Improving the audio quality of the Panasonic GH2 can be done with the hack via Ptool to increase the BPS of the audio from 192,000bps to 440,000bps. Just add it to the patch you are currently using. You will lose the ability to preview the videos on camera but its not a bad trade off. That’s the simple method via in camera settings but what about external methods? Syncing in post is common in the film world and big names include the infamous marantz and the zoom products for the indie crowd. Only one of these is perfect to keep on board or on a shoulder rig / cage offering the unique opportunity to feed directly into the camera and avoiding post syncing.
The Zoom H4n Handy Mobile 4-Track Recorder
The zoom h4n is a great tool for recording audio on set while you film with The Panasonic GH2. The downside used to be having to sync in post and while this is a common practice when shooting with film, the digital crowd may not be as patient. As a result you may want to plug in an H4n directly into the camera. This is a great idea but the only problem is losing the ability to monitor audio with your headphones/line output plugged into the gh2 or the h4n. There is also a difference in the line level between the H4n and the gh2. The solution to this is the wonderful Sescom cable that will give you a headphone tap as well as get your line into the gh2 from the h4n. Sescom has designed this cable specifically for the Panasonic GH2 and it handles the audio and level difference while giving you a headphone tap! Fantastic.
The Sescom LN2MIC-ZMGHN-MON
Sescom LN2MIC-ZMGH-MON 3.5 Line to 2.5 Mic 25dB for Zoom H4N with Monitoring Tap Cable, 1.5 Feet
Combining the two you will now have the ability to use professional microphones via the h4n and not worry about syncing! Thanks to this cable design you can still monitor audio from the h4n but Depending on the microphone you use, on board mics, or externals you will have to readjust your levels (volume) to match but that’s just about as complicate as it will get.
I highly recommend using the hack for audio in Ptools for your GH2 and setting it to 448000 bps. This will allow you to use higher quality audio settings in the h4n and maintain fidelity when running the line into the GH2 but it is optional.
For more information on hacking the GH2 see my tutorial which now includes a concise hack pack! All you have to do is add the audio setting to the patch, or w.e patch you intended to use. Keep in mind you will no longer be able to preview video with the audio quality so high. A small trade off for professional audio if you ask me. If you don’t use the audio hack because you absolutely need the in camera previews that’s ok, the above h4n Sescom combo still greatly improve the audio quality. I personally don’t have to review every shot on set so its a non issue for me to use the added bps for the audio via the hack. It provides a remarkable boost in audio quality but either way you will be very happy.