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Hints and Tips with Panasonic GH2 filming

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Hi guys,

 

soon I will go underwater with my new set-up:

Panasonic GH2 (hacked) with nauticam housing

Panasonic 7-14mm wide angle lens, dome port, zoom gear

Panasonic 14-42 PZ, dome port, zoom gear

Diopter +10, lens holder

2xSola 4000

 

I got some questions on divers, who using Panasonic GH2 for filming and photo underwater:

1. How do you set up FN buttons?

2. Do you record on manual film mode - or which mode you are using?

3. Which hack you usually use (if any)

 

You can write any hints and tips for achieving best results. I am looking forward to make some nice videos and photos.

 

Thanks

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I am using lee powell's flow motion v2 .

 

http://www.personal-view.com/talks/discussion/3337/gh2-flow-motion-v2-100mbps-fast-action-performance-reliability-for-class-10-sd-cards/p1

 

I am very happy with this hack. Only downside is the file size make sure you have a decent memory card... i'm using a Sandisk Extreme 64gb 45mb/s

 

You will shoot HBR in manual mode most of the time..

 

Get yourself a magic filter for the 7-14mm works pretty nicely...

 

Enjoy

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Hi Kun,

 

yes, flow motion v2 looks like nice hack, it is quite popular I would say. I got 64gb 90mb/s SD card, so thats also not a problem.

 

Yeah, thats what I want to confirm - Manual Mode, HBR, 24p cinema.

 

Magic filter with lights ? I used them before, when I didnt have lights, but now I dont think I need magic filter.

 

Can you also tell me your settings for FN buttons?

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Yep HBR but i shoot 30fps ...

 

Your lights are good for the first couple of meters but for say schools of jacks mantas etc filter works well...

 

I havent assigned any buttons yet, the Nauticam housing has given me all i need so far.. Which housing did you get?

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The GH2 has now been in use UW for almost two years (and has been replaced by the GH3). If you do a search of Wetpixel and Vimeo you will find a lot of information about using hacked GH2's underwater.

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Hi Kun,

 

yes, flow motion v2 looks like nice hack, it is quite popular I would say. I got 64gb 90mb/s SD card, so thats also not a problem.

 

Yeah, thats what I want to confirm - Manual Mode, HBR, 24p cinema.

 

Magic filter with lights ? I used them before, when I didnt have lights, but now I dont think I need magic filter.

 

Can you also tell me your settings for FN buttons?

 

I have the same setup as you plus 8mm fisheye and dome and Fix Aquavolt 3500.

I do not use FN.

 

Fully manual, FM 2.02 Hack in 24p Cinema Mode. On extremely detailed and well lit subjects there is some difference between HBR and 24p Cinema mode. I prefer the 24p cinema mode but maybe I'm just a pixel peeper smile.png

 

Do not use AFC but exclusively AFS. I use a lot the AF Lock toggle. I found that center weighted AF (the one with the [*] symbol) is absolutely better that multi point AF. I ruined several shots with that. Expecially with the 8mm fisheye with a very narrow aperture (> f8) the lens can focus dust or shadows on the dome. So IMHO the way to go is:

 

- Center weighted AF;

- Narrow aperture >= f8 trying to be hyperfocal;

- Prior of the shot you focus and lock with the AF lock button;

- you start recording;

 

If light it's not enough to get a correct exposure, bite the bullet and increase ISO wink.png I got decent shots (for my taste) up to 1600. Actually noise perception is a personal taste.

 

Last but not the least, remember that GH2 has something like a bug on ISO settings. An ISO setting of 320, 640, or 1250 may result in increased noise depending on the camera's previous setting. To avoid this, switch the camera to the ISO setting 1/3 stop higher, and then back down. (i.e., 400 to 320, or 800 to 640, or 1600 to 1250). If you turn the camera off while in ISO 320, 640, or 1250, you must repeat the ISO switching after turning the camera back on to avoid higher noise.

Set the film mode to Standard with -1, -2, -2, -2. Adjust contrast and saturation as necessary.

 

Have fun wink.png

Edited by Davide DB
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Be interested to hear how things are going with your GH2 - I too, just started shooting with the GH2. So far I've used it on 3 dives and really like the results I'm getting, but of course I'm still learning the new setup. I've included links to 2 videos below - not the best conditions, but an example of the footage the camera captures (all shot with the 7-14mm):

 

GH2 test dive

 

2 night dives with the GH2

https://vimeo.com/57038821

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Davide, really nice work in this video:

- filming, editing, music. Great work. Thanks a lot of help, I will "play" with settings as you suggest, and I didnt know about ISO bug, thats quite strange.

 

ScubaBob, we got similar setup, good luck with filming!

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today I tried the camera underwater, we got terrible visibility (5-7 metres), no sun, so it was just test. Overall I am pleased with camera and controlling in port, everything is so easy. Setup lightning is quite tricky part, but it will go by time.I read discussion about focusing, very informative. With 7-14 lens I have to use biiig dome port, and I see you guys using custom made cover for yours acrylic domes, so I am looking around to made some, because sooner or later there will be scratches on the dome.

 

Also when checking videos, I see reflection from the text on the lens, I guess you are using black pen to cover it?

 

Thanks for all the help, I really appreciate it!

Edited by 2ge
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I throw away its neoprene cover because I realized that it's the first cause of scratching.

it was relatively easy finding a custom cover for the fisheye 8mm small dome and very tricky for the 7-14 big dome.

 

You have to patrol all the kitchenware stores for plastic cans with the correct shape and dimension.

I found a plastic coffee can which fits perfectly on my 8mm and a sort of thermal dish for the 7-14 dome.

Just apply some stickers and you will be like a pro ;)

 

Bye

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Davide - yes I want to throw away that neoprene cover too, I saw your 8mm cover, nice one, do you got pic also for 7-14 dome ? Definitely I will go to kitchenware shop and look around, in my boxes I got one big plastic bottle, but it is 1cm less in diameter I would say. Which stickers are you using, both sided ? Also for 7-14 cover it would be maybe good if cover touch the housing, so it can not touch at all dome, if it goes beyond sticker.

 

How do you find 8mm vs 7-14mm ? Are you always using lights with these lenses ? Today, in poor visibility I would get better video (maybe), if I dont use lights at all and use manual white balance.

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Hi I haven't a photo of the 7-14 cover. But it's just a heavy plastic dish... If I recall it correctly the diameter should be 160 mm.

People at the kitchenware store were looking at me suspiciously when they saw me hanging around the shelves with a self-retracting tape measure smile.png

 

About the stickers, there was a misundestanding, I tried to crack a joke but English it's not my mother tongue smile.png

For stickers I meant decals.

The first time I brought my housing with the custom cover, people told me "hey, have you a coffee can on you dome?" After that I applied a couple of Nauticam and Scubapro decals on it hiding its origin smile.png

 

Regarding 8mm vs 7-14mm...

 

They are two completely different lens. The 8mm it's really extreme. it's very difficult or nearly impossible to cover the entire FOV with your lights. (I have a couple of FIX 3500) and I strive to perfectly light all the scene. Moreover it's difficult to judge from the tiny display. I gave away two SOLA 2000 for this reason. The aperture is much less than the FIX. Probably this lens fits better for photography or video shots in ambient light.

I used this lens for my video on the DESPREZ wreck and I failed to correctly position my lights on most of the shots.

The 7-14mm is really a lovely lens. 110° at 7mm are perfect for nearly all wide scenes and at 14mm you can shot some detail or some fish. I wish it was f2.8 smile.png

Edited by Davide DB
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Hi guys from Lembeh Strai in North Sulawesit, just came from Bunaken. So I am fully testing the camera, got few things:

 

- there is really problem to setup right white balance - is there any guide, how to set it up properly on GH2 ? Sometimes I want to take a shot from open sea, where is enough light and visibility is good, what I am doing is - manual white balance, choose 1, point at sand and shoot. WB changes, but it is greenish, not like on Canon camera I used to it. One have to use some white dive slate, or ? I really need proper white balance.

- I set up few modes (c1/c2/manual), so far I like it, with ISO bug, when I set ISO to 160 on C1, I hope it is OK iso, not higher...sometimes I got grain there, so...

- I am playing with Teleconverter /on/off, thats really fun, what are your findings on this ?

- I set up fn3 for turning on/off teleconverter (shooting small stuff)

- I got a little problem with stabilizing the camera, when shooting 2mm stuff, it is quite hard to not move it...it seems some underwater tripod would be great for that.

 

 

I am using hacked Flow Motion 2 I think, so far it works nice, but I got problem importing it to FCPX, but I am doing workaround, and that works so far. Anyway, it is really big step up from my Sanyo HD2000 what I got before...and when the sun comes underwater, oh yes...

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I have always used my hand to WB this camera. Never had a problem.

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I will try in blue waters, setting manual white balance in Lembeh is not the best idea to try. But anyway, I got "feeling", that MWB works differently on Canon cameras. Maybe camera needs to be set up in Aperture mode (for example), I am using full manual.

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hmmm, not to sure what you are trying to say but if it helps- with my GH2 I set my white balance on my hand, in Lembeh, in manual mode, last month lol ;-)

Edited by kun1

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kun1, and how you was happy with white balance ? It was OK, blue water, true colours? :) If so...I have to do something wrong maybe not enough light.

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