View Full Version : GH1 to Broadcast HD workflow

Nik Manning
06-26-2009, 11:02 AM
Hello, I am thinking of producing a small tv show that is similar in style to Street Fury and Wild On! to be shown in HD on a cable network.

Mostly TV show will consist of interviews of 1-4 people in various locations, some concert footage, nightclub footage, b-roll, motion graphics elements.

I am looking for a camera that is light and easy to use. I am seriously looking at these new cameras because of there low light abilities compared to the 1/3 chip cameras.

I am looking for recommendations on what modes to shoot in for final deliverable being HD.

All editing will be done on a macbook pro 2.4 ghz. I am seriously considering shooting in the jpeg mode at 720p30. Editing can be done on Final Cut Pro or Adobe Premiere.

There will be a 1 host, 1 camera man, and 1 other whatever is needed guy. The additional gear will be 1 light tripod, small simple lighting, and audio equipment.

Any info or techniques appreciated.

06-28-2009, 05:25 PM
Why use 720, 30p MJPEG?

From all accounts 720, 60p AVCHD is the sweet spot on this camera, minimizing jello and not suffering so much from the "mud" of 1080. Also, with 720 60p, you have more options. You can easily convert to 30p or 24p.

Nik Manning
06-28-2009, 09:23 PM
I was thinking 720p30 would be a lot easier to edit.

Kevin I
06-28-2009, 10:27 PM
I played around with different shooting modes, and the 720p30 is definitely easier on my computer during editing and playback.

I haven't noticed it personally, but one review I read also claims that the camera autofocuses faster when shooting MJPEG versus AVCHD. Perhaps due to less strain on the camera's CPU during capture?

But because of the codec differences, you get only a little more than half the recording time on 720p30 MJPEG versus 720p60 AVCHD. The manual states that a 16GB card will give 67 minutes of 720p30 MJPEG versus 120 minutes for 720p60 AVCHD.

I'm not sure if this will be an issue for you or not, I figure it's worth a mention:
720p30 MJPEG really is 30 frames per second (computer), not 29.97 (NTSC TV).

So if you're trying to go to an NTSC signal at 29.97fps then you may have some issues with timing or conversion on final output.

On the other hand 720p60 AVCHD is 59.94 so it conforms to regular TV standards.

06-29-2009, 03:57 AM
Why use 720, 30p MJPEG?
The only real benefits to this mode are simpler editing, and absolutely "mud" free. 720/60p is more "mud"-resistant, but it can still be made to happen. But MJPG is an intraframe codec and therefore inherently immune to any manner of mud effect.

06-29-2009, 03:59 AM
I haven't noticed it personally, but one review I read also claims that the camera autofocuses faster when shooting MJPEG versus AVCHD. Perhaps due to less strain on the camera's CPU during capture?
I haven't taken time to verify this, but on the surface this seems completely counterintuitive. The single most important factor in autofocus performance is the sensor refresh rate; the slower the sensor, the fewer updates the autofocus engine receives, the worse it performs.

Kevin I
06-29-2009, 04:43 AM
Found the review that I referred to previously.

Scroll down to the second paragraph in the " Panasonic GH1 Live Autofocus Performance" section. It reads:

"The camera clearly had a harder time tracking subject motion when it was recording in AVCHD format, and particularly at the FHD quality setting (1,920 x 1,080i pixel resolution). The GH1's autofocus seemed to have little trouble tracking moving subjects when recording at any resolution in Motion JPEG mode, but its response slowed slightly when we switched to AVCHD mode, at any of the 720p quality settings. When we stepped up to 1080i ("FHD") mode, focus response slowed very noticeably."

I haven't bothered to test this myself since I tend to shoot scenes without a lot of moving subjects and/or shoot with manual focus.

06-29-2009, 04:46 AM
Focus response should slow tremendously when in FHD mode, not because it's AVCHD, but because it's 24fps. 24 is the slowest frame rate it runs at.

Again, at some point I should test it, but I would expect 720/60p AVCHD to be far and away the best mode for autofocus, and 1080/24p AVCHD to be the worst.

06-29-2009, 07:24 AM
I don't know how you can shoot 720p30, I thought it always recorded 60 ips even when the shutter speed is not fast enough by duplicating frames

06-29-2009, 08:07 AM
720/30p is all that the MJPG mode will do.

In AVCHD you can get 720/60p @ 30fps by choosing a shutter speed >= 1/30 and slower than 1/60.

06-29-2009, 10:41 AM
it's mind boggling that panasonic would try to state that this camera is marketed toward consumers and people mostly interested in shooting their kids birthday parties and vacations, the workflow is so damn complex to get a clean image and there are so many do's and dont's, it would only frustrate the average consumer... myself included

06-29-2009, 11:47 AM
It's true the fact that the is 30fps and not 29.97 there may be some audio sync issues when mastering for broadcast TV. Also, if your show is primarily interviews, be aware that the audio recording capability of these cameras is fairly weak. Rather than having good, balanced XLR inputs with full manual gain control, you have a mini-jack input with automatic gain control. You either need to attach a device like a Beachtek, which is a workaround, or do a double-system approach where you have a separate device recording the sound. In which case, again, syncing the audio to a 30fps file may cause problems when you need 29.97fps.

Other than that, I love the MJPEG 30fps. It's Mac friendly, and seems to produce a better image for me than AVCHD, perhaps because recording half as many frames at a higher bitrate that isn't interframe yields better results.

Anyway, I know this is heresy to say, but I'm beginning to like the look of 30p. 24p is great and all, and 60p has that hyper-real video look, but 30p seems to have the best of both worlds. A slightly dreamy, filmic quality, but a bit more creamy in the motion department...and it divides evenly in regards to TV displays of 60Hz and 120Hz. Call me crazy, but I think I might start making my films in 30p.

Dalton Boettcher
06-29-2009, 12:52 PM
Call me crazy

You're crazy. Approaching Roger Ebert Crazy (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maxivision). :Drogar-BigGrin(DBG)

07-02-2009, 08:33 AM
OK, first forum post. Ever. Don't get me wrong, I'm getting this camera. Every little thing about it is great. To put any glass in front of a pretty decent sensor, be incognito and get this kind of result for the price is great. I'm planning on using it on a motion control rig (timelapse), and maybe picking up B-roll when I'm on a shoot. Here's the BIG BUT: If you use this as a show cam, you will cry. You will be disappointed. Your editor will hate you (even if you're your editor). Whichever network you pitch to will want tapes, and your going to spend all your money on tape transfers if hard drive is off the table. If the camera shuts off/ loses power, your footage is gone. I've had lenses, mounts, tape chassis, P2 cards and zoom rings break all over the world, and have a rough time getting a show out the door with 1 cam down and 2 up. Again, I love this little camera, it will have a real place in DIY community and on shows like mine, and I'm sure some of my footage from it will air, but proper sound, timecode and DEDICATED EQUIPMENT are what an intelligible show make. If it's about the money, buy a DVX100 (seriously) make the spec in SD, get picked up and get 1 EX3 and give your AP a GH1.