Small Camera Big Screen – Panasonic GH2 at the Sundance and Slamdance Film Festivals

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Once upon a time, those who aspired to create big screen, Hollywood caliber productions had to raise enough funding to allow them to lease behemoth, Panavision film cameras (or the like) to record their movies.  These cameras were expensive to lease and expensive to operate since their size required all matter of specialized equipment in order to get the shots envisioned by the film’s director.GH2

In the digital age, cameras became somewhat smaller and somewhat easier to operate, but they were still very expensive.  Indeed, may of the upper echelon video cameras like the RED Epic, Arri Alexa, etc., still carry a hefty price tag.  Today, high quality, high definition DSLR and Mirrorless Camera Systems have brought big screen filmmaking into reach for low budget producers.

NoFilmSchool posted an article about 2 such productions that just made their way through the Film Festival Circuit.  Shane Carruth’s Sundance film Upstream Color (see trailer at the top), and Gami Orbegoso’s Slamdance film Musgo (see trailer below) and each of these films was shot with a camera that now sells for about $650 USD – the Panasonic Lumix GH2.


The GH2 has achieved cult status among pro and indie film producers since it’s release in 2010.  When it was first launched though, it wasn’t really given much respect outside the circle of Panasonic users.  After all, it was a micro 4/3 camera and it didn’t have a full frame sensor, so how on earth could it match up to the big dogs and the CaNikons?

But then those who began to use it noticed that the GH2 delivered great video image quality right out of the box – BAM!

Then, folks like Nick Driftwood and Vitaly got a hold of it, hacked it and upped the resolution even more – BOOM!

Then, during last year’s Zacuto Shootout, the GH2 raised even more eyebrows when it spanked the competition (including the REDs and the Arris) and was chosen to be among the best cameras by Hollywood luminaries like Francis Ford Copolla – POW!!!

Since the launch of it’s successor, the Panasonic Lumix GH3 some 6 months ago, the GH2 has dropped out of the spotlight – but make no mistake, it was and still is one of the best video making machines on the planet today.  Especially for the price.  And it can be argued that the Panasonic GH2 was the first micro 4/3 camera to turn the heads of some DSLR shooters, though mostly for it’s video capabilities.

The moral of the story?…

It’s a great time to be an aspiring filmmaker, because you don’t need a $100,000 camera setup to produce big screen quality films.  The two films above are proof of that.  With the GH2 and even it’s more expensive successor, the GH3, you now have tools at your disposal that will allow you to compete with the big boys.  So if you have a big vision, but a small budget – there are no more excuses.  There are only lights, camera and action!

Have you shot some films with a GH2 (or even a GH3)?  We’d love to see them.  Post your links in the comments section below.

Buy the Panasoic Lumix GH2 on Amazon Here


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