Ryan E. Walters, Cinematographer

Cinematic Excellence at 24 Frames a Second

How To Hack The GH2 On A Mac

The GH2 is the little camera that could- time and time again I continue to be impressed with the image quality that comes out of this little $900 camera. But to realize its full potential, it has to be hacked. And thanks to Personal View there is a community of people who offer some very impressive hacks, the most impressive of which is the Driftwood hack. (At least in my opinion anyway.) So all you need to do to turn your camera from something fun into something that could be used seriously is to install the hack. Great - no problem if you are on a PC. However, it is not so easy for those of us in an all Mac environment. After spending way to much time online searching on how to hack the GH2 using a Mac, I decided to throw up this little tutorial to explain how to do it step by step, hopefully making it easier for you, then it was for me when I first did it.

(Yes, I realize there are a couple of sites that tell you how to do this- but none of them were at the level of my immediate comprehension. So I'm filling that gap with this tutorial.)

What You Need:
1. GH2
2. Fully Charged Battery
3. SD Card
4. A Mac With OS 10.7 (Should work on 10.6, but I haven't tried it.)
5. PTools Software* (Website / Download)
[Please support their efforts by making a contribution on their site]
6. WineBottler (Website / Download)
[Please support their efforts by making a contribution on their site]
7. Original GH2 Firmware (Download Option 01 / Download Option 02)
8. The Hack Of Your Choice. (List of Hacks / Driftwood Hack v9b)
[You have to register / be a member of the site to download files.]
9. A Glass of Wine. (Not needed, but nice after a long days work. ;) )

The Process:
1. Download & Install the software linked to above.
2. Open WineBottler

3. Click the "select file..." button and navigate to where the PTool3.exe file is located.

4. Click the "Install" button. WineBottler will ask you to name the app, and then you will wait as it loads PTool.

5. Once PTool is loaded click the "Load Firmware" and navigate to where you have the original firmware. (GH2_V10.bin)

6. After the firmware has been loaded, at the bottom of the window you will see a bunch of half red letters form A to J. Control Click on one of the letters. Now navigate to where you have downloaded the hacked firmware and open it. (This should be the ZIP file.)

7. Once the firmware is loaded, one of the letters will now turn green. You can hover your mouse over it to confirm the settings. Click the "Save Firmware" button and be sure to RENAME the file. DO NOT OVERWRITE the original firmware. Replace the "0" with a number from 1 - 9. So the name needs to be GH2_V1x.bin where "x" is the number you choose. In my example below, I used 1.

8. Quit out of PTool and WineBottler. Now when you navigate to PTool3, its icon should be the same as WineBottler. So if you need to open PTool again, just double click on PTool3.exe and it should launch.

9. Insert a freshly formatted SD card into your computer and drag your new firmware to the top of the directory. Eject the card.

10. Insert the card into the GH2, and make sure the GH2 has a fully charged battery. (It cannot be the AC adapter, nor a partially charged battery - you can brick the camera if you loose power during the installing of firmware.)

11. Turn on the camera and press the "Play" button. Select "Yes" and DO NOT TOUCH the camera while it updates the firmware.

12. Now you are all set to go out and start shooting! To take advantage of the firmware, all you have to do is to select the appropriate mode. For example, with Driftwood v9b, select 24p Cinema, and choose 24H to use the highest quality Driftwood hack.

Things To Be Aware Of:
- Not all hacks are created equal. User beware. While I have never had a problem with any of the Driftwood hacks, I have heard stories of hacks that have ended up bricking the camera. So use at your own risk. No guarantee is provided by me, or anyone else. So put your big boy or big girl pants on and take responsibility for your actions if you decide to hack your camera.

- *If a hack says that you need the latest version of PTools to load the hack, then you need the latest version of PTools, no if, ands, or buts. The website link, and the download link "should" always be the latest version of PTools. But if you want to confirm that, from the website page, scroll down to where it says version history and check there to confirm.

- To get the longest sustained running time per clip, you will need a fast card. I recommend going with at least a 45/MBs card, or better yet, go with a 95/MBs card. You can use cheaper slower cards, but many times the camera will stop recording around 30 seconds to 1 minute. And as the card gets filled up, the times can get shorter and shorter. So use the money you saved on the camera and spend it on the media.

- Sometimes Wine or WineBottler will remain running in the background even though you have quit the application. If you notice things are slower then usual, or if you are on your laptop and your battery is draining quicker then it should - check to make sure that neither of these apps are running in the background. If they are, quit using the menu bar, force quit the programs, or quit them using the activity monitor.

I hope you have found this to be helpful, and easy to follow.

Until Next Time - Get Out There And Shoot!
Ryan E. Walters, Cinematographer
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