Hacked Panasonic GH2 with AVCHD Intra at 176Mbit (+G3 and GF3 firmware update)


Driftwood 176mbit GOP1 GH2VK from Perry Wilson on Vimeo.

The GH2 hacking improvements are now reaching new dimensions! Thanks to the latest contribute from “Driftwood” user (check here at personal-view) the Gh2 can now record AVCHD Intra at 176Mbit. As EosHD writes: “This is a codec that uses i-frames only unlike consumer AVCHD. Every frame from the sensor is stored. Standard AVCHD is a Long-GOP compression format and works by estimating and guessing at frames in-between ‘real’ images but Intra doesn’t.” That’s really the best video quality you can get from any DSLR or Mirrorless camera and the amazing thing is that the GH2 tri core has the power to manage all that data! It really shows how good the Panasonic GH2 hardware is! The video on top can be downloaded at http://vimeo.com/29763704 to see the full quality potential fo the new coding!

One more thing. The Gh2 price is dropping slowly in US and Europe. So you may take your chance! Check: Amazon, Olympus US store, Adorama, B&H, eBay.

P.S.: The new G3 and GF3 1.2 firmware is now available: http://panasonic.jp/support/global/cs/dsc/download/fts/index2.html (it fixes an issue with the X lens support).

  • “It really shows how good the Panasonic GH2 hardware is!” It may be enough for video, but GH2 is slow at continuous shooting (buffer clearing) of photos, so it is not so good for sports photo shooting.

  • frank

    These Vimeo video’s really do not show the quality of uploaded files. I use Vimeo myself for a project where we have over 150 videos online now because Vimeo gives a much more professional look than Youtube, but Youtube is much much better for showing the quality in HD footage. Even my GF1 AVCHD video’s on youtube have better picture quality than this featured video because the transcoding by Youtube is much better than the Vimeo HD transcoding.

    • Jim

      Both are lame – look at youtube 4k video, on a HD monitor it looks waaay better than youtube HD! – and there is no reason it should – other than poor codec compression!

    • Danyyyel

      You should check your cards, there are a lot of people that have got no problem with it.

    • temsi


      No quality benefit??!? You’re talking out your bum, mate.

      There is a significant and quite obvious improvement in image quality. Noise is more random, macroblocks have all but disappeared and banding is dramatically reduced. In addition, the motion characteristics of INTRA versus INTER is vital for those of us who like the one-frame-at-a-time feel of film over the “mathematically built flow” of long-GOP video.

      Pickup shots from my personal GH2 camera were just used in a feature film shot on RED MX and they cut right into the 2K post and were approved by the producer. If you didn’t know, there’s no way you’d guess they weren’t from a RED. It made such an impression on the VFX supervisor he bought one for himself specifically to load the GOP1 hack onto it.

      I’ve been shooting Driftwood’s GOP1 settings for about a month and have not experienced a single write failure yet, even at 3200ISO in heavy foliage. To date, it’s been rock solid.
      I’m using Transcend 32GB Class 10 cards. They seem to be the best cards without the price tag of the Sandisk Extreme cards. Anything cheaper than Transcend will fail, practically guaranteed. Not all Class 10 cards are equal.

      If you know what you’re doing, this camera can outperform ANYTHING in its price range, even cameras 10 times its price. It’s still limited by the 8-bit 4:2:0 color encoding, but if you know its shortcomings and how to work around them, it’s pretty effing spectacular. Just don’t expect it to be a RED or an Alexa.

      Your attitude in here seems pretty antagonistic, and I’m not a fan of that. You have your preferences, that’s fine. But don’t talk like you’re in a position of authority when you’re not.

  • Thyl

    This really seems like a major breakthrough, and I wonder whether such data are also easier to post-process and colour-grade etc.

  • mpgxsvcd

    Everyone does realize that he re-compressed the video to an even lower bit rate than the stock GH2, right? Even if you download the file off of vimeo it is just 720p at a very low bit rate.

    You all are gushing over a highly compressed 720p video and you have no idea what you are actually looking at.

    The truth is that even the stock 720p on the GH2 looks really good. It is comparable to the 1080p @ 60 FPS in all of the other cameras. The RED cameras are about the only thing that is competition for the GH2’s 1080p @ 24 FPS mode.

    The hack can improve the GH2 video somewhat. However, it really isn’t the huge difference that it was for the GH1. Doing anything more than 42 mb/sec on the GH2’s 1080p mode is actually counterproductive.

    Super high bit rates and low GOPs like this introduce stability issues and issues with uneven encoding bit rates.

    Honestly, I think this video was meant to be a joke on everyone else. The user posted what is actually a horrible encoding and just called it something magical. It looks like a lot of you fell for it.

    I think you should use a different sample for this. This does not show anything about how driftwood’s settings actually perform. The file must be straight out of the camera without any re-encoding or editing at all.

    • Andy

      Sir I think you are right

    • Danyyyel

      Everyone should go on personalview to get a good idea of what these hack are doing. I find your conclusion to be very simplistic in regards to the work and test that have been done. People have posted all sort of different hack and this one is very stable, in very rare case has someone had problems. The main culprit is the card, and you have tools that show the stream buffer etc. It is true that the 44 mbit already gives some very good results. Ralphb has been comparing against the uncompressed HDMI as a benchmark and some higher bitrate did give better result mainly for motion. This hack has the particularity of being an intra codec (every image is a complete image like a film stock) and many find it to be very film like in terms of cadence. More so that all this is a continuing process. The gains are always going to be lest as you go up, but for some it is warranted. For events etc it won’t be practical, but if you want to do a short movie it might be the best below a Sony F3 today.

      • mpgxsvcd

        There is a huge flaw in the thinking that GOP = 1 is good. The problem is that it is not efficient enough to handle scenes with any motion at all.

        If the scene is truly static then I frames “MIGHT” be as good as P and B frames. However, for any motion at all you are simply going to be wasting bits on the frames that don’t have any motion and you won’t have enough to handle the ones where there is motion.

        Show me a side by side comparison that proves super high bit rates like this are better than 42 mb/sec for any scenario you like. I have posted the samples before and no-one could tell the difference.

    • dudeness

      If you compare individual frames IQ, Chris 66Mb setting is significantly better than his 44Mb, which in turn is a huge improvement over stock settings, IMHO. Passed 66Mb though, the difference, if any, is quite subtle. These extreme bitrates are mean to compensate for the less efficient low GOP settings, I think, not to improve spacial compression.

      • Danyyyel

        Yes those huge bitrate is to compensate for the less efficient iframe. But the main point is getting those film look cadence. Now I am no expert, but some have been using film cameras and others are inter cutting it with red footage. I am no expert in that because I have not done that, but I guess they know better than me. One user is http://vimeo.com/29930815 and I find it very very film like. I guess this is more subjective and to everyone his own.

  • I’m happily using the unhacked GH2. The video files are still in a good quality level, and the file sizes are manageable. I can only imagine the amount of space the video files would take at 176Mbit/s!

    • Aaron

      Apparently it’s around a gig per minute. So under 16 minutes for a 16 gb card. Plus the fact you have to have a pretty decent machine to edit that with. I’ll stick with my 24 mbps. It’s completely stable, great file sizes, and still good quality I think.

      • James

        You don’t edit AVCHD. You convert it to Prores 422 HQ or Animation codec and edit that.

        • mpgxsvcd

          It doesn’t matter what you do with it. In the end you have to re-encode it in order to share it. Once you re-encode it you will loose all benefit of the increased bit rate.

          • dudeness

            Sure, that’s the case with all lossy compression scheme, but that’s straw man argument. Point is, it’s better to start with a higher IQ and end up with a slightly degraded high IQ, than start with poor IQ and end up with a even poorer IQ.

          • Danyyyel

            Basic principal in any form of image acquisition, get the best input and then you can have much more flexibility to do what you want like grading etc. If you take a 14 stop alexa footage it will look dull and lifeless in most circumstances, but then you can change it to the look you want that will be outputed to a 8 bit blue ray etc. You can even apply selective grading with a software like Davinci ressolve and its tracker. You can for example underexpose a bit to protect the highlight, your actor will be underexpose but you then can lift him with a mask.

            If else it would be silly When I shoot raw for a photograph, as print cannot do more than about 7 stop. But with lightroom I can compress the dynamic range back by lifting shadows or compressing highlight to get a good image.

            • mpgxsvcd

              The problem is that GOP 1 actually produces inferior results to the same bit rate GOP 12 for some scenarios. The other problem is that increasing the bit rate does not always rectify that.

              You have to use StreamParser to really analyze what is going on. I tried the GOP stopper settings and they were fine for completely static scenes indoors at least until it got the write speed error. However, 42 mb/sec is identical to the higher bit rates indoors.

              When you try the low GOP outdoors with any motion at all it completely falls apart. You introduce compression artifacts that are not in the 42 mb/sec videos.

              I have several samples that I am posting now. These will be unedited and down-loadable files.

              • LevIC

                You are really on a crusade against ANYONE USING something you don’t like. Were you appointed some sort of arbiter of camera settings and I missed the ceremony? If so, I have some questions..

                1. Do your privileges span beyond Panasonic GH2 cameras or is it just this particular camera that is deserving of your arbitration?

                2. Do you get to wear a uniform? Maybe a special hat?

                3. Is it an ABSOLUTE requirement for you to spam every single website that mentions this particular setting, or are you allowed to let an article or two slide under your radar?

                Thanks for all the hard work you have done, the hater-community thanks you for your service.

                • REVENGE

                  Lol, go back to rottentomatoes.com, tool.

  • macNcheez

    im going to have to disagree with everyone hating on the high bitrate gop1 settings. ive been shooting with the these settings and it renders motion beautifully, it also renders colors and detail amazingly. the only downside to this is the huge file sizes but man up and buy bigger cards if you want better images. and people who are having reliability issues, you need faster cards, its that simple, the setting are only stable with the fastest cards. yes the camera still produces great images with lower settings and even stock the camera looks better then the canons or even the af100, but the gop1 high bitrate stuff puts it on another level.

  • car

    Could you say me where can I download the last version of ptool for the this hack.

  • Hey has anyone tried to hack on the
    JPEG side of things? I’ve heard
    this is already in 422, if so this
    could be the color solution we’ve
    been looking for?

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. more information

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.

What are Cookies?
A cookie is a small file of letters and numbers that is stored in a temporary location on your computer to allow our website to distinguish you from other users of the website. If you don't want to accept cookies, you'll still be able to browse the site and use it for research purposes. Most web browsers have cookies enabled, but at the bottom of this page you can see how to disable cookies. Please note that cookies can't harm your computer. We don't store personally identifiable information in the cookies, but we do use encrypted information gathered from them to help provide you with a good experience when you browse our website and also allow us to improve our site. You can watch a simple video from Google to find more information about cookies.

Cookies used by our Website
The 43rumors website, 43rumors.com, uses the following cookies for the collection of website usage statistics and to ensure that we can . These are anonymous and temporary. By using our website, you agree that we may place these types of cookies on your device.
Read how Google uses data when you use our partners' sites or apps: http://www.google.com/intl/en/policies/privacy/partners/
Google Analytics Cookie Usage on Websites: https://developers.google.com/analytics/devguides/collection/analyticsjs/cookie-usage?csw=1#cookiesSet Addthis cookies: http://www.addthis.com/privacy.
Disqus cookies: https://help.disqus.com/customer/portal/articles/466235-use-of-cookies.
Vimeo cookies: http://vimeo.com/privacy.
Youtube cookies: https://support.google.com/youtube/answer/171780?hl=en-GB

Disabling/Enabling Cookies
You have the ability to accept or decline cookies by modifying the settings in your browser. Please note however that by deleting our cookies or disabling future cookies you may not be able to access certain areas or features of our site. For information about how to disable cookies in your browser please visit the About Cookies website.