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GH2 - 2.5fps AVCHD 24h Timebuster/TimeHBusteR 2.0 settings - The day is not over!
  • Timelapses can be amazing, beautiful, strange, provocative. And FUN!

    The day I discovered the GH2 could do 2fps I got so excited, I loaded up a full battery, put the camera on the balcony and aimed it at the shopping mall door. I got over 3+1/2h of Cinema 24p footage (@2fps) and after speeding it up 15x (to 300fps) in VirtualDub I almost couldn't believe my luck. This is what I got and I have yet to grade it properly:

    Since that event, I wondered about the best way to patch up the camera to capture them. MJPEG was the obvious candidate. It's a Full Intra codec and it can be setup to capture just 2fps. That means absolutely no wasted frames unlike AVCHD, so MJPEG must be great, but there was a caveat: even with stock settings there was a capture time limit that was well below AVCHD. How is that possible since it's only capturing 2fps, the bitrates have got to be frugal? Well, it happens that there is a 2GB filesize limit within MJPEG so even after taking Driftwoods Quantum 100-50's MJPEG settings and cutting the quality to take half the bitrate, you will end with less than one hour of footage. Compare that to AVCHD and you see what got me started.

    Then there was the IQ issue. I stumped into this: which made me start another full set of tests ( in which I found that unlike most crazy MJPEG resolutions that only seem to be 720p upscaled, the one used on Driftwoods patch was the best that ATM can be extracted from MJPEG and that even rivals with AVCHD. That test ended up on a tie, so in my book AVCHD wins for flexibility and recording time.

    At the same time these tests were taking place, I fought a lot with the stock settings trying to make a patch that used GOP 13 and yes, that's the frequency at which you see major block changes when you set the shutter speed to 1/2s. This GOP13 would insure excellent quality as it makes the result Full Intra once you trash the needed frames. But the frames and limits and buffers and modes were giving me all kinds of speed messages Hell. By that time I also discovered that the null B frames that encoded no changes at 2fps were much larger than P-Frames which also appeared a lot more frequently than I wished they would. Null B-Frames were 2.5x bigger than P and when there was movement, the P-Frames would take as much space (and sometimes even more) than I frames, so I had to do something about it to make it more efficient. Meanwhile Nick @Driftwood and @LPowell were kind enough to share their knowledge and let me in on a few tricks. These allowed me to suppress B-Frames altogether and starve P-Frames to death.

    So here I was armed with a bazooka and a missile and I couldn't even fire a pistol. Then a few days ago @Balazer came out with his Cake patch featuring a completely VBR approach through a Constant Quantizer as if he couldn't care less about bitrates, limits or buffers or all the stuff that was putting me down. I tried it a 2fps and I couldn't believe how well it worked. And since the frame rate I'm using is ridiculous when compared to normal video modes, there are no speed/buffer/spanning issues even if you have the slowest SD card in the business. In this case, this VBR aproach is a no brainer and the cherry on top is that you get Constant Quality at Quantizer 22 which is very very good IQ!

    So, hands to work, bake the Cake, mix Driftwood's MPEG settings, apply the P/B-Frame tricks and it was working on the third try. :O

    It could have been a lot faster as I tried to best the 60i mode and leave all other modes alone. It ended up being the wrong choice because the 60i GOP isn't sticking and probably the Interlacing is making too big P-Frames around the I-Frames. In the end I managed to use tweak 24p for timelapses and the frame usage when there is no movement is a beautiful set of I-Frame spikes with all else almost null. 60i is now GOP13 on I/P frames exclusively and the P sizes look generous, so the starved P-Frames on 24p don't seem to affect it. 720p modes seem also unaffected. In the end this patch tries to give you the best 2fps and still leave you with 2 very workable modes without repatching: 1080i60 and 720p.

    USE IT AND ABUSE IT. DON'T forget to weed out the starved frames in post. AfterEffects instructions here: and freeware workflow is here:

    Thank you @balazer for baking Cake.

    Thank you @drifwood for the MJPEG settings and no B-Frame trick.

    Thank you @lpowell for telling me how to starve the P-Frames.

    Thank you @cbrandin for StreamParser 2.4 which gave me wonderful new numbers.



    1 - TimeBuster 1 - First Release

    • Based on Cake v1. It uses GOP13, a Constant Quantizer VBR approach without B-Frames, minimum P-Frame size and quality.

    2 - TimeBuster 1.1 - with 2 significant changes:

    • Now based on @balazer 's Cake 1.1, it has switched to use the Rate Control mechanism from @LPowell 's FlowMotion 100.

    • 720p mode was broken due to use of a very low quantizer (12) which lead to skipped frames in 720p. It now uses QP=20 on both 720 & 1080 modes which will have an observable effect in both bitrate & quality even though it still gives you 24+ hours on 64GB.

    3 - TimeBuster 1.2 - with 1 significant change for a fully featured 720p mode:

    • Since @balazer 's Cake 1.1 is now heavily based on @LPowell 's FlowMotion 100, I decided to copy LPowells 720p settings since they will probably play better with the other modes. The only difference on 720p is a constant QP which had to be lowered yet from 20 to 21 because it still dropped frames on torture charts and/or sometimes present speed issues at very high ISO (>3200) on Class 10 SDs.

    4 - TimeBuster 1.3 - with a lot of significant changes:

    • Ported to PTTools 3.64d

    • Savings on P-Frames is now accomplished by using a Scaling Table that is full of 0xFFFF for 1080p modes.

    • Quantizer boundaries were removed since they are now much more dependent on the new Quantizer Tables.

    • Redesigned for merging, these definitions try to be as independent as possible from their re-packaging definitions (in this case FlowMotion 1.1) and are published in two flavors: Timebuster 1.3 Base (for merging) and Timebuster 1.3 FloMo (merged with FlowMotion 1.1)

    NOTE1: Timebuster Base 1.3 was merge tested with @LPowell 's FlowMotion 1.1, @Balazer 's Cake 1.2 and Nick @Driftwood 's Quantum X (v2) with minimal impact on all modes except for 1080p. I recommend FlowMotion or Cake for the simple reason that the 1080p24 Frame Limit is set to a much higher value in these settings. In fact, if you care for nothing other than the 24p timelapse IQ and don't mind impacting some of the other modes, you should set it to 10,000,000.

    NOTE2: Merging Timebuster Base 1.3 with other settings is easiest done by loading Timebuster Base 1.3 first and then Alt+Clicking your choice of merger.

    5 - Timebuster is now comprised of 2 main variants:

    a) 24h Timebuster 2.0 - with the following changes (from TimeBuster 1.3):

    • The GOP for 24p is now married to 2.5fps. The bitrate hit is a little above 20% but the recording length can be easily compensated by raising the QP. As a benefit it's still very close to 2fps and it's the closest to a 360º shutter we can get on 24p.

    b) 24h TimeHBusteR 2.0 (NEW, uses HBR 30)

    • Similar philosophy to 24h Timebuster 2.0 Base but as the name suggests, uses HBR mode instead of 24p. There is another difference, P-Frame quality is fully preserved as this kind of frames is used for one of the interlaced slices on Key Frames.

    • GOP married to 1/2.5 on HBR 30p (NTSC) and to 1/5s on HBR 25p (PAL). The big benefit is that both are using a 360º shutter. Uncheck "1080i50 and 1080p24 GOP Size=5" before merging if you don't plan to use Shutter Speed (SS) =1/5s and want to better preserve the 24p mode and HBR 25.

    Both variants are now:

    • Using B-Frames. There is a 6% penalty in bitrate usage but this was necessary to make sure the QP was respected. I believe the gain from setting the QP at will is just too great to ignore, since not everyone wants to record for 24h straight. QPs as low as QP=16 were tested and theoretically it could go as low as QP=12 @ISO160 when merged with FlowMotion 1.11 on regular tripod mounted footage.

    • GOP married to 2.5fps. The bitrate hit is a little above 20% but the recording length can be easily compensated by raising the QP. The reason behind this was getting as close as possible to 360º.

    • User definable GOP - GOP can be set at will according to intended SS, use the attached "GOP-SS-table.png" to look up the right value. Defaults settings are SS=2.5fps and GOP 1080i=10 for 24h Timebuster 2.0 and SS=2.5/5fps and GOP 1080i50/i60=12/5 for 24h TimeHBusteR 2.0.

    • User definable QP - QP can be set at will according to desired IQ/recording length. I've gathered quite an amount of information so that in the future I can make an Excel tool to estimate the best QP from Card Size/Footage Snapshot/Desired ISO/Recording Length. Default settings are Q24/23 for 24h Timebuster/TimeHBusteR.

    As before, there is the Base Release to be merged at wish with popular settings (load Base first in PTTools and then "ALT+Click" your choice of merger) and there is also the FlowMotion Release (already merged with FlowMotion 1.11). I've merge tested against @lpowell 's FlowMotion 1.11, @balazer 's Cake 95, and @bkmcwd 's GOP3ZILLA and no undesirable effects were observed. The key is using a VBR settings definition with a very high "1080p24 Frame Limit", especially if you are going for a low QP (<22).

    (edit) If you want to merge with Nick @driftwood 's settings, I recommend going for Cluster v1 as shines in being both a long GOP set and also having the biggest "1080p24 Frame Limit" of all the sets I know.

    6 - Updated Release of Timebuster/timeHBusteR 2.02 FlowMotion - WARNING HBR version IS BROKEN at 24p

    • (EDIT) This turned out to be a rushed release. Several users have reported problems with timeHBusteR (the HBR variant) It looks like FlowMotion 2.0(+) is highly dependent on GOP length (trough heavy use of GOP Tables, GOP Opt Tables and GOPx2 parameters). I'm investigating other possibilities right now so watch this space for further news. In the meantime I recommend you stick to timeHBusteR /Timebuster v2.0.

    Since FlowMotion 2.02 looks very stable now, I'm releasing my pre-merged versions of Timebuster/timeHBusteR. There is nothing new regarding timelapsing except for FlowMotion's 2.02 changes.

    • 24h Timebuster 2.02 FlowMotion which is 24h Timebuster 2.0 Base merged with FlowMotion 2.02

    • 24h timeHBusteR 2.02 FlowMotion which is 24h timeHBusteR 2.0 Base merged with FlowMotion 2.02

    7 - Updated Release of Timebuster/timeHBusteR 2.02 FlowMotion variants - 24p is now fixed on timeHBusteR. There was a note telling you should remove the "1080i50 and 1080p24 GOP Size=5" for better preserving 24p but no one seemed to read it and it was causing more trouble (to most of those who wanted 24p preserved) than it was worth (for those who wanted more timelapsing versatility.

    NOTE: The mergeable timeHBusteR wasn't updated! Just the the FlowMotion variant. I ASSUME that if you are using this base for merging that YOU KNOW WHAT YOU ARE DOING, and read the DOC.

    The day is not over. :)
    Timebuster Base
    867 x 439 - 51K
    24h Timebuster
    24h TimeHBusteR
    Timebuster Settings
    24h (Timebuster + timeHBusteR) FlowMotion
    Timebuster FlowMotion
  • 323 Replies sorted by
  • Ok a "Go ahead and read Timebuster Settings" would have helped me a lot. I take it, it isn't possible to merge my settings with Timebuster as I need to be able to use 24p Cinema mode and 720p/50 as well. Anyway, thanks for your help.

  • @duartix I know this is an old thread so I hope I will still get an answer. I have just hacked my gh2 the other day using Valkyrie 444 Pal 3.0 patch from @bkmcwd (found here: I am absolutely happy with the patch, that said, however, I stumbled over this thread and since I like to shoot timelapse videos every now and then and am aware of the shutter wear problem, I thought that is exactly the patch I am after. So here's my question: is it possible to combine the valkyrie 444 and timebuster patches or do they interfere one with the other? If it would be possible, how would I go about merging them? Looking forward to your answer!

    P. S.: The video with the couple in the first post of this thread is heart warming :)

  • For astro, you definitely need to step your SS into 1/2.5s territory, use your fastest lens available and also boast up the ISO. Milky way shots are usually taken at F/1.4@30s SS, so you see you have a 6EV stop handicap already. That's ISO 6400! Sunset and Sunrise are different beasts. Because of changing light, you'll need to be either using a VND filter or continually adjusting SS (a terrible thing to do with this hack).

  • Did anyone try astrological timelapse with this hack? I tried using timeHBusteR HBR25 with 5fps but I am disappointed with the results. This hack is great when doing timelapse in crowded city, car traffic so I wanted to try it for sunrise, sunset and astrological videos. Which settings would you recommend for such timelapse videos?

  • @thebugskiers

    455kbps doesn't look unreasonable when you are only recording 2.5fps. Remember that the purpose of this codec is to allow very long recordings, and this is achieved by using very low framerates and trashing everything but the I-Frames.

    Sure, some of the frames will look like trash. In your case only 1 out of every 10 frames will look good. But THOSE are the ones that matter, all the others have to be weeded out.


    and also:

  • Hi, nooby here. I've just flashed with timeHBusteR flowmotion 2.02.1 and shot in HBR30. When I look at the properties of the footage in Premiere I'm getting a data rate of 455k/second. This seems a little low. The footage looks blocky and as bad an old mpeg. What could I be doing wrong? Thanks.

  • @frogman2: I've used Adobe Première and After Effects to speed up to 4h footage and I've never noticed audio desynch after conforming. OTOH it's also true that I never use the audio from the footage.

    The purpose of my hack was twofold:

    1 - Squeeze out every possible bit to go from P/B-frames into I-frames.

    2 - Allow the quality/size compromise to be adjusted so that you could lower the IQ and record for 24h if needed be, or raise the IQ of the I-frames if you need the absolute best for shorter timelapses.

    Factor 1 is the reason why the GOP length needs to be married to shutter speed. Factor 2 allows you to up the IQ according to your recording length.

    In the light of this, you can indeed obtain better I-frames than vanilla Flow Motion. It is measurable but will anyone ever notice? I don't know. Does it make sense to setup the camera this way? If you only do short (10m) timelapses, and you are happy with Flowmotion IQ then the answer is a clear no, because it's not worth the hassle to keep reminding yourself what mode you are using, and keep changing from PAL to NTSC and to 24p, and risking accidentally using a timelapse mode for regular footage, just to find out you recording is totally trashed later. When using slow shutter speeds, Flowmotion will still record for hours on end, most probably for longer than a full battery will last.

    What I'm getting at here, is that if you need and have the means to record 24h on a 64Gb card, then you will have to make some compromise (either by allocating all bitrate to I-Frames or by raising the Quantizer) because regular Flowmotion might not cut it. This is where Timebuster/timeHBusteR comes in. If you are not marathoning timelapses or your hack of choice gives the IQ you need, then keep with it.

    Note: As we are talking here about true VBR approaches, all of this is heavily dependent on content and shutter speed. Less detailed, less sharp content as well as slower shutter speeds will always be less demanding on bitrate. This alone will have more impact than a switch from Flowmotion to Timebuster.

  • The reason I wan't to use HBR25 is that I live in PAL area. I shooted some time lapse with HBR30, but was confused when AE tells me that frame rate of video is 29,985. MediaInfo 0.7.72 tells me that video framerate is 29,970. Exporting from AE gives warning message:

    "Warning: Frame rate of output file will be adjusted from 29,985 ro 29,97 fps to meet format contraints. Audio may not synchronize."

    For me the audio was not problem, since I made audio edit with external program afterwards.

    Anyway, I exported video in 30fps, as Youtube recommends, and the video looks fluid.

    I'm always been confused with 29,97 vs 30 frame rate. For PAL world it is easy, as it is always locked to 25fps.

    After all, I was thinking why to use Timebuster at all when filming short (10 mins) time lapses? Is the only reason to save disk space? For short time lapses I think it is not worth for me to change my default hack (flowmotion 2.02). The case is of course different if you need to film many hours.

  • Cheers @frogman2

    The answer is yes if you are looking exclusively at HBR25 (PAL). You should use a 1/2.5 shutter speed in that case.

    To be completely honest with you, I haven't looked at patching in quite a while, so I'm not 100% sure on this, but IIRC, 1080i50 and 1080p24 GOP Size is shared, so any GOP change that you do to target HBR25, also reflects on 24p, that's why I would suggest you to target HBR30 instead. Why do you need specifically to use HBR25? Flickering shouldn't be an issue at such long shutter speeds (unless you need to preserve HBR30 for flickering sources). And you can change freely from PAL to NTSC and back if the camera is hacked.

    BTW, GOP 10 is indeed adequate for a 1/2.5s shutter speed on HBR25, but for HBR30 you should use GOP 12 instead.

  • Is it safe to use timeHBusteR in PAL 25FPS for timelapse if I change GOP to 10?

  • @glee719:

    Yes, depending on the patch you use (timebuster/timeHBusteR) it will leave HBR/24p untouched.

    timebuster redefines 24p for timelapse, and leaves HBR as Flowmotion

    timeHBusteR redefines HBR for timelapse, and leaves 24p as Flowmotion

    That's was the idea, to leave one mode tailored specifically to timelapse whilst leaving the other as plain FlowMotion and let you film regular footage without limitations.

  • Ok thanks. I will give it a shot.

  • You can use After Effects on Mac, but i don't know about any freeware.

  • Hi,

    Sorry for some newbie questions. So this 24H Timebuster Flow Motion 2.02 only makes the 24H and 24L modes timelaps, while the rest of modes are all the same with Flow Motion 2.02?

    Also, does anyone know of a workflow for Mac? I can't get Virtual Dub to run on Mac even with Wine...


  • @JackBayer:

    The GOP setting is shared between 24p and HBR 25 (PAL). The default for this setting on timeHBusteR is now 3 (like Flowmotion).

    If you want to use timeHBusteR for timelapsing, you need to change your camera to NTSC (which will use the HBR 30 GOP setting of 12 instead) otherwise you can theoretically lose up to 75% of the bitrate from the keyframes that will be discarded.

  • Hey @duartix,

    sorry I didn´t get back here. I had notifications OFF or didn´t see it in my inbox.

    I think I know what the problem was or maybe still is in some cases: I realized that I forgot to set the GOP before exporting the firmware. So on the default settings and on shutter 2,5 I experienced those short recording times. Once I changed the GOP to 10 (for HBR25) I got some 6 hours out of it with the camera hooked to a Tekkeon battery. So that works. Why the default GOP setting does not, I have no clue. I didn´t try any other setting so far, so maybe that´s where the other one got his 2 hours from... Anyway, thanks for this wonderful hack!

  • No idea, sorry... :(

    It can be anything from a hardware protection to a firmware limit... Another poster mentioned a 2h limit.

    I had some near 4h long recordings too, but my tests were always limited by the battery juice as I don't have a mains adapter.

    When I find the time I'll do some testing on this to see if it's a common thing.

  • Hello @duartix !

    I´ve been using your fine hack for a while now. But I just realized, that none of my timelapses went on recording for more than 4,5hrs. That´s plenty for my normal needs, so it never occured to me. But today I did a test for a production on monday where 4,5 hrs will still be OK but "more is always better"... and I got 3 clips, each 4,188 GByte in size (so spanning works fine) and together round about 4,5 hrs in length. Then I checked some source files from older recordings and there´s always the same issue, if I tried recording that long.

    I was using TimehBuster with FlowMotion 2.0 and am now on 2.02 which seems to make no difference. Gop is set to 10 and I am shooting in HBR on PAL 25p. My tekkeon still pushed out 12 Volts at the time and my 32 GB Sandisk 95MB/s was nowhere near full obviously.

    Ideas? Anyone?

  • @turbines : No, there's not.

    You want one? Just pick up the last base from the first post (timeHBusteR 2.0), uncheck "1080i50 and 1080p24 GOP Size=5" and do your merge.

    Basically (if you leave out the MJPEG stuff) it all amounts to this:

    1080i60 GOP Size=12

    Encoder setting 1 1080i/p=3

    Quantizer for 1080 modes=23

    1080i Scaling B=0xFFFF, 0xFFFF, 0xFFFF, 0xFFFF, 0xFFFF, 0xFFFF, 0xFFFF, 0xFFFF, 0xFFFF, 0xFFFF, 0xFFFF, 0xFFFF, 0xFFFF, 0xFFFF, 0xFFFF, 0xFFFF, 0xFFFF, 0xFFFF, 0xFFFF, 0xFFFF, 0xFFFF, 0xFFFF, 0xFFFF, 0xFFFF, 0xFFFF, 0xFFFF, 0xFFFF, 0xFFFF, 0xFFFF, 0xFFFF, 0xFFFF, 0xFFFF, 0xFFFF, 0xFFFF, 0xFFFF, 0xFFFF, 0xFFFF, 0xFFFF, 0xFFFF, 0xFFFF, 0xFFFF, 0xFFFF, 0xFFFF, 0xFFFF, 0xFFFF, 0xFFFF, 0xFFFF, 0xFFFF

  • @duratix Is there a TimeHBuster 2.02 Base for use with other settings?

  • @turbines : That is the reason why I changed it and updated it. In your case (and most other user's cases) you don't need to do anything NOW, if you download the latest version of Timebuster Flowmotion (2.02 alpha) from here: or from the OP. Flowmotion's 24p mode is now fully preserved in timeHBusteR.

    What you had before the last update was a fully dedicated timelapsing patch that could address 2 different SSs in different modes, but that would very likely break for regular video (in 24p).

    What you have now is a mixed patch that will address timelapses in ONE single chosen SS in HBR mode, and that will behave like Flowmotion in 24p and the other progressive modes.

    If you go with 1/2.5s, you don't need to touch the patch. If you go another SS then you should change the GOP lenght and I would use 1/10s (it's FLUID) instead of 1/8s. More info on that here:

  • @duratix earlier you said "There was a note that said one "should remove the 1080i50 and 1080p24 GOP Size=5" for better preserving 24p".

    I do need to preserve the very best 24P/720p/60 but want to to do timelapse occaisionally at SS = 1/2.5 and 1/5, and 1/8. What are the penalties for removing the check mark on the 1080p GOP Size 5 before merging with another patch set? I have no need for lengthy 24hour time lapse but would like to preserve the highest image quality as possible.

  • @mk47:

    Sorry for the mess and the unspeakable wait. A new job has kept me away from here for quite a while...

    The longest recording time should be achievable by using the longest GOP available, married with the right shutter speed for that GOP. For 25p that is GOP13 (because it marries to 1/2s).

    That won't give you a 360º (100% FLUID) shutter though. If you want this characteristic in your captures, you'll need to go for GOP10 and 1/2.5s.

    You can find that info here:

    (The patch was updated:

  • I decided (and enormously late to the party I was, I'm sorry) to finally repack the Timebuster/timeHBusteR 2.02 FlowMotion variants (there is only updates to the HBR version (timeHBusteR)).

    There was a note telling you should remove the "1080i50 and 1080p24 GOP Size=5" for better preserving 24p, but no one seemed to read it and it was causing more trouble (to most of those who wanted 24p preserved) than it was worth (for those who wanted more timelapsing versatility.

    NOTE: The mergeable timeHBusteR wasn't updated! Just the the FlowMotion variant. I ASSUME that if you are using this HBR base for merging with other patches, that YOU KNOW WHAT YOU ARE DOING, and read the DOC.

    Once again I'm sorry.

    Timebuster FlowMotion
  • Sorry for the mega long wait and for asking the obvious, but did you still had battery power and card space left? That exact 2h limit looks like something programmed but I'm positive I have longer captures (~4h).