Just got word that a new version of P2 Flow — version 1.2 — is nearing its public release. In case you haven’t heard of P2 Flow, it’s a great utility that lets you easily add or edit metadata after you shoot your footage, but before editing and archiving it.
P2 Flow can open any footage from a P2 card or a hard drive. Then, it lets you manually edit the metadata fields of a single clip, or make batch changes to multiple clips. For instance, it takes about two seconds to give all loaded clips the same Program Title (like “Silver Eagle” in my screen shot example). Likewise, it takes about five seconds to select a group of clips, and assign them the same Location field (ie, San Francisco), then select a different group of clips and give them a different Location (Oakland).
This metadata can be read by any software that works with P2 metadata—for instance, Avid Media Composer or Final Cut Server. Final Cut Pro, strangely enough, doesn’t yet support all the fields that correlate to P2’s metadata, but if you use a program called MXF Import QT (also from P2 Flow’s developer), you can map the metadata into 4 clip comment text fields that Final Cut does support. More on that a bit later.
P2 Flow has other cool tricks: you can also add multiple text-annotated markers to any clip, making P2 Flow a good logging app that doesn’t require a crew member to have a full-blown copy of your editing software on their computer. And you can create a “Virtual Tape” that takes all your clips and creates a single QuickTime reference file (like a linear tape,) so you can watch all your content without opening file after file.
The software has been out since summer ‘09, but its developers have been polishing it further. Example: the upcoming version 1.2 lets you export time-coded, meta-data’d proxy videos of your footage directly to Apple’s Compressor and Elgato’s Turbo.264 HD USB encoding accelerator.
I’ll write more on P2 Flow 1.2 a bit later, but if you’re interested in the idea of searchable metadata that follows your footage no matter where it goes (ie, into a video editor, into an archive database, etc.), then P2 Flow is definitely worth a look.