Friday, October 08, 2010

BREAKTHROUGH! Independent 3D Filmmakers Pay Attention: 1080p 3D Shot With Panasonic Hacked GH-1's !!

Hey independent filmmakers out there - you know who you are! Or perhaps you have always dreamed of creating your own S3D 1080p videos on a super tight budget. Now perhaps you can!

Right away I will let you know that there is good news, some more good news and bad news.

The first piece of good news is that the bright minds over at Beampath have successfully synced two firmware hacked Panasonic Lumix GH-1's (affectionately now known as GH-13) on the "C" setting with the Nikon 10-24mm with iris controlling adapter all on a beamsplitter that has been optimized for the cameras. THIS IS HUGE. Huge because these are (or were) very affordable cameras. For more info on what equipment they are using check out this post. For more info on the firmware hack check this out.

Which leads me to the bad news - Panasonic saw that the GH1 had been hacked to open up its capabilities to the max and did not like that at all. So they released an update that effectively cut off the hack with all their new factory GH1's. Naturally the price of the older models shot up on eBay. It is very hard to find an available and hacked GH1 nowadays.

However, the second piece of good news is that Panasonic has announced their GH2 (coming in November I believe) which has some great specs, but not quite as good as the hacked GH1. I will wager that Tester 13 (the infamous hacker who broke into the GH1 firmware) will be trying his luck (or mastery) with the GH2 firmware soon - so keep it on MarketSaw for more info on that when and if it happens. The 3D hack controller for the GH1 will work for the GH2 too, just not the firmware hack itself.

Enough with the background. On with the results!! Check out the side by side video below and if you have the NVIDIA 3D VISION setup as I do, download the file here (side by side 3D - click link and 'save as') and watch it on your 3D monitor. Looks great! I had to slightly decrease horizontal parallax but once this small tweak was done it really looked spectacular. All this from a very affordable 3D setup.

Watching this is stereoscopic 3D really heightens the level of detail here as your brain merges the information from both eyes. Amazing!

So how affordable is this setup? Here is the cost breakdown of what was used with this video (Appreciate your help with this piece David!):
Camera bodies - $600 X 2
Lenses - $745 X 2
Nikon adapters - $30 X 2
Hack controller - approx $50 in parts, batteries
Beamsplitter - $1999 (not sure what latest 3DFilmFactory price is - BUT - lots of guys build their own. figure $350 for the mirror)

TOTAL - $4,799. But, this can be done MUCH cheaper w/ used lenses and a DIY beamsplitter.

I am totally stoked about this news. I am so very close to pulling the trigger on buying either a hacked GH1 (you can find them on eBay or Craigslist) or waiting on the GH2 with a future hack. I will add the second camera later in 2011 so I can shoot in 1080p 3D. Just so we are clear here - you can shoot a feature film using this Panasonic system. I am not kidding. Not just home movies. Check out what these guys are doing with a hacked GH1 in 2D! And that is just one example.

I already have a Fujifilm FinePix W3 Digital Camera that I will be reviewing very shortly - that option should not be overlooked for your first consumer 3D camera. It is wonderful too! Stay tuned...

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Jim Dorey
jim (at) marketsaw (dot) com

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