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Old February 19th, 2007, 03:58 PM   #1
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When will P2 start saving time?

So I'm a bit new to P2, at least as far as using it regularly goes now, so don't hate just becuase I'm reaching realizations you may have come to months ago. But when will this "Direct to Edit" start saving actually time. All I'm asking for is a few minutes.

I first shot with the HVX back in May '06 and had a hell of a time figuring out how to use the P2 system, but it finally got to the point of working pretty seamlessly, but I was too frazzled to consider whether or not it was worth the headache at the time. Now, just getting into working with P2 footage on a regular basis, mostly as an editor, I'm starting to notice that I'm not saving any time by using this type of media. The current workflow is shooting onto the P2 cards, then offloading to a P2 store, which is then copied to an XServe RAID via USB 2.0.

Now, Panasonic and I have a love-hate relationship. And most of has to do with USB 2.0. Why on earth would they give us JUST USB on the P2 Store. At least the P2 Drive has firewire (I know, 400 vs. 480, USB is faster for data, but it still bottlenecks more than FW400), but even that takes just as long to transfer. I've been averaging about 14 minutes per full card, which can hold, what, 16 minutes? Now, after that, I still have to convert the footage to quicktime in FCP or whatever codec in whatever editor. And after that, I still have to work through my footage, which is labeled with a random alphanumeric title, and log all of it.

I've been playing around with HDlog Gold, but I find it to also be cumbersom and slow and just plain annoying, adding time to a process that should be going faster. So first, it seems, building FW800 on this stuff might seem like a logical step in the right direction, and hopefully SATA II one day. But with all the new P2 devices to help push this workflow along, Panasonic seems to show no intention of adding faster throughput. Even the new HPM100 is still coming with 1394a. And without a hard drive! Why not toss a SATA drive in there? Then this workflow would start making some sense.

And while I'm at it, how about an on the fly logging system. Not something done after you shoot (HDLog) but something for before the camera rolls. I remember working with the Fostex FR-2 for the first time, worrying that the same problem would occur going to solid state media, but they managed to make it very simple, allowing you to set a scene and shot number and then it would automatically count takes. It was incredibly simple to drop the audio into my timeline after it was brought over to my drive. Perhaps someone could create a metadata generator, similar to a timecode clock, that would allow you to log before you shoot, even as simple as just a numeric system.

I know that in the end I'm probably just a complainer about this, and should probably just join the throngs of you out there who say "Yes it has problems, but...4:2:2...overcrank/undercrank...DVCPROHD". I hope that many of you have found solutions to making direct to edit more direct, and that you'll share them on this thread. And if not, I guess we'll just have to wait for Panasonic to ship stuff with higher throughput.
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Last edited by Jonathan Poritsky; February 19th, 2007 at 04:30 PM.
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Old February 19th, 2007, 04:51 PM   #2
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Part of it is the importing scheme in FCP, which is lagging behind other solutions.

Other programs, like Edius Broadcast, can take the MXFs directly into the timeline straight from the card, so it literally is as quick as sliding in the P2 card and dropping the file onto the timeline. The advantages will only increase exponentially as the cards get bigger. Eventually, you'll be able to work your entire edit directly from the card itself and never touch a hard drive.
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Old February 20th, 2007, 08:25 AM   #3
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something faster than USB 2.0 would be nice :)
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Old February 20th, 2007, 10:06 AM   #4
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I started out using Edius with P2.....
I almost bought a PC laptop.
I went with Mac instead.
The base of FCP freelancers was hard to ignore...
We have the G4 laptop, with a Mercury
100 gig Firewire 800 external.
The transfer times with this set-up
are fast. I can carry everything in
a backpack and having the ability to
edit in the field is great.
I did upgrade my Edius but prefer editing with FCP....
Editing direct from .mxf sounds great but you
have to have the entire P2 volume loaded to
access clips. Most shoots are 6-60 cards worth
of material. If I had 60 full cards that is 200 gigs.
With FCP I can set-i/o and
load only video if needed or audio only.
Once we get the clips in the system I can
take the Mercury drive off the system and
copy the contents to an archival drive.
I can usually hire a P2 tech/Editor for larger
shoots and basically have an assembled edit
when I get back to the office.
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Old February 20th, 2007, 10:35 AM   #5
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If that's your preference, then it works for you and it's all good. We all have what we like.

All I'm saying is that one of the best time-saving elements of P2 is that the files on it are edit-ready and don't need to be converted in order to be worked with. True plug-and-play. The bottleneck problem here isn't with the P2 cards; it's with the workflow with a particular application.

I would think that a truly user-friendly NLE should be media-agnostic and work with whatever media you want to use, rather than forcing the media to conform to its standards.

P2 is designed to be as universal as possible, which is why it uses the OP-ATOM MXF format. It's intended to used/edited as is, with no need for any conversion, and with all of the user info/meta data intact. It really is a fantastic time-saving process if it's used as intended.
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Old February 20th, 2007, 02:45 PM   #6
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I don't know if it saves time, but it could save your butt.

If you can structure your workflow to do quick edits to check for quality, coverage and continuity before tearing down a setup, you can re-shoot immediately. And by the time you get back to your desktop, the initial edits are already done.

Of course, the above scenario doesn't apply to all projects...
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Old February 21st, 2007, 03:07 PM   #7
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FS-100 straight to Quicktime

One suggestion for speeding up the workflow would be to use an FS-100 with the new 3.0 upgrade and go direct to QuickTime. It won't work with variable frame rate shots, but will with 24 and 30p.

You can record to P2 on your cards at the same time for backup if you like.

I haven't tried editing Quicktime files from a Firestore directly yet, so it may not be ideal, but it does work in theory.

I do agree that the biggest obstacle right now is getting better throughput from the storage devices along with some sort of direct .mxf access in FCP. This is tough since .mxf is a wrapper like QuickTime and Apple is not interested in supporting other wrappers.

The AJ-PCD20P with firewire 800 is very fast in my experience. On the laptop side, the duel-adapter is even faster and should be shipping soon (just tweaking their driver).

We should see some products addressing these issues at NAB.

And, remember, we (Omega) sell them :)
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Old February 21st, 2007, 07:03 PM   #8
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The FS-100 3.0 firmware upgrade DOES work with VFR. Let's all do our best to stop this inaccuracy from propagating even further. It does not do VFR in the P2N or QuickTime N modes, but if you shoot in any other 720 format and import into FCP without removing duplicate frames, the Panasonic VFR plug in will convert the file just as if you shot it to P2, direct to disk or with prior FS-100 firmware upgrades.

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Old February 22nd, 2007, 01:58 PM   #9
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FS-100 is a time saver

As Ned points out above, you can process VFR footage just like you do with a VariCam using the FS-100. I've done this often for customers.

What I'm waiting to see in a future firmware release would be the ability to do the frame rate conversion during the native mode conversion.

This would allow workflows such as using the new Panasonic field recorder as a pass-through device to a firestore and let VariCam shooters use the FS-100 to playback their overcranked and undercranked shots instantly in the field.

I'd also love to see a firestore which could be connected to external storage so you could swap drive magazines cheaply and quickly.

All of this is in the spirit of speeding up the P2 workflow even further.
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Old February 22nd, 2007, 06:11 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Allan Barnwell
I'd also love to see a firestore which could be connected to external storage so you could swap drive magazines cheaply and quickly.

All of this is in the spirit of speeding up the P2 workflow even further.
This functionality of drive-swap is built-into the latest Beta version of the Cineporter, so it won't require external storage but the ability to swap out it's 2 internal drives.
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Old February 25th, 2007, 10:20 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jonathan Poritsky
When will P2 start saving time?
From day one.
 
Old February 26th, 2007, 02:10 AM   #12
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It will save you time as soon as you adopt an efficient workflow. The P2 store is ridiculously priced anyway. Capture from the cards directly to FCP using a laptop. This will accomplish 2 things at once, the import and the quicktime wrapper. If you've really got it together you can capture to an external HD and you're done. 12 minutes of HD footage wrapped and stored in under 6 minutes. That's 2x realtime.
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Old March 10th, 2007, 06:38 AM   #13
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Everyone's workflow and environments are different, but p2 has done nothing but save me time, and make the whole process simpler.

Shoot. Put a card into my lappy's pcmcia slot, and start editing right away. That is my workflow. Whether I am editing straight off the card, or dumping my footage to a HDD I can start editing immediately. No waiting for footage to transfer, no waiting for files to be re-wrapped by my NLE. Granted I am using EDIUS, which is not the most robust NLE out there, but it is super powerful and is the only NLE out there with proper P2 integration, and full support for all of the HVX's recording formats. Transfers to the HDD are done in the background, so I can start editing off of the card, and EDIUS will re-link the clips to their respective HDD location when transferring is done. There is never a wait to begin editing.

And as far as tranferring cards in the field goes... I find that quite painless. 4 minutes to transfer 21 minutes of 720p/24pn field via a laptops pcmcia slot. I don't have to spend longer-than-real-time capturing when I get home and am ready to edit. I can spend a few extra minutes here and there in the field, and save loads of time on the back end by not having to do real-time capture. Not to mention getting to the editing process with just the "good" clips, if I want, with the ability to preview and delete clips on the spot (which also makes for more "useable" record time).

The point being, P2 is (and can be) a great benefit in terms of time saving, and ease of use to your workflow. Panny has created the technology. The problem is many of the other companies that are involved in one's workflow have not stepped up and properly supported and integrated what is fast becoming an immensley popular format and recording medium. There is one whole NLE that has proper p2 support, and support for all of the HVX's recording modes. Here we are more than a year after the release of the HVX, and only one?

With 16 gig cards just around the corner, you will be looking at more record time (in 720p/24pn) than you can fit on a tape, w/ two of those bad boys in the camera.

And with the recent news of all of the big time networks and companies that have signed p2 exclusive deals, etc. you should have the reassurance that p2 is here to stay for a while. I think card sizes will start getting bigger and cheaper a lot faster than we have seen over the last year, especially with the increased demand. I say it's about time these other companies step up and integrate proper support, so people can stick with their NLE of choice, and still enjoy the benefits of the P2 workflow. Instead of having to jump ship to another NLE, like me :) But, I'm not bitter about the switch. I am liking EDIUS alright, and I wasn't an experienced editor to begin with. With advances in technology comes change in workflow. Some of it will take adjustment, but once you experience the smoothness of what the workflow can be like, you will never put another tape in a camera.

I opened the tape deck on the HVX the other day, but that is as close as I have ever come to using a tape since I bought the HVX's.

My .02 cents, of course... err.. maybe 98 cents :)

Later,
Jason
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Old March 10th, 2007, 08:58 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by Jason E. Ramsey View Post
There is one whole NLE that has proper p2 support, and support for all of the HVX's recording modes. Here we are more than a year after the release of the HVX, and only one?

I say it's about time these other companies step up and integrate proper support, so people can stick with their NLE of choice, and still enjoy the benefits of the P2 workflow. Instead of having to jump ship to another NLE, like me :) But, I'm not bitter about the switch.
I've been using it with FCP for a year and have not had any problems.
 
Old March 10th, 2007, 09:34 AM   #15
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I was this close to going Mac and getting FCP. This close, when I was buying my HVX's. I have heard such great things about the software, and Macs are known for reliability. Please don't take my post as a tank on any other software, or workflow preferences. It was just meant to be a description of my workflow and the benefits that I am receiving from the p2 workflow.

Ultimately, I went with EDIUS, because I didn't want to have to spend time rewrapping my mxf's. I just wanted to drop them on the timeline and start editing. That was the benefit of tapeless for me. Not to spend time, capturing, converting, or anything else.

I understand the "P2 Glitch" may have been fixed with the most recent update in FCP. I don't know for sure, though. That's good to know though. As soon as they let me drop mxf's on the timeline, I'm there :)

Jason
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