The Panasonic GH1 is a cool camera. The autofocus tends to actually work when you're in movie mode. And the optical image stabilizer works surprisingly well.
And the GH1 we're using (in 2011) is "hacked(external link)" in order to shoot at a much higher data rate than is specified — 30MB/s.
The weird thing about the GH1 is the file structure it uses. It makes a whole bunch of weird files we don't understand the purpose of, and it also makes stills (in yet another folder).

Not surprisingly, Wikipedia has a good section on the .mts format(external link)(which is a file extension for the AVCHD compression scheme. They've also included this nice little graphic of the data structure:

The procedure is to copy ALL the files and folders into the correct folder on the "camera" drive for a movie on each day. If we're shooting a whole lot then we make TWO folders for the day, eg:

0801 04a
0801 04b

But lets start by taking a look at the data from the camera's SD card that's relevant to us.


The GH1 uses a very complicated directory system on the SD card it records to. I'm sure there's an excellent reason for it working the way it does. I do not know what that reason is.
The stills are stored in the folder "DCIM" and then in a folder which is likely marked "101_PANA" although the actual folder inside the DCIM folder may be called something different like "102_PANA".

GH1 movie file directory structure

The movie files are ".mts" files. Every time the SD card in the camera is formatted it resets the file number so that the first thing you record is "00000.MTS". The second time you press record you create the file "00001.MTS" and so on.


The GH1 in Post-Production

Step 1

Transfer all the files.

The files from the camera drive have to be put in the "original camera files" folder on the edit drive. See the Data Management pagefor more details.

Step 2

Use Neoscene to transcode the files. See the Neoscene page.

Here's an exciting thing about the GH1. As tested by us, the audio is three frames ahead of picture. I've looked at a lot of footage. Seems to be about 3 frames. I know, some of those old Panasonic HD cameras used to be five or six frames out. Those were the days, huh?


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