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Panasonic LUMIX G / GF / GH / GX Series
4K and AVCHD on a Micro Four Thirds system camera with interchangeable lenses.


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Old May 4th, 2009, 01:08 PM   #1
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GH1 Not as I had hoped

So... it seems that while the GH1 is so close to being a perfect little indy digital cinema camera, it falls short in a few key (and seemingly obvious) areas.

1) Codec sucks. Like they didn't even try to give us something decent. 1080 interlaced at 17 mbps? Yeah. Awesome.

2) No live HDMI output. As far as I can tell. Would've saved it right there, because there are plenty of portable acquisition options. We could've taken the beautiful uncompressed image and done whatever we pleased with it. But nope. Can somebody tell me if indeed this is the case?

3) No audio monitoring (ie headphones) or manual control of levels. I mean, they included an audio-in jack- why not the rest?

4) Shutter speed only goes down to 1/60th or 1/30th- no important 1/48th for getting a smooth film look. I'm assuming this is part of the same math that has it recording 24p as 60i.

It's like, they gave us so many things that pro's need, and that I can't see consumers doing much with, but left it just far enough away that it's not actually useful to us.

The question is: why? Why get so close only to fall short in some key areas? Their answer is of course, this is a consumer camera. But why include so many quasi pro features then?

I don't get it- I guess I just don't get the enormity of the chasm between what we want and what hardware makers are making. A 5 minute phone conversation with any film maker would tell them exactly what we need.

Anyway, end-rant.

-M
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Old May 4th, 2009, 01:47 PM   #2
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I agree. I think it is odd at this juncture that we don't have a camera option, say at $5k or even $10k with a larger sensor with all the pro controls. However, I think we're just getting impatient. All of that is coming. Red Scarlet is supposed to be that. Then I'd assume Canon, Sony, and Panasonic will come in to steal the bigger share of customers with their answer to scarlet.

If we think of how far we've come from DV, things are moving FAST, but then not fast enough.

I think it's time for anyone who had high hopes for the GH1 to embrace the good, be aware of the bad and know that there's no way it was going to be the end-all camera - it costs $1500! Ultimately though, this camera will make epic images in the hands of anyone with hunger, creativity, vision, and patience to master the camera. Just look at what's happening with the 5DMkII.

Last point - we have yet to see some hardcore testing and results posted.

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Old May 4th, 2009, 02:07 PM   #3
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I just downloaded and analyzed a bunch of raw clips from another forum, and that's what I'm basing my comments on. I think it's a great step forward, and nobody can complain about the price.

But it's just not gonna cut it for me- the codec is the real killer. The 1080 stuff looks great if it's talking heads or other non-moving shots. But as soon as you get things moving it completely falls apart.

The 720 stuff is better, but it can't do 24p.

Really, if it had live HDMI out, I'd figure out some portable acquisition system and be more than happy with it. It's a shame.

-M
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Old May 4th, 2009, 03:42 PM   #4
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Okay, I am not a defender of this camera, but when you make the comment it can't do 24p, I have to chime in. While you may think 24p in 60i is not progressive, I think you may be mistaken. If it is like the HV20 24p, or myriad of other 24p inside a 60i stream by adding pulldown, the information is in the digital product to convert the footage into true 24p by removing the extraneous inserted pull down. The information that is left after pulldown removal is information taken from a single scan of the chip, at the rate of 24 frames a second. As I understand it, it is not interpolated footage or anything like that. Do you have information other than that ?
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Old May 4th, 2009, 04:01 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by M. Gene Hoffman View Post
4) Shutter speed only goes down to 1/60th or 1/30th- no important 1/48th for getting a smooth film look. I'm assuming this is part of the same math that has it recording 24p as 60i.
It offers 1/50. This should be close enough to 1/48 to be imperceivable.

Point #1 is the real bummer for me. True, we've come a long way from DV, but at least DV was 25mbps.
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Old May 4th, 2009, 04:01 PM   #6
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Nope, you're exactly right. I never said it didn't do 24p, only that they chose to encode the 24p as 60i. It really is true 24p when the pulldown is removed, but a) you still gotta remove it, and b) like half the bandwidth is wasted by encoding that way vs progressive 24p.

The other comment was just that you can't do 24p at 1280x720, which is a bummer because the bandwidth seems it would be better used, and you can shoot in Motion Jpeg.

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Old May 4th, 2009, 04:02 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Joe Kowalski View Post
It offers 1/50. This should be close enough to 1/48 to be imperceivable.
But that'd be for the PAL version, right? I'm assuming the NTSC version does not offer 1/50th.

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Old May 4th, 2009, 04:06 PM   #8
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Yes, NTSC version offers 1/50, as well as 1/40 and a lot of other odd shutter speeds. People on the message board with the Japanese version have confirmed it.
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Old May 4th, 2009, 04:26 PM   #9
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Oh, awesome, well one down then. Now if somebody would come out and tell us they figured out a way to do live HDMI out we'd be set!

-M
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Old May 4th, 2009, 05:12 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by M. Gene Hoffman View Post
So... it seems that while the GH1 is so close to being a perfect little indy digital cinema camera, it falls short in a few key (and seemingly obvious) areas.

It's like, they gave us so many things that pro's need, and that I can't see consumers doing much with, but left it just far enough away that it's not actually useful to us.

I don't get it- I guess I just don't get the enormity of the chasm between what we want and what hardware makers are making. A 5 minute phone conversation with any film maker would tell them exactly what we need.
The pattern now is familiar. "I really could make a movie if only camcorders shot 24p. Then, I really could make a movie if only camcorders had shallow DOF. Then, I really could make a movie if only camcorders didn't put 24p into 60i. Then, I really could make a movie if only camcorders shot 24Mbps." Come on. Let's get real.

If you can't shoot with this camera, how do you explain multiple released films shot on the VX1000 in DV?

1) 17Mbps is Panasonic's AVCHD standard for 1080i60. If you want 24Mbps, buy a Panasonic AVCCAM camcorder. And, if you' know how to shoot, the codec will not fall apart.

2) You can't compare MPEG-2 and H.264/AVC by bit-rates unless you multiply the H.264/AVC by 2 first. Now, bitch about 34Mbps vs 25Mbps. Hmm, doesn't work does it?

3) Drop 720p60 into a 24p timeline. Guess what happens?

The reason these camera are the way they are is that Japan doesn't suffer from the "I want to be a FILMmaker affliction." All prime-time narrative drama in Asia is shot at i60. At 60i, they have no need for a shallow DOF to hide background motion judder because there is no judder.

Simply put, they don't care about our Indie film market! These cameras are aimed at those who shoot professionally day in and day out on real paid assignments. Being able to capture stills and motion gives these shooters twice the material to sell.

These pro's don't have a need for an external monitor. Moreover, they may be in a storm or war zone. Likewise, there hasn't been a need to monitor audio or control its levels for decades. ALC or limiters work fine for these assignments.

And, as shown by the huge market for consumer camcorders, the GH1 will also work fine for the buying public that wants to shoot both stills and video.
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Old May 4th, 2009, 06:34 PM   #11
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I didn't say people won't shoot awesome stuff with this camera, I just said it's not what I hoped.

And I'm not basing this off of numbers. AVCHD is a better codec than MPEG-2, but that doesn't change the fact that the 24p footage from the GH1 that I have analyzed falls apart when, for example, shot from a moving train overlooking a lush countryside.

http://gh1.dark-stone.com/sam/Countr...lotest1080.MTS

And if you drop 60p into a 24p timeline, you get stuttery garbage. Or you can slow the 60 to 24 and get nice slow motion. Which is great IF you want slow motion.

I am a professional, who wants to use this camera day in and day out on paid work. There is so much to love about it. But for a lot of what I do, it just ain't gonna cut it as is.

I understand that they are gonna make things for the lowest common denominator, I'm just disappointed because the features are SO CLOSE to being a great (way lower cost) alternative to like a Scarlet or whatever.
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Old May 4th, 2009, 08:16 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Mullen View Post
2) You can't compare MPEG-2 and H.264/AVC by bit-rates unless you multiply the H.264/AVC by 2 first. Now, bitch about 34Mbps vs 25Mbps. Hmm, doesn't work does it?
Actually, one of the few people that has a Japanese GH1 has been testing it extensively, and found that while Panasonic states 17mbps as the bitrate for 1080p, it's actually variable and averages 10mbps even during complex scenes. I have no doubt that AVCHD is at least twice as efficient as MPEG2 & DV, but I think most people here would agree that an average 10mbps is not ideal. So it's more like 20mbps vs 25mbps. And if we're comparing it to DV, the latter has about 1/4 the picture information to compress.
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Old May 4th, 2009, 08:40 PM   #13
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Can you provide a link to a native clip that averages 10MBPS per second or at least provide a link to someone who gave that claim and was it for sure on the highest mode?
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Old May 4th, 2009, 09:22 PM   #14
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If I remember correctly when there is static motion the bit rate drops...but when there is movement it increases. 720p seems to be constant. I just edited a raw file of a cat in Vegas and it is spectacular looking. This was a 1920x1080 24p file. I also have an HV20 and HDV falls apart also with high motion. That train shot is not your typical shot (in regards to all the fast motion going across (close up) the screen. So yeah....worse case scenario I'd expect it to break up. ALso...according to a couple of the guys testing...60p on a 24p timeline is the way to go. I'm not sure what you are referring to as stuttery...but according to them the footage turns out nice. Kholi stated that you can't tell a difference. The only real difference is the footage does not break up. Oh.....and the skew from rolling shutter...looks so much better than 24p.
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Old May 4th, 2009, 09:53 PM   #15
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I do have an interest in getting this camera and itís a good thing I favor 1280x720 60p over 1920x1080 24p anyway. I still don't think most 1080 clips averages that low but I do sometimes see side effects in that mode.

So I guess the 2 biggest issues with the camera are the 1080 24p mode and the lack of live output during record mode. Hopefully Panasonic will release a firmware update to address both of those issues and itís clear they have more expensive camcorders to protect so you never know.
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