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Old December 13th, 2013, 06:27 PM   #1
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One Man Army GH2/GH3

Hey guys/gals. I've been working on a film about homelessness in America off and on for about 4 years (2 of which were pretty productive and 2 weren't). Recently, I was lucky enough to actually get some funding for the film. About $8000 of which is for actual video production. Obviously that's not tons, but for a film that's had virtually no budget, I'm delighted and can stretch it far. And I will by mostly shooting on-location entirely by myself.

The thing is, I've always found it difficult to interview a subject and be fully engaged when I'm shooting it as well. I'm not talking about corporate interviews where that is fairly common (client gives me a few questions to ask, I shoot it on a nice wide angle lens like the Lumix 20mm 1.7), but an honest touching, heart felt interview. Where looking away or leaning back to check the camera can really mess with the flow. Not to mention, I've done it a few times where my hacked GH2s stop filming and I didn't know it, or I lean into the shot, and again don't know it because I'm engaged in the interview. So hurry up and get to the questions. A camera op recently recommended to me that I run a monitor behind and to the left or right of the interview subject that way I can see whats going on with focus, angle, etc...

I have several trips coming up and I want to do the one man shooting thing right and do justice to the film. A.) has anybody worked with this monitor setup before? b.) does anyone have an alternate suggestion for making things more smoothly in this kind of a situation?

I'll be shooting on a hacked GH2, renting a unhacked GH3 (that I'll probably use as the camera to monitor since it will be more reliable) shooting in full quality at 70mbps. I do already have a Lilliput 7" monitor that I use when filming, but I'm thinking something much bigger would be necessary?

Last edited by Josh Hayes; December 13th, 2013 at 06:27 PM. Reason: typo
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Old December 13th, 2013, 09:29 PM   #2
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Re: One Man Army GH2/GH3

First off, don't bother with 72mbps on the GH3. Stick with the 50mbps mode, most people find that it looks better than the 72 mode however counterintuitive that is. Second, the main reasons hacks fail on the GH2 is either the SD card chokes or the the hack itself is unstable. Use SanDisk Extreme Pro cards and research a less stressful hack for your GH2. I use the Sanity hack on my GH2 and have excellent results. Yes, it's not the bandwidth powerhouse of some of the other hacks but your interview is more important than some compression artifacts that the audience will likely not notice.

As for the monitor, use the Lilliput but place it on a small tripod in front of you but under the line of sight of your interview subject. That way you can monitor the camera with a quick glance down and not disturb the flow of your questions.
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Old December 13th, 2013, 10:26 PM   #3
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Re: One Man Army GH2/GH3

Set your expectations. You won't get anything as good as you would if you had a camera op. It may be better to rent a proper camcorder like an Sony XDCAM and use the DSLR as a b-camera. Second camera angle on interviews makes editing a breeze.

Be aware, the GH3 has a design flaw that turns off the overlay displays after 10 seconds. You lose the ability to monitor audio meters and everything else except the onscreen tally indicator.

I setup a 7" monitor right in front of me. Warn them that occasionally you may glance at it. It's best of they can see your whole face and not just a Kilroy perspective of you.
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Old December 13th, 2013, 10:37 PM   #4
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Re: One Man Army GH2/GH3

@Les: when it shuts off at the 10 second limit, does it still show if it's recording or not? Or, if it stops recording will all the info (audio, f-stop, etc.... come back onto the monitor screen if it stops)? Good point on setting expectations. Not into using something like an EX because the quality isn't good enough. Though, I could rent another cam that's higher quality in that same vein. For the sitdown interviews though, I'm most likely going to have a GH3 and GH2 setup. One wide and one beauty shot. Question on the monitor idea, have you done that, and felt it didn't disrupt the interview (assuming the interview was a little more serious and emotional than a product description, company interview, etc..).
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Old December 13th, 2013, 10:50 PM   #5
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Re: One Man Army GH2/GH3

@Will: Good to know on the 50mps. I hadn't done to much research into the GH3 yet since I don't own one (trying to hold out for the GH4). Yeah, for me the failures aren't necessarily card related because I've got SanDisk Extreme and PNY Extreme (both 90 mbs +), but the GH2 I'm talking about the hack (i can't remember the name) is the second highest hack available so I always use it as my B cam. Maybe I will go a lower quality hack. It's smarter. It's just hard because, when it's fully hacked, it's beautiful! ha ha. Good point though on audience too. So often I (and I'm assuming other camera ops forget) that we see stuff, the public won't see.

I'll do a test with the Lilliput like you suggested and see if it's comfortable. That would definitely save me money too.
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Old December 13th, 2013, 11:51 PM   #6
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Re: One Man Army GH2/GH3

Quote:
Originally Posted by Josh Hayes View Post
Hey guys/gals. I've been working on a film about homelessness in America off and on for about 4 years (2 of which were pretty productive and 2 weren't). Recently, I was lucky enough to actually get some funding for the film. About $8000 of which is for actual video production. Obviously that's not tons, but for a film that's had virtually no budget, I'm delighted and can stretch it far. And I will by mostly shooting on-location entirely by myself.

The thing is, I've always found it difficult to interview a subject and be fully engaged when I'm shooting it as well. I'm not talking about corporate interviews where that is fairly common (client gives me a few questions to ask, I shoot it on a nice wide angle lens like the Lumix 20mm 1.7), but an honest touching, heart felt interview. Where looking away or leaning back to check the camera can really mess with the flow. Not to mention, I've done it a few times where my hacked GH2s stop filming and I didn't know it, or I lean into the shot, and again don't know it because I'm engaged in the interview. So hurry up and get to the questions. A camera op recently recommended to me that I run a monitor behind and to the left or right of the interview subject that way I can see whats going on with focus, angle, etc...

I have several trips coming up and I want to do the one man shooting thing right and do justice to the film. A.) has anybody worked with this monitor setup before? b.) does anyone have an alternate suggestion for making things more smoothly in this kind of a situation?

I'll be shooting on a hacked GH2, renting a unhacked GH3 (that I'll probably use as the camera to monitor since it will be more reliable) shooting in full quality at 70mbps. I do already have a Lilliput 7" monitor that I use when filming, but I'm thinking something much bigger would be necessary?
You can also get a small monitor real cheap now, like maybe $30, I don't remember. But I am getting at having it somehow clip onto the top of a clipboard that also has your papers with questions and notes and just glance down now and then to check framing. Frame a little larger than needed to have some room for the subject in case they move around. They will think your are glancing at your notes and still listening to them more than staring at some monitor behind them off to the side that is obvious of your loss of eye contact. Of this is why it's better to have a good cameraman and a good person to do the interview as you probably already know.

You are doing what I have planned on doing now for almost eight years. LOL. I have probably six docs i plan on doing if I find some funding and get started. As far as the homeless, my idea was to actually become one of them, spend a few weeks living among them while gaining their trust and then their permission on camera to video tape them asking questions. Don't use a lav, use a good small shotgun which are very small these days for less than $200. That way they feel more comfortable that you are not touching them and putting things on them, like lav mics. And you can interview more than one person and get good audio of more than one person by aiming the camera, with handheld and image stabilization in lens or camera body. so no tripod is needed and it's not shaky.

I could go on and on what to do and use. I would work with you if I lived nearby and you wanted that.
Good luck your doc.

Last edited by Alex Anderson; December 14th, 2013 at 12:42 AM.
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Old December 14th, 2013, 12:14 PM   #7
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Re: One Man Army GH2/GH3

I suggest that you take a look at purchasing a Panasonic G6. Sell the GH2 while it's still got value. The G6 is incredible value for money with performance on a par with the GH3 & none of the hassle of a hacked GH2. The overlay displays don't turns off after 10 seconds either.

http://www.eoshd.com/content/10824/p...-the-gh2-redux

Actually I just remembered that the G6 doesn't have HDMI out while recording so that would not suit if you want to use a monitor. Apart from that it's a damn fince camera.
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Old December 14th, 2013, 12:45 PM   #8
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Re: One Man Army GH2/GH3

Quote:
Originally Posted by Josh Hayes View Post
@Les: when it shuts off at the 10 second limit, does it still show if it's recording or not? ... Question on the monitor idea, have you done that, and felt it didn't disrupt the interview (assuming the interview was a little more serious and emotional than a product description, company interview, etc..).
After the displays turn off, you get a blinking red dot, blinking SD card icon, duration counter and HH:MM remaining display. Search on "GH3 10 seconds" and you'll find the techniques people use to bring the displays back while recording. But they all involve moving your attention to the camera which is what you are trying to avoid.

I've never had the GH3 burp but I expect the displays would light up. For me it's a b-camera I leave running for the entire interview.

My proposal of an XDCAM (BTW there are 4:2:2 versions of that's your beef) was for the reliability of a camcorder over DSLR. I only recommend what I have experience with. There may be others.

None of my interviews are corporate. I find keeping eye contact at all costs and nodding is very helpful to my subjects. I use a 7" Marshall monitor on a light stand strategically placed so I can glance at it without moving my head. I find warning people works very well. But I have a very reliable XDCAM that doesn't need much attention. YMMV
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Old December 14th, 2013, 06:38 PM   #9
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Re: One Man Army GH2/GH3

@Nigel: I didn't even know about the G6. That was a really interesting article and watched the video comparison. One thing the article did say though was

"The HDMI jack on this camera is not active in live-view / movie mode, only in playback, meaning the G6 cannot be used with an external monitor or EVF."

Is that the case still or has there been a firmware fix?
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Old December 14th, 2013, 06:50 PM   #10
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Re: One Man Army GH2/GH3

@Les: good to know. I'll take a look at monitor issue. Although afterthinking about it, once I got it set for an interview I'm not as concerned about the info readouts, because I've essentially got everything set how I want it (assuming shooting conditions aren't changing), so as long as I can still see the image and it's sharpness, it's prob fine. You've convinced me that a little monitor in front of me should be sufficient. Which is music to my ears, because I was thinking of renting a field 17" monitor to have over their shoulders and behind them. Now I just need to do a mock shoot setup where I practice finding the right placement of the monitor on a stand.
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Old December 14th, 2013, 07:55 PM   #11
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Re: One Man Army GH2/GH3

So if I go the route of using a small monitor mounted in front of me, I do have the Lilliput 7" that I shoot with a lot. Generally I just use it for focus, as I've always thought the image and color looked poor on this monitor (though to be fair I never really tried to dial it in or learn about it). Are there other monitors in this price range (you mentioned the Marshall) that have a better picture I should consider renting or purchasing? Not saying I will, just curious if anybody's tested it. I was looking for some test comparisons on YouTube but their all done with a different 7" Lilliput monitor.

For those of you that use the smaller monitor, whether it's attached to a clipboard, or mounted to a light stand, you find it large enough to still determine focus and all that? I'm thinking I usually lean in pretty close when I'm watching it on my camera.

Lilliput Link
(Amazon.com: Lilliput 665gl-70np/ho/y 7" On-Camera HD LCD Field Monitor w/HDMI In HDMI Out Component in Video in Video Out by Lilliput: Electronics)
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Old December 14th, 2013, 09:35 PM   #12
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Re: One Man Army GH2/GH3

I use a Marshall LCD70XP with SDI input. They probably have HDMI. It has false colors for exposure, peaking for focus and expanded 1:1 also for focus. I find it perfectly sufficient to gauge exposure and focus at typical 14" viewing distance. Good idea to mock it up with your Lilliput. Nothing wrong with the 17" behind your subject but I think they'd notice your eyes move to it as well.
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Old December 17th, 2013, 03:15 PM   #13
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Re: One Man Army GH2/GH3

yeah, I'm gonna do a test on it this week to test out the setup. If I could comfortably have my 7" Lilliput mounted in front of me and still get focus and such covered, that would be awesome and a big moneysaver (versus renting the 17"). Faster setup too.
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