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Best GH2 Hack for Documentary Filming in 2015
  • Hey guys. Just got my GH2. I have played around with it, unhacked for about 30 hours. I will be filming a documentary on it next week. Due to the large selection of hacks, I cannot try them all out in time. Could somebody tell me the best hack for documentary filmmaking.

    Highbitrates, and storage are not a big issues for me Crashing is not a huge issue either, because I will have a laptop on site (less crashes is better of course) I really care about sharpness, overall image quality, and ability to grade in post.

  • 17 Replies sorted by
  • That's a loaded question, especially for a Documentary. Some people prefer a doc to appear like your looking out of a window, others want a cinematic look. Sanity x is my pick for the best all around but I also use moon 8 because I like the low light appearance. You really need to do some testing to see what works for you.

  • Try some GOLGOP3-13 patches from bkmcwd. They work really well for doco shooting and are super-reliable for long recordings. They are also great for 25fps shooting.

  • I have been using flowmotion v2 (Pal) for long documentaries for quite a while. No problem at all and pristine image. Post production in prores422 or proresHQ in FCP7.

  • I confirm that I also use booby my GH2 Flow Motion V2 100 M / bs and they are really beautiful pictures you should use this Hack.


  • If the documentary involves "one chance" filming, then you want something reliable. Flowmotion is very good, very reliable and has been tested by many people. I'm currently using Apefos. The shadow noise grain is smooth. Flowmotion does just what it says, the motion flows. You would need a magnifying glass to see the differences in the top hacks, and I would say that the difference is going to be how the hack relates to the grain in the scenes you are shooting--the grain will look slightly different depending on the subject. So test a few scenes, and see what you like.

  • All of the above are good suggestions. I like the look of "GH3onaGH2" for a nice documentary look.

  • I use Sanity v5.1 in 24L mode (24 fps) with manual glass and have gotten shots that lasted until the battery ran out: 3.5 hours! Great for an unmanned camera. I take the files into PremierePro and edit the .mts files without transcoding (cuda enabled desktop machine). In a 1080 timeline I can flatten the contrast of the GH2 to match my down res'd 4k GH4 footage. I have to punch up the contrast to match the more limited DR of the GH2. But this works for me until I can afford a 2nd GH4 or get a G7.

  • I guess if I was going to film something important, and quality was an issue, I would film it in 4K. Just sayin.' @CFreak I never got more than 2.5 hours out of the battery--is that a stock battery or aftermarket? Do you think the hack affects the battery life?

  • @DrDave not all of us can afford 4k right now. One of the main reasons we decide to go with hacked GH2s instead

  • The GH2's size lends itself to some field footage used in a doco; whether you need it to cut in well to match other shoulder mounted ENG or studio interviews will determine which hack you choose.

    This is another case where the distributor will choose the look and format. For TV, it's still 16:9 24/30 fps and whatever sampling rate you can pass off as broadcast. David Attenborough will want your wildlife shots in 4K but mention 4K to CNN and you'll be greeted with a long, bemused stare.

    A broadcast engineer will whiz through your footage quickly and pause it on an artefact which you'd never have noticed. You need it clean and glitch-free.

    Like everything in journalism, you'll start with a proposal.. I'd be inclined to go strong on story and easy on colours and camera movement.

  • I haven't tried the newer settings, but since a lot of people are still suggesting older ones, I'll give my thoughts, too.

    Driftwood's intra were my favorites in terms of the noise patterns and how balanced their handling of low-motion and high-motion shots were. Moon's a good one to start with.

    Sanity was my choice when file size and recording time were the paramount concerns. Image quality was consistently better for me with Moon.

    Flowmotion tended to be a good compromise when I wasn't aiming for either of those extremes but wanted to try to reduce the number of crashes, etc.

    Whatever settings you use, be aware that the specific card used makes a HUGE difference in terms of the experience you'll have. The most thoroughly vetted card is the SanDisk SDXC Extreme Pro 95MB/s (which we've got years of data on at this point) but I'm sure people can suggest others, too.

  • @DrDave you reminded me, yes the GH2 stock batteries suck. It was a 12 volt lead acid battery into a cigarette plug downconverter to 9 volts, then into the official Pana GH2 battery adapter.

  • I know you asked about hacks but I thought I'd toss a second in for what Goanna said. Video is second to audio in Docs or at least in mine. You can post footage from the 60s and 70's but lord help you if you use audio from the same era. Story is king though. Dull or wandering story and you have an unwatchable Doc.

  • Another vote for Flowmotion v2.2 - also features excellent audio improvements. I stopped using an external audio recorder for interviews after hearing this patch and recorded straight to the camera via a juicedlink pre-amp. It's a must if you're shooting HBR mode (25p or 30p). If you're shooting 24p, then a version of the Moon patch will suit you.

  • I don't think the project type matters much. Driftwood's Moon Trial 7 is hands down still the best patch out there, I feel.

  • I just put Sanity X and i will do my interview with the 24P L ( sanity 5.1 ) and where i like to get more quality in 24 P Hight 100 gb it's difficult to came up to a set up for documentaries with all this, like building a cage ( but it's ad noise when you are in a win situation. I ad a external batteries attached to the top cage with Velcro work well 9v, 12v out and near 60$.The lens it's a Foton Russian zoom with follow focus ring it's a 37mm to 140mm( i do not have the anamorphic front attachment ) the lens support came from Rafael in Belarus this lens was made in 1986 oh on the lens support on the top of it i fix a JVC handel.

    GH2 SET-UPFoton zoomWEB.jpg
    2027 x 1590 - 135K
  • Well this one it's will show you the back side of this... First i buy a viewfinder the one with a magnetic frame, the frame you stick on the screen frame not stay on for long and i lost it. I did a curve in a angle frame in still and it's fix on the 15mm rail.I still using a mono Pod.

    GH2 SET-UP BackView.jpg
    1458 x 1312 - 134K
    912 x 684 - 86K