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    A Guide To Setting Your GH1/GH2 Up For Video
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    Senior Member Ben_B's Avatar
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    New update, some basic GH2 setup, though a lot of the GH1 stuff holds true:

    GH2 Setup

    First step for configuring your new GH2 for video shooting is to set the dial to Creative Movie Mode, the mode on the main dial on the top of the camera with a picture of a motion-picture film camera and the letter M, between C3 and SCN.

    The GH2 will use different menus based on the context of what mode this dial is in, so it's important to set it to this.

    The GH2 shoots its highest quality video in the 1080/24p Cinema mode (not to be confused with the Cinema picture profile.) This mode can be accessed by selecting the middle option (24P CINEMA) from the first menu (the same logo as Creative Movie mode on the dial, the camera with the M) whilst in creative movie mode. The menu can be accessed by hitting the Menu/Set key in the middle of the D-pad. In order to set the GH2 to 24P CINEMA, move over it with the D-pad, and then press the center button. You could also select MANUAL MOVIE MODE if you want to shoot in 720/60p, 1080/60i, or another format, but 24P CINEMA mode will offer you the highest quality recording, with the highest available bitrates, and best implementation of the AVCHD codec.

    On the next menu down, the MOTION PICTURE menu, with the logo that looks like a motion-picutre camera (with no M) the first setting you will want to configure is REC QUALITY.

    Set REC QUALITY to 24H (I believe 24L is the default.) This is the highest quality option. If you picked MANUAL MOVIE MODE instead of 24P CINEMA this is where you will select things like 720/60p, 1080/60i, etc. The option above this one is where you can switch between MJPEG and AVCHD in MMM.

    Set EXPOSURE MODE to M to allow for control of aperture and shutter during video. This is perhaps the most important setting in the menu, and is often missed by new users.

    CONTINUOUS AF can be set to either on or off. This determines whether or not a compatible lens (most m4/3 and 4/3rds lenses I believe) wil auto-focus continually during video recording (always seeking focus without input from the user) when the camera is set to auto-focus mode, or whether they will only focus when the shutter button is depressed halfway.

    I.DYNAMIC allows you to extend the dynamic range (range of what is properly exposed) of a shot by allowing the camera to boost visual gain (making the image brighter but adding noise) in darker areas exclusively. The default setting is OFF and it should only be turned on in specific situations as they demand it. In lowlight having I.DYNAMIC on can drastically reduce your image quality. There are multiple levels, and it can be accessed from the Q. Menu later.

    When WINDCUT is ON the camera will try to cut out wind-noise on the internal mics, it is probably best to leave this off as anything it can do in the camera you can do in post later.

    MIC LEVEL DISP. should be set to ON unless you really don't care anything about the audio coming off of the camera. Even in that situation it's good to have it ON so you at least know your cameras mic is not broken and that you'll be able to sync your sound without a visual clap. Also, to impress your Canon friends whose cameras don't do that.

    MIC LEVEL ADJ determines the volume at which the microphone (internal or connected through 2.5mm jack) records. I've noticed the GH2 tends to be a little "hot" so I leave this on LEVEL 1. Your mileage may vary.

    EX. TELE CONV records 1080p off one part of the sensor and zooms in about 4x. It doesn't degrade the image in video mode like digital zoom does (leave that option off) but might not work so well with soft lenses and wide apertures. You might find yourself using this option quite often, and it's a pretty awesome feature unique to the GH2. I have it set to one of my programmable function buttons and I suggest you do the same, it's kind of a pain to menu-dig for it.

    REC HIGHLIGHT enables an effect similar to "zebra" on conventional pro and prosumer camcorders. It flashes black on the areas that are overexposed. It works even while recording (but don't worry it won't show up on the recorded image.) This is a very useful feature but can also be distracting...I do not believe this feature can be mapped to a function button at this time, which is unfortunate because it'd be nice to turn it on and off as needed more quickly.

    So, that should tell you most of what you need to know about getting your GH2 set up for video. For more information skim through the GH1 section, it covers things like Film Modes, etc, most of which still holds true for the GH2. I will look into adding more specific GH2 sections and reorganizing this whole post in the near future, but for now this should be enough to help all you new GH2 users out there.

    GH1 Setup

    I noticed a lot of people are having problems when they haven't gone through the menu the first time they get their cameras and set the camera up to actually shoot video. Here is a quick rundown. The most important setting of all, in my opinion, in here is #3 on the first set.

    First, turn the camera to the "Creative Movie" mode, with a symbol that looks like a motion picture camera to the left of the letter M. This is the mode you will shoot most of your videos in and it is the mode you will use to access and change these menu settings the first time. You should probably also set your focus dial on the top left of the camera to MF, that is what most of us use for video, but the kit lens will work with the AFS and AFC options as well.

    Click the center button on the D-Pad to access the menu.

    Access the top menu, the icon that looks like a motion picture camera.

    1. Make sure the record mode is set to AVCHD (the icon that looks like a motion picture camera.) The other option here is Motion JPEG, the icon that looks like a strip of film. Most people on this forum prefer to shoot AVCHD, which is how you enable the camera's 1080/24p and 720/60p modes. For PAL cameras these options are 1080/25p and 720/50p. Motion JPEG is 720/30p and will fill up your memory card much faster than AVCHD. With the edition of the GH13 firmware hack Motion JPEG is now a viable shooting option, capable of very high bitrates and 4:2:2 color. However, it is still limited to 720/30p, and will fill up your memory card very quickly (even more so with higher bitrates.)

    2. Next, on record quality, select the quality you want. FHD is 1080/24p, and SH is 720/60p, or 25p and 50p with PAL cameras. These are likely the only too options you will ever need to use. Be aware that shooting FHD requires the removal of pulldown in post, there are many other threads on this.

    3. Now, an IMPORTANT one. Exposure Mode. Set exposure mode to M. This is extremely important as it will allow you to control things like ISO, Aperture, and shutter speed manually when shooting video.

    4. Make sure i.EXPOSURE, Digital Zoom, and Wind Cut are set to OFF. You can have wind cut on if you like but you might get more inconsistent audio in non-windy conditions. i.Exposure is sort of a digital gain dynamic range extender feature that can be turned on (there are three settings, high, medium, and low) to boost digital gain (ISO) only in dark areas without blowing highlights, etc. However, it can introduce exposure shifts if there is movement in the shot, and the results it produces can be less than ideal as gain degrades image quality. However, in a pinch, it can be quite useful...just know what you're getting into. In low-light it doesn't work so well, and for general shooting the correct setting is OFF.

    Access the next menu down. The "c" with a wrench next to it.

    1. Set your LCD and LVF display styles. This is mostly a matter of preference, it affects how big the preview is and where it puts items on the screen.

    2. I usually turn LVF/LCD auto to OFF, because I've found you will accidentally turn your LCD off all the time when shooting by moving your hand or something in front of the viewfinder. You can always toggle with the button or by closing the LCD.

    3. Turn Histogram to ON. This enables a live histogram that you can position on the screen (I prefer bottom right.) This is very important for getting proper exposure, and works even while shooting video, a great feature. Although the histogram icon is semi-transparent to allow for monitoring of the image, sometimes things can hide in there, so be sure to keep an eye out for things like camera reflections, the edge of a strap, etc, when shooting with the histogram on, because they might be hiding in the histogram.

    4. I like to turn off MF assist because I find it gets annoying having it automatically triggered by the kit lens. You can still access it by hitting left on the D-Pad while in MF mode, which I do a lot.

    5. Make sure the record button is set to ON. It should show that same motion picture camera icon and say button.

    6. Lastly for this menu, turn ON Shoot W/O Lens. This will enable you to use manual lenses with adaptors on the camera. You might not have any now, but you probably will later, so turn this on now, it won't affect anything negatively.

    Go to the next menu down, a wrench.

    1. Set your Fn Button set (down on the D-Pad) to the choice of your preference, I usually do exposure mode or guide line, and set your Economy setting to your preference, I usually use Auto LCD off OFF and Power Save 5 MIN. The camera can easily get left on on set, or turned on in your bag, so power save is important. Be aware that when using Focus-by-wire lenses (such as the kit lens and the 20mm pancake) your focus may reset when the camera turns off! If you are using auto-off or turning the camera off between takes make sure you remember to refocus.

    2. Turn your Beep to OFF (speaker with an X through it) if you like. I do, because I don't want the chance that a beep from autofocus or from something else will wreck m shot.

    3. There are some other options here, HDMI mode, etc, that can be tweaked to your personal preference.

    That's it! You've configured your GH1 for video shooting. If you have any questions about any functions listed or omitted here, consult your manual.

    Once you're done you can set film mode options to be optimized for video and get a better dynamic range. There are many threads on this. By hitting the film mode button on the top you can set the modes. My personal preference is Normal mode (mapped to My Film 1) with Contrast -2, Sharpness +1, NR -2, and Saturation +/- 0. This gives a nice dynamic range. It makes things a little washed out looking but you can fix that in post. Other people on the forum prefer the Smooth or Nostalgic modes to try and squeeze out a little more dynamic range, but I feel that normal looks the best and has a nice balance.

    Be aware that trying for a flat picture profile can aggravate the "banding" artifact in low light conditions. It may be prudent to increase contrast in these conditions to reduce banding, but do whatever looks best for your particular situation.
    Last edited by Ben_B; 12-22-2010 at 03:35 PM. Reason: added GH2


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    #2
    Senior Member Martti Ekstrand's Avatar
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    I second the idea to make this a sticky - however you should add the difference between NTSC and PAL models. There are quite a number of non-US visitors here. I've highlight the relevant chances.

    1. Make sure the record mode is set to AVCHD (the icon that looks like a motion picture camera.) The other option here is Motion JPEG, the icon that looks like a strip of film. Most people on this forum prefer to shoot AVCHD, which is how you enable the camera's 1080/24p and 720/60p (NTSC model) - 1080/25p and 720/50p (PAL model) modes.

    2. Next, on record quality, select the quality you want. FHD is 1080 and SH is 720. These are likely the only too options you will ever need to use. Be aware that shooting FHD requires the removal of pulldown in post, there are many other threads on this.


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    #3
    Senior Member Essami's Avatar
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    Sticky seconded and Martti's suggestions seconded ;)

    Sami
    Sony FS700 + O7Q+, Bolex 16mm, Canon 1014XL-S super8.

    Visit my site: www.samisanpakkila.com


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    #4
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    Why on Earth should one shooter's OPINION become a sticky?

    Here's what should be a sticky:

    Ready the freaking manual and shoot whichever way works best for you personally. ;)
    hierarchy films

    "I am looking for a cinematic approach that will display more angles and creative sweeping movements more like a music video.
    I also want a video that will have a soundtrack that will set the theme of my wedding production and the end result is more dramatic.
    Can you offer me this in your video, if so then I will book too! Also can you work with budgets?"



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    #5
    Senior Member Ben_B's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by swyzlstyx View Post
    Why on Earth should one shooter's OPINION become a sticky?

    Here's what should be a sticky:

    Ready the freaking manual and shoot whichever way works best for you personally. ;)
    Most of the content here is fact and is necessary (exposure mode for example) to shoot video. The reason why some of it is listed as opinion is to clearly differentiate opinion from fact to avoid confusion.


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    Thanks for taking the time to post this info!


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    Yes thanks Ben, and I agree- sticky.

    Or perhaps retitle it to " GH1 set-up for shooting video: suggested best practices". That way a number of similar, excellent posts concerning set up and possible film mode options could be gathered or linked.

    Or maybe film mode posts should have their own sticky? In any case, thanks to all on this board who have shared their knowlege and experience!


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    Manuals don't tell you everything. For example using I-Exposure can cause issues when shooting at night.


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    I've been thinking of something similar relating to exposure.

    1 - Set the camera to creative motion picture mode, manual, as described in the first post.

    2 - Set ISO. Big numbers are for use in lower light conditions and interiors but give more noisy/grainy results. Low numbers are good for outdoors and for lower noise results.

    3 - Set aperture. This affects depth of field of the image. A high number means what's close and what is further away will all be focussed. A low number means that only a narrow range (front to back) will be in focus and that's good for isolating the item of interest relative to the background.

    4 - Set shutter speed - normally 50 for PAL, 60 for NTSC. Bigger numbers than that will result in jerkier motion, lower numbers will result in smeared motion.

    5 - Now check the result visually and with the meter and histogram. If the image is too dark or too light, you have three options.

    Option 1 - increase or reduce the light on the scene by using artifical lighting, reflectors, screens, or whatever.

    Option 2 - Use ND filters (or a single variable ND filter) to reduce the light entering the camera (or to increase it if you've already got a filter on and you've set it too dark).

    Option 3 - Compromise on one of the settings described in 2 - 4 above. In other words, change the ISO, the aperture, or the shutter speed to achieve correct exposure - but you'll perhaps be adding noise, losing the depth of field you wanted, or changing the desired character of motion depiction.

    If someone cares to improve on that rapidly typed advice, or if it's totally wrong, I'll cheerfully edit this post to read "deleted"!


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    #10
    Senior Member Peter J. DeCrescenzo's Avatar
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    I think Ben's post is very useful as a starting point for people's own explorations. Another vote for stickiness.

    Meanwhile:

    If someone could explain how to use the GH1's "Registering Personal Menu Settings" I'd appreciate it.

    I read & re-read the descriptions of this feature in the user manual (p.101), but I'm not getting it. It looks like it might be useful, including for full manual video recording, but heck if I can figure it out. What's the story with this feature?


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