Panasonic GH2 – my thoughts

I really think that the GH2 recently announced by Panasonic can be THE digital Cinema camera to shoot on if you are on a budget. Having been recording to HDMI in recent years I can attest that the uncompressed HDMI feed of any camera is vastly superior to the internal codec.

It is still unclear at this time whether the HDMI feed is clean, degraded, frame rate manipulated or not. If it is an unfettered signal then this will be THE DSLR to own. Digital cinema will not be easier.

I have the GH1 and it is the most convenient camera to own I believe. I have the 5D as well and it is cumbersome to take on a trip. The GH1 has interchangeable lenses ( almost any lens ever made works becuase of the short flange distance – just need the right mount ) , small discrete size, large sensor for close to 35 mm depth of field and a great swivel screen.

It has been turned into a beast with the hack but it still has a way to go as far as being visually lossless as I am used to. Next year I will be filming my first feature and I am keeping a close eye on this baby. I believe that Panasonic have hit a home run with this camera.BUT…………………. The PAL version it appears at this stage will not have 25p but 50i. Now if that is true then that sucks big time. The NTSC version may well have 24p and that means that that is the version I am likely to go for on release. 60i with embedded 24p is no problem for most NLEs or indeed HDMI capture rigs that have pulldown removal built in – like my nanoflash.

Panasonic may well have just come up with a camera that can make the independant film-maker truly BIGTIME. Hey Pana – want someone to test the GH2 for you in a music video set? He he he – one can dream.

Well done Panasonic – I have my eye on the AF 100 as well so things are hotting up………………oh yeah!!!!

Scarlet – Where art thou????????????????

Panasonic Lumix GH1 firmware hack on course!!!

Well it was bound to happen at some time. Some clever hacker has proved that Panasonic could have done a better job with the programming of the codec for the GH1. Most people believe that the GH1 could be the pick of the video enabled DSLRs ( even though it isn’t technically a DSLR ). It has an articultaing LCD, interchangeable lens mounts that due to the short flange distance allow for the use of almost any lens ever made, large sensor at Micro 4 thirds that gives a filmic depth of field bla bla bla. Panasonic didn’t have the guts to unleash this baby as a winner and instead chose to cripple the codec. It is so bad that even my SONY HC3 HDV camcorder from FOUR years ago outperforms it!!!!What a shame because it is a simply stunning performer – except the codec………until now!!!!!!!!!! If you own a GH1 get over there and donate so we can free this baby – or at least get Panasonic to give us a decent codec.

Boy a few of us indies were so disappointed that the Matshushita crew didn’t give this baby a robust Canon like codec. Guess who is selling more cams in the indie filmm-aker arena. One hint – it’s not Pana. NAB saw everyone going crazy over DSLR rigs. That was the talk this year. Panasonic announced the GH1 camcorder equivalent called the AF100

At $ 6000 it is not a true indies dream.Okay not a poor indies dream….. It does have my attention because of HDMI and HD-SDI and it is confirmed that they will be live when recording.$5000 more for effectively what is a GH1 with less aliasing and live HDMI – I thought of going that route – until now………………………..My HFS10 with the Nanoflash and SGblade gives me an amazing picture as it is.I have a low light champ in the 5D MArk II and all that is left now is something I can stiuck on a Hague stabiliser for steadycam shots – ie. the GH1 with a good codec….WE MAY BE THERE SOON.

The hack has so far overcome a few issues – MJPEG is now able to record at 24p although frames get skipped. The bit rates have been able to get successfully upped for a few more precious mbps and some uses claim there is no mud to speak of now. It seems very promising.
The 30 minute limit has been overcome for EU PAL camera owners.You need to do the patching yourself and it will no doubt void any warranty so this is not for the faint of heart.

Canon 5D

canon_5d_01 Went around to ASK Electronics here in london off Tottenham Court rd and got myself a Canon 5D Mark II – they had 2 in stock and one without the lens kit.I had been hearing all the rave and hype made about this camera and Vincent Laforette’s shoot a few months ago had me almost shelling out for this camera.The low light performance is insane and the still pictures are unbelievable.I will be taking tons of stuff on this baby during the summer to make my short films and music videos so watch this space and the video section on the main web page.
If you have no idea what the quality of this camera is then go ahead to and check out all the vids made by this baby.It is insane how good it gets.The one bummer was no manual control – and guess what Canon have addressed that with a new firmware.Guess the collective number of voices across the world had forced the hand of the company…… 24p would make this camera a true competitor to the higher end stuff.I am still interested in a GH1 hack to get a direct sensor feed in the Andromeda style that was done to the DVX series of Panasonic cameras.(It is not possible to get any decent live feed from the GH1 HDMI port at this stage so I have abandoned that idea.That would be very interesting to explore.Imagine shooting raw sensor data to a computer with this baby.Rumour has it that an Irish company may well be interested in this mod.Well I am in if this can be pulled off…………..want my deposit?Problem is cannot trace them down.

Uncompressed SD output on G1?

During my search for a solution for the dilemma of the poor codec implemented by Panasonic on the new Lumix GH1,( I tend to be rather particular about video quality ) I have discovered that there is a video on Panasonic’s own website that shows that the G1 (non- video) can possibly output live video out of the AV port.

Check this video of the little non-video G1 cam out guys…..the little brother of the Panasonic Lumix GH1.

Panasonic official video

1 minute 24 seconds.Did you see that????It is connected to an HDTV and I believe it may be via HDMI ( 3 minutes 21 seconds ).It may be composite but I don’t know as it is hard to make out in such a small video.It may well be SD or even HD.Either way – I went to my local Jessops ( a camera shop here in the UK ) to see if I could get it to output a live signal and guess what – nothing.Twice I have tried to do so but failed.But surely this means that the camera is capable of doing this as shown in this video but we know not how.There is no hiding it now is there?The G1 outputs live video…..but Pana may have disabled it for the rest of us.I can see why though – uncompressed HDMI on this little puppy would open up a whole new world of independent film-making for the rest of us.

Edit : Just discovered that it is actually the AV port and it is done by pressing the trash can button for a few seconds.

video 1920×1080 made with Lumix G1 (noooot GH1 !) from Bauern Bua on Vimeo.

Seems like the camera outputs SD to an external monitor.That may not produce a bad picture but it is too small for HD production.Even if it output through the HDMI port it may just be a copy of the LCD display resolution.