400. I was thinking it was only a little more than 100 Mb/s. I wuz wrongggggg.
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Old November 4th, 2006, 03:19 PM   #11
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Eric,
I don't know why it took 12 min to copy the P2 card, should be 8min.

Why complicate things by using a MacBook pro? Use laptops with the PCMCIA slot. My laptop always goes out with me when I work. Also just having the same workflow on each laptop should help with things getting crazy.

Have you looked into "P2 genie". It's a cheap program that takes care of creating a folder, naming it in order, downloading and erasing the card when finished. Otherwise pre-creating the folders is not a bad idea though it sounds easy to screw up.

I think it's probably a good idea to have a dedicated PA for each camera to take care of this though it is more expense.

Were you rolling continuously from Tripod? Another solution is to use "capture now" going right into the laptop. You would have to work out the bugs which are a little scary themselves , but it does work. We've done it on a few concerts and never lost anything.

If the firestores seem reliable these days , it might be cheaper than a bunch of PA's shuffling around cards. MI in San Rafael rents them.

BTW we just ordered a Brevis to test against the Redrock. I'll let you know what I think when we get it.

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Old November 5th, 2006, 12:54 AM   #12
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thanks lenny,
I know the macpro was not very useful, 2 powerbooks would have been better, but that's what I had.
On an other note I just got the P2 drive with 5 slot and firewire 800, and it rocks. It's definitelly the way to go, I think.
I posted comments on it yesterday.
Let me know about the Brevis, I'd love to rent it from you once you're done testing.
hope all is well on your side of the bay.
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Old November 5th, 2006, 11:18 PM   #13
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Here is my workflow and gear. I use a Dell 700m PC laptop with an extended battery, 160gb USB OTG battery powered HDDs formattted in Fat32 so they will work on Mac and PC and P2 Genie Software.

I have P2 Genie set up to operate in AUTO mode and set to erase the P2 cards after copy confirmation. I also have it set up to do redundant back-ups to TWO USB OTG 160GB HDDs.

When I am about shot out of a P2 card, I eject it from the camera and insert it into the PCMCIA slot of the laptop, P2 Genie starts automatically and dumps to the 2 drives, and reformats the card. Wash, rinse repeat... this has been a ROCK SOLID workflow and will get me thru 8 hours of shooting pretty easy, EVEN IN THE FIELD with no power. I do carry an inverter/back-up battery just in case but rarely need it.

Let me add, that this entire set-up, including the cost of the laptop, is less than a P2 Store and, including the HDD on the laptop, gives you SEVEN TIMES as much HDD space!



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Old November 6th, 2006, 12:05 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ash Greyson
Let me add, that this entire set-up, including the cost of the laptop, is less than a P2 Store and, including the HDD on the laptop, gives you SEVEN TIMES as much HDD space!
Plus the ability to run P2 Viewer, the ability to run DV Rack HD, the ability to add/annotate metadata, the ability to edit your scene files (presuming you have an SD card slot), the ability to play all your footage back and see it right away... plus having a word processor and spreadsheet on-hand, plus all the other goodies a laptop brings! There are many compelling reasons why a good cheap laptop is a vital companion to the HVX (but I prefer a good powerful laptop, as DV Rack HD and P2 Viewer both benefit from a Core 2 Duo and a good graphics card).
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Old November 6th, 2006, 12:50 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Barry Green
Plus the ability to run P2 Viewer, the ability to run DV Rack HD, the ability to add/annotate metadata, the ability to edit your scene files (presuming you have an SD card slot), the ability to play all your footage back and see it right away... plus having a word processor and spreadsheet on-hand, plus all the other goodies a laptop brings! There are many compelling reasons why a good cheap laptop is a vital companion to the HVX (but I prefer a good powerful laptop, as DV Rack HD and P2 Viewer both benefit from a Core 2 Duo and a good graphics card).
thanks Ash and Barry
I could not agree more, this is definitely better than using the P2 store.
But you should really have a laptop per each HVX on multi-cam shoots. Otherwise you start having a backlog of card waiting to be backed up.
Next week I'm taking the new 5 slot drive to the test on a multicam shoot, and I'll definitely use P2 genie.
I've been using HD log but it sounds like P2 genie is better in the field.
thanks for all the feedback.
Can DV rack runs on an intel mac with boot camp?
e.
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