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A Few Questions About: Hacked Bitrates, Auto ISO, EV, Modes
  • I bought a GH2 mostly for the hacked patches. I have spent hours researching to try to learn what to do and how to use the camera for video purposes. I am hoping that someone can help answer a few questions as most of my information tends to originate from this site:

    Setup - In order to achieve the higher bitrates I had to use M from the dial atop the GH2. The camera icon with the M would not allow this. The tradeoff was Auto ISO with M, and adjustable ISO with the camera icon with the M. I use mostly Canon FD lenses.

    1a) Bitrates - I have tried a few hacks with varying success. The best I have got is about 100MB with Flow Motion v2.02, however, most of the shots I got with this hack seem to be from 70MB-90MB. I tried Flow Motion, Driftwood's Moon T7, and two Driftwood hacks (176MB & 220MB) from a pack made by the user Sohus on this forum.

    Is it common to be well below the stated bitrate amounts?

    1b) AVCHD vs MJPEG - I never seemed to get very high bitrates when using 1080i, despite the hacks stating to be much higher. They would range from 15MB-40MB. To achieve higher bitrates with Flow Motion, I used MJPEG which boosted them much higher.

    Shouldn't I be achieving high bitrates with AVCHD?

    2) Auto ISO - Whenever I use M (from PASM) the ISO would always be set to Auto ISO. I could adjust the ISO when using the camera icon mode (with the M), but then the bitrates would suffer. I tried changing the ISO before shooting, but Auto ISO would kick in no matter what.

    How do I change the ISO while in M mode?

    3) EV - I know that EV depends upon shutter, aperture, and ISO, but I can see the EV when I push the Display button so I was hoping there was still a way to change it.

    Am I correct to assume that because I am using Canon FD lenses I cannot use EV? Even if using a Panasonic lens, how do I change the EV (I tried, but failed).

    4) Modes - I have only been able to use the hacked bitrates - and only to a certain degree - by using M with MJPEG.

    What modes should I be using to use the hacked patches? The camera icon with M? High Bitrate? 24P? 1080i?

    Sorry for all the questions. I am not unhappy with the camera, but I really want to know why the bitrates are not working? And moreso, why the Auto ISO can't be changed (as I don't like the amount of noise it can introduce)? Thank you!

  • 11 Replies sorted by
  • I suggest you go back and read the manual very thoroughly first, a few times and play with the camera. Get to know what everything means and how the menu system works. Then go to beginners section and spend a few days (not minutes) reading though all the threads. Then the FAQs. Then go back and mess with the camera some more. Your questions are too random for people to start responding to as you most likely will not understand the basic principles of what's going on here.

  • Thank you for the reply, but it is not very helpful. I am definitely new to the camera, but I have spent hours messing with it. I also spent hours - not minutes - reading through posts. Granted, I used Google to try to narrow my search rather than reading randomly, but I could try that. I am not new to cameras, but I'm more used to my 5DMKII and its ease of use. If you have any recommended posts or articles to suggest, that would be very helpful.

    In case anything is lost in translation, I have tried different settings and tested accordingly. My problems begin when trying to use the hacks, the camera without the hack is simple enough. If you have any helpful advice, please respond, it would be much appreciated.

  • It is slightly hard to understand that you ask exactly.

    @vicharris is right that checking and understanding how camera works without any hacks is first thing.

    After this just read FAQ and topic about setting you use. It is not hard, just need some of your time.

  • Yep. I think I literally played with my first GH2 for a month after I got it before I started posting on here.

  • You will sometimes get a bit rate that is lower than stated. I've experienced that. I think the stated bit rate is often the highest it would typically go and some types of shots yield higher or lower bit rate (moving vs stationery). Remember that quality of image is not solely determined by high bit rate. A lot of people prefer the 176 Mbps over the 220. Also some prefer Moon T7 as their favorite and that has a lower bitrate. Each hack setting has its own look and characteristics. Best bet is to look at a lot of footage and also try the different hack settings out to see what works best for the type of image you want.

    I think most people prefer AVCHD for better image quality. This is debated somewhat on this forum. I use AVCHD.

    For camera modes, I researched and set them and now I've forgotten, but your camera manual can help here. If you dont have physical manual book, you can download it from internet. You will be able to use manual ISO, use the hack settings with high bitrate and get very good image quality. What type of shooting do you want to do - narrative filmmaking, documentary, sports, wedding, or something else? Cats are very popular too.

  • Thanks for the responses guys. I really do try to not ask questions on forums unless I have been searching unsuccessfully. It was easy enough to find guides on how to do the hacked patches, just not a guide of how to setup afterwards.

    I suspected that low bitrates would be in play, I guess I was just thinking they would be much higher than standard.

    I have read that the 220 has issues depending on your shooting situation, and 176 seems to be all the rage! I stuck with Flow Motion v2 just because MJPEG did give a huge bitrate in comparison to shooting AVCHD. However, I did want to shoot on AVCHD as a lot of the threads seem to go towards that.

    Manual ISO does seem to work great on the camera icon with M (which it seems I should shoot in). It was just the bitrate difference that threw me off. I wanted to shoot some short music videos with the GH2, and possibly some documentary. BTW, the cats comment was hilarious.

  • @Heatshiver I shoot with the wheel set to the camera icon with the M, at 24P set to 24H. I shoot video at 1/50 shutter speed, but some prefer other shutter speeds such as 1/40 or 1/30 to get perhaps a smoother feel with motion (just make sure you pan slowly to avoid blur, which should really be done with any shutter speed anyway).

    A real critical point to understand with the GH2 and the different hack settings is that they really have different image looks/characteristics. Try out many of them. Also try them with different lenses if you can. Also pay attention to the film mode settings that let you pick from "smooth", "standard", "nostalgia" etc. I use "smooth". It seems most people like smooth or standard. Also the contrast, sharpness, saturation, and noise reduction settings are important. Many set them all to "-2". I set saturation at 0 and the rest at "-2" and that seems best to me.

    The 176, which I think is called Quantum 9vB is a great hack setting. Moon T7 is probably one of the most popular ones now. Sanity is popular. Flowmotion is popular. The various Apocalypse Now settings are popular. I use the Apocalypse Now Intravenus v2 setting with 1970's Lomo lenses, and I like that for an 80's film stock look. I think Moon T7 looks like a nice modern cinematic look. The Sedna settings are popular. The Apocalypse Now Intravenus v1 is popular.

    The beauty of the GH2 is that you can get a variety of looks, by experimenting with your choice of hack settings, camera settings, lenses, etc. Of course lighting and composition is king, and how you color grade your footage is huge too. But you can really get almost any type of look you want out of this camera.

    Best of luck with your shooting!

  • @matt_gh2 - Thanks for the replies, this is truly been helpful for me.

    I set my film mode to "standard" as I just wanted to have everything at 0, but I did see a video where someone said they always used "smooth". Another thing I thought interesting was that they also reported that while he did set everything to "-2", he said that it didn't seem to make much of a difference except for noise reduction. Although, I saw the different tests showing noise reduction between "0" and "-2", and I didn't like the processing from the GH2, I'll use my NLE or possibly AE for that.

    I will have to retry all the hacks as the Flow Motion has been great, but I did want to try a few Driftwoods over a period of time. The camera has looked fantastic with my FD lenses. I have been trying them all out, along with a few M43 lenses.

    I am not sure if this is too much to ask, but would you be able to tell me a patch that you have used, what settings you have used with it, and the bitrates you had received? I understand that color, lighting, and several other things will make it vary; but my hope is I can try to imitate your settings and get somewhat similar bitrates. It would really help assure myself that I am getting similar results.

  • @Heatshiver Cool - glad to help. You can use Standard or Smooth or any other Film Mode regardless of the number settings you choose (0, -2 etc.). Most people go all -2, though some do otherwise. I think you're right in that consensus is that noise reduction should be at -2 and be done in NLE or AE. Many use a program called Neat Video and get great results. Cheap and available at neatvideo.com

    I definitely notice more accurate colors with Saturation set to 0.

    My experience has primarily been with shooting a recent feature length film. We used the Apocalypse Now Intravenus v 2 hack setting. I had camera settings on Smooth with all at -2, except Saturation at 0. Shutter 1/50. Dial was set to camera icon with M. Shot in 24P. I believe the bitrate was coming in at between 70-90 Mbps. It's been a while since I did my initial tests with the hack setting, so I could be wrong with bitrate.

    For me, I usually just checked the bitrate to make sure I had actually installed the hack setting. If you're getting 16-24 Mbps that's usually a sign that the hack setting wasn't applied (some people try to apply hack setting, make a mistake, but the cam is still in stock mode like it was when new). So if I tried a hack setting and got 80 Mbps or 120 Mbps, I knew the hack setting had been applied. (When switching from one hack setting to another, I usually set it back to the Panasonic firmware first, to make sure I'm at 16-24, then apply the new hack setting. Otherwise, if one hack setting is at 90-100 Mbps and you apply another hack setting and it too shows 90-100 Mbps, I wouldn't know for sure that I had replaced it with the new one. Probably over the top - LOL).

    My main point in the above paragraph is that bitrate is not the only determinant of quality for images. These different hack settings really have different looks. The look of Sedna is obvious. The grain on Intravenus v 1 is of a particular type. Moon T7 has a certain smoothness to it. After a while you'll start picking up on these differences, and the testing with a variety of settings and lenses will allow you to craft your desired look. Sometimes it can be hard to tell the hack settings apart just by looking at footage - and I've tried guessing and get it wrong at times - but when someone tells me they used a vintage lens with Intravenus v 2, I recognize the look of their footage. I would recommend focusing on finding the look that you want, and also take that test footage through color grading to see how it plays. Once you've done that, you basically know what you're gonna get when you go out and shoot.

    Hope this helped to avoid steep learning curve somewhat. Have fun with GH2. (If you can afford to, I'd recommend donating to the website. Vitaly does a lot to keep this a great community website, and we've been lucky to avoid advertisements by everyone chipping in with donations.)

    You should definitely post the music videos when shot. Rock on!

  • Matt,

    Thanks! That was really helpful to someone like me just starting out with a hacked GH2.

  • @Greg_E Sure thing - glad it was useful.