Tag Archives: Canon

Why the (hacked) Panasonic GH1 is a better video camera than the Canon5DMk2

If you are a Canon 5Dmk2 fanboy you may want to shut your eyes. The lowly Panasonic GH1 just got supercharged with a firmware hack that makes a great HDSLR video camera even better. Here is my list of things that make the GH1 a better video camera than the 5D. First let’s take a look at the 800-pound gorilla in the room, The Canon has a full frame 35mm sensor, therefore, there is no crop factor when using 35mm lenses. Canon’s full size sensor is 4 times the size of the 4/3rds sensor in the GH1, which also means that the Canon must compress 4 time the data for the same bandwidth, all thing being equal (which they are not.) Supposedly the 5D is writing data at 35Mbs, compared to the (stock) 17Mbs of the GH1, which means that it’s still throwing away half again as much data as the GH1 (4 time the sensor and only twice as much data as the GH1).

GH1 Camera rig

My GH1 Camera Rig

But the GH1 has a secret, with the Ptools firmware hack from Tester13, the GH1 can shoot true 1080P 24fps with no pulldown at 50Mbs. And since both cameras use h.264 compression, with the software hack, the GH1 is compressing the data from its sensor far less.

But there’s more, the GH1 hack also enables the 1080P mode using MJPEG compression at 100Mbs for short shots. While this setting is kind of like using nitrous and it’s really pushing the limits of the camera, it is a real boon if you want to get the highest quality video possible. The advantage that motion JPEG has over h.264 is that it only uses spatial compression instead of the temporal and spatial compression of h.264. This means prettier pictures. His holiness, Phillip Bloom posted a great blog post on what the firmware hack brings to the GH1 which you can read on his blog.
I’ll admit that image quality is close enough between these two cameras that the 5D might win if that were the only issue. But the GH1 is a far more usable camera than the 5D, First off, for shooting video you can’t beat the fold out LCD screen on the GH1. It’s just better than the Live View screen on the 5D, period, even with a Z-finder. Second, the GH1 has continuous auto focus when using the kit lens. With 5D in live mode, you are stuck with whatever focus you had when you started recording. Thirdly, even un-hacked the GH1 can shoot 30fps 1/2 speed slow motion. You just shoot at 60fps 720p and play back the footage at 30fps, no frame blending or doubling, just plain good old fashioned over-cranking.
Okay, Let’s talk about glass. The 5D still uses an optical viewfinder, which means it has a pentaprism and a mirror, which it must flip up to take video, which, of course, makes the optical viewfinder unusable. This arrangement also means that the Canon has a deep flange distance. the flange is the measurement from the back of the lens to the surface of the sensor. Traditional film and video lenses have a short flange distance and don’t work well with 35mm SLR bodies. The GH1 has no optical viewfinder and therefore has a very short flange distance, which means it can use practically any 35mm SLR, video or film lens that someone is willing to make a adapter for. There is even a PL mount adapter that cost as much as the GH1, so that you can use cine lenses that cost 100 times as much the GH1. I use all my old Canon FD SLR lens as well as some Minolta, Olympus, and16mm film lenses and even cheap CCTV lens with my GH1.
Finally, let’s take a look at the form factor. The 5D is big and relatively heavy DSLR. Great if you’re trying to impress other photographers or the bridesmaids at a wedding shoot, not so good if you’re actually trying to shoot steady handheld video. The GH1 is lighter, smaller, more balanced and just plain easier to handle.
I won’t argue that the Canon 5DMK2 is a great still camera, and better than the GH1. But when it comes to real world video shooting and video quality, 5D, you’ve been served!

The Jaybilizer 3000 and the Canon 7D and 5DMk2

Due to the weight and high center of gravity of the 5Dmk2 and the 7D, these cameras do not work well with the Jaybilizer 3000. I did offer a 5D modified version, but I am not happy with the design, as it is too heavy to use for extended shooting. I have discontinued the 5D modified version. I have a working prototype design which is lighter and easier to balance the Canon DSLRS.
I will have a new Jaybilizer HDSLR model available as soon as I get some parts from the machine shop and stickers from the printer. I also have to make a how to balance video and set up the e-commerce site.
Thanks for your patience and I am very excited about the new model.

Jaybilizer 3000 Camera Stabilizer Shooting Techniques and Montage

I finally shot and edited this video that goes over some of the shooting techniques for the Jaybilizer 3000 , my homemade “Steadicam Merlin-type” camera stabilizer. The techniques include orbiting shots, tracking shots, low angle tracking shots, flying Shots and crane shots. I shot most of the video with a Canon HV30 on the Jaybilizer 3000 with some additional hand-held footage shot by Rob Martin with a Sony EX1.
Credits: Credits: Thanks to Rob Martin for the excellent EX1 handheld shots
Special Thanks to StickerGiant for the cool Jaybilizer 3000 stickers stickergiant.com/
Special thanks to Jeru at Jag35 for the Jag35 DOF Adapter jag35.com/
Find out More about the Jaybilizer 3000 jayshaffervideo.com/products/

Jaybilizer 3000 Camera Stabilizer Shooting Techniques and Montage from Jay Shaffer on Vimeo.

Bokeh Flowers

This is my first test movie using the Jag35e DOF adapter on a HV30 with a Canon FD 50mm F1.8 at F1.8. It was Shot in 24FPS 1080 in Cine exposure mode. I had a real tough time with the vignetting and the HV30 would not focus the DOF adapter other than very slightly zoomed in. also it was difficult to pull sharp focus in the inverted viewfinder. The footage was digitized using FCP’s HDV to Prorez import setting, and then converted to 24P in Compressor. The clip[s were then pan and scanned to 150% to mitigate the vignetting and graded in Final Cut. It was output to Quicktime at 24 Fps using the H264 codec at 1440X1080 at 1394 Kbs.

Bokeh Flowers from Jay Shaffer on Vimeo.

How To Build a DIY Steadycam Camera Stabilizer Under $50




How To Build a DIY Steadycam Camera Stabilizer Under $50 from Jay Shaffer on Vimeo.
How to build the JayCam MkII Merlin-type camera stabilizer. Jay Shaffer demonstrates how to use inexpensive parts to build an versatile stabilizer for camcorders like the Canon HV30.