I am importing a bunch of P2 footage shot with the HVX-200 for ANDREW JACKSON and I thought I’d take the time to update my P2 workflow tutorial at the Creative Cow. The import option for Panasonic P2 has changed now, you see. It used to be you’d only see a picture of the first frame of the clip, and then get the option to IMPORT one clip, or IMPORT ALL of them. But with the release of FCP 5.1.2, not only did they add support for PAL formats of DVCPRO HD, but they also modified the P2 Import window and added some new features. Very HANDY features like the ability to watch the clip BEFORE you import it, the ability to mark IN and OUT to get only what you want, the ability to name the clip something other than the arbitrary number that the HVX-200 assigns to the clips…tons of new stuff.

But somehow in doing that, they broke the basic function of that importer…the ability to import the footage.

Now I had read on the various forums I frequent that people were having issues importing footage with this tool. I mean a LOT of people. Initially I chalked it up to user error…inexperience with the format. After all, people had problems with the first version. And I never had one problem. So they were doing something wrong and I was doing it right (yeah, I get a little full of myself sometimes). So when this issue occurred I thought the same was true…user error. I didn’t have any footage to test it, however, until now.

So here I am, in the middle of a tutorial and I a getting error after error. 4 out of 14 clips import. The others didn’t because, according to the import window, they were corrupt. Really? I can see them in the P2 viewer and play them and do all sorts of things. They are corrupt? That can’t be. So I go back to a previous version of FCP that I have installed on my system as well, FCP 5.1.1 (read why I do this here: VERSIONS.

So I open FCP 5.1.1 and encounter the familiar Import window, navigate to the CONTENTS folder with the “corrupt” clips and promptly import all of them…without a hitch. I proceed to do the rest (31 cards in total) with only one “failed to import” error, that was easily rectified by importing that clip on it’s own (sometimes this happens when you IMPORT ALL. The solution then is to import this problem clips individually). Practically flawless.

What is it with Apple? They take a perfectly good WORKING importer and add a bunch of bells and whistles…and now it doesn’t perform its basic function. People complained that there wasn’t a way to preview the footage before they imported it, that they couldn’t only import sections that they wanted, that they had to import with the inane naming structure that the HVX records the clips with. So Apple addressed those issues and came up with what LOOKS like an elegant solution. But, it doesn’t work. It is like the prototype car at a car show. Looks really neat, but doesn’t really work just yet.

I wouldn’t recommend marking an IN and OUT and only importing part of the clip anyway. Or changing the name from the one the camera assigns. Because if you happen to lose that imported file (drive dies in a blaze of glory) then you cannot reimport that clips and have it relink because you can’t get the same IN and OUT points, or you don’t know the original name of the clips that you renamed. I always recommend importing them with the names, then naming them in FCP, but keep the original name at the tail, so that you can link to the original file in case your drive does commit suicide.

ANYWAY, it was really frustrating and I was looking forward to the new interface and to updating the P2 workflow tutorial (P2 Workflow) But it looks like it isn’t to be.

Ah well.