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GH2 workflow recommendations
  • Hello everybody! I bought myself a GH2 to use in a school club which is dedicated to making a movie each year. Before we had people who just took a Canon DSLR, shot with it and edited it as it was. This year I am planning on using a hacked GH2 to shoot the video and then transcode it to another format to edit. Now there is only two issues:

    1. I am planning to use the GH2 for very long shoots (weddings, school events) at 30p where I don't need a high bitrate (I need to have very long recording times with a 64 GB card). I am wondering what patch will allow me to do that. Also I am wondering what bit-rate to shoot at; Is there any huge advantage to shoot at 80 mbits compared to around 40 mbits.

    2. We are using both Windows and Macs to edit this so I am wondering what I should transcode the avchd footage too. I was thinking about pro-res 4:2:2 but I don't know if that will work nicely. What other format do you recommend to use. I was thinking maybe one of Avids formats can work.

    Thanks for your time

  • 18 Replies sorted by
  • I recomend SANITY 5. VariableBitRate, exceptional quality, takes advantage of every byte in your card!i mostly use 720/50p and the bitrate is from 8 to 50 mbps. Example, a 16gb card when i insert it , monitor says 42min and i never get less than an hour. When i recording concerts or theatre on a stage, the GH2 is in the same position in a tripod i can record about 2hours!!!

  • Hmmmm... Are there any other good patches? I can do almost any patch out there since I managed to procure a Sandisk HD Video Extreme card.

    Also I need to figure out what I should transcode the footage to.

  • DNxHD you can use on both Mac and PC, whereas PRORES is mac only.

    That said you'd best check what comes with the free AVID codec downloads, as I am not sure if you get all flavours. I am not sure as I have AVID media composer and thus have the full complement.

    Your best bet is to do short tests.

    Patch wise, I tend towards the latest and greatest driftwood patch, and flowmotion where I need a long recording time.

  • @kavadni I see you recommended using DNxHD. I'm in a PC using Premiere Pro and After Effects CS 6. Is there any benefit going to DNxHD before editing over just editing the AVCHD files directly? (Dont know it makes difference but I'm shooting with Apoc Now Boomv1 setting)

  • @matt_gh2 I love editing in Avid Media Composer, but it (as of now) will not work directly (via AMA) with the MTS files from the GH2. Transcoding to DNXHD is great for a proxy res, but in the end you will want to work with the MTS files if you do grading. If you can't grade with MTS files, I suggest transcoding to uncompressed files like TIFF. You are lucky, Adobe CS6 works great with the MTS files. You really should not have to transcode to DNXHD. If you are having trouble with you system handling the codec in real time, make DNXHD proxies for editing, but use the original files for your final encode.

  • @matt_gh2 and @fredfred27.

    Media Composer will work directly with the GH2 .mts as of v6 using the AMA plugin. It was extremely flakey prior to that, now it's just a little flakey (scroll too fast and get a 'consumer timeout' or some such error).

    I am an advocate of always working with a proxy, unless the job is going through in less than 48Hours and is pretty much cuts only. The use of proxies will speed up the editing process.

    @fredfred27 is correct, in that you should use the original files for the final encode. That said I don't. I transcode to DNxHD 185 (25fps) renaming and time-codeing, and then make the proxies from those files. I return to the DNxHD 185 for the final encode.

    If I was working with one of the AVCHD Intra codecs, then I might not bother with the DNxHD 185. Remember if you try to edit anything that is not 'Intra' (using Intra as a generic term, each frame is completely self contained) then to view the frame / perform a simple dissolve / do anything, the NLE will have to 'load', for example with GOP 12 AVCHD, 12 frames from disk.

    As example I can play from my drives :
    9 streams of DNxHD 36 simultaneously in real time.
    3 streams of DNxHD 185 not quite real time, but smooth and consistent
    3 streams of AVCHD even at 24Mb stutters stops and freezes

    The limits of the DNxHD are due to drive speed, the limits of the AVCHD are processing power. I have 2 x Quad Core Xeons at 2.25 GHz, and entry Quadro 600 GPU.

  • Or, if you planing to buy an editor, prefer EDIUS which handles all the files as a"knife on butter"

  • @kavadni @fredfred27

    Thsnks-perfect-just what I needed to know. I'm using an intra codec and my system is handling everything withiut delay, so I'll just keep using the original files. On a separate note @kavadni, not sure why you play separate streams simultaneously (overlapping shots on timeline?) Also my system is only a single quad core with 2.2 GHz and 16GB ram. My biggest delay, which I dont consider a problem, might be if I apply color correction or warp stabilizer to 10 second clip...maybe it takes 15 seconds to fully render. So unless you are talking about avoiding that small delay, it would seem that your dual quad core should be very quick. (My footage is Boom usually, so it comes in around 100Mbps) Maybe you do some other more processor intensive task.

    Thanks for info. Much appreciated.

  • @matt_gh2

    9 streams would be a multi-cam edit
    4 is about the most I ever need to composite. 5 very occasionally.

    It is pretty quick, but I have to render all stabilisation, it's one of the things that is not real time, no matter what for Media Composer.

  • Both mac and pc versions of avid will deal with pro-res

  • @kavadni Yeah makes sense. My editing has been single cam with no overlapping layers/shots/composite, so that must explain why I'm not slowing down at all. Thanks

  • I use Flowmotion on the low setting for long events. It provides very high quality, reliable spanning and the sound stays in sync with the video which is important. I can't really see a big difference in the IQ but it definitely grades better in post, and if you pixel peep there is a small difference.

    I don't transcode the video since IMHO that is a terrific waste of time and disc space. I just copy the card to the computer, open the whole card in Premiere and start editing in real time. Premiere assembles all the clips that are spanned. No big files, no extra files, no loss of IQ, real time effects plus the GPU is used for scaling, so if you zoom, pan, scan, whatever in post you get an IQ bump. In a live event, like a school play, you have to shoot a bit wider than in a studio where you can retake a shot till it is framed perfectly. That mean some cropping in post, ergo you want superscaling features.

    If you are doing events, you need a camcorder to go with your GH2, like a GH10. That will allow you to do real time focus tracking and give you long zoom at the same time.

    No patch that I have used is 100 percent reliable. I have had one and only one Flowmotion disc span fail during an event (out of many events), but since I normally use 6-8 cameras this is not an issue. If you are just using one camera, factor in the risk, however slight, that your event will not get recorded. Even one extra cam is a whole lot of peace of mind.

  • Most school events that involve continuous movie shooting for 2 hours + will be handled by a JVC camcorder we have. Not as good quality but it has dual SD card slots, built in electronic zoom, a shotgun mic and other stuff that can be useful in some cases.

    I find that the flowmotion will be a bit too high of a bitrate. I will probably want to shoot around 80 Mbps. Also I may end up keeping it in AVCHD if I can get it to work nicely with Premiere Pro. Most of the time I never worked with AVCHD so I am not sure how to keep it organized when it has its wonky folder structure. The best possible patch for me would be one that allowed me to shoot around 80 Mbps at 24H and at 30 Mbps at 24L.

    Also is there anyway to have one of those patches and still have a movie mode for timelaspe style shots. 1 second for each frame?

  • @alegomaster Those number ( 80 Mbps from Flowmotion or Sanity 8Mbps ) means nothing.. You have to test it for yourself and see how long your card could handle.

  • @tinbeo They do mean something which is the maximum bitrate of the patch. Of course compression algorithms can probably reduce the size down.

  • I am thinking that something around 80 Mbps for average compression would be the best IQ/space ratio I could want

  • I am guessing that Flowmotion will probably work best for me. Of course I am wondering if Driftwood also has any good patches for that bitrate.

  • Hello, This seems like a good thread to tack this question onto:

    I am using a hacked GH2 with Avid Media Composer, v6.5 on a PC. The difficulty is when shooting long 24p takes that are broken up inside the SD card into around 4GB chunks. (e.g. 4,191,682 KB) In Avid, I can certainly point to each individual chunk to do a "traditional" import-- and then re-assemble the full recording on the timeline to mimic a full clip. This is not ideal, for various reasons.

    However, this newest version of software now usually permits a "Link to Volume" feature, which asks to point to the appropriate SD Card or hard drive folder and which will normally instantly present a single long clip with no chunks as a masterclip in an Avid bin. (Actually, that AMA masterclip needs one more step- "Transcoding" to an Avid codec to become easier to edit within Avid).

    It seems the "Link to Volume" or "Link to File" is not available with my GH2 24P media, producing an error message about "Variable Bitrate GOPS". (I have not tried "AMA - Link to Volume"on 2997 GH2 footage.)

    Question: If my only choice for long-recording, 24P footage & Avid is to import single chunks, is there any software from Panasonic or a third-party that can merge the GH2's MTS chunks losslessly prior to Avid import?