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GH2 Flow Motion v2 - 100 Mbps Fast Action Performance - Series 2
  • GH2 Flow Motion v2.02

    • Reliable 100Mbps peak performance in AVCHD 24H, HBR, FSH, SH, and MJPEG HD.

    • Exclusive 140Mbps turbo mode boosts peak bitrate to handle 80% Slow-Motion 24H mode.

    • Records reliably with Class 10 30MB/s cards, with 60Mbps file-spanning in 24L, FH, and H modes.

    • 95MB/sec SD cards support file-spanning in all video modes (except NTSC HBR 30p and FSH 60i).

    • Full support for all NTSC and PAL video modes and options, including ETC zoom mode.

    • In-camera playback of all AVCHD video files. (MJPEG HD videos not playable in-camera.)

    • Failsafe operation with any lens, in any video mode, under any type of shooting conditions.

    • Consumer-friendly auto-exposure features fully supported in 60Mbps 24L, FH, and H modes.

    • Fast Action 3-Frame GOP performance with B-frames visibly indistinguishable from I-frames.

    • Optimal motion picture quality consistently maintained in underexposed low-light conditions.

    Flow Motion v2 is the culmination of over three months of investigation into the core encoding parameters of the Panasonic GH2 AVCHD encoder. The goal of this project has been to produce a unified patch that combines failsafe reliability with consistent, high quality performance across the entire range of video modes and options provided by the GH2. These criteria include not only still-frame image quality, but frame-to-frame motion picture continuity as well, evaluated perceptually at 24, 25, 30, 50, and 60 frames per second. Rather than simply maximizing the encoder's peak bitrate, Flow Motion v2 is fine-tuned to produce optimal motion picture quality with minimal degradation from undesirable aliasing and digitizing artifacts. The result is an unmistakable improvement in video quality with no significant drawbacks, using Class 10 30MB/sec SD cards and virtually any lens compatible with the GH2.

    Functional Limitations of Stock GH2 Video Firmware

    Although it offers a wide variety of video modes and options, the GH2's stock firmware is restricted in both functionality and video bitrate. Thanks to the dedication of Vitaliy Kiselev, many of these limitations can be overcome through the custom firmware settings provided by PTool v3.65d. Flow Motion v2 is an integrated set of patches that enable the following extended features:

    • Selection among all supported interface languages.

    • Access to both PAL 25/50p and NTSC 30/60p frame rates.

    • Extended low-light exposure settings up to ISO 12800.

    • Removal of 30-minute recording restrictions in EU locales.

    • Enlargement of MJPEG videos to 1080p FHD frame size.

    • Pasadena Pulse Audio Patch V2 B2, thanks to Per Lichtman.

    Image Quality Shortcomings of Stock GH2 Video Firmware

    The GH2's stock firmware limits its AVCHD encoder to a peak bitrate of 24Mbps in 24H and HBR modes, and to 17Mbps in FSH and SH modes. In addition, it uses long-GOP recording sequences of 12-30 frames that produce only about two keyframes (I-frames) per second. Flow Motion v2 boosts the AVCHD encoder's peak bitrate to 100Mbps in all video modes and uses a short 3-frame GOP in all 1080p video modes (and a 6-frame GOP in 720p modes), that produce 8-10 keyframes per second. These improvements enable Flow Motion v2 to capture highly detailed, fast moving images with far more fidelity than the stock firmware's restricted bandwidth can accommodate.

    At a deeper level of operation, the GH2's AVCHD encoder uses built-in Quantization Tables designed to compress the video data as efficiently and compactly as possible. When shooting highly detailed subjects, quantization often produces undesirable rectangular artifacts ("macroblocking") which are then filtered by built-in Deblocking Tables. Unfortunately, the tables used by the stock GH2 firmware sacrifice image quality in favor of compression efficiency, producing consumer-grade results. In a further reduction of image quality, highly compressed P and B-frames are encoded with coarser quantization tables than I-frames, degrading frame-to-frame consistency within each GOP.

    Flow Motion v2 replaces the GH2's Quantization and Deblocking Tables with custom matrices, hand-tuned for each video mode, that are crafted to minimize macroblocking and digitization artifacts. This enables the encoder to make full use of its available bitrate to encode genuine image details rather than wasting bits attempting to correct macroblock encoding flaws. In addition, Flow Motion v2 applies equal levels of quantization to all types of frames, producing P and B-frames that are visually indistinguishable from I-frames.

    Below is an example of the digitization artifacts produced by the GH2's stock firmware, compared to results produced by Flow Motion v2. On the top is a 200% crop of a 24H mode frame grab from the unhacked GH2 AVCHD encoder. You can clearly see jagged macroblock encoding artifacts due to the stock firmware's inadequate bitrate. Below it is the same stream of water shot with Flow Motion v2 in 24H mode:


    Support for GH2 Auto-Exposure Features

    Flow Motion v2 works reliably with the GH2's consumer-friendly auto-exposure features in both 24p and HBR video modes. However, in 720p SH video mode, auto-exposure operation may cause recordings to fail sporatically and the camera may need to be restarted. To avoid this pitfall, I recommend using Flow Motion's 60Mbps 1080i FH and 720p H video modes when using any combination of the following features:

    • P, A, or S exposure modes or when shooting in iA mode.
    • Auto-ISO mode.
    • iDynamic auto-contrast mode.
    • i.Resolution mode.
    • Motorized zoom lens operation.

    I've tested and confirmed these features to work reliably at 60Mbps in 1080i FH and 720p H video modes. The 60Mbps FH and H video modes also support 4GB file-spanning on 30MB/sec Class 10 SD cards, and produce excellent motion picture quality that is just a notch more compressed than Flow Motion's 100Mbps FSH and SH video modes.

    Flow Motion v2.02 Patch Settings File

    This zipped INI file can be used to apply complete patch settings to firmware loaded into PTool 3.65d. To use, unzip the INI file into the same folder as the PTool application. Launch PTool and load the firmware v1.1 binary file for GH2. The settings contained in the Flow Motion v2.0 INI file will automatically be installed in the "F" button at the bottom of the PTool main window.

    Note that with the following PTool Settings File, you may at any time re-install the original Panasonic GH2 v1.1 firmware into the camera. You may also copy each patched or original firmware file to separate SD cards, and use them to quickly switch between patches as often as you like.

    GH2 Flow Motion
  • 316 Replies sorted by
  • More GH2 FlowMotion video from a S800 w/Zenmuse.

  • @LPowell. Lee I tried FM 2.02 with Stray's death chart (see below). All modes recorded OK except 720P. Both SH and H modes failed with write errors in IA and VMM modes. I am using Panasonic 14-140mm and Sandisk 64GB SDXC 95MB card in NTSC. Can you verify please?

    Stray death chart-1.png
    1920 x 1080 - 3M
  • @Zaven I downloaded the death chart and displayed it full-screen on my HDTV. As documented above, Flow Motion v2.02 doesn't support the use of iA auto-exposure features in 720p SH mode. I was, however, able to shoot the chart without error in 720p H mode with iA auto-exposure, and in 1080p VMM 80% 24H, in P-mode auto-exposure. These tests were successful on both Panasonic 45-200mm and 45-175mm zooms. If you continue to have problems with this type of death chart in auto-exposure modes, I'd recommend using manual exposure, especially when shooting an LED display.

  • @LPowell. Thanks for the quick response, verification and the tips.

  • @LPowell I absolutely love everything about this patch but I simply can't use it in its current state due to the horizontal snow/rain like noise issue. I'm aware that this problem is based around CS6 and Quicktime on a Mac but it doesn't happen with the Sanity hack! I would prefer to use Flowmotion but at the moment have no alternative! Any news about this?

  • 5DtoRGB transcoding took care of the "digital rain" I was getting with CS6 and even stock firmware footage, on both Mac and Windows. It's a shame since CS6 works with the MTS files so well, from a mechanical, user interaction standpoint. Hopefully they (Adobe) fix this in their rendering soon.

  • Is this a new patch or the one from several months ago?

  • its a repost of the older thread. no new patches from lpowell since fm2.02.

  • ...some night anamorphic shots with FM.

    ISO800 @ F/2.8

  • @BurnetRhoades Thanks for the suggestion, I had a look in to it and found a similar programme called Clipwrapper. I had to purchase the full version but its very fast and efficient for encoding the footage to ProRes 422.

    I've tried both ProRes 422 and ProRes 422 HQ but to be honest couldn't tell a difference. The files it produces are slightly larger than the originals but I suppose this is the only option until Adobe sort this issue. It's a shame because as you mentioned the files play really smoothly and it would be a great workflow, just a shame about this strange noise issue. I did notice that the encoded ProRes files aren't as clean as the originals, the noise seems to become more visible. But for now that's the only option we have.

  • ProRes 422 is good enough for the raw transcode in most cases and I'd think only a poor transcoder would introduce any new artifacts. Once you do even mild color correction or manipulation you'll want to save to the HQ version (10bit) at least not so much as a means of improving quality but to preserve what was originally there and give your manipulation room to also be preserved when you've been working (like you should) at 16bits if not full float.

    Also, playback of ProRes, if I'm not mistaken, can scale based on your system's ability to play it back. New noise you may be seeing might actually be a result of your system's downgrading quality (for realtime playback only) in order to play back from a now "fatter" codec. This could depend on both your OS version as well as hardware (and at least partially reason for the "High Quality Playback" option tick in QT Pro that's always defaulted to being off).

  • Last weekend, I shot a short film using FM 2.02 with the Voigtlander 25mm. Here's a brief extract from it. Nothing remarkable about it, but I like the look of it.

    Once again, thanks @LPowell for a sweet patch!

  • @ahbleza i shot a video almost exactly like this a few months ago. haha. also as a test :D

    The start looks weird. Motion stabilization? Also at 22 seconds is that real camera movement or after effects movement?

  • @ipcmlr Yeah, a fun test subject. There's only stabilization applied. Everything else is straight out of the camera, with no AE or FCPX filters. I'm currently in the edit for the film of which this is a cutaway.

  • Been testing this patch a lot.. This stuff just doesn't show macroblocks at all! It's amazing! And holds up in grading like a champion,,

  • Flowmotion 2.02 720p available light from Macbook screen on Zeiss ZF 35mm 1.4

  • Here's an initial rough cut of the short film that I shot a couple of weeks ago using Flow Motion 2.02. I haven't started grading yet, but look forward to seeing how well the image quality stands up in post. Workflow is the reliable use of Clipwrap, then import directly into FCPX.

  • @ahbleza Some really nice looking shots in there. I really liked the opening especially.

  • Did you know that FM costs 10$? Read this crap

    Obviously referring to a donation to VK.

    He also mentions a 14-15mm kit lens ... Wow nice zoom range

  • Gotta love the internet. Never before has badness been so democratized.

  • @LongJohnSilver Thanks for the link to the No Film School blog. I left a comment pointing out that Flow Motion v2.02 has always been available completely free of charge, and requesting that supporters make donations to Vitaliy's Paypal account here on Personal View.

    Judging from the footage displayed in Weapons of Mass Production's YouTube comparison of under $1000 cameras, they might consider investing in a course on video production from a reputable film school. When comparing footage from different video cameras, it's crucial to match the actual exposure conditions rather than simply selecting the same exposure numbers on each camera.

  • @lpowell @vitaliy_kiselev that site is pure crap as that sort of shootout. They are completely Canon oriented in every article.

    But they reached a whole new level suggesting that settings cost 10$

  • @Rambo It doesn't seems so clear to me that it's a donation...

    $650 Panasonic GH2 with 14-15mm kit lens, both stock and with Flowmotion v2.02 (+$10 or so) hack ($700 total)