What a God Damn Hack!

Ok so ive done it, i’ve bitten the bullet and hacked my Lumix GH2!

Whats the big risk then?If you start to look at forums you can hear horror stories about people ‘Bricking’ their GH2’s. Thus voiding their warranty for meddling!

Why would i take the risk?
Because even though the GH2 is a fantastic camera and a stiff competitor to the Canon 5D mkII, There was a lot wrong with the camera! More so with the Pal version, problems like:

-29 Minute clip limit, (Reason for this is that due to tax law in the EU, if a camera can record more than 30 mins it is deemed a Camcorder, therefore taxed at a higher rate)

-No proper 25p, (This was crazy because those of us that would want to use the camera for professional or broadcast work are left out in the dark!)
-Overall silly encoding and ‘ok-ish bit rates.

But what can the hack do to fix these things?
It’ll fix what ale’s ya! Those issues above are sorted!

You can:

-Remove the 29minute time limit
-Boost your Bit rate (more on this below)
-Change your GOP (again more below)
– Good 25p (that we can control the bit rate for!)

Bit Rate
Basically this is the amount of information and detail the camera will take in per frame. There has been many tests pushing the bit rate to crazy levels, Check Eye Patch Films on YouTube for some of those massive rates. But what we are interested in is what are the stable rates. So far 42Mbps and to a stretch 66mbps are the most stable. I Chose to have my patch at 42 just to make sure it will not crash!

Low Gop
This is (very basically) what the camera interprets  the ‘B’ frames as. So the reason for hacking this is because most of us are after that ‘Film Look’, Dont get me wrong the 24p mode does a great job, but with the Low Gop hack we can take it to the new level. The only down side is that the lower you go with the GOP, the higher you have to go with the bit rate.  this is because the lower the gop the more information is thrown away (of sorts this isnt exactly how it works, but a basic explanation) to give it the ‘Film Look’ we want to bad!

This is a great example of how the Hack can actually make your footage look like RED footage

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One great extra that comes out of boosting your bit rate so high is that you can use much higher ISO levels and get nothing near the amount of grain you used to get! you can see here is my first test with the Hack!

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How did I do it?
Well ladies and gentlemen, if i told you i’d have to kill you…
No seriously, I spent a long time searching a tonne of websites, blogs and forums. The best that i found was this one ,  it was easy to follow and gave you a step by step guide on how to carry out the hack with out you bricking it, meant in more way than one there!

Here is a little short i did just to show what the footage looks like (no Grading)

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Thanks to Vitality, we can actually pass out the 5D and become the best DSLR on the market, now i may be slightly biased, because i love my GH2, but really the problems left are really hardware and if you have the cash to buy up grades like cages, Junction boxes, LCD monitors, Etc, well then what more could you ask for in a camera!

This is the first of many posts about how the Hacked Gh2 fairs in Real World situations, so check back soon! I’ll also post a how to video on the hack, because that is something i really could have used!

-Steve

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3 thoughts on “What a God Damn Hack!

  1. Steve, Are you PC or MAC? I ask since I’m having issues with finding a user friendly download for my MAC that will read PTools, so I can get started. Thanks, Ted.

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