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ML Raw vs. GH4 etc.


jasonmillard81

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How do you think the GH4's internal codec (without having to purchase additional equipment to record externally) straight to the SD card will compare to a 5d Mk 3 RAW:

 

 purely on aesthetics/sharpness/filmic look

 

No one can say for sure yet. Downscaling to 1080P from 4K will definitely give you a sharper image, but not everyone wants a sharper image. Aesthetics are purely subjective. As always, it will all come down to personal preference.

 

ML raw caused a flurry of excitement last year. Everyone HAD to have it. But the thing about shooting in raw is that it's not for everyone. It's not for casual shooters. The ML frenzy died down when most of those people realized that the workflow takes more time, and the novelty and excitement tapered off quickly. For those of us that stuck with it, the workflow has only gotten more stable and easier with new developments and conversion apps.

 

You say that you have yet to "dive in" with ML raw on your 5D3. Why don't you go ahead try it out on a project? You'll answer a lot of your own questions. The GH4 isn't available for purchase yet anyway.

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  • 1 month later...
Guest Ebrahim Saadawi

From what I've seen the whole aethetic of the GH4's (and m43s in general) image is VERY different from the 5D's image. No one is better than the other, but just, different.

It's aethetics we're talking so comes down personal taste, I just think that it's an important point that's worth mentioning.

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I just shot a commercial using the FS700 (AVCHD 24Mbps)  and 5D3 RAW. After processing, color correction, and noise reduction, the results look very similar. The FS700 was used for a sequence that needed autofocus (not, and probably never possible for the 5D3). When a focus puller is not available/possible, autofocus is super helpful. I needed to walk backwards, pull zoom, pull focus, and give the actors a cue. The FS700 + 18200SELP lens was able to get the shot. Moving dynamic focus shots need practice, typically a follow focus with focus marks, a focus puller, and a really good monitoring system. I haven't seen a solution yet for critical focus for wide shots (e.g. 24mm on 5D3) without doing 5x/10x zoom. So, a high quality autofocus system can be useful in a variety of situations. Panasonic has decent autofocus lenses/systems. The new autofocus system on the GH4 sounds impressive. While the 5D3 + RAW has an impressive look, the GH4 is more generally useful, and has a much faster workflow. If you want the 5D3 look from the GH4- bring along a 5D3 and shoot some stills- then color correct the GH4 in post to match the 5D3 stills.

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Keep in mind that the GH4 is about $1k cheaper than a 5D3. With that some of that money you could grab a HyperDeck and some SSDs, and be getting 10-bit 4:2:2 1080p, in an immediately-editable format, with near-unlimited record time, and still have all the other advantages of the GH over the 5D (flip screen, zebras/peaking/etc, better lens adaptibility, AF with native lenses, great battery life, etc).

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I really think the "look" people talk about ultimately comes down to content and editing. Most, if not all, the GH4 videos released so far have been very documentary-esque, with deep focus and natural (maybe even muted) colours. Having owned a GX7 for a couple months now, I can tell the sensor (which is apparently the same as in the GH4) is very capable of being filmic. In the end it's more a matter of lenses and usability,  At 7.5gb per minute of footage, ML RAW would just be a no-go for me and my amateur crew. So we'd rather have good quality from out the camera, and Panasonics have proven to be sharper and have more dynamic range in videos despite 5D3's sensor superiority.

 

On the other hand, I feel that Canon has a lens advantage for the run-and-gun shooter. They have a stabilized 35mm f2 and a nice 24-105 f4, which in DOF & focal length terms would be a 12-52.5mm f2 for m43. To get that range with that DOF, we have to carry around several primes :(

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I recently bought a 5D MkIII and used it for a weekend to shoot some video. My initial impressions were not good as I found it really contrasty and the footage just looked horrid to my eye (I've owned an FS700 for the past year which has an amazing codec). Then I found the cinestyle profile which really makes the camera sing. I've seen a lot of footage from the GH3 and in some cases it does look very "video like" but I've also seen some from the 5D that looks the same. Heck, even some of the stuff out of my FS700 has just looked like a commercial video and not the filmic look I wanted. A note about the Yucatan GH4 promo, you have to have a high fstop when doing aerials as it's the only practical way to shoot (you can't really pull focus easily in the air).

 

I run a small one man production company and have just sent my 5D back as it had an issue. I am now deciding if I should just get another or wait for the GH4. For my commercial work I think the GH4 will be brilliant, for my creative work, the 5D will be brilliant. When push comes to shove my commercial work has to come first so I will probably get the GH4 and wait for another Canon full frame (MkIV) to be announced. The Metabones Speedbooster on the GH4 will turn it from a M43 to a Super 35 which is a very filmic look. You'll also get a stop more light to help with the low light. The 5d is incredible in low light though, even better than the FS700.

 

So.......in short. GH4 for my commercial work and maybe another 5d for photo's and my personal stuff.

 

I've rambled, sorry!

 

Dan

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Light of Yucatan was also shot with deep depth of field, which resembles video. 

 

Go watch a few Kubrick films.... Deep depth of field does not look like video.

 

Lack of DR and cinematic camera movement makes it look like video.

 

The jury is still out for me on the GH4 until I see how much DR it gives.... For now, 5DIII and BMPCC are staying in my kit bag

 

DR is king!

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Go watch a few Kubrick films.... Deep depth of field does not look like video.

 

 

Or Malick.  Dynamic Range and un-cinematic movement is one giveaway for video but relative to deep depth of field the selection of lens is likely as important if not more so, and lens selection relative to composition.  

 

Kubrick shot huge chunks of his films as big masters where deep depth of field is a given.  He's very objective.  He doesn't constantly push in to close-ups on telephoto lenses compressing depth.  He doesn't put you "into" his movies.  He shoots a lot of linear moves framing action in medium wides, lots of medium shots, medium groupings of actors.  And these are typically on fairly wide lenses, like Malick and he didn't shy away from distortion.   Kubrick had fights with his cinematographers over what conventional thinking said was "too wide" or too wide for the kind of movement he wanted.  He proved them wrong.

 

And, a lot of his films could be mistaken for being "stopped down" when in fact they're quite wide open, at what might be considered ridiculous stops, but on a wide angle, focused some distance away from camera on sharp lenses you're still getting a lot in focus (ie. much of The Shining was shot between T1.3 - T2).

 

This distortion of spatial relationships has a way of separating talent from their background in a different way that compressing depth, particularly when you add movement.  And further when you use controlled movement, horizontally tracking or moving in Z along with talent.  Stopped down at a 3/4 angle on a normal focal length is going to look like The Nightly News and that's not what Kubrick or Malick does.

 

So, it's not a simple this-solves-that sort of thing, though everyone wants a magic bullet.  What separates something looking like "video" and something that looks "cinematic" is the sum of many creative and technical choices.

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Go watch a few Kubrick films.... Deep depth of field does not look like video.

 

Lack of DR and cinematic camera movement makes it look like video.

 

The jury is still out for me on the GH4 until I see how much DR it gives.... For now, 5DIII and BMPCC are staying in my kit bag

 

DR is king!

You're comparing a very neutral (possibly out of camera) video to processed film. Of course the film will look more cinematic! The GH3 has already proven to have more or less the same DR as 5D3's video (non-ML)  (EG:

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Film itself doesn't guarantee one ounce of cinematic appeal.  Look at Star Trek: The Next Generation.  That series was shot on film.  I was convinced for the longest time it was shot on something like DigiBETA because, back in my early 20s, I was convinced that film couldn't possibly look so uninteresting.  Likewise, the miniature effects on the show looked digital to me on account of how flat the lighting was and how overly-sharp, complete with aliasing, all the matte edges were.  

 

I may be wrong but it may have been shot on one of the horrid new low-contrast stocks that KODAK developed for the television market.  Back when the show was on the air and I discussed how puzzled I was over why it looked so bad a co-worker put things into perspective for me.  He said, "think of it this way: both Star Wars and The Love Boat were shot on the same stock with the same cameras."

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Please note my phrasing, "processed film." As in they (most likely) will have treated the film in a way to achieve the look they wanted. And the last thing you said is really adding to what I'm saying, which is that the camera is only a piece of the puzzle in making a nice looking film.

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I was just arguing that deep DOF is not the culprit when making something "Video like".

 

A deep DOF shot of.. let's say a spooky house... with 15 stops DR on a crane as an opening shots will look 1000x more cinematic than an opening shot of the same house, but with ultra shallow DOF focusing from the wall to the house, with no interesting movement and with terrible, burnt highlights and no shadows.

 

that's my only point.... Not comparing cameras really... Just technique. It just irks me when someone says deep DOF is "video like".... Under the right circumstance, nothing could be further from the truth.

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I also have a 5Diii running ML. I'm not going to buy the GH4 because I don't need 4K, and with my 5D I'm getting a full-frame sensor and a better codec without the added bulk and cost of an external recorder. Plus, I get NIGHTLY firmware updates from Magic Lantern. I just downloaded last night's and it's hard to believe all the bells and whistles that have been added in just the past week.

 

In terms of shooting with raw, I use it for the option of matching white balance between shots and tweaking exposure. Then I export them out to 12-bit ProRes 4444 files, and edit and grade as usual.

 

I don't bother with the KomputerBay cards. To me, the piece of mind that I get from the Lexar 1000x cards is worth the extra cost.

 

If you are really keen on 4K, then maybe the GH4 is the camera for you. But otherwise, the 5Diii delivers some of the best 1080P I've seen, and you already own one!

 

This answer interest me. Could you give a breef description which tool you are using for your first part of the workflow creating the pro-res mov out of the raw files?
Thousand thanks for your answer!

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My GH3 gives me the best image quality out of the box. It is only rivalled by the Black Magic cameras, but I refuse to see this company as a reliable one: all the cameras they have brought on the market, are very promising, but heavily flawed, and require a fortune investment in accessories.

Depends on your end use.

 

BlackMagic is very focused on Cinema

Their cameras can deliver RAW 1080 P24 footage.

 

The GH4 seems much more appealing to the masses.

I want a camera that can record continuous 1080 P60 footage.

I can put the GH3 on a TriPod and record moving (slowly) subjects without any accesories.

The improved AutoFocus, ViewFinder, Monitor, and 4k of the GH4 are all bonuses.

 

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