Wednesday, August 11, 2010

GH1 Hacked Experience (so far)

So nowadays we're shooting on the Panasonic GH-1. It's a cool little camera, and it's right this minute the only one of the DSLR's which can autofocus effectively while shooting in movie mode.

We set that bad boy to "nostalgic" film mode to cut out all the detail processing the camera will do. And the camera has been hacked to shoot Earthkiller (it was just a straight-up stock GH1 on Day 2 though.)

So we're shooting at... uh... 32Mb/s or some such. Actually, as far as I can tell the bit rate is variable. But we're shooting at the level of what the Internet (and the DVXuser folks) think of as the "safe hack" data rate.

We're using Neoscene to turn the footage from those weird .mts files into ProRes Quicktimes.

Now question number one is: can I tell a difference between the hacked GH1 and the stock GH1?

And the answer is: uh... not really. I see the countdown of remaining minutes and seconds go a lot faster. And... that's about it. I'm sure it's somehow better, and we might find that some composites and such go a lot quicker and smoother. Maybe my blacks are more solid? I don't know. There's certainly little I can say negative about the hack. I mean, except that it sure uses more space on the SD cards.

But the complaining from pro circles about the GH1 has certainly been reduced with the increase of the data rate. The two issues with the camera now are the "jellocam" and the fact the stock lens is an f4.0 at best. Yeah, I'd love that lens to be at least a 2.0 for all focal lengths. But I also want a unicorn with wings and all the ice cream I can eat without making me fat.

But getting back to the "jellocam". I've shot a lot of handheld with the GH1. I'm halfway through my second feature and we're doing well over 90% hand held. I should probably go into how we're doing that on another post. But the jellocam hasn't been a problem with handheld fight scenes, running up and down roads and corridors, whip pans, nowhere.

Yup. I just don't have jellocam problems... except...

Except when shooting outside, hand held, in the wind. Oddly enough, this has been Maduka's experience with the camera too. When you're doing hand-held and you're being buffeted by wind, the top and bottom of the frame smear like crazy, baby.

Now most of those shots where you get blown sideways by the wind are really not good for picture anyway. But the image turning to jelly is not that awesome a thing to look at. It kind of sucks actually. Not only do you lose the level-ness of your horizon, but the whole world smears like you're mixing scotch and lysergic acid.

So if you're outside in the wind, get some sticks.

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