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GH2 Cake v2.3: reliability and spanning in 720p, HBR, 24p, and VMM at 2-2.5x stock bit rates
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  • FInally I've upgraded my GH2 to Cake 2.0 (from 1.2).

    Tested (very quickly) both HBR and 1080i50, with and w/o EX tele mode.

    It looks like HBR/1080i filesize has been reduced by about 10%, compared to ver. 1.2, but IQ improved!!!

    Thanks @balazer for your great work :-)

  • Sounds really good, I'd like to try Cake 2.0! I might be the biggest idiot ever, but I can't download the patch! Not from my Mac and not from my PC. I can only download the image... Something wrong with the link?

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  • @rikyxxx That card is one of the best values going around for high bitrate settings. I've benchmarked a golden one I had writing at a solid 18MB/s. It holds pretty well on up to 100Mbs settings. Unfortunatelly it developed a write lock complex. I exchanged it for another one but it had the same complex. I decided to return it also but lost it that very same day... They will also loose that shiny film cover pretty quickly.

  • @duartix sorry to hear about your dis-adventure, but so far so good with my Samsung SD :-)

  • I'm using Cake for an upcoming event, but I'd like to lower the bitrate-- mainly to be able to capture a two-hour event on my 32gig card. If I changed it to 42 or even 32 mbps, would this affect the ability to capture long takes?

  • @Brian_Siano

    If i were you I'd avoid any risk... Use stock firmware or find a rock-solid long-tested hack.

  • You can't change the bit rate in Cake 2.0 just by changing the bit rate setting in PTool. It's much more complicated than that.

    Using 24L or HBR will get you around 90 minutes on a 32-GB card. To get 2 hours in Cake you'll need more memory cards or a bigger card. If you need lower bit rates than Cake delivers, I'd suggest CBrandin 44M in 24L mode, which is supposed to span.

  • Well i tried Cake yesterday on an event. It stopped recording after about 90 Minutes with a 32 GB Card. Strangely when i tried it recorded i am wondering if the card was nearly full or why Cake stopped recording. Also i had write error on a 16GB Sandisk Ultra 30MB/sec...card too slow. Anyway the result and quality is great. But for the next event in good light i will stick to the original firmware.

  • @mschaa it depends on what recording mode you used ... on my 32GB card HBR (Pal) I can get only about 1h15 min, so spanning works ok for you... You need a good SD card, I use 30mb/s SanDisk Extreme HD video ...

  • @mschaa

    90 min recording on a 32gb card is a very very good result if you think about the image quality provided by Cake. I'm 99,999% sure the card was just full afterwards.

    About the write error on the 16GB Sandisk Ultra 30MB/sec: how long did it take to stop?

    If it recorded more than 10 minutes it simply didn't span.

  • Hi. I filmed in HBR mode. Yes i think the card was full... With the write error - this was quick - perhaps after about 10 seconds in NTSC 24p.

    I will be using Sanity on my trip now to be able to record longer on my card...but Cake is great!

  • With my PNY 32GB professional @ 20mb I got 95 minutes/ 8 files in Cinema 24h. I didn't get any error in HBR and 720/60p. Up to 1600 ISO I'm still having a very nice grain which is acceptable for my work. CAKE 2.0 is my choice for long interviews, I love it. Thank you

  • Thanks for the reports, guys.

    mschaa, what you saw is normal. The camera stops recording when the card is nearly full. You might be able to resume recording when that happens, but you'll only get another minute or two. SanDisk Ultra cards are too slow. I recommend SanDisk Extreme cards, Class 10 minimum.

  • Is it possible to modify Cake v2.0 or v2.1 so that timelapse video (2/2,5fps) can be shot? At least for me the frame quality doesn't have to be better than it already is.

  • There's nothing stopping you from using these settings (or anyone else's) for shooting time lapses. I suggest shooting in VMM 300% mode. If you want longer recording times and more efficient encoding at low frame rates, check out Duartix's TimeBuster. It would be some work to see how and whether TimeBuster could be merged with Cake v2.1.

  • Thanks balazer!

  • I did a few tests with the Cake 2.0 and Sanity hacks, using a GH2 and a Transcend 32 gig Class 10 card. The results probably won't surprise anyone.

    I shot a theater's rehearsal with my GH2 running Cake 2.0, as well as my TM700 camcorder: Cake was able to fit a solid hour's recording on the card, without any hiccups, and the image quality was terrific. (The camcorder's was considerably less: whether that's due to the lower bitrate, or the difference in lenses, I'm not sure.)

    I ran the Sanity patch for a duration test in my backyard, again with the TM700 running alongside. Sanity's lower bit rate got me more than two hours on the card. The image quality was also good, but both cameras were shooting through a glass door at my garden, so that may be a factor. I should try using Cake 2.1 on the garden for a better test.

    The general verdict is this: I can use Sanity and get decent quality, and I'd be able to cover a two-hour event. If I use Cake, then I gotta get a second card for a two-hour show, but the images'll probably be much better.

  • @vstardust & @balazer

    Earlier versions of Cake and Timebuster (up to 1.3) were working very well when I merge tested them but I haven't merge tested Cake 2.0(1) + 24h Timebuster recently and logic tells me they might not be the best match for one single reason. Balazer isn't using B-Frames, and I think he has a good point because I wouldn't be using them either if I had a choice. Unfortunately in 24h Timebuster I had to re-enable B-Frames in order to enforce a Constant Quality compression.

    His advice is right on the money. Unless you need monster recording times (which you don't mention) or a tailored QP (either higher for even better IQ or lower for bigger recording time - which you say you don't need) you are better off using pure Cake. Having said that, I'm sure 24 Timebuster merged with Cake 2.x would work perfectly for timelapses but I wouldn't guarantee the results in regular footage. What I could guarantee would be around 2x - 2.5x the recording length in timelapses.

  • I gave some thought to the idea of merging TimeBuster with Cake 2.1. The question would be which mode to use for time lapses.

    If you want to use HBR 30p for time lapses, it could be done with no impact to other modes (except to 30i, which I don't care about anyway). It wouldn't be possible to do a full TimeBuster-style mode in HBR where everything but the I-frames are squashed to zero. But I could do it so that you'd have the GOP length equal to the effective frame period, with one normal I-frame, one normal P-frame, and a bunch of small P-frames in each GOP.

    24p, VMM, and HBR 25p all share the GOP length parameter, so using any one of them for high efficiency time lapses would mean sacrificing the other two. HBR 25p would have the same restrictions as HBR 30p (above). 24p could be done in the full TimeBuster-style where everything but the I-frames is squashed to zero.

  • used Cake 2.1 today, spending most of the time in 24H, with tests sitting in the back of a van driving to location in HBR30, 720p60, VMM, etc. pretty damn solid, and lovely images. ETC wasn't exciting, but i was playing with Vibrant -2-2-2-2, so that might have added noise. still figuring out intricacies of WB/Profile happiness - not a lot of fun going from outdoors, to total indoor basement, to half-half natural light (through tinted windows) with supplemental light. oy.

    most often, people always end up a little green in the face, which is annoying. and, i have to blend my GH2 stuff with what our Canon 60D shoots. fun fun fun. any suggestions quite welcome in this regard. my 720p generally out-resolves the 60D at 1080p. so i try meet it all half way. :)

    observations: (non-technical :)

    720p60SH 25~33Mbps; kinda soft, but viewed at 1080p; a must have for some run-and-gun action or driving shots

    HBR30p 36~40Mbps; odd bits of interlaced playback, but i think that's the ongoing strife with PsF encoding, but the overall look is very good - and i need this option

    1080p24H 45~66Mbps; wide variety of shooting locations today; headache. LOVE it in decent light/low ISO. bit messy at 1600, nasty at 3200. no surprise. stock 14-140 lens doesn't keep up

    didn't test spanning as shooting 5-6 minutes was the longest clip, which ran at just over 2GB.

    thanks everyone for the continued work on all these settings. it's a maze, but ultimately, it helps us newbs through the learning curve.

    the pinot gris was good, too.

    1920 x 1080 - 2M
  • @balazer using HBR 30p would be great. 24p is too important to waste. Cakes frame quality is nice and file sizes efficient, but 2 or 2,5fps timelapse mode would be vital at least for me keeping the file sizes as reduced as possible. Then Cake+timelapser would be ideal for long travelling. Is it too much to asked for if you could make it possible?

  • For what it's worth, I just finished a suggestive low light test of eighteen, 24p, low bitrate (77Mb and under) settings, and cake 2.1 came on top. I was particularly interested in underexposed performance; detail (sharpness), grain quality, minimized quantization artifacts of these areas. I didn't see a big IQ, nor a big average bitrate difference between 24L and 24H in cake btw.

    SpanMyBitchUp v2b at 24H came good second. All the 12GOP settings had unacceptable long smears.

    This look like the best setting for me as I do a lot of long recordings in low light.