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GH1/GH2 Hack


mercer
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@cantsin man I love your posts. I always learn so much from them and see your points. 

My reasoning for getting a GH2 stems from two things really... I want a second camera, but I didn't want to spend a lot on one. I'm loving my 5D3 too much to heavily invest into another system. 

However, as I started watching a lot of the old GH2 videos and then looking at the filmmaker's other works, I started noticing an interesting trend. It seems that a lot of the GH2 filmmakers went one of two ways after upgrading... they either stayed with Panasonic, or they went with BlackMagic. It makes sense since they already owned the M4/3 lenses that one of those two would be a logical upgrade path, but I'm also interested in seeing if a certain patch was predominantly used by the people who went with BM over Panny. Within 6 months to a year, when I have a little more cash to spend, I will probably upgrade to one of the two better options you suggested... a GH4 with an external recorder... or a BM to shoot ProRes with. 

I was very concerned with IBIS and features, so much so, that I was banging my head against the wall. So I have decided to go back to basics and shoot one or two, very small stories with a tripod/Monopod, a slider, a camera, and one lens. There's an acronym in screenwriting called KISS. As you may know, it stands for Keep It Simple Stupid and that's kind of my intention here... rather than throw a ton of money into a bunch of cameras to test, as a second camera, over the next 3-6 months, I'm going back to a legend of the DSLR revolution and see where it leads me. Of course, since I am only a hobbyist, I can indulge myself in these flights of fancy... I am not recommending anything I pursue to others. But I'm looking forward to it. 

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I just received my GH2. The seller told me it was hacked with Sanity X. I have no reason to doubt him, but how do I know if it was hacked? I expected to see some kind of indicator on the LCD or in the menus, but everything looks like normal Panny menus... except for IR on the LCD.

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26 minutes ago, Emanuel said:

Nice your move, man. I like to see people to not neglect old stuff. The art is in your eyes and mind, not in the last technology's missing link.

BTW, how much did you get one?

Thanks, in all honesty I was testing some other cameras for a casual camera and I think the 5D3 may have ruined me. I was ready to just buy an E-M5 Mark ii. Not the best video quality, but it's pretty cheap now and the IBIS is next level good... way better than the GX85.

I figured, as a hybrid, that will do. I wanted to keep the kit simple, so I was looking for one lens and found a great deal on an SLR Magic 35mm 1.4 ii. While looking at videos for that lens, I found this...

And I thought hmm... I never owned a hacked GH1/GH2. I found a ton of videos online and just fell in love with the humble images I was seeing.

It won't take over as my main camera or anything but for fun, experimental films, I figured if I could go back to basics... a camera, a lens, a tripod, a slider... it could  be a good exercise for me... so I found a mint, GH2 hacked for $225 on eBay.

It arrived today and I can't really tell if it was hacked... and just so you know... shaking it repeatedly does not indicate one way or the other. 

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@mercer I think its great you got a GH2, now you just have to go the next small step and take up the Back to the Future challenge™️ to improve your filming and cure you of GAS.  The main challenge is to use the GH2 for a entire year but if that too much to commit to up front then at least 2 months without any thoughts of a new camera purchase -you really don't need that E-M5ii or Canon M6 or D500 :grin: I will be your sponsor if do the challenge, and will join you with my GH3.

I missed the GH2 era and started filming with a GH3, I agree that some newer camera may have a better image with colours, tonality etc but in reality these are small improvements over the GH2/3 and can be overcome with creativity.  Now if your shooting for broadcast or theatre projection then it makes a difference, but for youtube or vimeo I don't think it really makes as much of a difference as we like to think. Some of the colour issues with say the GH3 are mainly due to everyone shooting with all settings at minus 5 and then expecting that slapping a few LUTs on the footage will make it look like an Alexa.   If I look at what I've done mainly as a hobbyist (I do the occasional paid wedding as well), I have been far too distracted by gear and the technical side -60p, then 120p now 240p, 4K (which I only use to get good 1080p, so why not just shoot good 1080p), shooting contrast at -5, then shooting log, so many LUTs I've lost count, big rigs, small rigs, I hate all rigs, monitors, evf's, external recorders, gimbals, sliders, ultra contrast filters, black satin filters, speed boosters and on it goes.  It some ways its refreshing to go back to basics, which was all there was for hobbyists really at the beginning of the DSLR revolution. I suspect that for a new filmmaker or someone who has been distracted by gear, the best advice is to get a decent camera such as a GH2 or GH3, a few good primes, and decent sticks and shoot the crap out of it for at least a year before contemplating any further gear.  Learn to compose, to light, to get good audio, to tell a story, learn to edit and grade. The GH5 looks great but in someways has more options than most of us need, and you can end up spending all of your time testing all of these options rather than being forced to shoot something creative.  If the Watchtower of Turkey was filmed on a GH3, with a 12-35mm and 42.5mm lumix lens, and a tripod, and it has 4.3 million views on Vimeo, then do I really need anything more?

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1 hour ago, mat33 said:

@mercer I think its great you got a GH2, now you just have to go the next small step and take up the Back to the Future challenge™️ to improve your filming and cure you of GAS.  The main challenge is to use the GH2 for a entire year but if that too much to commit to up front then at least 2 months without any thoughts of a new camera purchase -you really don't need that E-M5ii or Canon M6 or D500 :grin: I will be your sponsor if do the challenge, and will join you with my GH3.

I missed the GH2 era and started filming with a GH3, I agree that some newer camera may have a better image with colours, tonality etc but in reality these are small improvements over the GH2/3 and can be overcome with creativity.  Now if your shooting for broadcast or theatre projection then it makes a difference, but for youtube or vimeo I don't think it really makes as much of a difference as we like to think. Some of the colour issues with say the GH3 are mainly due to everyone shooting with all settings at minus 5 and then expecting that slapping a few LUTs on the footage will make it look like an Alexa.   If I look at what I've done mainly as a hobbyist (I do the occasional paid wedding as well), I have been far too distracted by gear and the technical side -60p, then 120p now 240p, 4K (which I only use to get good 1080p, so why not just shoot good 1080p), shooting contrast at -5, then shooting log, so many LUTs I've lost count, big rigs, small rigs, I hate all rigs, monitors, evf's, external recorders, gimbals, sliders, ultra contrast filters, black satin filters, speed boosters and on it goes.  It some ways its refreshing to go back to basics, which was all there was for hobbyists really at the beginning of the DSLR revolution. I suspect that for a new filmmaker or someone who has been distracted by gear, the best advice is to get a decent camera such as a GH2 or GH3, a few good primes, and decent sticks and shoot the crap out of it for at least a year before contemplating any further gear.  Learn to compose, to light, to get good audio, to tell a story, learn to edit and grade. The GH5 looks great but in someways has more options than most of us need, and you can end up spending all of your time testing all of these options rather than being forced to shoot something creative.  If the Watchtower of Turkey was filmed on a GH3, with a 12-35mm and 42.5mm lumix lens, and a tripod, and it has 4.3 million views on Vimeo, then do I really need anything more?

Hey, Mat33. Thanks for the post. And yeah I know I am definitely a victim of GAS and I need help. Ha. But seriously, this was the point in getting the GH2. I'll never be a one camera person. There are just too many options. The 5D3 and ML Raw has made me happier than any other purchase I ever made. My first short film is turning out great, I couldn't be happier. In fact, I had a shoot today and got another scene in the can. 

But being a backyard, no budget, hobbyist filmmaker, for me, means a lot of sacrifices. I can't always schedule the actors when it is conventient because they are donating their time, so a couple weeks may go by between shooting days. I am very lucky to have a good paying job with a flexible schedule. So, I have a lot of down time. In that down time is when I get itchy to test another camera and start smaller scaled projects... and that was the point of the GH2. I was looking for a 2nd camera, but everything I've tested since I started using the 5D3 didn't look good to me. So finally I decided that at least I like the stuff I've seen from the GH2. And I wanted the challenge to go back to basics. This stuff is entirely a hobby for me. I'd love to make a short film and get interest from a producer who wants to turn it into a feature, but I'm not 20 years old and I realize that will most likely not happen. So the GH2 will be the hobby camera to my 5D3 hobby. 

But if you want to start a challenge, I'm in. How about a 5 minute short by the end of the year? I'll use the GH2, and you use the GH3. And if anyone else wants to jump in with an equally old, lower specced camera, then they are welcome to.

Oh yeah, and I pledge not to buy another camera until next year... or never.

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Sounds good, I'm in for the challenge, shall we say a 3 to 5 minute short by the end of the year, and anyone else can join in.

I understand keeping the 5D -it does have a beautiful image.  Kind of crazy you now have two of the legendary amateur cameras, both improved immeasurably by hacking, one from 2010 and one from 2012 and they still hold their own and even exceed (5D raw) cameras that are being released in 2017.

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31 minutes ago, mat33 said:

Sounds good, I'm in for the challenge, shall we say a 3 to 5 minute short by the end of the year, and anyone else can join in.

I understand keeping the 5D -it does have a beautiful image.  Kind of crazy you now have two of the legendary amateur cameras, both improved immeasurably by hacking, one from 2010 and one from 2012 and they still hold their own and even exceed (5D raw) cameras that are being released in 2017.

Sure that sounds good and should we include that if anyone else wants to join, then they at least have to shoot in 1080p? Or do we want to limit this to GH1/GH2/GH3?

Yeah, the 5D3 is just like nothing else I've ever used and it's probably the easiest camera to shoot with and grade. The conversion process can be a little tedious but there are ways around that now. I hope the GH2 is all I think it will be. If not, it's my own fault and I'll have to work on those things I feel are lacking. 

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22 minutes ago, mercer said:

Sure that sounds good and should we include that if anyone else wants to join, then they at least have to shoot in 1080p? Or do we want to limit this to GH1/GH2/GH3?

Yeah, the 5D3 is just like nothing else I've ever used and it's probably the easiest camera to shoot with and grade. The conversion process can be a little tedious but there are ways around that now. I hope the GH2 is all I think it will be. If not, it's my own fault and I'll have to work on those things I feel are lacking. 

 

Would join in.

-Panasonics: GH1,2,3 and G3,5,6 and GF1,2,3 and GM1,5 and GX7.

-Canon DSLRs in h264

-Nikon DSLRs

-Olympus DSLMs

None of the 4K bunch. No fixed lens ones.

-one exception: GX85 in HD mode, because it would be awesome to have a legit short film with it. Plus I might shoot mine with it. Oh well :)

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Here's my humble attempt of trying to even undercut the GH1/GH2 challenge - a video I recorded with a battered Sony PD100 3-chip miniDV camcorder I found for $20 on a fleamarket:

 

Turned out that the tape head adjustment was off, which produced audio drop-outs and made the footage only playable on this particular camera. Decided to keep the drop-outs as they were, making no repair (/crossfade) attempts of the audio track.

In the age of DSLR/mirrorless/big-sensor cameras, a few things are actually great about this camera :

- 3-chip architecture (although the advantages in color fidelity are destroyed by the 4:2:0 DV codec, and there's no digital out to record to an external recorder);
- CCD sensor with no rolling shutter;
- stabilized, parfocal f1.6 10x zoom lens; 
- in-camera ND filter;
- decent in-camera stereo mic;
- smoothly operating autofocus;
- DV intraframe codec with comparably low 1:5 compression ratio and no visible artefacts even when pushing the footage;
- use of Sony L-type batteries; rear mount allows flexible choice of battery size/capacity. With an NP-F970 battery (clone), the camera runs for hours;
- everything in one, small, neat all-in-one package;
- automatic tape backups of all your footage. ;-)

Full manual controls are available but a bit cumbersome to use. Everything was shot hand-held, with the camera on a chestpod originally designed for the Krasnogorsk-3 16mm camera.

Post workflow was as follows:

- All editing & grading in Resolve 12.5; fortunately, Resolve still provides a clip attributes panel in which all the specifics and quirks of the DV format can be quickly adjusted (i.e. desqueezing of the 4:3 non-square PAL or NTSC pixel aspect ratio, deinterlacing of the camera's interlaced footage);
- Decided to (a) ditch the color and go for b/w, (b) denoise all clips with Neat Video, (c) upscale to 1440x1080 and add artificial film grain to mask both denoising and upscaling and give the video a gritty 16mm documentary look; (d) color grade every single clip in the edit with heavy lift/gamma/gain adjustments and red/yellow/green lens filter simulation via color offset adjustment (and desaturation on the final timeline node).- Unfortunately, as always, the grain structure has been partly destroyed by Vimeo's compression.

The trick with such a low-resolution camera of course is to shoot, if possible, only close-ups (mimicking the way Carl Theodor Dreyer shot 'The Passion of Joan of Arc' in 1928) - which I didn't do consequently enough.

- Oh yeah, an extra challenge was the fact that the venue was so crammed with people that I couldn't move with the camera at all, but had to film everything from one single standpoint (except for the cutaways/b-roll shot after the concert).

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45 minutes ago, cantsin said:

Here's my humble attempt of trying to even undercut the GH1/GH2 challenge - a video I recorded with a battered Sony PD100 3-chip miniDV camcorder I found for $20 on a fleamarket:

 

Turned out that the tape head adjustment was off, which produced audio drop-outs and made the footage only playable on this particular camera. Decided to keep the drop-outs as they were, making no repair (/crossfade) attempts of the audio track.

In the age of DSLR/mirrorless/big-sensor cameras, a few things are actually great about this camera :

- 3-chip architecture (although the advantages in color fidelity are destroyed by the 4:2:0 DV codec, and there's no digital out to record to an external recorder);
- CCD sensor with no rolling shutter;
- stabilized, parfocal f1.6 10x zoom lens; 
- in-camera ND filter;
- decent in-camera stereo mic;
- smoothly operating autofocus;
- DV intraframe codec with comparably low 1:5 compression ratio and no visible artefacts even when pushing the footage;
- use of Sony L-type batteries; rear mount allows flexible choice of battery size/capacity. With an NP-F970 battery (clone), the camera runs for hours;
- everything in one, small, neat all-in-one package;
- automatic tape backups of all your footage. ;-)

Full manual controls are available but a bit cumbersome to use. Everything was shot hand-held, with the camera on a chestpod originally designed for the Krasnogorsk-3 16mm camera.

Post workflow was as follows:

- All editing & grading in Resolve 12.5; fortunately, Resolve still provides a clip attributes panel in which all the specifics and quirks of the DV format can be quickly adjusted (i.e. desqueezing of the 4:3 non-square PAL or NTSC pixel aspect ratio, deinterlacing of the camera's interlaced footage);
- Decided to (a) ditch the color and go for b/w, (b) denoise all clips with Neat Video, (c) upscale to 1440x1080 and add artificial film grain to mask both denoising and upscaling and give the video a gritty 16mm documentary look; (d) color grade every single clip in the edit with heavy lift/gamma/gain adjustments and red/yellow/green lens filter simulation via color offset adjustment (and desaturation on the final timeline node).- Unfortunately, as always, the grain structure has been partly destroyed by Vimeo's compression.

The trick with such a low-resolution camera of course is to shoot, if possible, only close-ups (mimicking the way Carl Theodor Dreyer shot 'The Passion of Joan of Arc' in 1928) - which I didn't do consequently enough.

- Oh yeah, an extra challenge was the fact that the venue was so crammed with people that I couldn't move with the camera at all, but had to film everything from one single standpoint (except for the cutaways/b-roll shot after the concert).

Beautiful stuff, mate, wisely shot indeed. Kudos to you, keep going the vibe! Art rules :-)

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1 hour ago, cantsin said:

Here's my humble attempt of trying to even undercut the GH1/GH2 challenge - a video I recorded with a battered Sony PD100 3-chip miniDV camcorder I found for $20 on a fleamarket:

 

Damn, making me miss my favorite DV camera: the DVX100. I may have to come up with a project to shoot on DV. I made a feature film on the DVX back when I was much more of an amateur than I am now. I'm curious what quality/look I could get now that I'm better at lighting and shooting.

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I had originally envisaged keeping it to older cameras like GH1/2/3 to help resist the urge that you need the updated colour/IBIS/4K etc of a newer camera. But its all meant to be fun so not too worried if the GX85 or others are included or not. If they are, they should be shot in 1080p and with the internal 8bit codec-could well be interesting to compare the GX85 1080p to the older cameras.  How about this:

The Back to the Future challenge

-3 to 5 minute short by end of year with as many submissions as you like

-any genre allowed

-No 4K

-All footage to be captured in 1080p and 8bit

-Extra kudos for the older cameras and the less gear that is used

 

 

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6 hours ago, mercer said:

Sure that sounds good and should we include that if anyone else wants to join, then they at least have to shoot in 1080p? Or do we want to limit this to GH1/GH2/GH3?

Yeah, the 5D3 is just like nothing else I've ever used and it's probably the easiest camera to shoot with and grade. The conversion process can be a little tedious but there are ways around that now. I hope the GH2 is all I think it will be. If not, it's my own fault and I'll have to work on those things I feel are lacking. 

The GH2 will have a smaller sweet spot to get the best out of it for sure.  When I got my GH3 I found this to be very useful and it is using the GH2:

 

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Awesome idea, you guys, Matt and Glenn! Perfect little manifesto below. Deal!

We could open a thread for this and for discussing ideas, for questions and support.

You guys would come up with the name and would be posting the manifesto/rules below.

 

I think something like this might sound cool, after it took me 5mins to write it:)

" -- GH2 and friends -- THE ULTIMATE EOSHD GLORIOUS 8bit COLOR shortfilm challenge -- Open til 12-31"

 

 

4 hours ago, mat33 said:

I had originally envisaged keeping it to older cameras like GH1/2/3 to help resist the urge that you need the updated colour/IBIS/4K etc of a newer camera. But its all meant to be fun so not too worried if the GX85 or others are included or not. If they are, they should be shot in 1080p and with the internal 8bit codec-could well be interesting to compare the GX85 1080p to the older cameras.  How about this:

The Back to the Future challenge

-3 to 5 minute short by end of year with as many submissions as you like

-any genre allowed

-No 4K

-All footage to be captured in 1080p and 8bit

-Extra kudos for the older cameras and the less gear that is used

 

 

 

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On 8/1/2017 at 4:45 PM, mercer said:

Keep It Simple Stupid and that's kind of my intention here...  see where it leads me.

Good idea.  Go out there and make something.  Also, there's nothing wrong with shooting non-stabilized handheld footage.  I love IBIS, but I don't always want to use it.  Sometimes you just need that organic energy of handheld.

8 hours ago, cantsin said:

...shoot, if possible, only close-ups (mimicking the way Carl Theodor Dreyer shot 'The Passion of Joan of Arc'

I'm partial to longer focal lengths regardless.  Must be my personality.  Close but keeping my distance, y'know?

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5 hours ago, fuzzynormal said:

Good idea.  Go out there and make something.  Also, there's nothing wrong with shooting non-stabilized handheld footage.  I love IBIS, but I don't always want to use it.  Sometimes you just need that organic energy of handheld.

I'm partial to longer focal lengths regardless.  Must be my personality.  Close but keeping my distance, y'know?

Definitely, but just to be clear, I do actually work on films. I know I'm on here a lot but I've been shooting a film on the 5D3 since April. My problem is I do have GAS and I want more than one camera. So this idea to go old school, as they say, is my way to stop testing every other camera and work on multiple projects... my more "serious" shorts with the 5D3 and some, for lack of better word, impromptu video/shorts with a GH2.

My hands are pretty damn shaky after a pack a day and a few cups of coffee, so I think I am going to go with a Monopod and a mini slider. Of course, last winter, I had some pretty good results with my Benro Monopod, collapsed with the feet open and pressed against my chest. So maybe some kind of shoulder/chest stock will work well, but I'd like to keep the footprint as tiny as possible... Any ideas?

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