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Old May 14th, 2011, 12:46 PM   #1
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GH2 in the Operating Room

I sometimes shoot for a company that documents biological and medical procedures. Up until recently, my standard equipment was a Z1U. I switched to the GH2, and have been using it under (literally) "laboratory" conditions for my last two jobs.

This past week, I had the opportunity to use the GH2 in the OR. It's the first such shoot I've done for the company, aside from a few outpatient-type procedures which were simple with the Z1U. This surgery, however, was a very invasive procedure (implantation of a stent in patient's inferior vena cava), and I knew there would be challenges in terms of light handling (OR lights on the surgical field and relatively little light elsewhere), keeping a clear field of view without constant surgeon hand obstruction, and maintaining a sterile field. There was no ability to mount a camera overhead, and all shooting had to be done while keeping myself at least 5 feet away from any part of the operation.

Kit for these jobs is fairly minimal. It wound up being a 2-camera shoot - Camera 1 was the GH2, and Camera 2 was a GoProHD mounted on the primary surgeon via headband. The GoPro was a good "safety shot," since (so long as aimed correctly), it would always capture the surgeon's main focus. Unfortunately, being so wide, it would capture minimal detail. That was the GH2's job.

Lens chosen for the bulk of procedure was the kit 14-140. Not the slickest, not the fastest, but good enough. Due to objects and hands constantly passing through the field of view, autofocus wasn't an option. I used a higher ISO (~1250) throughout, despite the bright OR lighting, simply to keep as deep a DOF as possible throughout. Most of the procedure was shot at around f16-20.

The hardest part was seeing the action. Two surgeons were hunkered down over the patient, with both hands and instruments in there doing what needed to be done. Conventional 3/4 angles simply weren't going to get the job done. This was where the GH2's small size became its greatest asset. For many parts of the operation, I wound up flying the GH2 directly over the surgical field, extending the tripod (manfrotto 055) to its tallest and collapsing the legs inward as a perfunctory boom pole. The 14-140's OIS was engaged and, even at telephoto ranges, managed to smooth out the shots. Of course the flip screen helped me see what the heck I was shooting, even with distance and angle being what they were. Extreme closeups were a simple matter of switching on ETC mode, and changing no other setting.

The procedure lasted about three hours. Despite however awesome I may be, booming a camera for this long would have been intolerable with the Z1U. I also have a HV30, which may have done everything the GH2 did - except for those all-important extreme closeups (and getting an ultra-clean image in highly dynamic lighting - or anywhere else, for that matter). Multiple portions lasted far longer than 15 minutes, which nixes other certain competitors as viable alternatives.

Unfortunately I'm not at liberty to share any of this footage or even screen caps, but overall I'm far happier with this footage than even what I've previously gotten out of the Z1U. The GH2 has proven itself as my A-cam for these jobs.
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Old May 15th, 2011, 01:44 AM   #2
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Re: GH2 in the Operating Room

Glad to hear the GH2 is working out for you, Kevin. It is a great cam, especially with the right lenses.
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Old May 15th, 2011, 09:31 AM   #3
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Re: GH2 in the Operating Room

Wouldn't mind seeing some screen shots from the ETC, perhaps PM to me or a link (or we can swap emails) as it may be too gory for some.

I thinking of doing a training video for a mechanical (non-medical) procedure but the issue is the same, getting close enough to the action without interfering with the operators who are handling expensive delicate and heavy objects in a tight space.
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Old May 16th, 2011, 01:56 AM   #4
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Re: GH2 in the Operating Room

I'm thinking you might LOVE a 50mm f1.4 (vintage) for a shoot like that. You'll be able to dial the ISO down and the focusing is a lot better. Or do you need IS?
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Old November 22nd, 2011, 03:37 PM   #5
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Re: GH2 in the Operating Room

The Journal wound up posting this video open-access... which means you all get the opportunity to watch some pig surgery.

Video: Autologous Endothelial Progenitor Cell-Seeding Technology and Biocompatibility Testing For Cardiovascular Devices in Large Animal Model

Not sure that I'm a fan of how it was all cut together (no pun intended), and this was my very first paid shoot with the thing (so plenty of simple/stupid mistakes), but it gets the basic idea of one of the ways this camera is making some paychecks.
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Old December 1st, 2011, 09:24 AM   #6
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Re: GH2 in the Operating Room

Really nice work! Did you use a teleprompter for the talking heads? Or did they memorize their comments?
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Old December 4th, 2011, 07:36 PM   #7
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Re: GH2 in the Operating Room

This lab was able to memorize everything well enough, as well as deliver.

Not always the case with every lab, not by a long shot.
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Old December 5th, 2011, 08:24 AM   #8
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Re: GH2 in the Operating Room

I agree, nice work. I liked your lighting ratios. Open and bright.
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