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Barry_Green
06-09-2008, 05:49 PM
The Ultimate Affordable P2/PCMCIA Card Reader For Mac Users?

Ever since the HVX200 came out, we’ve heard a common complaint coming from one (large) core group of P2 users: Macintosh users. Why? Because, as of 6/9/08, no new Macintosh portable computers include PCMCIA slots, and no cheap sub-$500 PCMCIA card readers exist for Mac desktop computers. And while you could get a $119 Duel Adapter to work with your Macbook Pro, what do you do for your Mac Pro or iMac or Mac Mini or doesG5 desktop computer? Or what about your slotless Macbook?

The premium solution has been the Panasonic PCD20, a US $1,980 five-slot P2 reader device that connects through either USB or FireWire 800. The PCD20 is a very nice solution in that it supports five cards mounted simultaneously and works with both Mac and Windows, but at almost $2,000 it was out of the league of many lower-budget users. And while there are many cheap PCMCIA-to-USB reader devices on the market, none of them will work with P2 cards, now or in the future. A cheap reader does not and cannot exist.

As such, Mac users have been stuck with using the Duel Adapter with their Macbook Pros, or continued to work with aging G4 PowerBooks (which do feature the PCMCIA slot). Neither solution is ideal; the Duel Adapter is large and clunky and temperamental, and the G4 is old and slow (it takes about 1 minute per gigabyte to offload a P2 card in a G4 PowerBook; modern Windows laptops are twice as fast). Compounding that frustration, there are other little complications: Mac offloading could occasionally result in a “glitch” happening in the footage on rare occasions, and some early P2 functions were only available on the Windows platform (such as the ability to update the firmware in a P2 Store, or on P2 cards, or the ability to format P2 cards, or even to be able to view P2 content in the field without having to install Final Cut Studio). In fact, as a workflow consultant who has implemented workflows for many Mac-based clients, I have to tell you, just about everything was faster, quicker, easier, more integrated, and seamless with P2 workflow on the Windows platform. Yet many users resist migrating to a Windows system, instead preferring the design of Apple’s products and preferring to work in Final Cut Pro.

For those users, it can still grate on their nerves that there’s not a relatively affordable, $500-priced P2 card reader.

Until now.

Sort of. :thumbsup:

In our quest to find the cheapest reliable/ usable/workable P2 card reader, we were continually amazed at how comparatively effortless the P2 workflow was with a Windows laptop, vs. the minor hassles encountered with the Mac workflow. And if there was an inexpensive, $500 reader available, how revolutionary that would be.

And then we put two and two together. The answer was staring us in the face. The Windows laptop.

Okay, I know half the Mac users probably just left the room when I typed that, but for those of you who are still here, read on. The Windows laptop may seem like overkill as a simple slot reader, but – so? It does the essential tasks. It offloads P2 cards. It can name P2 cards and format P2 cards and erase files off P2 cards (all without having to “unlock” any files or execute a “force delete”). It can transfer cards very quickly, twice the pace of a G4 PowerBook. It can offload cards directly to an external USB or FireWire hard disk which can then be plugged into your Mac seamlessly. It can run P2 Viewer or P2CMS, both of which let you preview, play, and annotate all your clips – and all without having to install another license of Final Cut Pro. So what if it runs Windows? So what if it’s also a full-fledged computer? The requisite elements we’re looking for is a device that reads P2 cards, offloads cards, and lets your desktop Mac read P2 cards, right? Ignore everything else that the Windows laptop does, and focus on the key checklist:

1) Does it offload P2 cards in the field? Check.
2) Does it let you play back your clips in the field? Check.
3) Does it let you edit in the field? Check.
4) Does it let you offload those clips to a Mac-compatible FAT32 drive? Check.
5) Does it let you format cards, for hot-swap recording? Check.
6) Does it let you name your cards, for easier organization and card management? Check. (this means you’ll never have to see “NO NAME” again).
7) Does it let you delete files, individually or altogether? Check.
8) Does it run P2 Genie? Check.
9) Can you use P2CMS’s database features and offload-verification features? Check.
10) Is it battery-powered for easy field use? Check.
11) Does it let your desktop computer read P2 cards? Oooh… now that’s the question!

I’m happy to report on item 11 that, yes, the Windows Laptop Offload Station does indeed “go to 11.” You can directly connect the laptop right to your desktop Mac through a Gigabit Ethernet connection, and share the slot on your Windows system with your Mac. The P2 slot shows up on the Mac desktop as a drive (we named it “PCMCIA slot”). Your Mac now has direct access to the contents of the P2 card. And the Gigabit Ethernet connection claims to be actually faster than a P2 card, so you could potentially get 100% P2 performance through this scenario (note: you won’t get it with “fast ethernet” which maxxes out at 100mbps, you need to make sure you have a full “Gigabit Ethernet” connection to make this workflow practical).

Seems promising, but does it work? We put it through its paces. We connected a Lenovo R61 laptop to a 20” iMac running Final Cut Pro 5.1.4 (sorry, don’t have FCS2 on this iMac). We then tried all the standard workflow tasks:

1) We copied the contents of a 4GB P2 card through the Gigabit Ethernet connection, mounting the P2 card in the Windows laptop’s PCMCIA slot and then sharing that drive onto the Mac desktop. We opened up the disk icon and copied the CONTENTS and LASTCLIP.TXT folder onto the iMac’s internal drive. It worked just like you’d expect, at top speed too: about 2 gigabytes per minute. A full 4GB card offloaded directly through the slot onto the Mac’s hard drive in barely over 2 minutes.
2) We ran P2CMS. It worked. We registered the contents of the card and all the icons showed up. We could export them, ingest them to the database, everything. It all just worked. We tried playing clips in P2CMS using the “playback by P2 Viewer” function, and it played fullscreen 1080P footage immediately.
3) We ran FCP 5.1.4 and used the Import->Panasonic P2 function. The clips showed up in the P2 importer window. We could play them back immediately, live, right off the card, in realtime. We imported a few clips.
4) We then deleted those imported clips and tried the ultimate test: editing straight from the P2 card. And it passed with flying colors.

Wait – editing from the P2 card? In FCP? Yes, without going through Log & Transfer or through File->Import->Panasonic P2. We didn’t use Raylight though (which would have worked, I’m certain). This iMac didn’t have Raylight installed. Instead we used the MXF import component that gets installed when you install Panasonic’s P2CMS. This lets you drag video or audio MXF files directly to the timeline in FCP -- unfortunately it doesn't provide for bringing the audio and video in simultaneously, but Raylight does, and that'd be my recommended workflow anyway -- we were just making do with what we had.

Our goal was to find out if editing from the cards was possible or practical when using a networked Windows laptop as the live slot reader. In a word? Yeah. In two words? Hell yeah.

We started out with one stream, and ended up dragging five separate 1080/24P clips onto the FCP timeline, stacking them, and setting the four upper layers to 50% opacity so we could see all five clips simultaneously. We hit play – and it played. Realtime, immediate playback, five streams of 1080/24PA footage in a 1080/24P sequence. Playing back right from the P2 card, networked to the Mac through a Gigabit Ethernet connection. No stumbles, no stutters, no hiccups, no hassles. We then went for a sixth stream, but that proved to be too much – the timeline render bar turned red, and the preview window told us the footage needed to be rendered. So, six streams of 1080P footage? Nope. But five, yes. Five streams.

So, there you have it: an inexpensive field *and* office workflow system that solves just about every frustration and shortcoming in the Mac side of the P2 workflow. If you can stand to touch a Windows system, you’ll get an effortless, reliable P2 offload station to take in the field, as well as a desktop P2 card reader for your desktop or Macbook. It may seem like overkill to buy an entire laptop, but so what? The cheapest P2 slot reader that Panasonic sells is $1800 (the P2 Store), whereas you can get a dual-core Windows laptop for about $550 that does the job even better – and does so many more jobs as well.

For shopper convenience, the laptop I used was a Lenovo R61. The Lenovo series (as of the time of this writing) offers a number of intriguing benefits for use as a P2 offload station and can be bought for around $500. The main bonuses to the Lenovo that make it serve so well as an offload station are:
1) It includes a Gigabit Ethernet connection
2) It includes a PCMCIA P2-compatible card slot
3) It includes an ExpressCard card slot
4) It has a fast SATA internal hard disk
5) You can easily and cheaply add additional internal SATA hard disks.

The ExpressCard slot makes the Lenovo all the more interesting: not only do you have the PCMCIA slot, but you also have an ExpressCard slot. You could use that for a SATA or FW800 connection, or, perhaps better, you could get a $69 Addonics PCMCIA-to-ExpressCard adapter (or re-use your old Duel Adapter) and turn that ExpressCard slot into a second P2 slot! Now you’ve got a two-slot reader for under $600.

This workflow could work with just about any Windows PC that includes a PCMCIA slot, of course. I recommend checking out the Lenovo lineup if you intend to use it for field offloading, because Lenovo offers the UltraBay option. My Lenovo is currently sporting a 160GB internal drive, and an additional 320GB internal drive in the UltraBay dock. That gives me almost half a terabyte of storage online, internally, with no clutter of separate drives and cables and power supplies. And two drives means instant/easy redundant copying at full SATA speed, for instant duplication for safety. If shopping for a Lenovo, google around for discount coupons, I’ve found 10% and 15% discount coupons readily available from the www.lenovo.com (http://www.lenovo.com) online store. You should be able to put together a very capable offloading station for well under $700, and a basic system for around $500.

I can’t comment on any long-term hiccups or hassles or limitations from using this method; we only really plugged it together to experiment. I don’t know if there are any limitations that will crop up, but I hope some enterprising DVXUser members will adopt this workflow and put it through its paces and share your findings with us.

So – what DOESN’T the Windows laptop do? Well, it doesn’t run Final Cut. If your workflow demands that you edit on your laptop in Final Cut, this isn’t the option for you (unless you want to Hackintosh your Windows laptop, but let’s not go there in this article). You could run any of many other editors, including Premiere Pro, Vegas, EDIUS, SpeedEdit, or Avid, but you couldn’t actually run FCP. So if your workflow absolutely positively demands that you cut in the field using FCP, maybe this isn’t the ideal solution for you. But if that’s not a showstopper for you, I highly recommend experimenting with this Windows laptop approach for any and every Mac-based production house that’s struggling with the limitations I talked about in the first three paragraphs of this article.

If you're having difficulty setting up the permissions and sharing the files so that both computers can work with them, check out this migration article, which has some good tips on network connectivity between the different platforms, specifically in the "transfer your files to mac" section:
http://www.mahalo.com/how-to-convert-from-pc-to-mac

PhantomVideo
06-09-2008, 06:34 PM
Bravo Barry,

Bloody good test and a nice solution ;)

aravance
06-09-2008, 09:18 PM
Talk about perfect timing. I was just investigating this today and was surprised to find that there isn't a solution yet for the Mac Pro.

I bought the SIIG PCI to PC Card-M adapter months ago thinking it would slide right in to my Mac Pro. I got around to installing it today and realized it wouldn't work. I think it'll work on our older Power Macs however.

Thanks for this. A great read and an interesting affordable solution. I'm still hanging in there with the Powerbook G4, but it's good to know that this is always an option.

aalleexx
06-09-2008, 09:33 PM
how do I know if my laptop has full Gigabit Ethernet ?

Barry_Green
06-10-2008, 09:33 AM
I bet it would be hard to buy a modern laptop that had anything less than a gigabit ethernet connection nowadays. If it's got an ethernet connection at all, it's probably a Gig-E connection.

But, the only way to know for sure is to check the statistics, or to actually connect it to a known gigabit connection (all macs offered for sale new today have gigabit ethernet connections). We tried a 3-year-old laptop and it connected, but at 100.0mbps. Then we tried my relatively-new Lenovo and it connected at 1.0gbps. Check the "network connection properties" and it'll tell you what speed you connected at.

You could also go into the control panel's device manager, look at your ethernet adapter, and see if it'll tell you. Or, if it doesn't say directly, you could at least get the model number and then google it for the specifics.

As a side note, the 100mbps connection (so-called "Fast Ethernet") did connect and did sort of work. We were able to offload a 4GB P2 card to the Mac through the ethernet connection, but it took about 6 minutes (vs. 2 minutes with the Gigabit Ethernet). However, the 100mbps connection didn't let us use FCP's Import P2 function and it wouldn't let us edit from the P2 card. So you'll get a slow card importer with 100mbps ethernet, but you get all the joy and happiness if you go with the Gigabit ethernet.

aalleexx
06-10-2008, 12:35 PM
Barry I am confussed, a gigabit connection is wireless and a fast ethernet is though the cable? or can they both be wireless, like the one you used for your test was that though a wireless connection?

Barry_Green
06-10-2008, 12:45 PM
Neither is wireless. They're both through a cable.

There are three ethernet speeds that I'm aware of:
10 mbps
100 mbps ("fast ethernet")
1000 mbps ("Gigabit ethernet")

All use a cable. You can also get a bridge between ethernet and wireless, but basically as of today's technology, forget wireless. The cable is where the party's at.

aalleexx
06-10-2008, 12:59 PM
aswome info barry, the specs for my vista laptop say:

COMMUNICATION

Acer InviLink 802.11b/g wireless LAN, Acer SignalUp technology for enhanced antenna efficiency, WI-FI CERTIFIED.


10/100 LAN, Wake-on-LAN ready


V.92 56Kbps data/fax modem, PTT (postal, telegraph, telephone) certified in select countries.


am I gonna fly barry?

Barry_Green
06-10-2008, 01:58 PM
Probably not; 10/100 sounds like you only have the 10mbps and 100mbps versions. You could use it as a slot reader but it'd be slow.

THoff
06-10-2008, 04:19 PM
Also, if you connect through a switch or router, that too will have to support Gigabit speeds. My Fujitsu Lifebook and home-brew desktop editing system both support Gigabit Ethernet, but the Actiontec DSL router Verizon provides me with does not. As a result my LAN networking speed is limited to 100Mbps.

Masta T
06-10-2008, 08:51 PM
Great article, I was following along in the hvx workflow thread.

I have a question for Barry. What version of windows are you using on your lenovo?

And do you know if there is a difference between the speeds or compatibility on vista vs xp pro?

Barry_Green
06-10-2008, 08:54 PM
XP Pro. Never touched Vista, can't comment on that.

Justin Kuhn
06-14-2008, 11:08 AM
How do I figure out if my desktop Mac can use this fabled Gigabit Ethernet? I've been thinking about implementing this solution for a while but I wasn't sure where to start. So thanks for the article!

Barry_Green
06-14-2008, 11:22 AM
What desktop Mac do you have? All the current models have gigabit ethernet connections built in.

milleto
06-14-2008, 07:40 PM
I checked and it looks like my G5 dual core 2.0GHz have 10/100 ethernet... have a problem there...??????

Thanks Barry for a very helpful post.

Barry_Green
06-14-2008, 07:51 PM
Yeah, 10/100 isn't good enough. But surely you can get a gigabit ethernet card from someplace like macwarehouse.com for just a few dollars... I don't know Mac hardware, but I'd be shocked if this wasn't the case.

Justin Kuhn
06-15-2008, 01:48 AM
Just an iMac, one of the newer dual-core G5 variety, 2.8GHz I believe...it's at work so I can't look up the stats right now, I guess I'll know what's up when I get in. Even if I don't have gigabit, I still need one of these, I can just dump to one of my Fat 32 FW 800 externals. That'll probably mean having to convert to QT for FCP though, so additional workflow.

Tom 4
06-15-2008, 05:58 AM
Hi Barry,
Got a IBM think pad some time ago, to do just this, and to have portable P2 card downloading, Only problem was the IBM's PCMCIA reader had bent pins, So it's taken quiet some time to get it working with a new mechanism.
I set it up tonite with my Macpro 3ghz (OS leopard 10.5.3) and she works , transfer is a tad slow to the macpro, 3gig took six minutes.
Will try again tomorrow.
Great of you to post this ...
Cheers
Tom K

David Jimerson
06-15-2008, 08:51 AM
Tom, you probably have a 10/100 port; that transfer speed is about what we got when we tested this with that type of port. Would make sense if it's an IBM (pre-Lenovo) Thinkpad.

Rocketeer
06-15-2008, 08:27 PM
What Dual Core spec do you need for playback of p2 or ex preview material on a R61?

Barry_Green
06-15-2008, 09:28 PM
Mine is a 2.4GHz and it handles 1080P at full-screen, full frame rate.

Tom 4
06-16-2008, 10:21 PM
Hi David,
Your correct, (I checked) 10/100 .
I have installed a 200Gig HDD in the little Thinkpad, maxed out the Ram to 2gig , loaded Premier 3.1. (for News Compile edits back to P2 cards) OS is XP Pro , and at this stage it does me for in field work. With My 4 8gig and 2 x 32 gig P2 cards, combined with the laptops HDD space, I have sufficient at this point to save most jobs that come my way. ( all up cost $400 approx)
Also have a couple of USB 750gig externals on standy. these are very handy as back ups.
Cheers
Tom K
olinevideo.com.au

G-Man
06-22-2008, 06:02 AM
Thank you for this post Barry. I'm trying to set up my workflow right now and was looking for a PC laptop to Mac desktop option-I think this might be it for me.

Would this workflow allow one to bypass FAT32 files? My original plan was to transfer the footage via a portable external harddrive. But I've read that the files can only be 4 gbs and I have 2 8gb cards-I've read somewhere the the footage will be split into 2 files, not sure if this is the case or not. I've also read that you can only have 15 partitions.

If I don't have to worry about FAT32 then this means I can use any card size right?

Anyways, great post!

David Jimerson
06-22-2008, 09:30 AM
The P2 cards themselves are FAT32, so the file sizes on the cards will be limited accordingly, regardless of the size of the card.

arsasylum
06-22-2008, 09:50 AM
for macpro 2008

this
http://virtuavia.eu/shop/pci-express-to-pci-expansion-box-p29809.html
and this
http://virtuavia.eu/shop/pci-to-pcmcia-adapter-p29790.html

could be a solution?

anyone had any success with this?

ciao
Francesco.

mabou2
06-30-2008, 08:40 AM
Hi Barry,
Great article. I am on the hunt for a good solution to this workflow problem. Just finished a two camera shoot and we most certainly had issues with the P2 ingesting workflow.

I am curious why there are no third party hardware solutions on the market at this point? P2 is very popular and has a good market penetration. Unless Panasonic is charging ridiculous licensing fees, or is blocking third-party hardware manufacturers from accessing the firmware of the cards, I am surprised there are not more P2 card reader options out there.

Your thoughts?
Thanks again for the interesting perspective in your article.
Matt

aygie
07-01-2008, 11:56 AM
My apologies for asking but i am a noob and just wanted to clarify;

Shoot your footage until one P2 is full
Pop the P2 card into the windows laptop (in the filed) offload, use P2 card again.
Get back to your Mac, connect Windows to Mac (Mac Pro in my case) via giga-ethernet.
Ingest if needed to the Mac or edit from the laptop (acting like an external hard drive/footage hub)

Id this right?

Thanks :dankk2:

Barry_Green
07-01-2008, 07:00 PM
I'm pretty sure that would work...

aygie
07-02-2008, 01:03 PM
I'm pretty sure that would work...

Thanks Barry, this seems like it would suit to me great. :thumbup:

Bayne
07-02-2008, 01:14 PM
Just bought my GF a laptop for her b day. PCMCIA slot express 54. For $622 OTD....on newegg.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16834115491

Oh and I ordered it yesterday at 3pm with 3 day super saver shipping and got it today at 1pm

Ted Spencer
07-06-2008, 10:25 AM
I just tried this with my G5 and Powerbook G4, both of which have gigabit ethernet. They connect together just fine, each sees the other's hard drive(s) etc., but the P2 card, which is properly mounted on the PB's desktop, doesn't show up on the G5's list as a connected volume. Only the PB's hard drive.

Anyone know why this might be? It'll make a very convenient P2 transfer setup if I can get it to work.

Thanks

aygie
07-07-2008, 07:16 AM
I just tried this with my G5 and Powerbook G4, both of which have gigabit ethernet. They connect together just fine, each sees the other's hard drive(s) etc., but the P2 card, which is properly mounted on the PB's desktop, doesn't show up on the G5's list as a connected volume. Only the PB's hard drive.

Anyone know why this might be? It'll make a very convenient P2 transfer setup if I can get it to work.

Thanks

What about starting the PB up in firewire mode?

Connect the PB to the tower via firewire, then restart the PB holding down T. after a moment the PB will come up on the Towers desktop like another drive.

Might work :)

bonkerz
07-16-2008, 09:15 AM
Barry....Is the laptop still the best and most affordable option ?? Any other options on the horizon yet?? We are buying a new Mac Pro and also want to get the HPX170 as soon as it comes out and I want to make sure.

Actually it seems like the "computer on location" might be the best option anyway...

Barry_Green
07-16-2008, 09:16 AM
I always want to have a computer on location.

For the Mac Pro, the "best" solution is the PCD20 five-slot FW800 reader. But the laptop is 1/2 to 1/4 the cost and works in the field as well, so the best "budget" solution is the laptop, in my opinion.

Barry_Green
07-24-2008, 09:51 AM
Here's one for $379, a Dell Latitude D600 with gigabit ethernet and PCMCIA slot.
http://www.buy.com/retail/product.asp?sku=207537932&adid=17653&dcaid=17653

markyf
07-24-2008, 12:10 PM
Hey Barry,

Thinking long term about this and I think a laptop allows you to spend far less on P2 cards. There are these funky new Dell ones I'm sure you've seen, in all sorts of colours. On some of the 15" models, you can pay an additional fee and have the screen resolution be 1900X1200. I didn't think this was possible on such a small monitor but it is. What is your position on having this HD resolution for logging your footage, or would it matter if it was 800X600 or whatever the regular size is?

Barry_Green
07-24-2008, 02:14 PM
For logging and transferring it doesn't matter. I used to have a 1920x1200 Dell, but it was so big and unwieldly and heavy that it was inconvenient. I've since migrated to a 13" and a 14" and they're much more portable.

Justin Kuhn
07-24-2008, 11:58 PM
I bought a Toshiba running Vista (had to) with the PC Card slot, upgraded the RAM to 4 GB. Installed the P2 drivers, checked the box for the P2 slot, put the card in. Upon restart, the computer immediately gives me a blue screen of death. It says "ERROR USB BUGCODE" or some combination of those words. I'll check back later with exact details on the message. After that I got the blue screen whenever I put the card in. Tried calling Panny tech support but I didn't know my product number (I was driving, didn't have the equipment out). I guess this would be a P2 card issue right? I got the screen off of two different cards though.

Swardo
07-25-2008, 08:37 AM
Newegg has this 14" Acer for $499.
http://www.techbargains.com/news_displayItem.cfm/128855

David Jimerson
08-23-2008, 03:01 PM
Point of info: right now, Best Buy has a much-more-than-suitable Acer laptop for $499.99.

MDKfilms
08-23-2008, 06:51 PM
AS a MAC user I for one am going out to get a PC! I know I have broken my secret oath but I am really fed up with MAC and their policies. It really feels like they don't want their product to work with this camera and its workflow. I see PCs out their that are cheap and from what I have read and heard they love the whole P2 panasonic workflow. I love FCP but if I can do the same with another PC based program then hell yeah why not. This is where the sad violin music swells and fade to black.

On a lighter note just got myself an M2 adapter with a Marshall monitor.

David Saraceno
08-24-2008, 02:13 PM
I'm kind of surprised at your comments about the elimination of PC Cardbus slots on the Mac.

It also is happening on the PC. I just went through BB and CC and found no PC laptops with Cardbus slots.

I know you can find them, but Cardbus slots are going the way of dinosaurs and cheap gas alot faster.

Apple isn't the only one that's done this.

David Jimerson
08-24-2008, 03:18 PM
It's disappearing on Windows laptops, to be sure, but going through Best Buy, Circuit City, Office Depot, etc., I still find at least several models at each location. And doggone it if Sony isn't still equipping VAIOs with them.

ullanta
09-07-2008, 11:25 PM
OK, I've finally found the deal I was waiting for on ebay and bit the bullet - bought a ThinkPad T42, which has 2 Cardbus slots and Gigabit ethernet. The T40, a bit slower, has the same, and auctions tend to start around $0.99 and end at around $280. If you're patient, you can beat that price...

Anyway, it should be here soon, and I'll report back.

In the meantime, I'm looking into the ThinkPad Dock II, which goes for about $30 bucks on eBay these days. It has 2 cardbus slots. What I'm not clear on is whether or not these are mirrors of the two on the ThinkPad, or additional. The official product literature is unclear, but does state in some places "Two additional PCMCIA card slots and one half-size PCI slot (for desktop cards) round out the versatile configuration options supported by the ThinkPad Dock II." Since on some portsd they clearly state "pass-through", and others they call "additional", I'm wondering... does anyone know for sure if it will indeed mount 4 cards at once, thus providing a super-duper-cheap 4-slot P2 reader?

Barry_Green
09-08-2008, 12:57 PM
Well, shiver me timbers but it looks like you may indeed have found the ultimate super-duper-cheap 4-slot P2 reader. With that ThinkPad Dock II, it does indeed appear to be two additional PC Card slots. I downloaded the user's guide and nothing in it mentioned anything about pass-thru. I have an Advanced UltraDock (or something like that) and all the ports on it are in addition to any ports that the laptop itself has (meaning, that every slot and jack and port on the laptop still works, and the other ports are in addition to the existing ones). Hmm, except I suspect that the video out jack wouldn't work (meaning, I doubt I could support three monitors at once, but maybe?)

In any case, I'd think it's worth the gamble to get the dock, especially if you can get it for $30.

ullanta
09-08-2008, 01:43 PM
The computer hasn't arrived yet... but the moderator of the "thinkpads.com" forum says all four should work... he's used as many as 3 at a time.

Mind you, the ThinkPad Dock II works with MANY thinkpad models, most of which are pretty cheap these days! I imagine that one could easily have a setup with 3 PCMCIA slots and one ExpressCard slot, etc, if the laptop has a different configuration...

David Saraceno
09-08-2008, 04:47 PM
I am looking at one of the netbooks that has an ExpressCard/34 slot and runs under $400.00. Not yet released. If everything is implemented as I expect, I'll have EX/34 capabilities with ethernet, Windows XP, 2.5 pounds for under $400. more later.

and Barry: "shiver me timbers?"

Is it still raining?

ullanta
09-12-2008, 12:23 AM
OK... got the refurbished IBM ThinkPad T42 in the mail today...

First question answered (just 'cause no one else has positively affirmed this before): there's no problem with sharing 2 cards (in the 2 cardbus slots) withe the Mac (strange, though, that you have to install the P2 drivers twice - once for each slot! - I'd forgotten how hardware-tied Windows can be - at least i didn't have to hand-tune the IRQs!).

Copying a full 16 GB P2 card to the mac, I seemed to be getting about 1.6 GB/min (about 26 MB/sec) - slower than some of you have reported. The destination drive is not the bottleneck... I'm not that up on Windows file sharing these days - I just used SMB to the T42's IP, and set the T42 to share the two cards. Is there a faster protocol, or other way to speed this up?

I'm thinking about trying the ThinkPad Dock... but I only have 2 16GB cards and one 4GB, so it's not really a priority at the moment... hmmm...

But anyway, the T42 turns out to be a great, cost-effective (<$250 if you're careful) 2-slot card reader. The T40 and other machines should be even cheaper and just as good. With the dock, if i or anyone else gets around to trying it, should be a great deal for a 4-slot reader!

-Barry

ullanta
09-12-2008, 01:38 AM
Windows gurus... is there any way to avoid having to set up sharing for each card each time I start up the laptop?

ullanta
09-17-2008, 04:53 PM
I just bought a ThnkPad Dock II on eBay for $0.99... should know soon if really works to provide a cheap 4-card reader (under $300)... (well, I can only test "3-card reader" unless someone wants to give or lend me a P2 card...

jgoodner
09-22-2008, 01:47 PM
hi ullanta
i'm eagerly awaitng the results of your test. i almost pulled the trigger on a T42 purchase on ebay. i have another couple cards if you want help testing.
jg

ullanta
09-22-2008, 11:57 PM
Should be here any day now...

Rallo1200
09-23-2008, 03:53 PM
I agree! But, I have problems with PC hard drives not ready on a mac and mac hard drives not readying on a PC. I have spoke with numerous computer techs and they didn't have any answers. Do you have any ideas on how to solve this problem?

Barry_Green
09-23-2008, 05:23 PM
Just use FAT32 file system and the drives will be readable on both operating systems.

chrisale
09-23-2008, 06:31 PM
So my question about this whole P2 reader on Mac fiasco is this....

Has anyone tried dumping one of those Amtron readers (http://www.amtron.com/reader/p2card_reader.htm) into a regular 5.25" external USB or Firewire case? (it would have to be one meant for a CD or DVDROM so that the faceplate could come off). The PCI card that comes with the AMtron is just an IDE card is it not? So any external IDE CD/HD case should do?

Total cost would be about $150 and drivers shouldn't be an issue.

Anyone tried? Am I way off? I'm new to the game here as far as P2s are concerned so feel free to slap me. :)

I've ordered one now and will try to remember to report back if it works.

David Saraceno
09-29-2008, 09:44 AM
FW wouldn't meet the 32-bit spec, I believe.

That being said, I hope I'm wrong

Let us know.

David Jimerson
09-29-2008, 10:14 AM
I have one installed in my desktop (to a PCI slot), and it works. But it probably would not work with a Firewire or USB adapter -- the P2 drivers probably would not recognize it as a CardBus reader.

But indeed, report back, because in this case, it would be good to be wrong.

Keep in mind that you'll have to update the configuration of your P2 drivers for it to work with a P2 card.

David Shawl
09-30-2008, 08:22 PM
Not sure if this has been discussed yet, but what about this cheap $50 card reader that does USB 2.0 and SATA?

http://www.pcuniverse.com/Addonics-Pocket-Ultra-DigiDrive-Card-reader-PC-Card-Hi-Speed-USB/AEPUDDU/pd/p2639481&m_id=32&utm_source=google&utm_medium=cpc

Barry_Green
10-01-2008, 07:07 AM
No cheap USB reader will ever work with a P2 card. We've been there, done that, tried lots of 'em, it won't happen.

chrisale
10-03-2008, 08:24 AM
FW wouldn't meet the 32-bit spec, I believe.

That being said, I hope I'm wrong

Let us know.

No Go unfortunately.

The only reason I can see for it not working is that the Card reader itself is customized somehow. The Reader does not have a seperate power supply connector (like a floppy disk or HDD style molex power receptable) so while the drive has standard ATA receptacles on it, I believe the reader itself has been designed to receive power through the ATA cable.

That is not a standard configuration. Not sure if it's due to some spec for PCMCIA cards, but clearly Amtron is using the PCI interface card as both a data and power interface and sending both through the ATA Cable to the card reader.

Regular USB/Firewire cases will not have that capability so it's a No Go.

My plan B is to install the card and reader into one of our spare G4 towers here and just use it as a capture station then upload the files into a massive networked hard drive through GBit Ethernet.

Oh well... was worth a shot...

iBor
10-07-2008, 09:08 AM
Thanks for the info Barry. I just purchased the Lenovo R61 for $600 on Ebay and I have a question for you.

In your post you stated: "My Lenovo is currently sporting a 160GB internal drive, and an additional 320GB internal drive in the UltraBay dock. "

Can you explain the UltraBay dock more to me and perhaps provide a link to the 320 GB internal drive you use in the UltraBay dock? I'm a Mac user so I don't know a lot about PC hardware. I've Googled for more info but it seems to always pull up info about the battery.

Troy Lanier
12-13-2008, 11:18 AM
Does the solution mentioned by Barry allow for upload back onto P2 card?

Raylight/Mac allows me to take a video and make a "Contents" and "Last Clip" P2 structure out of the edited video. But as a Mac user, I cannot find a way to get it onto a card. I attach my HVX200 as a reader, but it is just that, a READer and not a WRITEr. One cannot use firewire to write back onto the card.

The reason I need to do this is that it is a two minute video for a museum installation that will run repeatedly for months and will be played off of a P2 card in autoplay mode for months. I also want to show a rough cut to the director on a large HD TV, the same one it will play on in the musuem. I want to use the HVX200 to deliver the rough cut and show it.

Barry_Green
12-13-2008, 11:45 AM
P2CMS should let you export back to the card. If not, just network back to the Windows laptop and then copy it to the card. Windows can copy files back to P2 cards, no problem.

Spartacus
04-27-2009, 06:40 AM
I have bought a used G4 PB for this task and used it a couple of times for ingesting, when it suddenly stopped working.
The P2 card still mounts on the Powerbook, is accesable via P2CMS, but doesn´t show up anymore in the network.
When I transfered the last card, I ejected on the PB without disconnecting first (because the card wouldn´t disconnect no matter what).
Did I mess up MAC OS?
Anyone encountered this before?
Thanks guys!

ullanta
04-27-2009, 11:36 AM
did you shut down the computer, and repair permissions?

aygie
04-27-2009, 11:39 AM
Also make sure you Hard Drive isn't set to sleep after a while, System Prefs>Energy Saver

tracetv
06-01-2009, 05:54 AM
Barry, I went on the site today to look into this issue, and sure enough you had an article waiting for me to read. I think it's intriguing - this PC laptop approach, but am looking at the duel adapter, which would still be cheaper solution. I have never used one, or seen one used. So my question relates to your comment:

"the Duel Adapter is large and clunky and temperamental"

Ok large and clunky - not a big issue to me.... but tempermental?! that's an issue... could you expound further? Is this thing more hassle than it's worth?

Thanks for all the information.

TR
www.traceproductions.com

Barry_Green
06-01-2009, 09:09 AM
There are lots and lots of posts from people using the Duel, and things have probably improved since I wrote that article.

Basically we've had reports of people having to reboot their system if they unplug the adapter, etc. But the best thing to do would be to post in the workflow section and see if you can get opinions from Duel Adapter users as to how they feel about the product today.

Spartacus
06-30-2009, 05:07 AM
did you shut down the computer, and repair permissions?
Sorry, havn´t checked back here (doesn´t show up in my "active threats" in UserCP).
To be honest, I don´t understand your post: you want me to shut down the computer? And what about the "repair permission"?
If I have to reboot the G4 after each ingest, the time saving aspect of this workflow becomes neglectible (compared to ingesting via FW from the HVX...)

The problem still exists, the G4 main HD still shows up on the MacPro, but the P2 Card in the PCMCIA slot doesn´t (but does on the G4 desktop).
Right now I have to manually copy the content/lastclip folder to the MacPro´s AVraid and then import to FCP...


I guess I should have gone with a PC, but they were soooo ugly hahaha:beer:

jmarkham
07-09-2009, 11:31 PM
There are lots and lots of posts from people using the Duel, and things have probably improved since I wrote that article.

Basically we've had reports of people having to reboot their system if they unplug the adapter, etc. But the best thing to do would be to post in the workflow section and see if you can get opinions from Duel Adapter users as to how they feel about the product today.

If "temperamental" means "unreliable" I would concur. I've been through
two of them so far. They simply can't be reliably hot-swapped without frying
the unit.

jeff

wgzn
07-10-2009, 03:09 PM
my duel works like a champ. not even a hint of issue...

vicrattlehead
02-07-2010, 08:23 PM
Just wanted to let everyone know that the HP 2140 netbook with Windows XP Home Edition will work with the Duel Adapter, AND will share the Duel as a drive with my 17" MBP running latest version of Snow Leopard.

Using an ethernet cable the initial set-up between the two machines is a major PITA to get set up for the first time (due to some firewall issues on Windows XP and McAfee virus software... search google for Snow Leopard SMB/McAfee sharing issues for solution).

Once it's set up you get full sharing of the Duel as a drive, and still have the expresscard slot on the MBP open for E-Sata transfers, and it works like a charm. Fast and stable in my inital tests, will have a 5 day shoot later this week and can provide follow-up if anyone is interested.

Got the HP 2140 netbook with expresscard 34/54 slot from Richards Computer Miami (they still have 8 left in stock as of last Friday). :2vrolijk_08:

Mike O'Rourke
www.mikeorourke.com (http://www.mikeorourke.com)

Projectid
02-09-2010, 08:18 AM
i didn't read your whole post, about half (quite lengthy OP!) but wouldn't there be issues with file systems between the windows an mac? it'd still doable, but I think you would have to be running macdrive on the windows computer, and work all in HFS+ file system.. as fat32 has the 4 gig limit? more curious if this is true than anything, and u may have addressed this in ur post, but I'm not in school, i'm not reading an essay! haha just messing! interesting way of going about it though!

Barry_Green
02-09-2010, 09:00 AM
No there's no problem. P2 uses FAT32, which is supported on both platforms.

Projectid
02-09-2010, 09:20 AM
so what happens at the 4gb mark, does it just start a new clip and link it to the previous one? it sounds like the files are the compressed files still? Now that I understand that it makes more sense.. I haven't worked with P2 yet, so this was all speculation for me, certain things within HD workflow ring bells for old headaches I've had! (transfering raw HDV footage from my windows PC to my new mac)

Barry_Green
02-09-2010, 09:29 AM
It causes no problems. Whether you read the P2 card directly, or cabled through ethernet and through a Windows system, the file appears the same to the Apple.

And yes, P2 automatically creates new files when an existing footage file exceeds 4GB, and it's designed to have integrated pointers in each chunk of the overall spanned clip to point forwards and backwards so that they can be seamlessly pieced together.

TJ Koker
08-27-2010, 09:41 AM
Hi Barry,
Your advice on the P2 transfer was invaluable, but before I run out and pick up a windows laptop (gosh that's hard to even type being a Mac-phile), is there any update to the blog. Any new technology for painlessly transferring P2 cards in the field.
Thanks:cheesy:

David Saraceno
08-27-2010, 09:43 AM
Panasonic sells a $350.00 single card p2 reader that connects via USB2 and works with Macs laptops.

HVXguy
08-28-2010, 08:40 PM
AJ-PCD2GPJ
Single-slot P2 Memory Card Drive

http://catalog2.panasonic.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ModelDetail?displayTab=O&storeId=11201&catalogId=13051&itemId=406091&catGroupId=34402&surfModel=AJ-PCD2GPJ

davidwillson
10-16-2010, 10:53 PM
I bet it would be hard to buy a modern laptop that had anything less than a gigabit ethernet connection nowadays. If it's got an ethernet connection at all, it's probably a Gig-E connection.

But, the only way to know for sure is to check the statistics, or to actually connect it to a known gigabit connection (all macs offered for sale new today have gigabit ethernet connections). We tried a 3-year-old laptop and it connected, but at 100.0mbps. Then we tried my relatively-new Lenovo and it connected at 1.0gbps. Check the "network connection properties" and it'll tell you what speed you connected at.

You could also go into the control panel's device manager, look at your ethernet adapter, and see if it'll tell you. Or, if it doesn't say directly, you could at least get the model number and then google it for the specifics.

As a side note, the 100mbps connection (so-called "Fast Ethernet") did connect and did sort of work. We were able to offload a 4GB P2 card to the Mac through the ethernet connection, but it took about 6 minutes (vs. 2 minutes with the Gigabit Ethernet). However, the 100mbps connection didn't let us use FCP's Import P2 function and it wouldn't let us edit from the P2 card. So you'll get a slow card importer with 100mbps ethernet, but you get all the joy and happiness if you go with the Gigabit ethernet.
Barry I am confussed, a gigabit connection is wireless and a fast ethernet is though the cable? or can they both be wireless, like the one you used for your test was that though a wireless connection?


___________________
watch movies online (http://moviesonlinefree.biz/)

Barry_Green
10-17-2010, 01:22 PM
Gigabit ethernet is a cabled connection. There's 10-megabit, 100-megabit (aka "fast" ethernet) and 1000-megabit (aka "gigabit ethernet").

Jim.Ross
10-17-2010, 03:03 PM
It causes no problems. Whether you read the P2 card directly, or cabled through ethernet and through a Windows system, the file appears the same to the Apple.

And yes, P2 automatically creates new files when an existing footage file exceeds 4GB, and it's designed to have integrated pointers in each chunk of the overall spanned clip to point forwards and backwards so that they can be seamlessly pieced together.

Barry,
Maybe things have changed since I was a PC user, but I thought Windows wouldn't allow over a 2gig file? Seem to recall my Avid suite breaking everything into 1.9987 gig files. And when I look at my P2 card to import the file it can be huge, taking up the whole card if I do a long take such as a speaker. (Using 16gig cards) I don't see it as multiple files. Or is it just importing as one big file into my Mac instead of multiple smaller files on the card? Just a little P2 magic going on behind the scenes?

Jim
PS Been reading your HVX/HPX book this week. Had it on my shelf for two years. Wish I read it when I got the rig! LOL!

Barry_Green
10-17-2010, 06:15 PM
Windows supports huge file sizes, but the file system of the P2 card is FAT32, which supports up to 4GB per file. Any larger than 4GB and it has to close the current file at 4GB and start a new file. If you're using Log & Transfer to turn the MXF files into Quicktime files, it's probably aggregating all the individual 4GB clips into one big MOV file.

Kimster
11-03-2010, 03:45 PM
AJ-PCD2GPJ
Single-slot P2 Memory Card Drive

http://catalog2.panasonic.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ModelDetail?displayTab=O&storeId=11201&catalogId=13051&itemId=406091&catGroupId=34402&surfModel=AJ-PCD2GPJ
Anyone out there got some experience with this one on Mac/Win?

NVentive
11-04-2010, 08:28 AM
I'm not doing mac/win, but on a win-only system, I'm doing okay with one of these:
http://cgi.ebay.com/PCI-Panasonic-P2-Card-Reader-AGHVX200-AJ-P2C016RG-/220421200091?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item33522098db#ht_2225wt_702
All my 3.5 bays were full, had to find a tray adapter for a 7, once that was done everything went fine. Had it about a year now and all is well.

DennisPanasonic
02-20-2011, 12:34 AM
Hi Barry, I just bought a used HVX200. I'm very excited! Question - if I went the route of using a Windows laptop in the filed, would I be able to remove the P2 card from the camera, continue shooting on a fresh P2, then, in the meantime, plug the used P2 into the laptop to begin downloading footage? Where does it plug in? Do Windows laptops have a P2 slot?
Thanks, Dennis

Mark Williams
02-21-2011, 09:09 AM
Recommend this http://www.amtron.com/reader/p2card_reader.htm Will only work on 32bit OS

timtorpedo
03-03-2011, 06:55 AM
Using the AJ-PCD2GPJ Single-slot P2 reader on a macbook pro (the newer one, i7) works seamlessly, super reliable, very happy with it. Running snow leopard only.