Thursday, July 4, 2013

Shooting high quality video from Panasonic micro four thirds (m4/3, uFT) bodies … Part 1 – Time and Power

Well, it’s about fricken time Smile

I’ve owned these bodies for half a year and have done precious little in the way of posting on how one can get decent video from these. Well, here I am going to try to change that a bit. I am preparing for a concert that Nick and friends are giving at a local venue towards the end of next month, so I am working with a new set of SD cards.

They are PNY Polaroid 64GB cards with very fast read and write (>40MB/s and >30MB/s respectively.)

They are also very inexpensive for what you get – around 40 bucks at Amazon. So far, I have tested one of them in the GH2 pointed out the window at the garden and it managed 2:16 at >60Mb/s .. nice. That was a very detailed subject and shooting a concert is unlikely to get anywhere near those rates, which means that I will get very good quality for over 3 hours. Exactly what I want.

Note: These are SDXC cards! This means that you need to check your camera’s manual for compatibility with SDXC and with this size of card. I did that, downloading the manuals from the internet (they are all up there) in PDF format. Mine all support 64GB SDXC. Just make sure before you buy.

But what about power you ask? Batteries cannot last more than a couple of hours. And since I want to run the cameras for hours without stopping, I ordered some inexpensive power adapters. So far so good … the GH2 ran without stopping and did not overheat, so I am happy.

GH2, G5, G6

GF3, GF5, GF6

GX1, GF2, G3
I have tested all four and they power the four cameras just fine. However, do note that they are very inexpensive and light, so treat them gently. They need to be kept in a box until used and put right back if they are to give you years of service. Also, definitely make sure that you use gaffer tape to avoid people tripping on them or stepping on the various adapters etc. They won’t survive that. Anyway, here is the setup on my GH2:

Do note that there is a little door for the cord showing on the next image. The GH2 and G5 both have this, which allows them to run with AC power with their battery doors shut. The G6 will have this too, because the cord sticks out the side. But the adapters for the other cams are not like that and they must shoot on AC power with their battery doors ajar. No big deal, since they have to be on a tripod and near a plug, but just be aware of that.

Part 2 will cover the patches I use to improve the video on the hackable bodies …