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    So you want to be a loader? AKA P2 Workflow Solutions
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    Not so clever Charlie Anderson's Avatar
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    Hereís what I can tell you, right off the bat, do you have pristine organizational skills and the ability to work under pressure even when sh*t hits the fan? If you do and you have a love for filmmaking I can tell you that this will work out for you.

    Loading is a necessity for this day and age with everything going digital. From P2 to Compact Flash, todayís instant gratification of ďI want it NOWĒ is attainable because of the ability to see digital footage INSTANTLY. Itís really a blessing or a curse depending on how you look at it.

    Digital Media Loading is a new innovative position as it gives way to new opportunities. Much like a film loader youíre tasked with making sure you have each reel logged and safely secured in order to be processed, except there is no processing with digital itís all about the backup.

    A good rule of thumb is to have everything backed up twice, at the very least. I normally have original files backed up 3 times, on one as an archive and on two active drives so that I can access and transcode media as needed. Loading in itself is an easy task, but itís the organizational skill set that really makes you valuable in terms of helping with post. IF you know where every shot is from every day at all times you can REALLY make sure you have everything where it needs to be. It really helps out when youíre going for pickup shots as you can pull up shots IMMEDIATELY to check them out for continuity and such. Trust me I have done this a dozen times over in the past 14 days on set so far and my method of organization has really saved my ass. Iíll say this, as itís extremely important: ORGANIZATION IS KEY!!!!!!

    Depending on what youíre skill set is and how familiar you are with the editing software being used to cut the final product, you might find yourself in an assistant editor position as well when youíre working as a Loader. In my case Iím working as a P2 Loader, an assistant editor, and also an assistant to the camera when they need additional help and when I have downtime as well.

    My organization method carries over from the file system to FCP (or whatever system the movie ends up being cut on) in terms of how days are filed and how scenes are broken up by day, camera, batch (aka card dump), and then scene. This is purely for my organization in case I miss a shot that I didnít encode or if we need to reshoot something from a particular day. I make a daily FCP project and then pass that along with the transcoded files over to him so he can pluck the bins he needs to be able edit the scenes for him. By giving him the daily breakdown of scenes that are ALREADY transcoded, he doesnít have to worry about sitting and waiting for files to transcode and twiddle his thumbs waiting on files, this increased productivity for the entire shoot, especially if we have an editor cutting on set. Iím always transcoding as the director may come up immediately and say ďlet me see that shot real quick, I want to watch playback to see if X is wrongĒ or something like that.

    FORMATTING CARDS

    I want to take some time and explain exactly why I do what I do for this part. It may seem self-explanatory and common sense but youíd be amazed at how people donít think about HOW IMPORTANT your position is. After all, you have ALL OF THE FOOTAGE in your hands and it is up to you to make sure you have EVERYTHING backed up safely. With that being said let me go into detail what I do before I even consider formatting cards.

    I always make sure I have the cards backed up AT LEAST twice before I even flip off the write protection lock on P2 cards. I have 2 harddrives hooked up to my Macbook Pro, one that I consider a ďtransferĒ drive (which floats between myself and the editor so he can copy transcoded files onto his harddrive to begin editing clips) and my main capture drive. I copy ONE CARD onto BOTH DRIVES at the SAME TIME. I do NOT copy one card onto one drive and then copy those files onto a second drive. Why? Well what if somewhere a file got corrupted or misplaced and you have already formatted the card and all you have is the one copy that you copied onto another drive? Yep you are screwed. I copy the one card onto two drives to ensure that I have the original data backed up at LEAST twice, then I can be put at ease.

    I do not format ANY cards until I have everything transcoded from the files that I copied onto one of the harddrives. Why? That way I can make sure that those files that I copied over are definitely error free and hold all of the original data that the cards hold. Make sense? I want to make sure that all of the footage on the card matches what I have on the harddrives as well. Once all of the footage is copied over to two harddrives and the footage is transcoded and error free, I then take the card and mark it with the following information: ďBatch 1 AĒ and put a huge T on it so that I know I have the footage transferred and transcoded.

    Wait, you havenít formatted yet? EXACTLY! I wait until I absolutely have to format before I give a card back. For this film Iím working with 5 16gig cards per camera (10 total) and they are marked A1, A2, etc for each camera. The card numbers donít mean anything as I label the cards on the back as to what batches they are but it helps me keep track of which card came out of which camera.

    Hereís a little trick, in case you didnít know this: Flip over your P2 card. See the white block there? Thatís a dry erase section that you can use. However, dry erase comes off VERY easily when youíre handling cards all the time. So hereís a trick that I use. I USE PERMANENT MARKER ON THAT PART TO MARK ALL OF MY CARDS! But isnít that permanent? Nope! If you take a dry erase marker and go over the permanent marker and then ERASE it, the permanent marker ERASES. How awesome is that? Very. Thatís how I mark all of my cards once I transfer them so that I know what I have and have not transferred yet. There are days where I canít transfer all of the cards before they call wrap and Iím forced home, so that REALLY helps in terms of knowing whatís transferred and whatís not.

    This may be redundant information but I have to say it nevertheless. What ever you do, no matter what method you use to transfer be it PCMCIA, Firewire, USB, whateverÖ

    DO NOT CONNECT THE P2 CARD TO YOUR COMPUTER WITHOUT FIRST LOCKING THE CARD!!!!!!!!

    I cannot stress that enough. YOU WILL LOSE FOOTAGE if you donít follow that simple step due to random corruption. Get into the habit of doing that when you take cards out of the camera, heck use it to mark what has footage on it when youíre transporting cards, it will help you in the long run.

    I hope this has been helpful, feel free to ask me questions, as Iím more than happy to help out as much as I can. This whole write up has been the product of 6 weeks of production and preproduction methods developed with myself, the editor, and the DP. Feel free to email me as I respond best to emails, especially since after this shoot Iíll be working as a loader on a RED, which Iíve never done before but Iím still going to use these methods in terms of organization. Iíve attached some pics as well in hopes to help explain in a visual sense what Iím talking about in terms of organization.

    http://images.stratatekstudios.com/W...Screengrab.png


    RED ONE

    HVX200 / FS-100 / M2 / MicroX
    Zeiss Primes: 25/2.8, 35/1.4, 50/1.4, 60/2.8 MACRO, 85/1.4, 135/2.8


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    #2
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    Great advice. I value the job my "loader" (we term on-set capturer) does for sure, and we always double back-up. That's per my request because I'm fairly paranoid with that.


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    #3
    Senior Member btownproductions's Avatar
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    Sticky possibly?

    Excellent write-up by the way
    Patrick McEnaney


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    #4
    Senior Member Dick Campbell's Avatar
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    I copy ONE CARD onto BOTH DRIVES at the SAME TIME.
    .
    Charlie, thanks for this. I like the process. Maybe I'm missing something here, but exactly how do you copy both at the same time? How does this affect the transfer time of a full card, whcih in my experience is still running about 1GB/minute?
    <img src=http://www.dvxuser.com/V6/image.php?u=18842&type=sigpic&dateline=1289596899 border=0 alt= />
    Producer type guy IMDB


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    Card transfer speed on a modern laptop should be 2GB/minute. And copying to two separate drives doesn't really impact the speed at all; it's probably 90% as fast as copying to one drive. Only thing you really have to control is that you want to copy to two different busses (i.e., copy one to the internal SATA drive, and the other to an external firewire connection; or copy to one external USB and one external firewire). If you try to copy to two external firewire drives, the firewire bus will be overloaded and slow down the copy process. Keeping the busses separate (one USB, one SATA, etc) avoids that situation and keeps the transfer speed fast.


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    #6
    Not so clever Charlie Anderson's Avatar
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    Barry explains it correctly, although it doesn't matter for me in this certain circumstance because I'm limited by the USB transfer rate, it just simply spreads the work out onto both drives, not making it extremely impacting but enough that I'm able to work with it in a reasonable time.


    RED ONE

    HVX200 / FS-100 / M2 / MicroX
    Zeiss Primes: 25/2.8, 35/1.4, 50/1.4, 60/2.8 MACRO, 85/1.4, 135/2.8


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    #7
    Senior Member Dick Campbell's Avatar
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    Yes, that makes a lot of sense. Thanks
    <img src=http://www.dvxuser.com/V6/image.php?u=18842&type=sigpic&dateline=1289596899 border=0 alt= />
    Producer type guy IMDB


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    #8
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    This all sounds great. Immediate mirroring, lessens ones worries about drive failure on set. Charlie, what viewer software are you using? I’m using P2CMS and can't seem to figure out how to export to two hard drives simultaneously?


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    #9
    Not so clever Charlie Anderson's Avatar
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    for "viewing" i just use good ol' FCP. For transfering I use AA SYNC, as it does a checksum for you and it's GREAT! IT also keeps a log of what you've done so you can quickly check to make sure if you've copied a card or not, very very very handy


    RED ONE

    HVX200 / FS-100 / M2 / MicroX
    Zeiss Primes: 25/2.8, 35/1.4, 50/1.4, 60/2.8 MACRO, 85/1.4, 135/2.8


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    #10
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    Great thread. only just found it.

    I've just started on a new Drama as their 'Digital Media Loader' (liking the term, think im going to get them to change my title from Camera assist to that)

    We're shooting AVC-I 100 on 2 HPX3000s and cutting in Avid.

    Due to the fact we're working with AVC Intra, my job isnt actually to offload the final data, but to just do a back up of all files before it leaves set.

    The cards are then going back to the post house and being Digitized, yes digitized through a P2 Mobile with the AVC Intra Card into the Avids through HD SDI.

    But anyway, production got me to buy a laptop, on a budget, am running all transfers to a USB harddrive, (couldnt find 1 pc laptop with a decent firewire port! wish i could of used my powerbook)

    Am getting 1 gig a minute going to the HDD via USB2 which seems alright, real time, but i guess thats what you get when you shoot 1080.

    Anyway, few questions for you Charlie, i had a quick look at AA SYNC, looks like a good program and exactly what i need.

    I had planned on using P2CMS for the job but since there might be a chance we will need to 'Redigitze' shots, im going to need to keep the Lastclip.txt which P2CMS does not.

    I just downloaded the software and figured out the local to local sync, im guessing you just create a new transfer when you throw in a new card? also havent been able to work out how to send it to a second destination, any tips?

    Cheers


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