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Old May 22nd, 2011, 10:29 AM   #31
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Re: GH2 good for low light 2 plus hour shoots?

Now I have made some comments here about how the GH2 is and isn't suitable for staged event shooting as described in the opening post. I had made my comments based on a number of shoots I did with the camera but none were the type of shoot I felt the camera was not suitable for, namely a single camera shooting an audience view of an event. So yesterday I volunteered to shoot a friend's outdoor jazz concert (fortunately he wasn't expecting anything so success or failure wasn't a factor).

The camera was set on a tripod and I used the 14/140mm Panasonic stock lens as I was about 50 feet from the main stage so I could get close-ups during solos. The lens has the Lumix Zoom Lever attached and I can get a decent on-camera zoom now. I used no other accessories except a Sennheiser on-camera microphone. The camera was set to full automatic: Program AE mode (exposure, shutter), auto focus, auto ISO and auto white balance just to see how it would work. All the other work I have done with the GH2 up to now has been in full manual. For everyone's info, I never shoot full auto at an event with a video camera but I will let the camera handle some of the functions if that seems wise. I proceeded to film as I have hundreds of times over the years with a single camera at staged event, zooming in and out at the appropriate times to cover the action. Here are my observations.

1) The auto white balance needed to be set to manual as it would wander depending on the shot. Just panning from one side of the stage to the other would change the color balance. I have video cameras that do this also so no big deal.

2) The auto focus spent too much time wandering and pulsating even in good light. I have used the auto focus for hand held interviews with the GH2 and did not have this problem. The facial recognition works well. Perhaps this was due to the performers being so far from the camera. The beautiful shallow depth of field that the photo style lens provides is just too much if you have a performer rocking back and forth. A decent video camera with auto focus would perform better in this situation.

3) After switching to manual focus the main problem with using this camera for this type of single camera filming came to the forefront. The zoom lens is not parfocal and so will go in and out of focus while zooming. Refocusing is required. Very annoying to watch during playback. The LCD is insufficient for manual focus, the viewfinder is better but is inconvenient. Once again a video camera would perform better in this situation.

4) The zoom is less powerful on this camera than a comparable video camera BUT ONLY in terms of magnification relative to the distance of the camera. Otherwise the lens is better than a comparable video lens. You can use the ETC 2x mode to get closer but that will bring out the noise if the ISO goes up.

5) Looking at the footage I have to say that the camera performed well in Program AE and auto ISO. Better when I switched the "Film Mode" to Dynamic. The blacks became rich instead of needing correction. The weather turned bad halfway thru the concert but the image maintained itself well as the light dropped. Towards the end it got grainy but not terrible.

This was a field test of my theory and it confirms some of my suspicions. As a single camera recording staged events, out of the box, the GH2 is not truly capable of recording a single long take with consistent image clarity as a video camera can except if manual focus is engaged and the zoom isn't adjusted during filming. This might work for some events but not many in my experience. If I had two cameras, the GH2 would have been great as I could have wandered around the stage and taken some wonderful shots that showcase the great attributes of the GH2. Two GH2s would work fine, one for a wide shot and the other for close ups. No on-camera zooms but great for cutting. The program AE worked well enough that I would be confident that I could start the wide camera and leave it for extended periods of time.

So my friend has an imperfect record of his event that looks great about 70 to 80% of the time. I try for 100% when I shoot events like this (and get 95%+) so the next time I'm going back to my video camera. Still love the GH2 and will use it for different jobs.
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Old May 22nd, 2011, 10:49 AM   #32
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Re: GH2 good for low light 2 plus hour shoots?

You are so right, of course William, and I second your post.

As you know, I'm running four of the GH cameras for weddings to ensure I can have one decent shot at all times. As it works out, I usually have at least two or three at any given time, and if the video gods are in good sprits, there are moments I have four.

I'm definitely hooked on the 20mm as a great steady b cam, placed in the rear. You set your focus, turn it on and you can safely forget about it running auto or high ISO, as you have done.

I'm finding that a high ISO in aperture priority allows the shutter speed to control exposure, so to speak, and works pretty darn well. Program mode works well as well, but I like to avoid the hunting iris, so I prefer aperture priority most of the time, but use both.

With an FD lens, it is necessary to for me to run in program or full manual, as auto ISO doesn't function at all otherwise.
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Old May 23rd, 2011, 05:42 AM   #33
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Re: GH2 good for low light 2 plus hour shoots?

Today I filmed a 2 hour opera. 3 GH2's and Tascam for the audio.
I used the semi auto focus, locked on to the singer and, of course, it won't hunt because it's not in full auto.
all settings were manual. I had no focus or exposure issues whatsoever.

Sorry William, but I don't agree that lack of parafocal on the kit lens is in any way a fault of the GH2, that's a limitation of the glass. I filmed a recital a few weeks ago with a 25-250 35mm Vintage Angeniux. Parafocal and a Red Rock Follow Focus to turn the Zoom ring. William, you'd be in heaven with that glass. Manual focus but it's a $12,000 lens and focuses so effortlessly.

So I couldn't be happier with how they performed, all three on sticks and one of the GH2's had a RODE hypercardioid feeding it just in case the Tascam screwed up or if the house recording wasn't any good. Yes, I believe in redundancy in live events -- they terrify me. I don't know how wedding guys do it. I'd have a nervous breakdown.

So having done several live event now with GH2, I think they're great. I keep it simple, manual setting on everything except I go with the semi auto focus so it avoids hunting -- although one of my GH2's is set up with a 100mm Canon FD that focuses manually.
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Old May 24th, 2011, 08:01 AM   #34
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Re: GH2 good for low light 2 plus hour shoots?

Brian, I get what you're saying, but for general purposes, I also hear what William is saying, and for purposes of making general recommendations, I would side with him.

I use the cameras for weddings, but wouldn't recommend others do what I do unless they knew full well what they were getting into. I also run the four at a time by myself at weddings, but just because I do it, doesn't mean I would recommend it.

Regarding live events, yes it can be done, of course, but who would it be reasonable to recommend this to? Certainly not the original poster, absolutely not the right camera. A non-profit, lord knows who's going to be using, etc. they need to keep it simple.

There are many events, such as school plays, that the cameras can be used for, but are they an ideal choice? Not for the typical videographer, I don't believe they are.
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Old May 24th, 2011, 11:55 AM   #35
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Re: GH2 good for low light 2 plus hour shoots?

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Originally Posted by Brian Luce View Post
I keep it simple, manual setting on everything except I go with the semi auto focus so it avoids hunting
What exactly do you mean by semi-auto focus? I just can't seem to get to grips with the various auto focus modes as it always seems to hunt at some stage. I have been using it on what I thought was manual only (MF with dial on top left of camera) but I could have sworn that it was still trying to auto-focus at one stage & wondered if there i some menu item that I need to change too as there are as I recall several AF related settings.
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Old May 24th, 2011, 07:13 PM   #36
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Re: GH2 good for low light 2 plus hour shoots?

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Originally Posted by Brian Luce View Post
Today I filmed a 2 hour opera. 3 GH2's and Tascam for the audio.
I used the semi auto focus, locked on to the singer and, of course, it won't hunt because it's not in full auto.
all settings were manual. I had no focus or exposure issues whatsoever.

Sorry William, but I don't agree that lack of parafocal on the kit lens is in any way a fault of the GH2, that's a limitation of the glass. I filmed a recital a few weeks ago with a 25-250 35mm Vintage Angeniux. Parafocal and a Red Rock Follow Focus to turn the Zoom ring. William, you'd be in heaven with that glass. Manual focus but it's a $12,000 lens and focuses so effortlessly.
If someone will tell when and where that lens will be falling from the sky, I'll be there to catch it.

Lack of parfocal is not a fault but a condition of the equipment that restricts it's use in a situation where a video camera would be a better choice. I just got off a two day intensive shoot for a sitcom pilot as a second camera operator and I can't tell you the lengths the director of photography was going just to get shallow DOF on the production's $10,000 dollar HD cameras with stock video lenses. Everything was sharp with the f-stop open. Frequently we would pull the cameras far away from the subjects to force DOF with the zoom. That has it own drawbacks such as camera vibration even on good tripods. Many of the sets were real locations where we couldn't get far back. I could have easily gotten what he wanted with the GH2 but we would have lost the ability to zoom in or out when the script called for it. So it's a toss-up. Perhaps the next time (if there is one) we could include the GH2 in the shooting arsenal.
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Old May 25th, 2011, 05:58 AM   #37
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Re: GH2 good for low light 2 plus hour shoots?

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Originally Posted by Nigel Barker View Post
What exactly do you mean by semi-auto focus? I just can't seem to get to grips with the various auto focus modes as it always seems to hunt at some stage. I have been using it on what I thought was manual only (MF with dial on top left of camera) but I could have sworn that it was still trying to auto-focus at one stage & wondered if there i some menu item that I need to change too as there are as I recall several AF related settings.
I think there's a better, more commonly used term than semi-auto focus, but what I mean is you half depress the shutter button and it lock on to the focus and will NOT change unless you again, half depress the shutter button. So, in other words, no hunting issues, so any time you need refocus, just half depress that button. It works while recording or in stand by.
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Old May 25th, 2011, 05:27 PM   #38
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Re: GH2 good for low light 2 plus hour shoots?

I have learned the hard way that pressing the button half way is dangerous. If you push the botton a bit too hard, the camera will stop recording. If you touch the screen you will get the same results without risking stopping the recording. In addition, you can touch the screen anywhere in the frame to establish the point of focus. This is very useful when the subject is not in the center of the frame.
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Old May 26th, 2011, 03:32 AM   #39
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Re: GH2 good for low light 2 plus hour shoots?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian Luce View Post
I think there's a better, more commonly used term than semi-auto focus, but what I mean is you half depress the shutter button and it lock on to the focus and will NOT change unless you again, half depress the shutter button. So, in other words, no hunting issues, so any time you need refocus, just half depress that button. It works while recording or in stand by.
Brian, please could you run through the exact menu settings needed to achieve this as it seems to be exactly what I was looking for when I started this thread http://www.dvinfo.net/forum/panasoni...push-auto.html On my Canon 5DII when in Live View I can hit the AF-ON button & the mirror flips down it nails focus & then the mirror flips back up & I can hit RECORD. Apparently on the Canon 7D you can do the same thing while recording although obviously you do get a slight interruption in the video. Something similar on the GH2 could be just the ticket.
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Old May 26th, 2011, 06:21 AM   #40
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Re: GH2 good for low light 2 plus hour shoots?

Nigel, I think if you use AFS mode on the dial it should work just fine (pg 34 of manual).

Also, there is a discussion on focusing on page 82 of the manual that that describes the touch screen method, which I am going to utilize more. As Jim says the button method is dangerous, and has bitten me more than once during a live event.
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Old May 26th, 2011, 06:57 AM   #41
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Re: GH2 good for low light 2 plus hour shoots?

AFS & pressing the shutter button halfway does not work when recording at 24p in Creative Movie Mode. I haven't tried any other mode as I always use 24p. Even in AFS (Auto Focus Single) when Continuous AF is set ON in the Motion Picture menu it in fact still does continuous AF & focuses on whatever is in the centre of the screen (provided the AF mode dial is set to 1-area-focusing). As you move the camera it focuses on different objects that are in the centre of the screen but only while recording. If you are not recording then you can press the shutter button halfway to achieve focus.

Am I missing some menu setting that will enable focusing by pressing the shutter button halfway while recording?
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Old May 26th, 2011, 05:42 PM   #42
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Re: GH2 good for low light 2 plus hour shoots?

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Originally Posted by Nigel Barker View Post
Brian, please could you run through the exact menu settings needed to achieve this as it seems to be exactly what I was looking for when I started this thread .
I set the top dial to M with the camera icon, right next to C3. Then in the menus
CREATIVE MOVIE MODE set to 24p Cinema
MOTION PICTURE go to Continuous AF and turn it OFF.
CUSTOM go to Shutter AF and turn it ON.

should work in standby or rec.

That should work. And as Jim says, careful with that half depressing the shutter thing, develop a nice touch. Touch screen is good too if you like touch screens. I have trouble with them.
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Old May 26th, 2011, 10:54 PM   #43
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Re: GH2 good for low light 2 plus hour shoots?

Nigel, I cannot remember how to do what you want, I once I turned off all focus related options off in the menu, and turned them back on one at a time, to see what behaviours changed and thereby kind of learning what did what. Unfortunately I've already forgotten it all, as I had to reset the camera and never re-did the experiment.
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Old May 27th, 2011, 01:22 AM   #44
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Re: GH2 good for low light 2 plus hour shoots?

Before I waste more time fiddling about in the GH2 menus can someone please confirm that it is indeed possible to focus by pressing the shutter button halfway while recording?
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Old May 27th, 2011, 11:57 AM   #45
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Re: GH2 good for low light 2 plus hour shoots?

I confirm it and additionally can report that the camera will record the reflected infrared focusing light if you are close to the subject in very low light. I turned it off because of this.
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