This is massive news that will impact the video community in a very good way, even if (as Curtis quipped) “instead insanely, ludicrously expensive, they’re just really expensive!”
P2 cards represent the beginning of the end for tape. The cards are entirely flash memory, in the form factor of a PCMCIA card. Many videographers love them and shout their praises — they enable the all-digital workflow, are quick and easy, and more importantly enable seamless moves from studio to editorial. Other videographers hate them and criticize them at every available opportunity — too expensive, not enough memory, etc.
Panasonic is making a concentrated effort to win over these detractors, and this recent announcement is only the first step. With 8gb cards in place for a significantly lower price (think of this as a “two for one” deal, only it lasts forever), Panasonic is apparently looking to double their high-end card, and will begin offering 32gb cards in the very near future.
This is going to present a great opportunity for P2’s expansion into professional (broadcast) applications. Currently, P2 is largely dominating with freelance videographers and small video outfits, however there appears to be no large broadcast use. The expansion of cards into larger sizes for more affordable prices may give networks large and small the catalyst they need to move into an all-digital workflow. With the purported switch to digital coming up shortly (yeah, I’ll believe it when I see it) it can only benefit broadcast companies to have their workflow digitized from start to finish. It may be expensive in the beginning, but it will ultimately lead to reduced costs over time, less necessary manpower, and higher quality video.
The proliferation of P2 in larger sizes also means more freedom for narrative filmmakers. P2’s traditionally small size limits the length of takes and means more frequent video transfers (due to more frequent takes in narrative video). With larger form cards, there is a great opportunity in place to get longer takes and less frequent breaks.
Naturally, with these P2 troubles (stemming from small card sizes), independent companies have found a fantastic product base. Firestore offers a hard-disc recorder, the FS-100, designed for working with Panasonic’s HVX-200. Panasonic reseller Specialized-Communications is also wrapping up development on the new Cineporter, letting you hook up hard drives directly to the HVX unit. You can then record in native frame rates and sizes, for easy importing into your edit suite of choice.
The expansion of P2 is the start of a fantastic digital revolution. It’s already impacting Hollywood, check out recent films such as David Fincher’s Zodiac. Camera companies are developing around digital workflows (such as RED Digital Cinema). The transition into digital is an exciting one that is enabling a fantastic creative renaissance that I think we’re all excited to be apart of!
By the way – the Oratos Media network is now on Twitter! You can subscribe to our Twitter feed, which will give you the latest updates from FOSSwire, Gizbuzz, and us by visiting http://twitter.com/oratos.