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GH2 Hack (Don't kill me for asking this question) lol
  • Please don't kill me for this question I've searched these forums for 2 days. I know there's answers out there but can't quite find one to fit me.

    Yep I want to hack the GH2. I just am doing green screen and want a nice clear image. Want a very reliable hack that's not going to destroy my camera.

    Question 1. Which one do I buy?

    Question 2. Once hack is installed do you just press record on the hacked settings to get the best video?

    Once again don't kill me, I am just lost. I'll even donate money to the person that helps me out if I need to lol.

  • 19 Replies sorted by
  • If you're doing green screen work, I suggest passing on the GH2. It records in 4:2:0 which is the worst image for compositing.

    But to answer your questions, I don't understand what you mean by "which one do I buy?" Hacks are free you don't have to pay for them. I don't think you would mean which camera to buy because we are obviously talking about the GH2. Do you mean SD card? I'm so confused.

    When the hack is installed anytime you record you will be getting hacked settings.

  • @bman Check out the faq's on this site for some good info. But basically, the hack settings are all free. There are many different ones to choose from, and you can look at footage on this site that shows footage from different hack settings to give you an idea of how they work. There is some discussion I think on which ones work best for green screen. Use the search function on this site and search for "green screen" (or greenscreen?), and you should find best hack settings recommended for green screen work. Once you install a hack setting, anything you record will use that hack setting (for video only, doesn't affect still photos). The other factors that determine image quality are the menu settings such as 24P, shutter speed, lens choice, lighting, framing, and color correction/grading. Look at the menu and search on this site for more info, particularly best camera menu settings for green screen.

    If you do get good use of the hack settings, you can if you wish, donate to the website community using the tab at the top of the screen. It's a good idea, as it helps with development costs and helps keep the website running in a nice ad-free manner. Have fun, and best of luck!

  • @bman I may be repeating some of the stuff above, but here's the skinny as I understand it.

    1. Vitaly's hack is free, and the patches people have created for it are free.

    2. The camera operates normally, for the most part. You get access to certain settings, but operating it is the same as usual.

    Basically, Vitaly's hack-- and the patches that people have creating using the hack-- changes the way the camera compresses video. Cameras compress the video they're recording because uncompressed video data would be too much for most memory cards. So the camera uses a lot of data compression techniques to make the data stream to your memory card fall within a particular "bit rate." Lower bit rates mean more compression, which means that the video looks less good. (Especially in areas of complicated motion.) Vitaly's hack lets us change these techniques,so we can use less compression, use higher bit rates, and achieve better video. (I wrote an FAQ about this at

    What does this mean for green screen work? As I understand it, compressed video isn't great for green screen. The edges are less defined, especially if the subject is moving, so it's harder to achieve a good, seamless combination of the foreground and background. So you'd probably want to shoot your green screen foreground with a patch that achieves high bit rates. I'm sure someone here can tell you which one would work best.

    There are other issues to consider-- you should get a fast memory card, like the Sandisk Extreme Pro, and look into the "spanning" issue-- but I think that sums up the green screen thing.

  • @ Brian_Siano I hope this you tube will answer some of your wonders and definitely it won't kill you

  • For greenscreen you'll definitely want to shoot with one of the All-Intra patches. The green channel tends to be the cleanest regardless of patch though you'll want to also make sure you're both mindful of the ISO bug when selecting the sensitivity you will be shooting at and you'll also want to avoid shooting at 250, 400, 500, 800 and 1000 as these are noisier than surrounding ISO.

    4:2:0 isn't ideal but through careful chroma filtering (either as a pre-process on your key source or in full-featured keyers) you can still get some surprisingly decent keys. Some plug-ins even contain specialized routines for dealing with compressed, sub-sampled footage. If you're working in an editor you're going to be more dependent on greater complexity built into an individual plug-in versus something like After Effects.

    There are plenty of Youtube shows and the like making heavy use of greenscreen with non-raw Canon DSLRs so doing the same with a GH2 puts one at an advantage.

  • Not to decry mr rhoades' advice, but I shoot principally on the middle row of camera isos to avoid the bug he mentions. Certainly haven't noticed 200/400 iso as being especially noisy. I wouldn't sweat the 4.2.0 colour space numbers too much either - you should worry more about lighting your green screen and your subject properly, and its worth shooting in a decent space that will let you get a proper bit of separation between your background and your subject. More than 90% of keying problems in post are about trying to pull a good key from a poorly lit subject..

  • Those ISOs have proven to be noisier. Shooting on the middle row avoids the ISO bug but puts you smack into the noisiest ISOs when the bug is carefully avoided. ISO640 is nearly as clean as ISO160 when you avoid the ISO bug. Basically if 320 doesn't cut it you go all the way up to 640 and if you need 800 you just shoot 1250 and be cleaner. The ISO bug is easy enough to avoid once you know it's there. Why accept an otherwise avoidable baseline higher level of noise just to avoid a couple extra button presses?

  • Thanks guys for all the helpful comments... My gh2 has worked fine with green screen I have noticed when there's a lot of movement it gets a little blurry which I figured had something to do with the shutter speed (so I thought hacking it might be a good idea).

    I have all the proper lighting etc but I'm a newbie to this stuff so I just want someone to say "hack it with this and your frame rate will increase" with no problems.

    I didn't realize hacks were free... So I guess what I'm saying is my keying is working fine but I'd like to increase quality of the image with a hack and just find one that is reliable that will make the image sharper and clearer.

    I use the smooth settings on my GH2 as I find that looks the best. But yeah just want a reliable hack to increase picture quality.

    I just don't want to screw up my camera.

  • Hi bman, Hacking does not have anything to do with shutter speed, and it won't increase your frame rate also. Reading manuals and provided faq-s as boring as it sounds might sometimes do magic.

  • Hey inqb8tr,

    To be honest I'm so flat out with work and looking after my daughter I was hoping someone could just say "install this hack it will be a vast improvement" then I can just play around with it.

    I rarely get any time to move let alone sit around and learn everything about the GH2. I do know there's hacks out there I just wanted to be pointed to a link of what that will definitely improve the picture quality without breaking the camera.

  • Well you are at the right place, make sure that your battery is good and you will not harm the camera.

  • What SD card(s) u have? As stated above, this will determine which settings (term used for particular patch) you could install.

  • Hey inqb8tr

    I have the SanDisk 32GB Extreme Pro SDHC UHS.

  • You can get yourself pretty much anything. I'd wholeheartedly recommend Driftwood's intra patches, new Moon or older Intravenus or Sedna.

    But first you'll need to check this out:

    Have fun.

  • Hey inqb8tr,

    Thanks for that... One more question can you install more than one patch at a time? I don't think I can.

    Also I think I have hacked the camera... The only way to tell is the increase in bit rate/data rate correct?

  • Only one at a time :)

    See up in the ptool (software for hacking) faq what exactly hack does and check any of those things to conirm that you have succesfully hacked yr camera. And of course the horrible acid leak, but wear gloves and you'll be ok!

  • @inqb8tr that's only if you forget to uncheck the "Random leak" option. I've had that - not pretty!

  • @Mark_the_Harp I hear you mate. That option is buried in menus.

  • Thanks for the reply and I'll look out for that leak. I'm using a driftwood hack pack and getting a data rate of 136411kbps and total bitrate of 136667kbps at 24frames/sec

    I believe this is hacked!

    Though my memory card isn't handling it very well and it has generally played up since I purchased it (may be a fake).

    Thanks for all your help!