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Old April 21st, 2007, 06:01 PM   #1
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Was there a larger P2Store or alternative at NAB?

I've done a bit of searching and haven't turned anything up, so I thought I'd check with the all-knowing crew at DVinfo. I'm guessing probably not, and I guess this brings into focus (pardon the expression) Panny's market strategy -- if you want to do long form work, you'll need to invest in enough P2Cards to get you through a day's worth of shooting till you get back to homebase and can go directly to HDD. I'm sure someone at the company was, like, the P2Store allows people to shoot with fewer P2Cards, and we want to be selling P2Cards! Maybe that is being overly cynical, or not. So if I do about 7 hours of shooting in a day, I'll need to invest in about 10 P2 cards (assuming I'm shooting 720p24n) at a cost of about $9000. I don't understand how Panasonic can make decisions like this that limit the consumer's choices when there as so many (Red) choices out there that are very compelling at this price point. If someone can explain the thinking to me that would be awesome.

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Old April 21st, 2007, 06:22 PM   #2
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Hi Peter,

No, there is no larger P2 Store in the catalog or that is being planned - at least that we were told about. There are too many alternatives now that make more sense.

The P2 Store came about mainly because at the beginning of the P2 systems' release Panny knew that the relatively small size of the 2GB and 4GB cards weren't going to be enough to accomodate most typical work especially on the 2-slot HVX, hence they devised an in-field method for offloading cards especially for hot-swap operations.

However now that 16GB cards have arrived the 60GB drive would quickly become full after only a handful of transfers. The current iteration of the P2 Store is logically not going to continue in the product line; how much longer it will be produced is anybody's guess - there was no mention of it being discontinued but at the same time there is no direct replacement.

Instead, the recommended workflow especially for on-location work is to use either:

A) HOST mode to x-fer directly from camera to external FW or USB drive;
B) The P2 Drive connected to a laptop via FW 800 (the older version used FW400) and x-fer up to 5 cards simlutaneously either to an internal drive or, an external FW drive. This method would give you the ability to view the x-ferd clips either in the NLE or using HD Log/P2 Log Pro;
C) The HPM100 P2 Mobile Deck which as 6 P2 slots, can do story edits, cross/up/down-convert and act as the bridge for AVC-Intra and x-fer off to an external FW/USB drive or use the HD-SDI to go to the 1400 deck or even to a tape drive;
D) The new P2 Gear which again gives the ability to view the clips just as the camera can and send it to and external FW/USB drive or out HD-SDI.
E) Use a laptop with a PCMCIA slot and connect directly to either an internal or external drive.

You'll notice that the common connectivity in all these methods uses an external FW/USB drive. One of the reasons for this is that it enables the user to select off-the-shelf drives that either they already have or can choose on their own. The P2 Store by contrast, has a fixed internal drive that cannot be removed or swapped out if it becomes too small for the application (which is now becoming the case with the larger cards) or if the user wanted to use their own drives.

As an example, I most always use HOST mode when doing location work. I take with me a HDD enclosure purchased from OWC which allows me to choose the drive size and manufacturer of my liking. It's the 2.5" laptop form-factor and the connectivity is FW800. I also take an inverter that plugs into the cigarette lighter in the car along with two 50' foot extension cables which gives me both camera and external drive power.

Obviously the above workflow is just one of many possible options, but with all these new devices and methods for offloading clips it brings about a wealth of options and flexibility not ever seen before in pro video.

One last note about HOST mode: currently as most know there is a 15-partition limit per-drive when doing x-fers. This is changing, I can't say when or to what amount but just know that this limit is being raised to a point that will make an all-day shoot require only a single external drive, not 2 or 3.

Jeez, I think I just gave another NAB presentation - major De-ja-vu! (laughs)
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Old April 21st, 2007, 06:29 PM   #3
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Just as a possibilty, for less than the cost of a P2 Store, here's a laptop with a 160 GB HDD, and it has a PCMCIA slot:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16834117405

Just the first one I found after a basic search. A small laptop with a big hard drive can be an indispensible -- and inexpensive -- production/location tool. And, you can use it as a computer besides.
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Old April 21st, 2007, 06:30 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by David Jimerson View Post
Just as a possibilty, for less than the cost of a P2 Store, here's a laptop with a 160 GB HDD, and it has a PCMCIA slot:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16834117405

Just the first one I found after a basic search. A small laptop with a big hard drive can be an indispensible -- and inexpensive -- production/location tool. And, you can use it as a computer besides.
That's a great price for a VAIO! You know you can count on that hardware to stand up under normal wear & tear.
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Old April 21st, 2007, 06:33 PM   #5
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Peter...

As of right now the options include:

-- 8-gig cards
-- 16-gig cards
-- 60-gig P2 Store
-- P2 Store or other reader to a MacBook Pro and a mirrored RAID
-- PC laptop to a mirrored RAID
-- Firestore FS-100

In the near future:

-- 32-gig cards (makes the P2 Store nearly pointless except as a card reader for Macs)
-- Other larger and less-costly cards from 3rd parties
-- Cineporter (???)

From these you'll have to figure out what might work best in your situation.

Iditarod shooters carried 20 8-gig P2 cards, swapping half of them back and forth with a base camp. No P2 Store.

As the quality goes up so does the associated costs. Less compression and higher resolution means more data needs to be recorded and more space taken up by whatever media you're using. And that means changing the way we work.

A helpful tip: Unlearn habits developed when shooting tape such as rolling while composing and focusing (that's one of my own bad habits) and start shooting as though you're shooting film.

Try to be more discriminating when getting coverage. That's a tough one when working on reality situations.

Take advantage of the HVX's record-ahead feature. Don't roll in anticipation of something if you can use the record-ahead to actually capture it just before it happens.

At 1080p the cost of storage on a mirrored SATA raid is about 80 cents per minute. Aside from my own field capacity of 90 minutes of P2 cards and P2 Store space, I have to consider what it's costing me in real dollars per minute of shooting. For me, the days of $5 for an hour of recording media is gone.
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Old April 21st, 2007, 06:42 PM   #6
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Your points regarding consumer choice are well taken Robert and thanks for the link to the Vaio David. Ever since it's inception I have been a big fan of the P2Store because it was an really elegant solution for field recording -- a battery powered, ruggedized P2Card reader and HDD. I really think Panny did a great job with this product and mine has worked flawlessly as long as I've had it. It's simplicity and ruggedness are invaluable on location documentary work and truthfully I wouldn't have been able to realistically use the HVX were it not for the P2Store.

A laptop is not a viable alternative due to its size, relative breakability, and the worklow needed for transferring the contents of the card -- this was the great thing about the P2Store -- you just plug the card in and hit Start.

Likewise, having a portable Hard drive with me when I'm a 20 minute hike from my car, or when I'm running and gunning is also not feasible -- you need a power supply and most importantly, putting the camera in host mode requires that you stop recording!!!

When I'm shooting, I am rotating four cards, and usually have one copying to a P2Store as I follow my subject. The only viable recording workflow in this situation is to have a P2Store or enough cards to shoot all day without offloading.

It's a shame Panny won't come out with at least one more iteration of the P2Store that increases the capacity. Certainly when we get to 64Gb and even 32GB cards the P2Store will become irrelevant, but 32GB cards are probablyc close to a year away (though I know they are announced for 2007) and 64Gb's some time after that.

So there you go. I honestly don't see any workflow that works for the documentary filmmaker who is working singly or with a sound person (despite your suggestions Robert, which I do truly appreciate and think make perfect sense for someone in a different situation than my own). If anyone has suggestions I am of course all ears, as I really do love this camera. For now, I will continue shooting with about 4 P2 cards and two P2Stores and that will probably get me through till a new solution arrives.

Peter
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Old April 21st, 2007, 06:51 PM   #7
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Hey Dean,

Your points about shooting style are spot on -- you really do have to shoot as if you're rolling film, and you know really we're all so lucky when you think about shooting film and changing mags etc. The great thing about the HVX is I find myself rolling a lot less not only because I'm thinking about storage space, but also because I know that, as soon as my shot is there, I can hit record and will be recording instantly, and not waiting the 4 secs for my tape to spool up -- there are a lot of shots I would've missed on my current project had I been shooting tape. That being said, in documentary work, when you are shooting verite (and not just getting broll) you have to roll and roll and roll because you're waiting for the right thing to be said in a certain situation, so here the more selective method is not as useful. I think I basically answered my question in my previous post -- that I'll continue using my current workflow until another option is available, which may mean a transition to the HPX500 or, depending on how things with Red go (got my reservation) to that camera.

Peter
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Old April 21st, 2007, 07:15 PM   #8
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I'd have to agree that for certain situations, a P2 store just makes sense. Often I'm running around factory floors for a day where lugging a laptop just doesnt make sense. The P2 store runs off the same bats as my HVX and simply works, no fuss.

I asked a panny rep about a larger P2 store in the near future and she looked at me like I was speaking chinese. She told me that she didn't know about a higher capacity version coming out. Although this is the same Panny Rep who claimed that she'd never heard of the Red and then when I pressed her on it said, "oh you're talking about those camera guys in the other hall". Maybe I need to make this little story it's own thread.
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Old April 21st, 2007, 08:00 PM   #9
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Thanks Ethan. From your info and Robert's, sounds like another P2Store is probably not in the cards. What a funny anecdote about the Panny rep. "Those camera guys"...if those guys are the "camera guys," then what are Panasonic reps selling?

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Old April 22nd, 2007, 09:58 AM   #10
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What a funny anecdote about the Panny rep. "Those camera guys"...if those guys are the "camera guys," then what are Panasonic reps selling?

Peter
This was my first NAB so I'm not sure if all the flying-fur was typical, but many of the sales reps and even ourselves, the consultants, were put on the defensive almost everyday by having to dispell myths from other manufacturers. By the end of the week we were all pretty sick and tired of the hecklers and nay-sayers, so that particular comment was probaby said mostly out of frustration and emtional drain more than anything else.
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Old April 22nd, 2007, 02:35 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Robert Lane View Post
This was my first NAB so I'm not sure if all the flying-fur was typical, but many of the sales reps and even ourselves, the consultants, were put on the defensive almost everyday by having to dispell myths from other manufacturers. By the end of the week we were all pretty sick and tired of the hecklers and nay-sayers, so that particular comment was probaby said mostly out of frustration and emtional drain more than anything else.
True that Robert! But it was especially pleasing to be able to tell all the naysayers as a consultant that we were making a living every day with P2 technology. It's hard to fight that.

It's absolutlely true that to make use of the fantastic codec and technology you have to come up with a change in your personal workflow and be open to it.
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Old April 22nd, 2007, 03:12 PM   #12
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I asked a panny rep about a larger P2 store in the near future and she looked at me like I was speaking chinese. She told me that she didn't know about a higher capacity version coming out. Although this is the same Panny Rep who claimed that she'd never heard of the Red and then when I pressed her on it said, "oh you're talking about those camera guys in the other hall". Maybe I need to make this little story it's own thread.
Of course the rep had heard of Red. It's just tradeshow policy not to let the competitor's product enter the conversation. Dig?

That's not to say it's not annoying as all hell, though. I've had a hard time getting straight answers out of many reps over the years because stuff like this.

The worst however is when the reps just get combative. If I ask the rep how/why their system is better than the other guy's (and I'll ask the question gently, not confrontationally), it's not because I'm trying to bust their chops, it's because I want them to tell me something I don't already know about their product; some angle I might not have considered. But more than once I have just gotten attitude, as if the rep thought I meant ill will. There's one manufacturers booth I won't visit anymore because of this, actually.
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Old April 22nd, 2007, 06:11 PM   #13
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That's probably where the philosophy behind hiring the consultants came into play. We don't work for Panasonic, but we work with the product. Other guys were there to SELL the product; we were there to explain the workflows we use in the real world. More than one person came up and said "sell me!" and was taken aback when I told them I wasn't there to sell them (again, that's what the sales guys were for), but I would tell them everything I know.
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Old April 29th, 2007, 07:26 AM   #14
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I can't imagine that retrofitting a P2 Store with a larger capacity HD should all that difficult. If panasonic doesn't come up with a larger capacity version, perhaps some third party can offer a retrofit service.
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Old April 29th, 2007, 09:20 PM   #15
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As mentioned above, the P2 Store has really become out-moded now with the other options currently available. Because media sizes/types/costs are varying at an exponential rate I don't think it would be wise to purchase a unit that is designed around only one type of storage or, size limit. The other devices now available free you from those limitations giving you more flexibility and cost scalability.
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