EM-1 video length

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by Paul Jones, Dec 23, 2015.

  1. Paul Jones

    Paul Jones New to Mu-43

    Dec 23, 2015
    I'm using an EM-1 to record interviews, and twice now, it's topped out at 30mins, before simply ... stopping. No warning, no alarms, no beeps ...

    I can't find reference to this 30min cut off anywhere (my old Canon 7D had a documented 12min cut off) - so it's been suggested the camera doesn't actually have a cut off, but it's the memory card?

    It's not full, battery isn't close to being dead. Could memory card speed be my limiting factor - or does the EM-1 stop at 30mins?
  2. billbooz

    billbooz Mu-43 Regular

    Jan 23, 2014
    Lynchburg, VA USA
    Real Name:
    William H. Booz
    Paul, I believe there is an EU-imposed limit of 29 minutes, otherwise, the camera is classed a video camera. So, camera manufacturers set that limit in all markets. Another reason I've heard is that the limit is set to 29 minutes so still cameras with video capabilities don't compete with true video cameras.
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  3. Sammyboy

    Sammyboy m43 Pro

    Oct 26, 2010
    Steeler Country
    ..... here it is, right from Olympus ...

    Recording format
    MOV(MPEG-4AVC/H.264) , AVI(Motion JPEG)
    Movie Mode
    Full HD: 1920(H)x1080(V),  30p/25p/24p
    24Mbps(Fine) / 16Mbps Normal) : Aspect 16:9
    HD: 1280(H)x720(V),  30p(29.97 Recording
    12Mbps(Fine) / 8Mbps Normal) : Aspect 16:9
    [AVI Motion JPEG]
    HD: 1280(H)x720(V), 30fps *20, Aspect 16:9
    SD: 640(H)x480(V), 30fps *20, Aspect 4:3
    *20 : Except for some of the Art Filters

    Maximum Recording Time
    Full HD : Approx. 29min(Normal) / Approx. 22min(Fine)
    HD : Approx. 29min(Normal) / Approx. 29min(Fine)
    HD : Approx. 7min*21 / SD : Approx. 14min*21

    *21 : Except for some of the Art Filters
  4. ThorEgil

    ThorEgil Mu-43 Rookie

    Aug 22, 2012
    The FAT32 file system on the memory card has a size limit of 4GB, and the recording stops when it hits this limit.
    It would we relatively easy to just transparently continue saving to a new file when this happens, and if the cameras outside Europe really can record longer films there must be some political reason for this cripling here.
  5. Paul Jones

    Paul Jones New to Mu-43

    Dec 23, 2015
    Well, that answers that! Thanks for sharing :)

    Now to find a new camera ...

  6. Ross the fiddler

    Ross the fiddler Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 20, 2012
    Blue Mountains, NSW, Australia
    Real Name:
    If you want a video camera, then why not get a video camera?
  7. Paul Jones

    Paul Jones New to Mu-43

    Dec 23, 2015
    Like many still photographers - video is just something I do "on the side" - so dropping $1k+ on a video camera, when I have such a capable DSLR wasn't my first choice.

    But, with a 29min video limit, and a 40 to 45min need, I may have to figure something out. I've never researched video camera's though. Back to square one.
  8. kevinparis

    kevinparis Cantankerous Scotsman

    Feb 12, 2010
    Gent, Belgium
    A used GH2 might be a solution... pretty sure that at least the US versions didn't have a shooting time limit.

    I haven't looked at the low end/consumer end of the video camera market, but most of them shoot 1080, and depending on your ultimate delivery platform/purpose they might do the job fine

    • Agree Agree x 1
  9. dornblaser

    dornblaser Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 13, 2012
    Real Name:
    David Dornblaser
    I record TED-style talks with a GX8 and E-M5 II that run about an hour. There should be a timer on your LCD to show how much time you have. I just reset it during the last ~ 7 minutes when the speaker makes a natural pause. Or, I have it prearranged if I signal the speaker he/she takes a pause at his/her earliest convenience. It only takes a few seconds to push the record button twice.
  10. TonyVentourisPhotography

    TonyVentourisPhotography Mu-43 Regular

    Nov 1, 2015
    I personally prefer having a break in long sequences even if it is literally just a start/stop. I have had weird failures and unexpected things happen before. I would hate to have a file not write correctly, or not finish writing, or who knows what. I would potentially lose that recording. If I have stopped and started again, at least I know that portion is written to the card and recoverable in a worst case scenario.
    • Agree Agree x 3
  11. billbooz

    billbooz Mu-43 Regular

    Jan 23, 2014
    Lynchburg, VA USA
    Real Name:
    William H. Booz
    Paul, I agree with Dornblaser and Tony. Just find or create a natural break point and stop/restart recording. Unless you are using the entire recording unedited, I would assume you are going to edit out some parts of the interview anyway. Although I can understand some situations where you can't stop the presentation.

    I am going to try using my E-PL6 as a second camera to get different angles (still relying on audio captured via mic attached to my E-M1) and edited into final video. If you have a second camera, you coul roll it, wait a minute, stop primary camera and restart, then stop second camera, etc., etc.
  12. dornblaser

    dornblaser Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 13, 2012
    Real Name:
    David Dornblaser
    Yes, a second camera really changes a lot of things.
  13. Wairoakid

    Wairoakid New to Mu-43

    Oct 3, 2012
    I was (and are ) frustrated with the video length of my Em-5- in fact all Olympus cameras (4 thirds and Mu) that have video capability have and always have had that limitation. I recall reading a few years ago it was related to higher tax in the EU on video cameras or less tax on still cameras. I sing in a choir and I use my Em-5 (on a tripod) to record us singing but of course I can only get 29mins without having to restart- not good when you are in the middle of a song or in a public concert.
    My workaround is I mount a wireless remote control receiver on the camera (on the tripod) and have a small remote in my hand so i can stop and start the camera from the stage between a couple of songs.
    I use the external stereo mic for better sound.

    I got a Panasonic video camera ( with large battery ) to be able to shot full performances and provide a second view point to make the final video more interesting but the Em-5 gives a better quality picture I find especially the colour.
  14. mmw

    mmw Mu-43 Rookie

    Jun 9, 2014
    There is apparently a paid firmware update for the Panasonic GH4, only outside the EU. Hopefully other manufacturers like Olympus will follow suit.
    LUMIX DMC-GH4 Paid Software Upgrade Service - Panasonic
    Paid Software Upgrade Service for V-Log L Video Recording
    In response to the demand of film production market, Panasonic enables log video recording (V-Log L) on the DMW-GH4 to offer exceptional flexibility as well as wider dynamic range for color grading in post-production process. To activate this function, purchase of Upgrade Software Key DMW-SFU1 and DMW-GH4 firmware update Ver.2.4 are required. The DMC-GH4R is also available which features unlimited video recording capability and V-Log L video recording.
    *Availability may vary depending on the sales area.
  15. zensu

    zensu An Old Fool

    Aug 8, 2012
    Alabama, USA
    Real Name:
    I think your workaround is brilliant! I might just try that myself.
    One solution to the battery limitation might be to use the E-M1 camera with HLD7 battery grip. It can provide power from two batteries or get a Power Adapter (plugs into a wall outlet) and power the camera without need of batteries.
    Bobby :coffee-30:
  16. dornblaser

    dornblaser Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 13, 2012
    Real Name:
    David Dornblaser
    You can also use a tablet or smart phone with Olympus app. The problem is that there is some lag and you lose the ability to MF. Zensu - there is not a battery limitation.
    • Appreciate Appreciate x 1
  17. Wairoakid

    Wairoakid New to Mu-43

    Oct 3, 2012
    Here is a picture of my setupCamera record 2.jpg

    ONE- This is the Olympus EMA 1 - stereo mic
    TWO- This a wireless receiver plugged into the EM-5 port ( FIVE). See the red LED at the front- left- so I can see if the battery power is on and has another LED on the right of the unit that flashes when it receives the command from the remote (so you can see working)
    THREE- This is a grip so I can mount the wireless remote. I had to turn it around ( finger grip the wrong way) so the LED would point forward to the front as receiver unit only fitted one way. However this way allows me access to the battery in the HLD6 battery grip. It is attached to the bottom of HLD6 and then attaches to the tripod
    FOUR- This is remote unit- I just clip to my belt and use from stage.
    SEVEN- This is the HLD6 battery grip which gives me additional battery power.
    SIX- Stereo mike just clipped on neck strap so it is orientated L to R as noted on mic.

    I have set Image Stabiliser to None as that is recommended when shooting on a tripod. The focus is set to S-AF. The red button for video is set for OFF. I use P as the program (unless I am shooting under fluorescent tubes then I set use S and set the shutter speed for the relevant Hz 50 or 60) I use one of the MySET slots for saving this setup. Top Dial is set to VIDEO icon.

    A note of caution from experience-let the video save to the card before restarting the recording- say 10 seconds. Use fully charged batteries before recording. Also if the camera goes to sleep (the remote will only wake it up - not start the video). I have the period before it goes to sleep set for the maximum five minutes - I wish you could disable it so it never sleeps.

    This is a bit of a workaround but i have got some great videos from it. Can't wait to try it with my new 7-14mm 2.8 PRO lens that Santa bought me for Xmas :)
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2016
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