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posted by - Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Panasonic is now shipping their single card P2 reader, the AJ-PCD2. This is a must have for anyone who is a P2 camera owner. The device itself is small and very light weight. On the front, you’ll find the single card slot, and on the back there are two USB 2.0 ports. Why two? Well, one is for transferring data and the other is for power. The standard USB port has a limited power output, but with two ports there is enough power for the device to work without a battery or power supply. After downloading the drivers from the Panasonic website, I tested the PCD2 on my MacBook Pro. The device works as advertised without any hitches – gone are the days of the buggy Duel Adapter solution. Unfortunately, USB 2.0 is not as speedy as the ExpressCard interface, but I was able to download a full 32 GB card in about 15 minutes. Transfer speeds may vary depending on the drive you are copying to. I was using an external RAID 0 drive connected with FireWire 800. I also tested the PCD2 on a PC laptop running Windows XP, with very similar results and no headaches at all.

Panasonic also released a new AVC-Intra encoder plugin for Apple’s Compressor. This plugin allows Compressor to export video files encoded in the AVC-Intra codec. AVC-Intra is a high quality compression, and with Final Cut Pro 7, it is supported natively. So with this new export option, AVC-Intra can be used as a high quality deliverable at a relatively low data rate. The Compressor utility allows for files to be created in QuickTime format or in original P2 format. In P2 format, the video can be transferred back to a P2 card using a devices like the PCD2, PCD20 or PCD35, and metadata can be entered. While a P2 card is far from a common deliverable, productions and news networks that have adopted P2 will greatly appreciate the new option. Download the new plugin here. Note: Final Cut Studio 3 is required.

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