Panasonic MSU10 Ramps Up P2 Production

Panasonic P2 camcorders capture action at the Scott Firefighter Combat Challenge. Photo by Cameron Foard
CLEARWATER, FLA.—For the past several years, I've specialized in covering turnkey sports entertainment shows. Last spring, I retired my old tape-based DV camera and traded up to HD and solid-state shooting with Panasonic's AG-HPX370 P2 HD shoulder-mount camcorder.

I was recently hired by Goin' Mobile Entertainment as technical manager and lead cameraman on a four-day shoot covering the Scott Firefighter Combat Challenge. This footage was to serve as the basis for an HD documentary, "The Challenge."

The annual event attracts hundreds of U.S. and international municipal fire departments, encourages firefighter fitness and demonstrates the profession's rigors to the public. The documentary focuses on the firefighter competition, along with in-depth interviews with many of the firefighters.

This was a multi-camera shoot that involved shooting handheld with two HPX370s, an AG-HPX300 on a jib and six fixed-lens POV cameras. We had three P2 cards for each of the three P2 HD shoulder-mounts, and shot in 1080/60i, utilizing the highest quality, AVC-Intra 100 codec.


During the course of the four days (two days of shooting B-roll, followed by the two-day final competition), we captured some 20 hours of high-definition footage, with most of this shot continuously due to the fast pace of the competition. I quickly found out that the off-loading of video during this live event was a bigger job than my own single-slot P2 memory card drive could handle.

Luckily, we were able to add Panasonic's new AG-MSU10 P2 media storage unit to our production tools. The MSU10 is a lightweight mobile workflow device that simplifies the process of backing-up P2 content. It provides a rapid and stable transfer of data and the compact unit expedites the editing process and removes the need for computers or larger, more expensive appliances in the field, and can quickly free up P2 cards for additional shooting requirements.

We required maximum speed on this shoot, and the MSU10 ably facilitated that. The unit worked flawlessly, and we never once had to wait for P2 cards to be off-loaded.


Panasonic offers the MSU10 with either a 256 GB solid-state drive or 500 GB hard disk drive. We opted for the latter, as it's readily inexpensive and available off-the-shelf at electronics stores.

Content was transferred from a P2 card to the drive at four times real time, which meant we could off-load a 64 GB P2 card in less than 15 minutes.

The MSU10 features simple one-touch operation that made it very intuitive for our young digital wrangler. We also took advantage of the P2 thumbnail display for confidence and metadata review.

The bottom line is that the MSU10 meant we didn't have to rent additional P2 cards. This was a streamlined production that prized cost-effectiveness as highly as it did speed. Even though we operated on a restricted budget, due to the superb image production of the P2 HD camcorders and the sleek efficiency of a field appliance like the MSU10, we were able to produce a network-quality show.

Michael Fowler is a two-time Emmy-Award winning videographer whose professional broadcast career has spanned more than 25 years. He may be contacted at

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