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Wanting to do video- what next?

Discussion in 'Video Post-Production' started by Ranger Rick, May 12, 2012.

  1. Ranger Rick

    Ranger Rick Mu-43 Veteran Subscribing Member

    Apr 11, 2009
    Tempe, AZ
    I'd appreciate some advice from those who know the subject, as I've explored online and come to a point where I don't know what direction(s) I should consider going.

    I've got a Mac, 10.7, and iMovie. I'd like to start shooting video with my GH2. Other than very casual short compact camera videos, I have no experience with video or with iMovie or other options. I don't think I want or need heavy duty FCP or Premier Pro, and doubt I would want to spend the time to master them- Photoshop CS6 is proving enough :) .

    Olympus EPL-1 video, and (at least) Panasonic AVCHD video from my GH2 seems to need to be converted (as far as I can determine) to use iMovie, and I have 2 demo converters, each running about $37 for the full version (ClipWrap and iSkysoft). I have a trial of Premier Elements, and that doesn't seem to need an external converter. I guess Premier Elements has one of those converters built-in, unlike iMovie.

    I don't expect to be doing anything commercial, just for family and friends: web/dvd/large screen HD television at home.

    I gather i don't want mp4 for the above, as it seems to be just small Quicktime. With the GH2, will I want to shoot in AVCHD? If so, would I be better off learning Premier Elements for the "long term" (seems to be more robust/capable) and not buying a separate converter? Or are ClipWrap and/or iSkysoft good quality, and I should go that route and then into iMovie? I have no desire to spend the extra $50 or so unless doing so and getting Premier Elements is going to be the superior long term option.

    Your suggestions would be appreciated- if iMovie works well, that would be great, but I don't want to learn iMovie and quickly discover it is too limited.



    Panasonic GH2
    Olympus EPL-1
  2. kevinparis

    kevinparis Cantankerous Scotsman Subscribing Member

    Feb 12, 2010
    Gent, Belgium
    just did a quick test and the current iMovie brings in GH2 footage without a problem.

    the gotcha is that even if you put the SD card into a card reader, you have to use the import from camera option.

    • Like Like x 1
  3. Ranger Rick

    Ranger Rick Mu-43 Veteran Subscribing Member

    Apr 11, 2009
    Tempe, AZ

    thanks for that- I just was discovering that. I'd copied the card files onto my HD, then tried using with iMovie, and got nowhere. I'll use that Import from Camera option next time- am using the built-in reader on my Mac mini, and will see if that will allow me that option, or whether I'll need to use a USB external reader :) 

  4. M4/3

    M4/3 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Sep 24, 2011
    I use clipwrap to convert Panasonic mts files I've downloaded onto my desktop into .mov files so that I can play them on my mac. So you may want to do that too and then edit them in iMovie.

    The avi files on your E-PL1 are playable with Quicktime once you have downloaded them to your desktop.

    If iMovie seems too complicated you may wish to try a super basic video conversion and editing program like this iCoolsoft AVCHD Converter for Mac - convert and edit AVCHD videos with high quality and fast speed. that will not let you do much, but at least you can resize video clips and merge them together if you wish to get a feel for how video works.
    • Like Like x 1
  5. powderbanks

    powderbanks Mu-43 Regular

    Dec 7, 2012
    north carolina
    i primarily shoot video with my gh2; it's really the reason i got a gh2. learning video is kind of a pandora's box...but some tips for your gh2:

    - hacks. if you want better quality video, there are a TON of hacks out there for the gh2. there are some that are crazy high bitrates, which will only work with the fastest (read: expensive) sd cards, but others that are perfectly stable and will give you a lot better quality on slower cards. with the hacks you can also eliminate the 30min recording limit (pal cameras), iso up to 12800 in video and a bunch of other things. (12800 video seems like it would be a noisy mess, but if you put it in one of the b&w modes, it's amazingly usable. there's plenty of vimeo videos out there to see for yourself)

    - framerate. depending on what you're shooting, you can use either 24fps, 30fps (mjpeg modes) or 60fps. in the gh2's 24p cinema mode, it'll shoot at the highest quality, 1080p @ 24fps. in this mode, keep the shutter speed at 1/50 and use the aperature and iso for exposure. this can be difficult in bright, sunny shoots, so a variable nd filter is super helpful for that. for faster motion (sports, etc) you'll probably want to use the 'SH' mode, which is 720p @ 60fps. keep your shutter speed at 1/125 for 60fps. (shutter speed is constant because of the 180* shutter rule, you can google it for more information, but just know it's to keep motion blur looking natural) 60fps is really good if you're planning on doing any slow motion.

    i use premier pro, and i like it because it works well with the avchd files from the gh2, as opposed to some of the issues you've run into with imovie. aside from that, the real differences between nle's really comes down to preference, imo. i started using final cut in high school, but i found the transition to premier very easy.

    there's a ton of stuff out there about shooting video in general, as well as specifically for the camera, but let me know if you have any questions. i've been shooting with a gh1 since it had come out and have had a gh2 for about 6 months now. the hacks aren't as intimidating as they seem, and they are easily reversed.
  6. ApGfoo

    ApGfoo Mu-43 Regular

    Dec 10, 2012
    Bay Area
    I don't own a Mac but I know some that use Final Cut Pro 10. It's affordable. Also, you don't have to worry too much about converting your video files since 10 transcodes the files in the background after importing unlike Pro 7.

    I'm a bit more familiar with 7. With FCP7 it's best to use mpegstreamclip(free software) first then import the correct format.

    I think the FCP10 interface looks a bit less daunting than FCP7 so new users won't be so lost.

    Good luck.
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