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Old October 7th, 2012, 07:15 PM   #1
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Chance to shoot gh2 on two days notice

Hi all,

I'll be at an event where I'll have the opportunity to provide some "nice to have" video since we'll have two other crews. I just became aware of the GH2, and couldn't resist picking one up and giving it my best shot.

So forgive me, but I can't help but ask...

Pretend you've been asked to sit down for 5 minutes and hand someone a gh2. What advice would you give them to give them the best chance to not screw it up? :-)

- I have a video background. Will also be shooting some must have footage with a Canon g10.
- I bought the Olympus 45mm 1.8 since many of the shots will be interviews
- I bought an adapter to use with my Nikon 18-105 3.5-5.6 (already see the challenges)

I've been watching all the video I can find, but they usually don't discuss the simple things like which mode to use (P? M?...)

I know I'm crazy, but a 30% chance to get some dramatically different and impressive footage was worth it since there was no risk.

I'm considering grabbing a 20mm pancake since it's beautiful. Any cheaper suggestions for a nice wide angle? I'm guessing the $400 is about as low as I'll get for auto focus and a decent light rating.

THANKS A MILLION

LB

I'm not even sure which mode to use
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Old October 8th, 2012, 08:22 AM   #2
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Re: Chance to shoot gh2 on two days notice

The first piece of advice is stay with the middle ISO row. There is an ISO bug and unless you go to a higher ISO then switch down, in the top row, you get NOISE.

I recommend tou shoot in video M.

Stay away from idynamic and ia modes.

24P will give you your best footage assuming there;s not too much motion.

I use standard -2 for most everything and correct in post. I can't help if you want instant gratification.

Take a lot of test shots to get used to it and good luck.
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Old October 8th, 2012, 11:46 AM   #3
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Re: Chance to shoot gh2 on two days notice

Thanks Don. Good info.

Why should I stay away from the idynamic and ia modes (if it's a simple answer)? I of course have them on now, but will change that.

"The first piece of advice is stay with the middle ISO row. There is an ISO bug and unless you go to a higher ISO then switch down, in the top row, you get NOISE.
I recommend tou shoot in video M."

Do you think there is another mode that will handle the ISO for me for this shoot so I won't have to worry about it?

Thanks again.
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Old October 8th, 2012, 10:03 PM   #4
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Re: Chance to shoot gh2 on two days notice

James: Send me your email address to...

biforeman at gmail dot com

...And I'll email you an article I wrote that may help you quite a bit.

Coming from Canon the GH2 "led me around by the nose" for almost a week until I got some familiar with configuration items. I have the ones I consider important listed, and then get into a systematic approach to control settings.
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Old October 8th, 2012, 10:37 PM   #5
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Re: Chance to shoot gh2 on two days notice

Thanks Bruce - I just sent you an email. That article sounds like just what I need. I appreciate it.

I shot some footage today, which was helpful, but I did feel like I was flying blind.
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Old October 14th, 2012, 01:02 AM   #6
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Re: Chance to shoot gh2 on two days notice

Thanks again Bruce. The article was exactly what I was looking for. Some direct descriptions of the basic controls. As I review more, I will try to send specific feedback.

Really appreciate your help.
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Old November 11th, 2012, 08:19 PM   #7
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Re: Chance to shoot gh2 on two days notice

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bruce Foreman View Post
James: Send me your email address to...

biforeman at gmail dot com

...And I'll email you an article I wrote that may help you quite a bit.

Coming from Canon the GH2 "led me around by the nose" for almost a week until I got some familiar with configuration items. I have the ones I consider important listed, and then get into a systematic approach to control settings.
Bruce, I think that article would help many others, don't you think it would be better to make the link public here? I for one would appreciate.
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Old November 12th, 2012, 07:17 PM   #8
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Re: Chance to shoot gh2 on two days notice

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Originally Posted by Zsolt Gordos View Post
Bruce, I think that article would help many others, don't you think it would be better to make the link public here? I for one would appreciate.
Agreed! Bruce, I can use all the help I can get...
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Old November 12th, 2012, 10:06 PM   #9
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Re: Chance to shoot gh2 on two days notice

Zsolt and Bob,

I'll just try to to put it in this message and hope the editor will hold it all. I don't have it on a hosting site anywhere. Mark, copy, and paste into a text document. Please respect my copyright and do not distribute, this. Refer folks you think it could help to me.

GH2 Manual Exposure Control In Video Mode


© 2012 Bruce Foreman

A few things need to be configured in the menus first. Taking them one at a time:

1. Setting Manual Exposure in Movie Mode. Set the mode dial on top of the GH2 to “Motion Picture” (the icon that looks like a movie camera and an “M” beside it). Press the “Set” button on the back of the camera and you get a “Creative Movie” menu that allows you to select from 4 choices (3 if firmware is still ver. 1.0). I select “High Bit Rate”, many others will select "24p Cinema”.

Go to next menu down, “Motion Picture” (Movie Camera icon). Scroll down to Movie Camera with “M” icon, EXPOSURE MODE. 4 choices, PASM, select M for “Manual”. This exposure mode choice applies ONLY to “Motion Picture” mode when that is selected with the mode dial on top.

Next menu, CUSTOM, “C with wrench”.

HISTOGRAM – Set to ON if you understand how to read a histogram. This is NOT an exposure meter but can be a useful guide when properly interpreted.

CONSTANT PREVUE – Set to ON. This allows LCD and viewfinder to actually show exposure by being darker with underexposure and lighter with overexposure, making it easier to “judge” exposure in conjunction with the exposure metering display at the bottom of the screen. If this is left to OFF the LCD and viewfinder will pretty much always display an image that looks like the exposure is correct even when under or over exposed.

EXPO.METER – Set to ON. This enables exposure meter display at the bottom of the screen.

Movie (icon) BUTTON – Set to ON. This is the red button on top of the camera. You can also start Motion Picture recording with a full press of the shutter button (in Motion Picture mode ONLY). A half press of the shutter button will attempt AUTOFOCUS depending on how you have FOCUS mode switches set.

TOUCH SCREEN – I recommend ON

TOUCH Q.MENU - I recommend ON also

TOUCH SHUTTER – I set to OFF, I don't want the camera to focus and shoot a still if I accidentally touch the LCD.

SHOOT W/O LENS – Set to ON if you plan on using adapted lenses.


Those are the important ones for manual exposure control in video mode. Several of the other configuration options can be personal choices but I do recommend Highlight Warnings, Focus Priority, Direct Focus Area, and PreAF all be set to OFF. They shouldn't affect manual exposure control but you can have “too much” going on.

Now on to HOW.

SHUTTER SPEED:

Depending on the power line frequency in your area this should be set so that it is likely “in synch” to head off “banding” or “flickering” problems if artificial lighting is either used or included in the scene. In most PAL regions this will likely be 50Hz, In most NTSC areas power line frequency will be 60Hz, shutter speed should be some close multiple of this. I'm in an NTSC area so I set mine at 1/60th of a second. Those in most PAL regions should start at 1/50th.

Both shutter speeds are close enough to the 1/48th second that used to be the result of a rotating disk shutter in early film motion picture cameras so that the degree of “motion blur” we've become used to is similar.

Faster shutter speeds to “freeze” motion/action in each frame may be used but as you get much above 1/125th to 1/250th second motion may “strobe” or get “stuttery”. So far at 1/60th second I've had no problems, any blur which occurs with rapid movement looks natural to me.

APERTURE:

Set this for the desired “depth of field” or “zone of acceptable focus” effect desired. Smaller aperture for deep zone of focus, wider for more selective focus or “shallow” zone of focus, or a medium aperture for somewhere in the middle. A word of warning here, the extreme “shallow” selective focus that can be done with some “faster” lenses is being very much overdone. So I suggest you do some research on “depth of field” and look at a lot of examples so you can apply these techniques more judiciously.

ISO: Set this to a value appropriate to the ambient lighting conditions. Outdoors in daylight start at 160. Indoors or outdoors at night somewhere in the range of 400 – 1600. With the original firmware the high ISO limit in “motion picture” mode is 3200, with the various firmware modifications (hacks) that upper limit can be expanded to 12,800.

Before you get too excited over this possibility, you are likely to be quite disappointed in the image quality at 12,800 due to digital “noise” (I haven't tried anything like Neat Video for noise removal so I have no idea how well it would work here). While I might be able to “live with” the results at ISO 6400 I try to stay at ISO 3200 or lower.

Generally ISO can be adjusted up or down some to “tune” exposure until you get the “zero” or “+/-” +0 reading on the exposure meter readout at the bottom of the screen. If you're not locked into a specific aperture for a specifically desired “depth of field” effect you can also “tune” exposure with aperture adjustment.

So at this point you have complete manual control over shutter, aperture, and ISO. Each independent of the others and an exposure meter readout at the bottom of the screen.

OTHER EXPOSURE CONSIDERATIONS

Shooting video outdoors can present some exposure problems, you may find yourself having to set the aperture at minimum or near minimum aperture even at ISO 160. This can result in quite a bit deeper zone of focus than you would like and very small apertures subject the image to an effect known as “diffraction”. The image forming light rays instead of following a strictly straight path begin to “diffuse” some. This can result in a general softness, slight loss of inherent contrast, and an image that can seem to lack edge detail and sharpness.

The way to counteract this is through the use of ND filters. I found that a .9ND (3 stop reduction) just barely got me down into the f11 to f8 range of apertures on a bright day in the West Texas sun. So I used 46-52mm and 37-52mm stepup rings with my existing 52mm .6ND and .9ND filters (2 stop and 3 stop reduction respectively) for the Lumix 14mm and 20mm “pancakes” and also with the Olympus Zuiko 45mm (37mm filter thread). “Stacking” those two filters for a 5 stop reduction caused a slight magenta color shift and definite vignetting with the 14mm lens, so I ordered a 1.2ND (4 stop reduction) to get away from those problems.

Many are using variable ND filters or ND “faders”, and I've got a couple to try out. But I am seeing a disturbing number of complaints of internal reflections from these showing up in the images. A variable or “fader” ND filter is actually two pieces of glass resulting in 4 extra potentially “reflective” surfaces. The m4/3rds lenses seem to be particularly susceptible to more internal reflections when any type of filter is used. So for now on any serious projects I'm going to stick with single conventional ND filters.

The use of "deep" lens hoods does help alleviate the internal reflections problem but when you point the camera into the direction of the sun or other strong light source nothing may be of help.

Focusing With Manual Assist


On the "Custom" menu (C with wrench) be sure you have AF+MF set to ON, then* MF ASSIST set to ON.* These are on "page 3" of that menu, then go to "page 4" and set MF GUIDE to ON.

The MF ASSIST will kick in as you touch the focus ring when you are in AFS (autofocus single) mode and when in MF mode.* In MF mode the magnified "assist" will not clear until you lightly touch the shutter release button.*

With other brand “adapted” lenses the only way to activate MF ASSIST may be to touch the LCD. Pressing the Fn2 button is supposed to activate MF ASSIST when “adapted” lenses are attached. The above 2 paragraphs pertain to “native” m4/3rds lenses only.

Continuous Autofocus And Face Detect

I've been trying to test "continuous autofocus" with one of the lenses that is supposed to work with.* Around the dial on the top left of the camera MF stands for Manual Focus, AFC for Auto Focus Continuous, and AFS for Auto Focus Single (press).

There is a 3 position switch that selects those.* The dial itself has four positions.* The first is Face Detect mode, the second is Continuous Focus Tracking but this works ONLY for still photos and NOT for Movie Mode.* The Face Detect mode, however, will work in Movie mode and can provide a kind of "pseudo follow focus" in movie mode as long as the 3 position switch is set to AFS (Auto Focus Single) and it thinks it is detecting a face.*

In other words if you work alone and have to get out in front of the camera yourself, you can back up and move forward while recording and it will try to "refocus", but turn your back and it will lose focus on you.* If you have the Lumix 20mm lens Continous Autofocus does not work with this lens, but the "psuedo follow focus" will try to work as long as the focus switch is set to AFS and the dial is on "Face Detect".

I haven't done anything with the other two modes yet.



© 2012 Bruce Foreman
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Old November 13th, 2012, 12:37 AM   #10
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Re: Chance to shoot gh2 on two days notice

Bruce, great info VERY USEFUL! thanks a bunch
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Old November 13th, 2012, 07:22 AM   #11
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Re: Chance to shoot gh2 on two days notice

Great article. I would like to add to two points.

The shutter speeds you mention, I assume, are for 24p filming. Unless I am in a room with overhead fluorescent lights, I find that 1/50 is closer to film than 1/60 which can lend a slight video look to action. Most, if not all, professional artificial lights do not strobe. The only common lights that will give a problem are the old style tube fluorescents installed in many office buildings. The new compact bulbs do not strobe. If shooting at 60p, 1/60th is fine for all situations.

The face detection is very remarkable in that it works as well as it does but it can be confused. Sunglasses throw it off and if your subject turns their head to a profile, the lens may or may not go hunting for focus. More than one face in the frame can send the camera focusing on the wrong person, so if you are shooting with the viewfinder or have a loupe attached to the LCD, you can loose control over the focus easily.
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Old November 14th, 2012, 06:58 PM   #12
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Re: Chance to shoot gh2 on two days notice

Thanks Bruce...
Turns out my settings were pretty much the same as yours, except I use Shutter Priority and keep the touch screen off...
I also tend shoot in 720 60P

Great little camera...
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Old November 14th, 2012, 11:30 PM   #13
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Re: Chance to shoot gh2 on two days notice

Quote:
Originally Posted by William Hohauser View Post
Great article. I would like to add to two points.

The shutter speeds you mention, I assume, are for 24p filming.
Actually I use those for 30p shooting. I don't use 24fps for several reasons, the main one is that more folks than you realize can see the "flicker" effect of 24fps and some wind up with headaches from it. For that reason most modern theaters used projectors that projected each frame twice so what we were seeing was 48fps.

Of course now most theaters are using digital projection which eliminates "flicker" at any frame rate. And along with this development distribution of film prints is ceasing. It is much cheaper to ship a hard drive package with the feature on it than a film print, much cheaper to produce that also.


Quote:
Originally Posted by William Hohauser View Post
Unless I am in a room with overhead fluorescent lights, I find that 1/50 is closer to film than 1/60 which can lend a slight video look to action.
1/50th is so close to 1/48th that the motion blur is pretty much identical. 1/60th is still close enough in most cases. Some people can "see" it different from others. For example: I don't see the flicker effect of 24fps, but all the women in my family do and some do get headaches from it. To me the motion blur of 1/50th and 1/60th look identical, but others may be able to see a difference and that is what makes some of this difficult for discussion.

But the recent change to digital projection totally removes any frame rate flicker and makes it smoother. If digital projection is still projecting each frame twice that smooths it out even more.

Quote:
Originally Posted by William Hohauser View Post
Most, if not all, professional artificial lights do not strobe. The only common lights that will give a problem are the old style tube fluorescents installed in many office buildings. The new compact bulbs do not strobe. If shooting at 60p, 1/60th is fine for all situations.
I got it bad once on a 7D from CFLs but they may have been older types, the color was visibly yellow.

Quote:
Originally Posted by William Hohauser View Post
The face detection is very remarkable in that it works as well as it does but it can be confused. Sunglasses throw it off and if your subject turns their head to a profile, the lens may or may not go hunting for focus. More than one face in the frame can send the camera focusing on the wrong person, so if you are shooting with the viewfinder or have a loupe attached to the LCD, you can loose control over the focus easily.
It's a problem. I would use the "face detect" method only with the Lumix 20mm f1.7 (Continuous AutoFocus does not work with that lens) if I had to work alone and had no other choice. And I would be checking each "take" closely to be sure I had no "focus shift" issues. Since writing that article I tested Continuous Autofocus with the Panasonic Leica DG Summilux 25mm f1.4 and that has issues also. If the background has much contrast at all you can wind up with a "pumping" action as the autofocus finds itself being "grabbed" alternately by the subject and the background.
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Old November 14th, 2012, 11:35 PM   #14
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Re: Chance to shoot gh2 on two days notice

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Thieda View Post
Thanks Bruce...
Turns out my settings were pretty much the same as yours, except I use Shutter Priority and keep the touch screen off...
I also tend shoot in 720 60P

Great little camera...
You're welcome Bob.

Go full manual. Life will never be the same.

By the way, I've not been able to find the 720 60p choice in the menus. Which menu is that in?
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Old November 15th, 2012, 03:55 AM   #15
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Re: Chance to shoot gh2 on two days notice

Bruce, re 720 mode.
Motion picture>Rec Mode
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