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Old June 26th, 2011, 11:25 PM   #1
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How to shoot a wedding with the GH2/GH1

Ok, I've shot a few weddings with these cameras (about 8 or so) and multiple model shoots and love story videos as well. If you are as confused when choosing settings as I was when I started on this venture, here's how you do it. You turn the dial on top right-hand side of the movie icon, that's called movie mode. Then you open the quick menu and select the P mode. Then you put the ISO on Auto. Set your white balance manually, unfortunately that is pretty much necessary most times, I find.

Other than that, that is all there is to it. I'm running four of these cameras at a time by myself, and the footage matches, exposure is almost always perfect, and the cameras can be left unattended. There is really not much more to it than that, except focusing, but that is enough trouble by itself, and will keep you busy enough. Oh, and changing batteries.

You will need on occasion to do more. You will need to use the AE/AF lock to set your exposure, or use the exposure compensations thingy to lighten or darken your image to make up for blown out highlights, or if things are a bit dim, but you do NOT need to go into manual mode, ever. You can raise and lower exposure and shutter speed with the wheel thingy, so you are good virtually all of the time.

I am running fully manual lenses, fully auto lenses, doesn't matter. I aquired 10 hours of footage yesterday, and it looks really good, the best ever. The key has been learning how to judge focus using the LCD screen or viewfinder, and it can be tough with a wide lens, but once you get the hang of it it's fine, but that does take awhile to learn if you're new at it.

Truth be told, I do end up adjusting exposure compensation often, but you must be conservative with it most the time.

If you are running multiple cameras in a run and gun situation, it's the way to go. When I shoot a couple for a love story type thing in the park, I do the same thing pretty much, but play with shutter speed, etc to get a specific result with DOF, but otherwise, the camera often knows what you need and only minor adjustments are needed.
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Old June 27th, 2011, 06:58 AM   #2
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Re: How to shoot a wedding with the GH2/GH1

Jeff. I think you meant the S mode which allows the shutter to be changed or locked in at a specific value. The P mode only allows exposure adjustment.
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Old June 27th, 2011, 01:18 PM   #3
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Re: How to shoot a wedding with the GH2/GH1

Jeff, I salute you if you have found a way of working with this camera that suits you. I have been struggling with the idiosyncrasies & complexities of it for the last few months & have been posting regularly on this sub-forum. At least I have been posting regularly until a couple of weeks ago when I gave up & bought myself a Canon 600D (T3i). It is much more like using my Canon 5D Mk II & so much simpler & straightforward to use than the GH2. It has the articulated screen & central sensor crop mode called ETC on the GH2. I also get to use all my lovely Canon lenses.

Obviously my error has been in trying to use it in manual mode as I really wouldn't have considered shooting video with Auto ISO in P mode where the camera chooses shutter speed & aperture so I would basically have no control over anything. I would expect the video to be really weird but obviously it works for you. The frustrating thing is that this little camera can shoot some stunning video & promises good stuff like continuous AF but just doesn't deliver it or doesn't deliver it consistently.

I will probably keep the camera as I can share lenses with my AG-AF101 & it is truly pocket-sized so very handy for ultra-stealth filming however I am not going to keep banging my head against the wall trying to make it do what I want as the Canon 600D is a better alternative for me.
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Old June 27th, 2011, 05:10 PM   #4
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Re: How to shoot a wedding with the GH2/GH1

Thank you for this Jeff -- along the way, you've really helped me to figure out my GH1's. The last wedding I shot with them looks spectacular -- apart from that autofocus hunting problem mentioned elsewhere, but I think I may have figured that out.
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Old June 27th, 2011, 08:58 PM   #5
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Re: How to shoot a wedding with the GH2/GH1

Well guys, P mode is not perfect, but it is close enough for this rookie for right now. Let me explain.

First keeping in mind I'm running multiple cameras alone, and they are all the same, pretty much, but I MUST have a way to make them run pretty much unattended. At any given moment I will have three unattended, and I don't have time to play around with anything, as I'm adjusting focus on all of them continuously all day.

Shutter priority is best, obviously, and the proper setting, even for run and gun. I don't want shutter speed below 60, better at 100. This has been recommended, and I heard it, and I would like to do that, but auto ISO is not enough to compensate for some situations.

Shutter Priority has let me down, and I gave up on it after one wedding in particular. I don't even remember what happened, or why, but in Shutter Priority I couldn't get the image I needed no matter what I did, and I switched to P mode and it worked fine, I can't give you the details. I'm tend to find a solution and forget why I came up with it. I have a very poor memory, and as an aside it is getting worse, which is scary, but I digress.

Next practice shoot, I don't remember when, I played with all the modes one last time, and I settled on Priority as the clear winner, for me.

I am a huge fan of Priority mode for photographs anyway, as I get the images I need with it, and can adjust shutter speed and the aperture will adjust accordingly. It does a better job than I could do.

Previously when the light dropped indoors, I absolutely spoiled too many images, missed too many shots playing with settings, and couldn't get focus cause I was fiddling with settings most of the time. That is no good, of course.

I am getting "better" at manual focus, much better. But I'm still pretty rough with it. So in order that I can concentrate on getting the shot, and get it focused, I've settled on P mode for now. And I recommend it to anyone else starting out as I am, just so you can get a decent shot while under pressure, and get it in focus.

Once I have the follow focus thing down, and have developed and refined a system for shooting that I'm not a nervous wreck with, I will start using Shutter Priority more often and find the issues I had before and try to overcome them. Outdoors, and in bright lighting, I still use shutter priority, but once I get in the church or the dark reception hall, I switch to Program Mode and I can just worry about being where I'm supposed to be.

Shutter priority is mostly problematic with my F/2.8 lenses in low light, but I decided I needed to run all the cameras in the same mode because on occasion I switch lenses around, etc and I didnt' want to worry about changing modes too. As I get bettet at the whole thing I'll be able to run the cameras properly, but at least I do have a system, though it is still not perfect, by any means.
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Last edited by Jeff Harper; June 28th, 2011 at 09:51 AM.
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Old June 28th, 2011, 02:57 AM   #6
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Re: How to shoot a wedding with the GH2/GH1

That's strange, I had the predecessor T2i and compared to my GH2 its no contest, the GH2 has far better video, far easier to shoot video, the only thing is there isn't the lens selection but I dont want hundreds of lenses. My 6 cover all I will ever need.
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Old June 28th, 2011, 08:41 AM   #7
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Re: How to shoot a wedding with the GH2/GH1

Martyn -- I agree. The GH2 is a lot more video friendly. I could not make the T2i/550D work for video. For me, it wasn't image quality, it was the lack of autofocus. I could not hold focus on a moving object to save my life. With the GH2, the autofocus is not perfect, but it has saved a lot of precious moments in my active 5 year old's life that I would have missed with the Canon. To each his own, I guess.

Jeff -- I guess I'm going to have to try Program mode. Haven't used it in so long I forgot it was there!

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Old June 28th, 2011, 08:55 AM   #8
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Re: How to shoot a wedding with the GH2/GH1

It's probably because I have been using a Canon 5D Mk II for well over two years that the 600D feels so much more natural to use. Maybe it's just my big hands than cannot come to grips with the fiddly little controls on the GH2. I won't say that I have no problems manually focusing the 600D but compared to the random autofocus on the GH2 I shoot much more useable footage. Additionally a loupe does help a lot for focusing the Canons.
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Old June 28th, 2011, 10:46 AM   #9
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Re: How to shoot a wedding with the GH2/GH1

Bill

Apart from being more video friendly, the GH2 image is better, IMO a lot sharper and more detailed/less of the dreaded M and A. The Canon's color was good but so is my GH2s. There is so many film modes to choose.
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Old June 28th, 2011, 11:12 PM   #10
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Re: How to shoot a wedding with the GH2/GH1

Regarding shutter priority vs program mode....

I shot a wedding Saturday and did a quick highlight clip, and there are issues with certain outdoor shots that I'm certain are shutter speed related. Thomas, thanks for bringing this up. I've known that the correct shutter speed was important, but not until seeing some of this recent footage did I realize how things look when it's not right.

The majority of shots came out great in 10 hours of footage, but the ones that are questionable are quite disappointing.
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Old June 29th, 2011, 02:10 AM   #11
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Re: How to shoot a wedding with the GH2/GH1

Here is a really excellent explanation of why using a 180 degree shutter is so important 180 Degree Shutter - Learn It, Live It, Love It

When shooting video we should almost never use any other shutter speed than 1/50 for 24fps or 25fps & 1/60 for 30fps or it will start looking weird & that is the problem with allowing the camera to vary the shutter speed. We may change aperture, ISO, add neutral density filters but we never change the shutter speed.
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Old June 29th, 2011, 10:17 AM   #12
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Re: How to shoot a wedding with the GH2/GH1

Do keep in mind that 60p should also use a shutter of 1/60. 60p has the same temporal resolution (moments in time) as 60i which typically used a shutter of 1/60. You would only typically use a shutter of 1/120 with 60p if it was going to be slowed down.

I cannot remember the exact reason but basically shutter and framerate may seem to be related but they are not directly related. 30p and 60p are basically showing the same scale of time so the shutter should be similar.

The P mode on these cameras would be awesome if you could tell it to not go above or below a specific shutter speed. At least Panasonic was wise enough to limit the cameras to 1/30th in movie mode.

60p is also a bit more forgiving of shutter due to it's higher temporal resolution. 24p can be a pain if you do not stick to a specific shutter speed. 24p with a shutter of 1/120 or 1/250 starts to look like Saving Private Ryan. If you are going for that look it is cool but I would think very few brides would like this.

24p with a shutter of 1/30th would upset film purists but it is much easier to shoot with and has the added bonus of boosting the low light a bit more. 60p at 1/30th basically gives you 30p with more motion blur.
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Old June 29th, 2011, 11:09 AM   #13
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Re: How to shoot a wedding with the GH2/GH1

Thanks Nigel for the link, I actually have seen that, very good stuff, I needed to read it again didn't understand it all the first time.

Thomas, I much appreciate your post. I will take to heart the 60p needing 1/60. That is very important information and will likely result in some vast improvement in my images.

I will play with shutter priority in a dark enviroment today, I think auto ISO, which I need on the job, is limited how high it will go or disabled in shtter priority, I think it is, which may be why I ended up using Program mode to begin with. I'll have to play around with it to find out.
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Old June 29th, 2011, 02:32 PM   #14
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Re: How to shoot a wedding with the GH2/GH1

With the GH2 in P mode and auto ISO, does anyone know if there's a way to tell what shutter speed and ISO are being used for any particular frame? Does the camera capture any kind of metadata for this?
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Old June 29th, 2011, 02:39 PM   #15
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Re: How to shoot a wedding with the GH2/GH1

Here is what I use when shooting a wedding with GH2s for what it is worth:

I use Shutter Priority mode exclusively for both my manned and unmanned cameras. I use Auto ISO with a limit of 800 or 1600 if I really need to push it (note all my lenses are Panasonic and have step-less apertures).

I always use a shutter speed of 1/50 for 24p and 1/125 for 720p@60fps (I shot most at 24p unless I know I want to slow-mo in post). I shutter priority mode this lets the aperture and ISO float to keep the exposure right.

I use AF-S focus mode and use a half shutter press to refocus mid shot as needed and cut to by B cam to hide the focus seeking.

Here is a recent highlights video of mine (sorry about the audio; the DJ borked the levels and my H4n did not get a good line out so it was left to the VideoMicPro in the wind):

Lenses used where the 14-140mm, 20mm and 14mm pancakes.


I only have a few GH2 Weddings under my belt but so far this was worked out well.
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