Dumbing down GH2 to make it look less video’ish

My latest challenge with GH2 is to make great looking videos that look very close to film, as cheap as possible. That simply means, at the moment, using the standard 14-42mm kit lens that came with the camera and by using whatever light that is available.
Many bloggers talk about the importance of great lenses. Yes, I agree, to a point, especially when it comes to STILL pictures. HD video is dumbed down so much in DSLR’s and micro 4/3 that it’s not going to make a huge difference in video quality. On an average, yes, but when an artist pushes the limit on whatever lens he/she already has, I strongly believe the results can exceed most of the other footage out there with $1000+ lens. Too many people blame the equipment for poor capture and upgrade to the latest and the greatest, fueled by sponsored equipment review bloggers. NO! We should not be caught up in such BS. Sponsored athletes and artists are always biased, because it’s their job!
The footage below was shot with Lumix 14-42mm kit lens, ISO 160, 1/125-1/250, f16-f20. I didn’t want shallow DOF, just to see if I can make it look filmy without any help from it.
Without any color grading, the footage from GH2/14-42mm looks pretty good, but even ‘regular’ people can tell that it looks video’ish. I dumbed down the footage by adding blur and by lifting the shadows. The highlights got blown out a bit during the process, but not too bad. Sometimes less is more.
Again, it’s work in progress. I am constantly experimenting, trying to get best results with whatever I have without falling in the trap of getting the latest and the greatest.
Other lenses will probably give me better filmy look, but what’s the challenge in that? 🙂
Oh.. one more thing. DO NOT use the OIS (optical image stabilization) when video’ing freefall. It works sometimes, but when it doesn’t, the video looks almost awful, as shown the last 1/2 of the footage below. It has something to do with frequency vibration and OIS overcompensating.


3 comments on “Dumbing down GH2 to make it look less video’ish

  1. Aaaaaah “sponsored equipment review bloggers” or “reviewers” in general. Boy I have stories I can tell you about that b.s. I fell victim to them at lease once.

  2. hi Bill,
    I really love your videos, so entertaining and the colours are amazing in them.
    I really like the way you test out ideas and share the info on your site.

    I am a skydiver myself from the UK and I was wondering about buying the GH2 camera. I have a few questions if its ok?

    Are you using the built in Image stabalization or do you use a software post processing? How do you compare it to the Canon and the dslr cameras. Do you think Panasonic will bring out an aluminium bodied version any time soon?
    Thanks for the info,
    Happy Shooting and Jumping

    • Thanks for the compliment! I tried the built in stabilizer in GH2 but it doesn’t seem to work that well. I used FCP’s Smoothcam whenever I can, but it’s picky. If the footage is not very good to start off with, it gets worse due to massive amount of jello’ing, so you have to hold your head real steady as much as possible during freefall. I don’t think they’ll come up with aluminum body due to cost. Oh.. you might want to even try GH1, which you can pick ’em up only for $399 for the body. You can hack it to make it look as good as GH2!

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