The best $33 you will ever spend if you work with Panasonic P2 footage. And I mean it. Anders Holck (the author of the greatest companion tool to FCP…FCP RESCUE) has really outdone himself here.

First off let me describe what it does, then let me tell you how it came to the rescue. In a HUGE way.

P2 Genie is a small software application that automates importing footage from a P2 card. You can have it set on automatic, where once a P2 volume is detected it just goes off and does what it does, or manual mode where you press a button to make ti do what it does.

What does it do? It will automatically create folders on the backup drive you choose, and use a basic naming scheme that you set. Like B001 for B-camera, and C001 for C camera, and so on. Then it will erase the card after it verifies the transfer. You can have it transfer the footage to multiple backup drives, if you are that paranoid. It will do this automatically when you insert the card, or at the press of one button. It is pretty slick.

Normally I’d pre-make folders before the shoot, and name them and get them ready for copying. Then when I copied the footage I’d label the folder in RED to know that that folder is full. A small amount of work, but time that could be spent doing other things. The P2 Genie automates this process and makes it all painless.

Now, how did it save us? Well, first I direct you to this discussion thread at the Creative Cow: P2 Transfer Speeds to a G5

Offloading a P2 card to the P2 Store takes about a GB a minute. That is the general rule. Same thing if you copied footage from a P2 card to an external firewire drive using a G4 Powerbook or PC Laptop. But a few people were experiencing very low transfer speeds when backing up the P2 Store to an external drive at the end of the night. Like 20 min for 4GB. That was definately not right. Initially (last year at this time) when we did the transfer, we noted that this was slow as well, but not as slow as this gentleman noted. But then last weekend on a shoot my producer noted that the transfer times were VERY slow. As slow as pointed out on that thread…20 min for 4GB. What was going on?

Well, not wanting to hang around for that, my producer decided to use the P2 Genie that I recommended and have it automate things. Take each of the 16 NO_NAME partitions and create new folders and copy the footage over to those folders. All overnight.

But then he noticed something. The transfer seemed to be happening much faster. And I mean MUCH faster. The P2 Genie was transferring the footage at the rate of 2-5 min per partition…because the amount of footage in each varied. But still, 5 min for a 4GB transfer. That is what we had grown to expect….and we were now getting it.

Why? I dunno. He tried one by one manually and it wanted to take 15 min. He used the P2 Genie and it took 4 min.

What magical thing did Anders do THIS time?

Anders, if you read this…you are a frickin’ GENIUS! And I mean that. Hats off to you. I hope you make LOADS of money off this application. To make up for FCP Rescue that you gave us all for free.

Guys…If you shoot with the Panasonic P2 camera, support Anders and buy P2 Genie. And please, test it with the Firestore. We don’t have one and I would love to know how it does with that. Just make sure you prepare the footage as Panasonic P2 on the Firestore first. Don’t forget that.