Confessional (Hacking the Panasonic GH2)

You know that copy of Epyx's Summer Games for the Apple II?

I'm here to confess that the game that kept me up late way past my bedtime in 1982 was a pirated copy. That's right, I somehow got a hold of the tools to unlock the awesomeness of the game (and the superlative graphics) and I did. I think that the statute of limitations has run out, right?

Well, my sordid hacking past has come back as I've finally hacked the Panasonic GH2. It was decidedly much easier than hacking the Summer Games, thanks to the Russian programmer Vitaly and his band of merry men over at Personal-View.com. Vitaly, is you don't know, was one of the first guys (if not the first) to hack the GH1 and now hosts a community of enthusiastic shooters and hackers. That's where I learned about the tools and hack that I wanted. The Flowmotion V2.02 is said to provide a good stable patch with a good bitrate and thus cleaner video. I've had to spring for a big fast SD card (a SanDisk Extreme Pro 32 GB SDHC Class 10 UHS-1 Flash Memory Card) that pumps the data at 95MB/s. My now-hacked GH2 can fill that card up with HD video in about 40 minutes.

How does it look? You be the judge. Here's some ISO1600 goodness:

If you've ever been to Times Square in New York City you know the sea of humanity that flows through that place, drawn by the sparkling lights and the sheer enormity of it all. It's a street shooter's nirvana, with photo ops appearing with every breath. Choosing what to shoot is hard, and even then there'll be something missing from the photos-the sheer din of the joint and the pulsing and jostling and honking and beeping and general chaos. Consider this the "street video", an adjunct and distant cousin to that noble pursuit of street photography.

The video also features a couple of other new toys in the toychest. I'll write about them later. In the meantime, the Flowmotion hack has breathed new life into my GH2, and has staved off, if only momentarily, my lust for the BlackMagic Pocket Cinema Camera...

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