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GH1: setting "Varigop" - superb IQ - integrated timelapse in MJPEG
    • "Varigop" setting for the GH1, features:
      • Excellent IQ in AVCHD 1920x1080p 24fps (3GOP)
      • in-camera playback (AVCHD files) is possible
      • absolutely reliable spanning as long as battery lasts / until end of memory space of the SD card (max 32GB)
      • integrated timelapse function in MJPEG (By Jordan Noblet)
      • Usage of all camera working modes (A, S, M)
      • Usage of all lenses, legacy Panasonic lenses as well as vintage ones
      • highest achievable bitrates on the GH1 and very high average recording bitrates in NTSC (considerably lower in PAL)
      • top reliability and in-camera-playback for most of the files

    AVCHD FHD = 1080p24 3GOP superb detail in highlights and shadows / smooth looking motions / very high bitrates / spanning works very reliable
    AVCHD SH = 720p60 3GOP with even higher bitrates (bitrates about 10% higher than in 1080p24) / IQ looks good, needs more testing as this mode was not primar target of the patch

    AVCHD FHD = 1080p25 13GOP looks good, needs more testing (bitrates about 60% of 1080p24)
    AVCHD SH = 720p50 26GOP looks good, needs more testing (bitrates about 40% of 1080p24)

    MJPEG (both in PAL and NTSC):
    Integrated timelapse settings by Jordan Noblet / 2fps in "HD" 1920x1080 / colors 4:2:2 / It is ideal to use 1/2s exposure to get beautifully looking subject's motions in the blending frames, so strong ND filters are necessary in the daylight. Of course, shorter exposures are also possible- with sharper looking motions. In 2fps mode maximal file size (in MJPEG not avoidable) will be achieved after ca 1h25m. One can stop-and-start again the recording for longer recordings and edit later. For rendering is recommended to use Jordan Noblet's free software, you can download it on his website
    All other MJPEG modes (WXGA, XGA, VGA) are also influented by the 2fps setting in HD mode, so rather forget them. File format after rendering in "Timelapser": AVI 1920x1080p 25fps

    Bugs reports:
    The released beta version of the "Varigop" runs in many situations stable, but it is regularly freezing if the object is well-lit grass or trees. All users of this setting should please keep me informed about observed bugs and feel free to post directly here. All those information will be very helpful for the development of the setting until the stage when "alpha" version can be released some day.

    If you use this patch and like it, please don't forget who made all this with his tireless work possible and make donation to Vitaliy on the top of this page and support that way his hacking projects.

    (beta-version released on January 30th, 2013)

    GH1 Varigop
  • 56 Replies sorted by
  • I have to start with the little GH1 history here:
    Hacking GH1's firmware and creation of the Ptool was Vitaliy's really big score and made his work internationally well-known. At that time, Vitaliy was still known under name "Tester 13". This hack has changed the world: many people saw from this moment on that not all hacks definitely have to mean something negative. Among many hackers who try to achieve good things with their work, there are unfortunatelly also some, who cause damages in the PC systems and data lost. Vitaliy's hack was not made to cause any harm or devostation- just in contrary, it has opened the possibility for countless small-budget-film producers to fullfill their dreams without ruining their financial future with bank loans for expensive cameras. Without injury of copyrights or any other laws, Vitaliy's hack of the GH1's firmware was the most elegant way in the newer history and example how firmware manipulation of a camera can produce creativity. In its way, it was poverty eradication deed in the world of videography.

    Hacked GH1 can't hold as high bitrates as the hacked GH2 can, due to limited speed of its SD card writer. Also, the GH1 isn't featuring highly effective B-frames like the GH2 does. Our p-v mate @LPowell has made the biggest and most honourable work in development of the patches for the GH1, especially after Vitaliy's release of Ptool versions of newer generations. So although it is great pity that very productive people like @driftwood or @bkmcwd didn't contribute so much to explore the GH1 until its utterly limits, the fact remains that there is no so much space for developing the patches for the GH1 due to the hardware limitations of this camera. LPowell's excellent patches cover needs for many situations and most of people who use the GH1 can be well-served with one of his patches.

    Regarding some specific film situations in the recording situations I am constantly confronted with- and due to the fact that none of the existing patches covers my own needs completely well, I was forced to work on my own patch which would do it all. It is one single patch I needed and it has been developed in small steps over many months so my GH1s perfectly serves me now. Specificly spoken, I often record concert performances of classical music. All seen happens only once, at least 5-6 cameras must run all the time and reliably record whole the performance. I can maintain in the silence only one single camera (if at all) and have no access to any of other cameras during whole the performance (save for during the break which is middle in the concert) and those cameras are positioned all over balconies, sometimes quite difficult to reach anyway. So the cameras just must reliably do their work in absolute silence, with one button push on the beginning to start- and second push to stop the recording after several hours. The other function I need is the timelapse, mostly in the nature, and it is less tricky situation- only very frequently used in my case.

    As this patch was specially designed to give maximal performance and reliability in FHD 24p and in timelapse recordings (which are set to MJPEG), this patch has been optimized to give maximum there. In terms of the GH1 it means that the costs will likely be carried in all other settings. Due to its creation idea and unequally distributed priorities, it is not an universal patch although it should actually work in all modes. Therefore there is also huge gap between bitrates and GOP number of its NTSC mode (where the priority is set) and PAL modes, which is the weak part of this patch.

    The "Varigop" patch is now in beta-stage. After the recording modes it was designed for worked really good, I've started fixing many smaller bugs in all other modes until this point, where they also seem to work just fine. But mind you, this patch will need more tests and it is likely that smaller bugs in other modes outside 24p and timelapse could occur. Besides my real life job, I have really little time left for additional testings (I am happy every time when I can go shooting at all), so it would make me very happy and it would help in the development of this patch to get any feedbacks about its functionality. That's why please feel welcome to try this patch and let me know your impressions.
    Known strange behaviour: after flashing the patch for the first time, on some cameras "S" mode will seem to not work well (the value can only increase). Change the mode and try after that "S" mode again, on some GH1's where I tried it, this strange behaviour appeared only once and returned never again. So it didn't turn to be an issue sofar. Stabilizing of the "S" mode was BTW the greatest difficulty in development of this patch and the reason why I didn't release it long ago. In all first versions of the "Varigop", "S" mode was fully broken.

    Special thanks to @cbrandin and @LPowell for some valuable advices which helped me recently to bring the "Varigop" to beta-stage and to @GH13Timelapser, Jordan Noblet who was the developer of this timelapse settings as well as his rendering software. My biggest thanks goes to @Vitaliy_Kiselev who will make me possible to make superpatch out of this if shutter speed in AVCHD could be set to minimum of 1/25s (instead of 1/30s right now) which would bring incredible benefits for all of us who live in PAL countries and where 1/30s can be problematic for causing the flickering under fluorescent lightings. I hope that the next version of Ptool will contain this possibility.

  • "Varigop" is an extreme design, just to give you an impression about total bitrates to expect in 1080p24 recording mode:
    - in direct comparison with LPowell's top patch "Latitude 100Mbps" the "Varigop" achieves 15-20% higher bitrates in all situations I tested sofar: in death charts as well as in real-life situations. That means that in this single mode the "Varigop" has the highest bitrates of all patches I've ever tried.

    The reason for it is, as @LPowell has mentioned before: the GH1 doesn't give us possibility to boost its performance in all modes in one single patch. As LPowell's wonderful patches are designed to be well-balanced in all modes, be aware that "Varigop" is not designed so. Its top-priority modes boost GH1's work to the limits of reliability. At the same time, its low-priority modes are scaled down as much as possible to serve the main target of the patch.

    Besides, this patch was sofar just always rock stable. I had no one camera freeze, no one unsuccessful spanning or any other issue in 1080p24. Other AVCHD modes are not tested so much.

    For it is extremely designed patch, I recommend to use this patch only with the fastest SD card available:
    Sandisk Extreme Pro SDHC 95MB/s
    I use only 32GB version of this card which makes me possible to record little more than 2h in AVCHD 24p FHD. Before recording, the SD card should be erased and formatted in the PC, and after that formatted once again in the camera.

    As always: please use the latest version of Ptool and download Panasonic's firmware 1.32 from Panasonic's official website.

    Stream Parser makes AVCHD files recorded with the "Varigop" to look like this:

    Varigop GOP3 1080p24.JPG
    1024 x 768 - 123K
    Varigop GOP13 1080p25.JPG
    1024 x 768 - 122K
    Varigop GOP3 720p60 real life.JPG
    1024 x 768 - 112K
    Varigop GOP3 720p60 death chart.JPG
    1024 x 768 - 145K
    Varigop GOP26 720p50.JPG
    1024 x 768 - 118K
  • @ tetakpatak

    Thanks for releasing this patch!

    I was hoping for a definitive low GOP patch to use with my GH1. I really appreciate you keeping the patch development for the GH1 moving forward. And of course thanks to Vitaliy, LPowell, Rigs, GH13Timelapser and others for there contributions as well.

    All the best,


  • I also like the continuing development for the GH1. What are the high bitrates, exactly? It may be useful to show at least some number (or just the contents of that patch variables .ini file).

    Unfortunately, I see a lot of empty P frames (192 bytes) in the Stream Parser output. This kind of says: I have GOP 3, but I only record 2 out of 3 most of the times. For Meatloaf, 2 out of 3 wasn't bad, but for a video coded, I guess, it is.

  • What are the high bitrates, exactly? It may be useful to show at least some number

    @Fool4UAnyway Check my 3rd post quite on its beginning. I can not give you other numbers in this moment, the bitrate is anyway variable and it will strongly depend on your subjects, lighting and lenses. I will update soon first three posts with more facts.

    720p60 mode wasn't priority target of this patch, although the GH1 produces files with highest bitrates in this mode. It needs much more testing. I've uploaded screenshot with strange looking P-frames just to demonstrate the problems from the early stages of the patch in "S" mode. 720p60 seems to be meanwhile under control, but it does need much more testings- this is beta version. I will try to improve this mode if it won't be on costs of 1080p24.

    Here are freshly done StreamParser analysis of 30s real-life testshots in 720p60 mode:

    M mode 720p60.JPG
    1024 x 768 - 121K
    A mode 720p60.JPG
    1024 x 768 - 125K
    S mode 720p60.JPG
    1024 x 768 - 131K
  • This is fantastic. Thanks a lot. Lets hope that 1080p25 can be tuned up a bit.

  • @zcream No, I'm sorry but I really doubt I'll be able to improve 25p- this patch rocks in 1080p24 on costs of all other modes. I am surprized how good actually 720p60 looks meanwhile "on paper" after fixing some bugs. But it also definitely needs more testing.

    For 1080p25 I strongly recommend @LPowell's patches "Blackout" and "Latitude" which work great in PAL modes.

    Here you can get impression of the integrated timelapse in "Varigop":

  • Oh, shame on me! I am so sorry. I didn't realize this when first replying. It was probably because I was so excited. I read your first post and then first, temporarily was my intention, skipped the long posts to take a look at the images right away. Then I read the first replies and then I was a Fool to immediately talk about what was wrong with my eyes...

  • Hey, mate- don`t worry. I indeed have uploaded Parser screenshot of an old and solved S-mode problem in wrong post.... I attended to upload it after second post where I described it, not after third post.

  • @tetakpatak, thanks for continuing work on GH1. I hope to get a chance to do some tests in the near future. The one thing that drives me crazy is being outside and having my GH1 quit recording on high detail scenes. Getting the best IQ but still being reliable for long clips is important for events.

  • @Aria The reliability+spanning+quality in 1920x1080 24p was my motivation for developing this patch. There are indeed great patches for the GH1 existing, but out of my experience, this SD card was a key to success, no matter which patch we talk about:

    Sandisk Extreme 95MBs.jpg
    631 x 851 - 86K
  • I'm not going to assign your file. I shoot 25P and 24P and making test VariGop. I think that the previous patch works more efficiently. I do not set goals to improve and assign your design, you simply have not understood correctly. Excuse me, I did not mean to hurt you. If you are interested I'll try again to shoot with VariGop and tell you the results of the test.

  • @mmband
    The setting you've uploaded in your post is my file with saved 3GOP settings by our mate @rigs, I uploaded this file with his settings on his topic in December 2012 for the reason he never did it himself (old Ptool couldn't extract and save settings.... :-)

    Besides, you are spreading wrong information here:
    * rigs 3GOP has slightly lower bitrates in 24p mode, definitely not higher than "Varigop"
    * it does not work better, as his "S" mode (shutter priority) is broken
    * rigs' patch is not fully stable, it freezes on the dead charts with extremely high details (all in focus / well lit / sharp lens) sometimes it freezes even with fastest cards and after only several seconds, what "Varigop" doesn't. That was the reason why I added 95MB/s card as recommendation, I think these cards didn't even exist yet when rigs released the setting.

    Rigs' 3GOP was my big inspiration for developing "Varigop", I desired to unify its high bitrates in 24p with the reliability of @LPowell's fast action 3GOP patch. So speaking about 24p mode only: "Varigop" is the most improved low GOP patch for the GH1 I was able to achieve.

    And please read carefully my first posts: 25p was not target of this patch, there are better patches for that mode. The "Varigop" only accomplishes already developed well-working GH1 patches done earlier by our other p-v mates and improves its AVCHD 1920x1080 24p mode.

    So, after all I really don't understand your motivation to upload someone else's settings here without mentioning the source (maybe you would notice it was uploaded by me) and why do you post simply wrong information without testing both patches very carefully as first?

  • @ tetakpatak Congratulations on this very successful 24p patch. It works perfectly stable with a Sandisk 95mbps card and with any combo of m43 and FD lenses I have. My original 24p 3GOP patch did have the odd lock up issues and this one seems to be rock steady so far. I don't use my GH1 as much as my other cams. I think you have breathed new life it the old girl. Thanks for all your hard efforts.

  • @rigs
    mate, I am very honoured to get your response, as you with your 3GOP patch was my biggest inspiration to develop this patch.

    I am also happy to see day after day how stable it seems to work, sofar without any crashes. The bitrates are higher than we dared to expect from the GH1 and so far without stability problems.

    I think both the latest Ptool version with its new options in "patch for testers" as well as the rapidly fast 95MB/s Sandisk card were very important factors to provide "Varigop" the reliability, so not only the settings were the key for success here.

    Well, who cares now anymore, important is that old good GH1 rocks again ;-)

  • Long life to good old GH1

  • @tetakpatak Is there a 40-50mbps version of your patch?

  • @K01 This is the only version of the "Varigop" in the final stage of development. I don't attend to develop another version, as the testing costs more hours of my free time than I have right now.

    To be honest, I don't know how high are the peak bitrates- and the bitrates of "Varigop" are variable, so it will depend strongly on the recording circumstances, I've described it earlier in this topic.

  • First of all well done! But I have a question.. I have a 45mb/s SD Card (Sandisk Class 10, 16GB), do you think i can use the hack or it might be dangerous?

  • @angelocerisara your card is also very fast, though a bit slower than the recommended one. It is for sure not "dangerous": maybe only spanning won't work just always and the very worst thing could happen is that the camera freezes during the recording. In that case just remove the battery and insert it again. Only the last video file (the interrupted one) will be lost in that case. Please post your experience how the patch works with your card.

  • I love this patch It's given me only 1 heart attack and that is because I didn't format the card in the camera before shooting photos, I just used a card that had been in my GoPro and I recorded video but erased my photos. User Error in my book. I Love This Patch!!!

  • Hi. It must be great patch for all gh1 user! However I couldn't get my camera running with this patch properly. can anyone help? On my old gh1 body, it freezes while shooting grass or trees with card speed error message. I bought a recommended sd card, sandisk 95mbps and formatted on pc and after on the camera but It still freezes. Did I miss something? Or is it meant to avoid such subjects with gh1? Camera serial starts with FS9. I shot with 14-140mm. Thank you in advance!

  • @yyeah which recording mode did you use and on which value did you set in-camera sharpening?

  • @tetakpatak Oh thank you for quick reply sir. I used creative movie mode and for film mode, I used both smooth and nostalgic. Smooth was set -2 -2 0 0. Nostalgic was set -2 -1 0 -1. By the way, I used the quick format on pc before on camera format. Do you think that might have caused the problem?

  • Dunno if any one using 95MB/s 64gb Sandisk Extreme Pro had memory card reader error in GH1. I had no problems at all in GH2 with same card. GH1 with 45MB/s patched with this setting Varigop showed errors after 15seconds or so.

    I wondered if GH1 can't read 64gb_95MB/s card? or just mine ?