Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Andrew Reid

Hands-on preview of the powerful 4K shooting Panasonic GH4!

Recommended Posts

Excellent film Bryan. I really enjoyed the street scenes.  That shot of the cars rolling down the street is almost surreal from an image quality standpoint.  just beautifully done.   The time-lapse at the end with the stars over the temple?  could you share which lens you used for this?

 

As far as this camera. It looks like my investment in MFT since the GH2 came out has paid off handsomely and will continue to do so.  Now I might be leaning towards investing in more panasonic glass to take advantage of some of the new AF features of this camera. An external recorder for when I need ultimate quality might be needed as well.   A speed booster with my manual nikon glass is in the cards too.  

 

Great first look Andrew, I'm actually excited about a new camera again!  This hasn't happened since the GH2 came out.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
EOSHD Pro Color for Sony cameras EOSHD Pro LOG for Sony CamerasEOSHD C-LOG and Film Profiles for All Canon DSLRs

@zephyrnoid What size sensor would you like to see Panasonic use? For all I know, they might be planning to roll out a full-frame camera in April... but for myself, I'm happy I can use the same lenses and accessories I use now with my GH3 and the incredible GM1. From what standpoint is this system camera not "the whole package"? Is it incomplete somehow? I even read somewhere that this system was deficient in lens choice... There's something I'm not getting here...


I've famously gripped (pre speed booster days ) that there isn't enough bokeh in m43 sensors making foreground / background separation challenging. The sweet spot is DX/APSC NOT ff, but the engineers at Panasonic have an obsession it seems. Now. Reading the spec more closely, looks like there's even more crop factor with this 4k sensor, which is a real deal killer for me. Then again, I have zero invested in M43 lenses.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Bryan, great job, I think you achieved the goal of showcasing 4K detail very nicely.  The highlight gradation also looks very nice... what video mode did you capture in (Standard, CineLike gamma, etc)?  Was this captured in 10 bit 4:2:2 or just internal 8 bit 4:2:0?

 

Thanks,

 

Todd

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Really? Were we watching the same video? Because I've downloaded 720p stuff off Pirate Bay that looked way better than that... And even the berated Sony AX100 video looked stronger to me, not that I'd buy it or anything... The only things I thought while watching that video were a) amazing that he could fit the tripod and 'copter in his backpack with half a dozen lenses and B) that I'll probably have to be super careful with focusing and my shaky hands in order to get anything half as decent as he got, because I think 4K will be much more unforgiving with focusing errors and camera movement...

 

I agree: AX100 looks better, but I'm sure it's because someways it handles better the poor youtube compression. I'm afraid we can't judge the camera quality from what we see here.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Can't wait to see Canon's response!

What are they going to do on strategy now?

Their 4K cameras are mainly aimed at Hollywood. C500 is not really aimed at the C300 crowd. They don't have a 4K camera for the masses yet.

The GH4 is a consumer camera which has appeal to pros. Smashes a price barrier.

Suddenly upgrading from a GH3 to C100 with external recorder lost a lot of appeal.


7D mark ii? Who knows..

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Bryan,

 

I think your video was the best of the bunch and showcased the capabilities of the camera really well.   Love the Tulum shots in the aerial. Wonder how you got away with people free pyramid views as it is normally a tourist nightmare. 

 

I noticed some heavy moire in the green macaw shot feathers but I have no access to a 4k monitor. I get a bit of that on macaws and other birds on the GH2 but wonder if this was pronounced by scaling down to 1080p.   Would love to see a downloadable frame of that exact shot at 4k to see the detail if you could share, but I guess Panasonic is the one that releases that.    

 

The parrot you shot with the white forehead on the tree tops is a White Fronted Amazon Parrot who specializes in eating guava fruits.  

 

Congrats again on the video!

_____________

 

As far as 4:2:2 why not shoot everying at 4k and scale down to 1080p as the Andrew article points out.  It becomes a non issue.  I still think they should have implemented 200mbits at 4k not just 1080 and 120fps on HD.   That hype on 120p rumors sure got the best of us.  96 is still pretty good if it has no image quality downgrade.

 

from Samuel H. at DVX

"A 4K image with 8-bit 420 color has enough information to give you a 2K image with 10-bit luminance and 8-bit 444 color."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Can't wait to see Canon's response!

 

What are they going to do on strategy now?

 

Their 4K cameras are mainly aimed at Hollywood. C500 is not really aimed at the C300 crowd. They don't have a 4K camera for the masses yet.

 

The GH4 is a consumer camera which has appeal to pros. Smashes a price barrier.

 

Suddenly upgrading from a GH3 to C100 with external recorder lost a lot of appeal.

 

Still very different to the C100 which has a few distinct advantages with respect to Event/Documentary use.

 

No built in NDs

C100 has superior battery life

I doubt it will have the same low light performance

XLR inputs (the GH4 XLR box can't be used without power so that's why I have included it)

 

If Canon were to upgrade the C100 to 4K, Better codec and higher FPS it would be a win win for all.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

4K looked great in post for the most part, but for sure you must nail your exposure because there is not much room for grading the 8-bit output.

 

 

Indeed, and nail the focus as well. Quite important for 4K. Time to stop down a bit!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

this was shot in-camera 8 bit at the standard image look setting.  Panasonic initially flirted with the idea of me recording this project externally in 10 bit, but I think it was wise to show people how it looks in the more typical way that most will use this camera. 

 

we arranged special access to the Mayan ruins before they were open to the public. 

 

there was indeed heavy moire on the feathers of the macaw. it was a shame because the detail on that shot was pretty incredible, but any camera without a global shutter would have trouble with those feathers. 4K resolution just made it the worst possible scenario, as each feather is like a series of "stripes" like on a striped shirt when picking up all that detail. 

 

 

 

Bryan, great job, I think you achieved the goal of showcasing 4K detail very nicely.  The highlight gradation also looks very nice... what video mode did you capture in (Standard, CineLike gamma, etc)?  Was this captured in 10 bit 4:2:2 or just internal 8 bit 4:2:0?

 

Thanks,

 

Todd

 

 

Bryan,

 

I think your video was the best of the bunch and showcased the capabilities of the camera really well.   Love the Tulum shots in the aerial. Wonder how you got away with people free pyramid views as it is normally a tourist nightmare. 

 

I noticed some heavy moire in the green macaw shot feathers but I have no access to a 4k monitor. I get a bit of that on macaws and other birds on the GH2 but wonder if this was pronounced by scaling down to 1080p.   Would love to see a downloadable frame of that exact shot at 4k to see the detail if you could share, but I guess Panasonic is the one that releases that.    

 

The parrot you shot with the white forehead on the tree tops is a White Fronted Amazon Parrot who specializes in eating guava fruits.  

 

Congrats again on the video!

_____________

 

As far as 4:2:2 why not shoot everying at 4k and scale down to 1080p as the Andrew article points out.  It becomes a non issue.  I still think they should have implemented 200mbits at 4k not just 1080 and 120fps on HD.   That hype on 120p rumors sure got the best of us.  96 is still pretty good if it has no image quality downgrade.

 

from Samuel H. at DVX

"A 4K image with 8-bit 420 color has enough information to give you a 2K image with 10-bit luminance and 8-bit 444 color."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@Bryan Harvey: very interesting to hear your behind the scenes comments!

 

...

 

Also, Panasonic sure seems to have a winner here. It really is time for the slumbering big ones like Sony, Nikon & Canon to wake up if they want to keep selling in this market segment... 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A parrot could be the new gold standard for testing moire!

 

How bad is it on a scale of 1-10 Bryan, is the moire level on tricky shots similar to any other cameras like the Blackmagic? Better than GH3?

 

I think it could be a 4-2-0 artefact rather than a moire pattern?

 

I have one remaining question mark on the GH4 - whats the 4K mini-HDMI output like? 10bit or 8bit? Playback mode only, or is it live and uncompressed? That could be great with the Odyssey.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the feedback Bryan.

 

I'm impressed that this was shot on the Standard profile, it gives me some hope that the Cine gamma modes will provide an additional bump in the shadow & highlight detail.  That said, I'm already very happy with the images I see coming out of this thing...  I must be destined to own every GH camera that gets released :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As always, best camera break down out there. No contest. Thanks for your dedication to details! 

 

With that being said, I really really hope that the 4K 100mbps IPB codec holds up well. Artifacts are my worse enemy! There's no point in shooting wide beautiful 4K vistas if compression steals the show. I will be tensely awaiting your final review.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The source signal is 10bit 4:2:2 from the sensor and the encoder does a good job of compressing it into 8bit 4:2:0. 

 

I too, was confused before working with the actual bits of RAW video data.  When the sensor is exposed to light a chip reads the values from each sensel (which is eventually combined into a pixel value).  The sensels are basically just voltage resistances.  The camera can read the values to as much precision as the electronics allow.  You can liken this to getting the voltage from you household electric.  A simple meter would show 220 volts in the U.K., but a fancy one might show 219.556345 volts. 

 

The very first sensel, top left, is usually a red filtered sensel (keep in mind the sensor are, at heart, monochromatic).  A Canon camera, for example, reads that value and stores it as a 14-bit number, 0 to 16,383.  That means it records 16,383 shades of red.  It does the same for the next pixel, a green one.  Below that green one, on the second row, will be a blue sensel, again the same for that.  Both Magic Lantern RAW and Blackmagic, save these values (the blackmagic with some lossless data compression, not to be confused with visual compression).

 

Each of these values is a number between 0 and 16,283.  From the three, if you construct a full-color pixel you'd end up with a value at around 4 trillion, say it was white.  And another pixel, black, was 0.  Unfortunately, our eyes can only see about 16 million variations in color so the 4 trillion dollar white would actually only look like a 16 million value.  For the most part, we can only see, and our display and printing produce, color values within 16 million shades.  So why do we want 4 trillion colors when we can only see 16 million?

 

EXPOSURE!

 

First, let's turn to the GH4 (or any H.264 tech).  In those cameras each sensels value is saved into a 256 (8-bit) value.  Those 3 values are then combined to create a 16 million (24 bit) full color value. Assuming you've exposed the scene perfectly, and the colors are what you want, you will happy as Andy with a gold-plated G6 :)  Also 4:2:2, and all similar nomenclature, are about color compression for motion; they degrade each still image.

 

But what if you didn't expose correctly?  What if you made a mistake and exposed +2.  Now your scene is washed out.  When you try to get lighter values at the bottom you can't get them.  The detail (shading) just isn't there.

 

But much of it WAS there in the RAW data from the sensor!  Let's say with the GH4 you exposed perfectly, and it happened to be the 16 million color values between 2 trillion and 2.16 trillion.  Then, you expose +2 and it saves the values from 2.74 to 2.9 trillion.  With the RAW data you can pick up those values and CONSTRUCT your 16 million color H.264 video data.  Naturally, the sensor works better when you expose in the middle of its range, so you can't fix the exposure perfectly in real life.

 

The only benefit of the I-frame data is that it doesn't try to compress the 24bit values from one pixel in one frame, to another, which can create artifacts.  It does not, in any way, solve the problem of available color depth, if you're comparing 8bit to 14bit.  

 

It sounds like the GH4 will provide fantastic resolution in low-dynamic range shooting conditions.  It will not do what the Blackmagic cameras do in high-dynamic range shooting conditions (save enough data for you to fix exposures in post, or recover details from shadows, etc)

 

Filmmakers who don't understand the difference between the cameras may end up having the wrong camera and that would be a shame.  They are both fantastic technologies.  You can no more have both than you can have a Range Rover and Jaguar in the same car ;)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Great job Bryan Harvey! 

 

Light of the Yucatan is beautiful. That feeling of "being there" was present and I loved it.  It was National Geographic quality work for sure.

 

I haven't seen anything in awhile that made me want to take a trip like watching that did.

 

I will now take the money I was going to spend on a GH4 and take a trip to Mexico instead! ;) 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...