RUTHERFORD, N.J.—TNS Productions is a production and post-production company that has been in business since 1990, producing a wide range of projects for the broadcast, commercial, and industrial sectors. For the last 16 years, I have primarily worked as a Digital Imaging Technician, and production and post-production workflow consultant.
I recently had an assignment as DIT on “Crash and Burn,” a pilot for ABC. Director of Photography Martin Ahlgren shot the show during a 16-day shoot last summer with Panasonic 4K cinema cameras: two VariCam 35s and one VariCam LT.
I knew that we were going to be shooting a lot of footage from two to three cameras and, since—in addition to my DIT duties I was also going to be responsible for the data management—I wanted to be able to download at the fastest possible rate.
Enter the Panasonic AU-XPD3 expressP2 Memory Card Drive. In initial testing of the XPD3, I was able to download a 512 GB card to a LaCie Porsche 2 TB TB3 SSD at 10 Gbps drag and drop, 7:42 minutes, with xxHash validation in about 20 minutes. That equals 200-plus minutes of 4K 4:2:2 at 23.98fps. That is amazing speed.
The XPD3 is the industry’s fastest offload device, equipped with a Thunderbolt3 interface twice as fast as Thunderbolt2 and eight times faster than USB 3.0. Users are able to daisy chain up to six XPD3 units to allow simultaneous multiple offloads, which can be a critical time-saver for multicamera productions. Designed for optimal performance with Panasonic’s expressP2 B series cards, the XPD3 delivers single-drive performance of 10 Gpbs and daisy-chain performance of 17.6 Gbps.
As it turned out, for “Crash and Burn,” the network provided us with somewhat slower target drives. So while we weren’t able to take full advantage of the fast throughput of the XPD3 and ended up shooting 4K 4:4:4, the increased speed of the XPD3 over any other reader still gave me the ability to keep up with the production’s demanding data workflow.
The Thunderbolt3 connectivity of the XPD3 combined with Thunderbolt3 drives gives you a download speed that is unbelievably fast. It is an absolute necessity in this 4K world where we are shooting with multiple cameras and rolling a huge amount of footage.
As Thunderbolt3 drives and Thunderbolt3 RAIDs are becoming increasingly more affordable, to have a card reader that can give you the kind of throughput that the XPD3 provides is really crucial. I can’t imagine doing a 4K job without the XPD3.
Lewis Rothenberg is the Digital Imaging Technician for TNS Productions in Rutherford, N.J. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information about Panasonic professional video products, visit http://business.panasonic.com/products-professionalvideo or contact Panasonic at 877-803-8492.