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Old June 11th, 2007, 03:40 PM   #1
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P2 Stores or FS 100 ???

I have been researching this problem for what seems like months now and I can't seem to find the solution that will be the best for my scenero.

I am shooting a show that usually consumes 4-5 Beta SP tapes a day for 3-5 days, 4 times per season. Roughly 15 production days for the season. We are planning on going HD so I purchased the HPX-500 to bridge this transition. Originally I wanted to buy the P2 Gear and offload to small pocket drives for each day. But our shooting will start in early July, so that will not be an option for me since it will be available in August.

Based on some of your prior experiences . . . would it be better for me to purchase a Firestore FS 100 drive or two P2 store drives? I am only assuming here but here are my choices:

With the Firestore I can shoot for 100 minutes (1080 HD) then suppliment with the 4 included P2 cards that came with my package. Roughly 164 minutes of footage - a little over 5 Beta loads.

With 2 P2 Store drives I can shoot 64 minutes, offloading as I go until I fill up the first P2 store. Shoot 64 more minutes offloading to the second P2 store, then still have 64 more minutes to shoot. Which is 192 minutes (give or take) a little over 6 Beta loads.

This is run and gun at it's best so telling the producer that I have to wait around while I transfer files is a definite no-no. Am I killing myself trying to offload all of those cards while trying to shoot. I will have an audio operator with me . . . maybe that's just another task for him (ha ha, he'd love to hear me say that!)

Which of these sceneros seems like the best solution . . . or am I missing something all together. I feel like I can trust the P2 cards/P2 store more than the Firestore . . . but I can't really justify that statement, it's just a feeling I have.

I look forward to your P2 wisdom!! Thanks!!

John
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Old June 11th, 2007, 04:14 PM   #2
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You also have to factor in the time it takes to transfer the P2 card to the P2 Store.

If you're really running and gunning then you might not have time for the P2 Store to copy over the P2 card.

I've been using mine to shoot quite a bit in Yellowstone. Hanging around for things like Old Faithful to go off, I'd get out the P2 Store and dump any full cards while I was waiting.

Trying to stay ahead of a black bear however, did not afford the time to be able to set the P2 Store down to allow it to copy over any full cards.

Or when three coyotes tried running down a wolf that got to close to their den of pups, the cards were filling up fast and I had no time to stop and let the P2 Store do its thing.

So, factor in the time to transfer when making your choice.
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Old June 12th, 2007, 08:48 AM   #3
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Thanks for your help. I was wondering about the time factor. It seems like it wouldn't be that easy to offload the cards in a run and gun situation using the P2 store. I have time between interviews, usually 15 minutes or so. Then of course there's a lunch break. I'm just wondering if it seems like more trouble than it's worth . . . is there anyone out there using the FS 100 in situations like this??

Thanks
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Old June 12th, 2007, 11:17 AM   #4
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John - You're still working with a format (DVCPRO HD) that eats up a lot of gigs.. A Firestore is 100g (I think).. so you've got to offload that too. In your case, I'd spring for 2-4 more 16g P2 cards (if you can get them) and hot-swap them..

I bought a used G4 PowerBook (they have the slot) from a contributor to this forum, loaded P2 Log Pro, hooked up to a Granite FW drive (with trays)... I can offload to a drive and check the clips after pulling the card..

Unfortunately you have to (apparently) reformat the card in the camera, which only takes a few seconds but does stop things.. not all that different (time-wise) than checking the gate though...

I'm just starting in on this protocol, but basically my AC pulls cards and offloads them the same as film magazines (of which I have 4 too).. so it's not all that different - except that My AC is even more techno-stupid than I am, so there is a learning curve...
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Old June 12th, 2007, 11:17 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Kevin Railsback View Post
Or when three coyotes tried running down a wolf that got to close to their den of pups, the cards were filling up fast and I had no time to stop and let the P2 Store do its thing.
To me, this is a major fault of the P2 system.

Panasonic has commited to this storage method and has alienated long form video users in the process.

P2 is the main reason why I am looking at other cameras.
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Old June 12th, 2007, 04:19 PM   #6
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It would be a different story if I had 16 gig P2 cards but I only have 4 gig cards so shooting at 60fps uses them up pretty fast.

I've done interviews that lasted all morning long with 5 4 gig cards. So long form really isn't a problem. It's run and gun that you need bigger cards or time to offload.
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Old June 12th, 2007, 07:27 PM   #7
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As you undoubtedly know, the HPX500 that John bought comes with four 16g cards... So that's a big change from the 4gs... It allows a lot more time between changes.. I'm shooting 720/24pN so as to take full advantage of the four cards..

I just returned from my first "normal" day of serious (non-test) shooting for my current project (for which I bought the 500).. two interviews and a variety of footage at several locations..

I only got into the third card.. so, in my case at least, this scenario is working just fine. But I'm not a firehose shooter either - I learned the craft shooting 100' loads on a Bolex and an Arri S, so I've learned to plan shooting in my head... however I am definitely a "long form" filmmaker, currently shooting a very complex and emotional feature length documentary...

I'm not all that concerned with the cost of the cards... I'll buy another one every 2 months or so until I have eight which I will use over and over... In the long run it'll be less expensive than tape, certainly less expensive than even thinking about film, and I can charge card costs to individual budgets...
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Old June 12th, 2007, 08:24 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Tim Polster View Post
To me, this is a major fault of the P2 system.
It's not a "fault" of the system, it's a temporary limitation due to card sizes. When 128GB cards are out two years from now, you'll have 11 hours of footage in-camera at once (on an HVX200; on an HPX500 you could have 22 hours, and on an HPX2000 using AVC-I you could have over 60 hours of footage in-camera!)

When that day arrives, it's tape that's going to be looked at as limiting for long-form work.

That day is not today though, so we spend time working around the limitations; but it's getting better. 16GB cards today, and 32GB cards five months from now.
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Old June 13th, 2007, 09:06 AM   #9
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Your correct, I should not have used the term fault as the system will be better over time.

But Panasonic wants us to buy and use cameras now.

I am mainly miffed about the price. P2 just seems overpriced to me right now.

BTW, when I used the term long form, I meant something like a concert or non-stop event where the cameras do not stop rolling, which is a lot of what I do.

One would need to invest thousands of dollars and do a lot of card swapping to shoot long events with P2 if HD is needed.

Good system, just a bit narrow in its application right now.
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Old June 13th, 2007, 10:18 AM   #10
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Tim: I think the biggest problem, emotionally, for me, isn't the card cost per se, but the knowledge that if I put out nearly a grand now for a 16g card it's gonna be maybe half that in less than a year.. and if I wait, for a little more cash I could get a 32g...

But realistically that's the curse of working with any new technology (I once paid over $100 for a pocket calculator)...

If P2 technology is going to come down in price, people like us need to commit to it and drive the number of units sold up.. pure and simple...

And when I look at the amazing level of R&D that had to go into developing something like that, it blows me away... it wasn't too many years ago we were using floppy disks in computers and paying a (relative) lot of money for Zip Disks...

I think it's a good concept, and when you can get a 2/3" camera WITH an okay lens AND four 16g cards for around 20 grand, it seems pretty affordable...
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Old June 13th, 2007, 10:37 AM   #11
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Firestore will do about three and a half hours of 720/24pN equivalent.

You then just copy the information to a hard drive.

No deck needed.

Two 16Gb cards will get you 84 minutes of DVCProHD 720/24pN.

And working with DVCProHD in post is a dream; nothing like the issues presented with HDV.
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Old June 15th, 2007, 11:04 PM   #12
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Thanks again! I was wondering . . . do you think that I would be better off with a P2 Store or just using a laptop? I know that the P2 store is easier to use (the big start button) but is a laptop just as easy to use?

We shoot 4 - 5 interviews a day (15 - 25 minutes each + some b-roll) but there is always time between setups/locations. I need to shoot 1080i for the client so 1gig = 1min for me ( I wish I could get away with 720 24pn it would save me a lot of trouble)

I'm trying to anticipate problems so you'll have to forgive me . . . it's a habit . . . I just want to know what works best. I tried searching for workflow threads but they always lead to editing workflow . . . is there a thread I'm missing about P2 production workflow in the field? If not, maybe you could describe some of your experiences or at least what you do to shoot for a full day with P2 HD.

Thanks again!

John
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