by Olaf von Voss | 23rd April 2017
The AU-XPD3 P2 drive announced by Panasonic at IBC 2016 seems to be almost ready for a June 2017 release. Let’s see what this thing is capable of in terms speed and performance. Panasonic AU-XPD3 P2 If you record high-resolution video like 4K or above, the amount of data quickly becomes a problem, not only because the storage required on your recording media increases, but also because the time required for backup increases accordingly. Since time is money, it’s a good idea to have fast storage media and an appropriate offloading hardware. Enter the Panasonic AU-XPD3 P2 drive. This device is targeted at the expressP2 card line of recording media by Panasonic, meaning we’re talking VARICAM use as this camera produces a very large amount of data. Speed is Everything Designed to maximise the data transfer performance of expressP2 cards for 4K video recording, the AU-XPD3 drive operates at 10 Gbps. This means three hours worth of content recorded in AVC-Intra 4K 4:2:2 at 24fps onto a 512GB expressP2 card can be offloaded in about 7 minutes. Our Office Manager in Japan, Kiyoshi Inoue, tests a Prototype of the AU-XPD3. Since the expressP2 B series cards sport a 10Gbps transfer rate, this is what represents the bottleneck in the offloading pipeline. The Thunderbolt 3 interface of the AU-XPD3 is capable of 40 Gbps, which more than enough, though some of that data rate is also used for daisy chaining. You can connect up to 6 units to a single Thunderbolt port. In comparison to the predecessor which is equipped with an USB-3 interface (max 5 Gbps transfer rate), the AU-XPD3 is now capable of utilizing the full potential of the expressP2 cards transfer rates. However, all these figures are theoretical values and aren’t really useful without having checked real-life performance. Layout of the AU-XPD3 The AU-XPD3 is almost three times the size of the current AU-XPD1 model, and the reason behind it is mostly heat generation. There is a rather large fan on the back of the unit that keeps it from overheating. The backside of the AU-XPD3 – note the giant fan! In terms of connectivity, this unit is super simple: two Thunderbolt 3 ports (one is for daisy chaining), one power input and of course the actual expressP2 slot. That’s it. I think an additional USB3 port would have been nice for users with older computers, or to connect the AU-XPD3 to a client’s computer. There are adapters out there of course, but these things tend to be forgotten at home when you really need them. In order to use microP2 cards, you’ll also need an adapter (AJ-p2AD1G). Pricing and Availability Compared to the current AU-XPD1 model, which sells for $460 (April 2017), the AU-XPD3 will be significantly more expensive. Our office manager in Japan, Kiyoshi Inoue, had a chat with Panasonic about this new device, and he reports it will be around ¥ 200.000 (approx. $1.800) and is scheduled for a June 2017 launch. That might be a steep price, but considering the amount of time you can save when backing up vast amounts of data, these kind of high-speed offloading hardware devices could become a necessity in the very near future. What do you use for backing up your valuable data? Let us know in the comments below!Read more
by Olaf von Voss | 1st June 2016
What is the one thing you don’t have when it comes to backing up your footage securely? That’s right, it’s time. You certainly don’t want to waste time staring at progress bars while doing checksum file transfer on set. That’s why the guys over at Hedge for Mac found a neat way to make things faster. A lot faster, actually. Their tool is now transferring files securely at the speed of the Finder. Hedge for Mac 1.3 update Remember the inital review on Hedge for Mac Nino did a couple of months ago? It turned out that the team behind Hedge for Mac have heard the concerns about their subscription model, and have introduced a one-time purchase model for $99 instead. Now they have pushed things even further with the release of version 1.3 of their data transfer management software, which enables some pretty nice features such as fast lane transfers. Free vs. paid version A company has to increase sales somehow, which is why certain features are only available on the paid version of Hedge for Mac. The free version supports up to two simultaneous transfers, queuing all other transfers automatically. After finishing 2 transfers, you are prompted to click a button to continue with the next 2 transfers. However, the $99 premium 1.3 version is capable of doing some amazing things, namely fast lane transfers. This feature will speed up the checksum file transfer process by at least a factor of 2.5. So your verified transfers get as fast as a standard non-verified Finder copy/paste. I created a quick comparison for reference: comparison between Finder, Hedge for Mac and Red Giant Offload Note: This is just a quick test, not a real life scenario. But as you can see, the fast lane feature really fulfils expectations here. It’s like copy/paste with a checksum verification that is so fast you don’t even notice it. Very nice! The team behind Hedge for Mac has compiled its own comparison chart, which you can check out here. Conclusion There are other solutions for the old problem of the digital age: keeping your footage files safe. As Nino mentioned in his review, Pomfort’s Silverstac is the de-facto standard for professional DITs, but it’s quite expensive and therefore maybe not the perfect tool for your needs. ShotPut Pro and Red Giant Offload are at par with Hedge for Mac in terms of pricing, but ShotPut Pro comes with a quite dusty UI and Offload only allows two simultaneous transfers. Hedge has you covered: support for multible backup disks, NAS and RAID The killer argument for Hedge for Mac version 1.3 is its blazing speed, that’s for sure. I really like the Red Giant Offload UI but in terms of speed it can’t compete with Hedge’s fast lane feature. You will have to try for yourself to see which transfer management solution suits your needs best, but this update is well worth a look! Check out their website for all the details and get 10% off with this link.Read more
by Nino Leitner | 22nd March 2016
Hedge for Mac, a new transfer management software was released today. I had a chance to review it and also compare to existing other solutions on the market. Let’s be frank, dealing with data isn’t the sexiest thing to talk about, and most people do drag-and-drop transfers of their footage in the Finder (or Windows Explorer) and assume everything is safe when it’s done. Well, let’s put it this way – first of all, you should never rely on one copy of your data, be it on a normal hard drive or RAID, three is the standard to ensure a proper level of safety backup if things go wrong. Secondly, I am aware that this can be a huge effort simply because of the fact that you have to drag-and-drop one by one and wait until one transfer is done before you can start copying onto the second and then the third drive, because if you did it simultaneously from the same source, it can stall completely and introduce errors into the whole process. Last but not least, you never know if every bit of your data is correctly transferred when using the normal Finder / Explorer copy function. Other transfer management solutions on the market This is exactly where data or transfer management software comes in. Until recently, there weren’t many feasible software solutions available. I have been using ShotPut Pro for a long time now, and I like it. It’s a relatively easy to use software package that enables you to do transfers from one source to up to 5 destinations at once, verified, without clogging up the transfers. The downside of it, at $99, it’s not super cheap for a relatively straightforward tool—and that’s only a single CPU license. Red Giant’s Offload is another simple transfer management tool, too, but it only supports transfers to up to two drives. Offload also does verification and gives you previews of your transferred files. It’s $99 as a standalone product, but also comes as part of the Red Giant Shooter Suite which contains also Pluraleyes, Instant 4K, and Frames. A much more advanced type of transfer management app is Pomfort’s Silverstack, the de-facto standard for digital intermediate technicians on sets, adding much more functionality for organising large amounts of transfers from multiple sources, and now even adding color grading functionality to create preview looks for batches. At $399 for the annual subscription, it’s also the priciest option I know of. The starting screen of Hedge for Mac Hedge for Mac – the new kid on the block In comes Hedge for Mac, a new transfer management software. Hedge for Max version 1.0 was released today, and I had a chance to check it out and try it before its release. It’s by far the simplest tool on the market and it’s extremely intuitive. The interface is very graphical and minimalistic, and that’s a good thing—the last thing you want to deal with on set is a sophisticated interface that confuses you or makes you feel unsure as to whether data has been safely transferred or not. Like the other solutions, Hedge can transfer to multiple destinations at once, but it does that in a very visual way. It shows you progress bars for each transfer. This is very reassuring. Everything is cross-referenced with the original file (checksum verification) too, of course. For extendable workflows, it also has functionality to auto-launch AppleScripts and the like—that makes it extendable and integrable into existing workflows if required (note: I did not test this feature). Reassuring: you always see the status of all your transfers at once. Conclusion There’s not much to say about Hedge for Mac other than it does exactly what it is supposed to, and it works. The interface is its biggest drawing point, especially compared to ShotPut Pro which takes a bit of time of to get used to when you first pick it up (however it’s quite straightforward once you have figured out how it works). Its simplicity is similar to Red Giant Offload, with one big difference: if you only need two destinations, Hedge can be used absolutely free, forever, and that’s pretty nice. Of course nothing prevents you from doing a third and fourth transfer the second time around. However, once you start paying for licensing for Hedge for Mac (to allow for more than two destinations at once), at $15/€15 per month or $150/€150 per year, it’s quite pricey. I honestly also think that a subscription based model works better for a much more complex product like Silverstack, which gains a lot of functionality with every update. I’d rather pay a one-time fee of $50 or $99 for a simple tool like Hedge to get its full functionality permanently, and I’m sure many readers will agree. UPDATE: The people behind Hedge for Mac have heard our (and our reader’s) concerns about their subscription model and they have reacted! It’s now a one-time purchase for €99, but they are offering an introductory price of €59 for cinema5D readers. [Disclaimer: this is not an affiliate link, we do not benefit from any transaction.] Nevertheless, it’s a nice tool and I will use it more frequently on shoots in the future. Its simplicity means that you can explain it to an assistant within minutes and he or she will be able to initiate media offloads on set without creating havoc or losing data—and that’s what matters.Read more
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