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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 26th, 2009, 04:11 PM   #1
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Live recording off of HDMI?

Has anyone tested this yet? Does the GH1 send a live signal out the HDMI port when shooting, or not? It seems like not having a mirror, there should be no fundamental reason why it couldn't. (Except of course, that Panasonic doesn't want to cannibalize its camcorder line!)

If it sends uncompressed out the HDMI pipe, then you could add a nanoFlash, avoid all the AVCHD issues, and REALLY give Scarlet a run for its money. It'd probably be cheaper, too, when all is said and done.

Does anyone have a GH1, a HDMI cable and an HDTV who could test this out?
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Old May 27th, 2009, 03:41 AM   #2
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I believe a few people who have the GH1 have tried this and so far have had no success...so far..
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Old May 27th, 2009, 05:19 AM   #3
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The GH1 does not do video-out of any kind, neither composite nor HDMI, while recording video. Why would a mirror box have anything to do with video-out capability? Please explain your thinking...

The GH1 doesn't do HDMI video-out while recording for presumably the same reason why the 5D Mark II doesn't do HD video-out while recording: The processor might not be powerful enough to simultaneously compress the video and send a full-resolution copy out of the HDMI port. Of course, the camera's positioning as a consumer product also likely has something to do with it.
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Old May 30th, 2009, 12:00 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Fei Meng View Post
The GH1 doesn't do HDMI video-out while recording for presumably the same reason why the 5D Mark II doesn't do HD video-out while recording: The processor might not be powerful enough to simultaneously compress the video and send a full-resolution copy out of the HDMI port. Of course, the camera's positioning as a consumer product also likely has something to do with it.
1. Doing Live HDMI output actually requires LESS processing power, not more. Reason? On the cameras that support it, the video stream goes direct from the imaging chips to the HDMI out port, completely bypassing the codec engine of the camera. And this is also why it is so highly desired.

2. A number of consumer cameras support Live HDMI out. The Sony HCx series does and I believe the Canon HFxx series and HFSxx series cameras do as well. I would also point out most, if not all, of those cameras are considerably below the GH1s price point.

In a camera at the GH1 price point, with video being a major reason for its existence, the lack of live HDMI out, the 17 Mbps codec limit, and the lack of B-frames all point to Panasonic imposing some hard limits between their consumer and professional camera line. Specifically, with a Live HDMI out port, you can consider the following:

1. Sony PCM-D50 for audio. That's what I have. Substitute your favorite as you see fit.
2. NanoFlash or Matrox MXO2 Mini for a high quality codec/recording options.

For the GH1+PCM_D50+MXO2 Mini combination, paying MSRP of ~$2400 USD, you now have a real threat to cameras costing quite a bit more. And Panasonic knows it.

I believe the real answer for Panasonic is to roll out new professional video cameras built around the u4/3rds lens mount+sensor combination, rather than imposing artifical limits on the GH1. It would allow the consumer line to bask in the glory of their professional cameras, with the professional line differentiated by pro features and ergonomics.

But of course that all takes time.
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Old May 30th, 2009, 09:35 AM   #5
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I think building a video camcorder line based on the Micro-four-thirds standard would indeed be a welcome addition -- as long as Panasonic also gives up on their outdated and overpriced P2 technology, and have it record to standard SD or compact flash media.
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Old May 30th, 2009, 10:48 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Bill Koehler View Post
1. Doing Live HDMI output actually requires LESS processing power, not more. Reason? On the cameras that support it, the video stream goes direct from the imaging chips to the HDMI out port, completely bypassing the codec engine of the camera. And this is also why it is so highly desired.

2. A number of consumer cameras support Live HDMI out. The Sony HCx series does and I believe the Canon HFxx series and HFSxx series cameras do as well. I would also point out most, if not all, of those cameras are considerably below the GH1s price point.
The problem with your argument is that the camcorders that you named all work differently than the video-capable DSLRs (and the GH1, which is not technically a DSLR).

1) These still cameras have to go through an additional step of down-sampling the full-resolution output from the sensor to HD resolution. This is evidently a rather processor-intensive task, since all three cameras appear to skip lines in order to accomplish it, rather than perform linear or geometric down-scaling.

2) These cameras were never designed to "bypass the codec engine," and nobody ever expected them to do so. We were all hoping that we would have live monitoring while the cameras record to the flash memory. I'm fully aware of the possibilities of live HDMI recording, and I was looking forward to harnessing them myself, before the limitations were revealed to everyone.

Those consumer camcorders are not really "considerably below the GH1's price point" because the GH1's current MSRP includes the very valuable ($800 MSRP) kit lens. It's an apples-to-oranges comparison.

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In a camera at the GH1 price point, with video being a major reason for its existence, the lack of live HDMI out, the 17 Mbps codec limit, and the lack of B-frames all point to Panasonic imposing some hard limits between their consumer and professional camera line.
I really don't think that the reasons are so sinister. Unless you are an engineer, you can't prove that the lack of live HDMI output must be an example of intentional camera-crippling. The same with the lack of B-frames, which I heard was a technical issue, possibly due to the fact that the still photography division of Panasonic doesn't have the same engineering background or resources that the broadcast division does. The 17 Mbps bitrate limit, just like the pulldown encoding of the 24p mode, is an example of Panasonic catering to regular consumers. Both are very stupid limitations in our eyes, but they make sense if you try to see that the company is targeting the product at consumers.

17 Mbps AVCHD is commonplace in the consumer world, so the company doesn't bother with maximizing the bitrate to the AVCHD specification of 24 Mbps. 24p native encoding is better than wrapping the stream in 60i, but Panasonic knows that most consumers want to record 1080p because it sounds fancier, and they also want to play their videos back on their TVs, which is why the 1080p mode alone uses the pulldown encoding. The lack of live HDMI output is probably another feature that Panasonic didn't bother to implement because it didn't think that consumers would care. The complaints that people have here and at other such forums, seem to have to do with the fact that the company didn't cater its product to us. Complaining is all right, especially if it helps to create better products in the future, but we shouldn't blame the company for its choices. We are not its primary user base. In fact, none of us would even care about the camera very much if it didn't have a video mode.


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For the GH1+PCM_D50+MXO2 Mini combination, paying MSRP of ~$2400 USD, you now have a real threat to cameras costing quite a bit more. And Panasonic knows it.
It's not so much that Panasonic is trying to protect its professional video products. It's that Panasonic has designed a consumer product. In making a consumer product, the protection of the professional line is a side effect, not a primary goal in itself. We enthusiasts interpret the product differently only because we can imagine our own "professional" applications. In other words, only people like us salivate at the thought of shallow depth-of-field, interchangeable lenses, and full manual control. To the camera companies, the video mode is only a bonus feature. It's in fact a natural progression from the video capabilities that have been a part of point-and-shoot still cameras for years.

The camera companies did not set out to create a filmmaking revolution like RED has done. It's just that their products are seen as revolutionary in OUR eyes. We are a small, niche segment of the market. Outside of our world, nobody sees these products or cares about them as much as we do. Average people and amateur photographers are happy with their limited consumer-grade products, which have been designed to be simple and easy to use. Professionals look down upon these cameras, or are otherwise skeptical of them, because they are used to higher standards in every aspect of the equipment (be it codecs, physical recording media, interfaces and connections, form factor, etc.). Some professionals are only starting to pay attention and show interest because members from our world are making such a big fuss about these cameras.

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I believe the real answer for Panasonic is to roll out new professional video cameras built around the u4/3rds lens mount+sensor combination, rather than imposing artifical limits on the GH1. It would allow the consumer line to bask in the glory of their professional cameras, with the professional line differentiated by pro features and ergonomics.

But of course that all takes time.
I agree with you here, but that the fact that I didn't agree with what you said earlier means that I think that you missed the point.
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Old June 1st, 2009, 03:52 AM   #7
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The whole "broadcast" vs "prosumer" division is shallower everyday (as DOF ;-)) thanks to technology running always faster and cheaper.

So Sony, Panasonic and JVC, used to sell pro camcorders in the XX.000s are not happy to see them replaced by camcorders in the X.000s.

Canon who is the only one of the bigs who never had a "broadcast" department should be the one to lead the way. It never happened.

So we all have to deeply thank the RED team that shaked the moving-picture market from the foundation first with vapourware, then with beta-ware. I hope they really become a more mainstream, with excellent products in stock and with the merit of being the company who brought 4K to the masses! ;-)
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Old June 1st, 2009, 07:02 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Xavier Plagaro View Post
The whole "broadcast" vs "prosumer" division is shallower everyday (as DOF ;-)) thanks to technology running always faster and cheaper.

So Sony, Panasonic and JVC, used to sell pro camcorders in the XX.000s are not happy to see them replaced by camcorders in the X.000s.

Canon who is the only one of the bigs who never had a "broadcast" department should be the one to lead the way. It never happened.

So we all have to deeply thank the RED team that shaked the moving-picture market from the foundation first with vapourware, then with beta-ware. I hope they really become a more mainstream, with excellent products in stock and with the merit of being the company who brought 4K to the masses! ;-)
Of courese none of this has anything to do with Live recording from HDMI. As a future owner I certainly hope it becomes a reality with some sort of firmware upgrade. Though I doubt it.My plan is to use the GH1 as a "B" Camera for special uses, how no having this feature will affect my work will only show up after time in use. So for those of you reading for the purpose of the thread you might as well stp here the rest is not related. My apologies for the rant in advance.

Well Canon has had a broadcast division for many years-http://www.canon.com/bctv/. A significant number of broadcast cameras use broadcast lenses by Canon.
Remember that Sony's TRV 900 and VX1000 and later the PD150 along with the Canon XL1 were responsible for the beginning of the affordable digital revolution. The day to day needs of broadcast television will still be met by Panasonic and Sony with higher priced,rugged and field worthy EFP and ENG gear as well as studio systems.
The real threat is to Arri and Mitchel and the other film gear companies. The Sony 900 series, Panasonic Varicam, Thompson Viper and to a much lesser degree the Red One and others are cutting into their market. It is highly unlikely that you will be watching the News or an episode of Oprah shot with a Red. More likely she will be seen wearing Oakley Shades.

As for Red, I for one am fed up with all the praise this company gets based on what they deliver or should I say don't deliver, the elitism that surrounds the camera and that they have set an industry standard for high def in the future. With what CG renders?
Nonsense! let them put something new on the market that people can work with and buy without being on "Jim's A list" and let them meet a deadline or at least come close. I don't find the arrogant " We reserve the right to lead you on and you will not complain" acceptable. They are still selling the same camera, the Red One and the "new version" "Epic" has been "coming" for quite some time.The name is well deserved. The famous Scarlet has been "re-thought" several times and the latest version is a CNC machined block of aluminum. Jannard is a great marketer/Pied Piper and has managed to garner quite a following. I am not among them.
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Old June 1st, 2009, 09:42 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Xavier Plagaro View Post
The whole "broadcast" vs "prosumer" division is shallower everyday (as DOF ;-)) thanks to technology running always faster and cheaper. So Sony, Panasonic and JVC, used to sell pro camcorders in the XX.000s are not happy to see them replaced by camcorders in the X.000s. Canon who is the only one of the bigs who never had a "broadcast" department should be the one to lead the way. It never happened.
I agree with you. We seem to be in a ridiculous time when prosumer gear(I'm counting the GH1 and 5D) can actually render better pictures than a lot of professional gear if you subtract the codec limitations.

However, I'm not sure any of manufacturers get it, based on what they've put out lately. JVC and Panasonic continue to release 1/3" CCD cameras. Hopefully Sony has released it's last HDV camera. It could be a lag in development time, but it seems like somebody in some company would be letting on that they're developing large, single sensor CMOS camcorders.

Canon doesn't release products that often from their prosumer video division. I think that they're hoping to get a couple more years out of their HDV product line. Dropping sales could make them rethink that, but if they wait too long they'll get passed up. They also don't have a good codec solution like Sony does with the XDCAM EX (I think that the 5D codec is actually pretty bad).

I'm still optimistic, but skeptical as to how fast this is going to happen. I think it could still be 2 years away. Unfortunately, I need to replace my V1 before that.
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Old June 1st, 2009, 11:35 AM   #10
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Sorry for the off-topic, but yes, live usable HDMI output is not done to try to save some broadcast market alive...

I agree with Brett too, prosumer gear nowadays is more pro than sumer... ;-DD
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Old June 1st, 2009, 08:16 PM   #11
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I think that we all agree that the quality of the gear available under $10k is amazing these days.The GH1 is an amazing example of this, and I can't wait to use it and like all here wish it had this or that but the fact is it is a camera that costs less than two grand. People spend more for matte boxes.
I think it is professional gear, I am a pro like many of you and I will use it along with the other cameras in my kit. I don't think you need to subtract anything from it. It is what it is and leave the rest to the engineers. Disco may have to change its bogus out of date standards to catch up with the real world.
BUT:
If you have to work it on a daily basis and it is your personal gear and you take care of it, the chances are it will work for you for a long time. If it is gear that is worked 18 or 24 hours a day and shared on a truck between two or more shooters and then handed off to "buddy" while you are on vacation and OH Yeh! the weekend guy needs it. Well my friends you get what you pay for.... You need something robust and my dear little HMC150 or before it my DVX100B would not stand up to being passed around. So yes we can all mesaurebate about the codecs etc. But the bottom line is the designation "PRO" is also about durability and compatibility and system. Not everyone is an INDY film maker. Big companies service other markets and whether we like to admit it or not we are small time. If we were not then ABC, BBC, CNN, CBC, CTV, CBS, FOX, NBC, PBS, DW, TV GLOBO, and so on would be out of BIZ.
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Old June 4th, 2009, 10:43 AM   #12
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As for Red, I for one am fed up with all the praise this company gets based on what they deliver or should I say don't deliver
The products speak for themselves, warts and all. I don't know why anybody wouldn't be wildly praising RED for what they have accomplished, even with the caveats. But if you don't get it, then you don't get it.

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the elitism that surrounds the camera
What elitism? There's far more elitism surrounding other cameras, like the Dalsa Origin or the Thomson Viper. Elitism only applies to the highest-end. If you ask RED, their philosophy has always been anti-elitist. Is RED more "elite" than the prosumer cameras like the ones that you use? Of course, but then it's not even a fair comparison!

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and that they have set an industry standard for high def in the future.
Again, the products speak for themselves.

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With what CG renders?
Of course not. They already have shipping product, which people have been using and loving for many months. I don't think that RED even has to release a new camera. They could ride on the success of the RED One for years while refining it all the time with firmware and software updates.

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let them put something new on the market that people can work with and buy without being on "Jim's A list"
There is a severe lack of truth in this statement. If you're going to make wild assertions like you do so much in your rant, then you should offer some evidence and support for them.

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and let them meet a deadline or at least come close.
1) RED hasn't been too far off deadlines yet.
2) RED's philosophy and strategy is the exact opposite of that of other camera companies. With other companies, mum's the word until the product actually drops. Take Canon, for instance. They didn't even admit to working on a manual-control update for the 5D MkII until the press release saying that the firmware would be posted a week later. What RED is offering is transparency. If other companies offered the same kind of transparency, then they would appear to be as capricious as RED does. It's really a matter of taste. You can be frustrated at the changes and the delays, or you can be frustrated at the refusal to disclose anything.

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I don't find the arrogant " We reserve the right to lead you on and you will not complain" acceptable.
RED doesn't do this. RED is very careful about the promises that it makes and the information that it releases. If people go overboard in their reactions, that's their fault, not RED's. The phrase "leading people on" is used to describe hinting at things that are never intended to be delivered. Your assertion is only true if RED falls far short of what they promise. And RED has been good about admitting their stumbling blocks. Again, there's plenty of transparency here.

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"Epic" has been "coming" for quite some time.The name is well deserved. The famous Scarlet has been "re-thought" several times and the latest version is a CNC machined block of aluminum.
You've evidently not been paying attention to what RED has been doing with the Epic and the Scarlet. They are aspects of the same system, the DSMC. And it's not like they keep going back to the drawing board and starting from scratch. They only did that once, and it was for the better. Whatever further changes are coming, they are evolutions and improvements on the current design. RED has also provided a timeline, so it's not like they're being extremely vague about when their new products are supposed to come.
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Old June 4th, 2009, 10:45 AM   #13
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Also, for those who don't know, Panasonic Consumer doesn't have a professional video line to protect. Panasonic Broadcast is actually a separate company. There is practically no overlap between the two companies.
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Old June 4th, 2009, 11:03 AM   #14
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RED has changed the game. You don't have to buy from RED, you can buy from the competition. But you have to thank RED for the products of the competition too!!! ;-DD

Fei, Panasonic Pro and Consumer maybe two different companies, but I don't think one wants to hurt the other!
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Old June 4th, 2009, 12:09 PM   #15
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If that was the case, than we would have at least have live output to an external source like a monitor when recording (I donít mean uncompressed output by the way). I bet thatís more political than technical if you ask me. If you look at the 5D Mark II, certain manual features were deliberately disabled and after people been using lots of Nikon lenses and a hacked firmware was developed, Canon was forced to change their mind and announce a new firmware.

The fact of the matter is that Sony, Panasonic and Canon will most of the time try to separate the features of their other products.

This is one of the reasons why a lot of people are begging Nikon to release something special because their isnít any camcorder to protect, consumer or professional. Sony would probably have some development in the CMOS chip and that could either be a good thing or a bad thing.

As for RED, I think itíll be a while until they ever release an interchangeable lens camera that will have a price similar to the 5D Mark II.

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