The Panasonic GH4 V-Log L. Graded and Ungraded Samples.
A few tests comparing the Panasonic GH4’s default camera profiles with the brand new V-Log L.
The (very quick) grading was done on Premiere Pro CC 2015 and the super awesome Lumetri Color Engine.
Installing V-Log L on your GH4 is far from intuitive and user friendly, but we’ve got you covered. A complete step-by-step tutorial is available for free right here.
The GH4 firmware update (version 2.3) including V-Log L will cost $100, and it will be available in 2 weeks. You can pre-order it now right here.
- Hybrid Assignments Equipment List: The Essential 41 Items.
- The eternal quest for “the best” digital camera.
- Shooting Anamorphic and V-Log with Panasonic’s GH4. Valuable Lessons.
- 7 things we discovered after shooting 4K with the GH4. You won’t like #4.
- The Pros and Cons of external recorders: Atomos Shogun.
- 4K video under $2K. Meet the Panasonic Lumix GH4.
- I Just Got a Panasonic GH4 – Now What? Hard Drives.
- I Just Got a Panasonic GH4 – Now What? Batteries.
- I Just Got a Panasonic GH4 – Now What? Memory Cards.
Shooting with the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH3. Field report and impressions.
The friendly waiter at the Turkish restaurant in Sohar, Oman, saw the camera on the table and asked “Nikon? Canon? Which one is better?” To which I replied, “actually, this is the Panasonic GH3.” He stared at me, his expression turned from excited to perplexed to confused to annoyed within seconds. After an uncomfortable silence he finally asked, “Are you ready to order?”
That was pretty much my reaction when, a few weeks ago, just two days before I started teaching a “Digital Cinema for Photographers” event in Dubai, I found out that Panasonic, a major sponsor of the event, REALLY wanted me and my students to use a couple of GH3s and several lenses in my hands-on workshop.
Panasonic is one of the largest consumer electronics companies, and the GH3 is the third generation of their very successful Micro Fourth Thirds DSLM (Digital Single Lens Mirrorless) system. For a while I have been aware of the low-budget-filmmaking community’s devotion to the hacked DMC-GH2 and its ALL-I codec. I saw the DMC-GH3 at Photokina last year, but I had never before shot a single frame with a Panasonic camera. The bodies that I was given were running Firmware v0.5. Add to this a nine-hour time zone difference and jet lag, and you can begin to imagine my pain.
While I’ll be using some geeky terms, this is not an in-depth technical review, nor a scientific analysis of the GH3. You can dig into tech specs and MTF charts somewhere else. My goal is simply to share my honest and independent impressions, go over the things I liked and didn’t like, and communicate my wish list for future features. I want to emphasize that all the conclusions in this article are subjective and strictly based on my own personal experience.
“I have to warn you, I’ve heard relationships based on intense experiences never work.”
-Keanu Reeves in “Speed”
I have to respectfully disagree with Keanu on this one. Much to my surprise, the camera was much more intuitive than Sony’s NEX system, and several video features got my full attention right away.
• Full HD 1920×1080 60p/50p (NTSC/PAL) with 30p/25p/24p options.
• Ultra-high bit rate video recorded at 72 Mbps (ALL-I) or 50 Mbps (IPB).
• Capable of recording continuously for an unlimited time for NTSC and 29 min 59 sec for PAL.
• Native support for MOV (h.264), MP4, and AVCHD formats.
• Time Code support in the MOV and AVCHD formats.
• Extremely fast and accurate contrast-detection Autofocus.
• A 3.5mm mic input AND a headphone jack AND the option to manually adjust the sound recording levels via touchscreen controls.
• Full-time AF, AF Tracking, and Face Recognition AF are available for VIDEO. The Touch AF mimics rack focusing.
THE WORKSHOP STORY
Not having enough time to field test the Panasonic systems before the Workshop, I shot dummy clips in my hotel room and made sure that the footage would work in Adobe Premiere Pro CS6. The test went surprisingly smoothly. I then set both GH3 cameras to the same video settings: MOV at 1920×1080, 24p, 72 Mbps ALL-I, Standard Photo Style, White Balance at 5500K, got ND filters for all the lenses, extra batteries, and a few Class 10 SD cards. And then I prayed.
Note: It’s extremely important to point out that full HD on this camera requires memory cards with the fastest speed available. My “older” memory cards didn’t work, giving me only four seconds of recording time.
We spent the first day of my three-day Digital Cinema Workshop covering all the technical similarities and differences between stills and video. On the second day, we planned a location shoot with a Capoeira team and spent a couple hours shooting in the afternoon. On the third and last day we covered the different hardware and software requirements for post production and spent three hours editing the footage. I am especially proud of the short clip my students put together in such a limited amount of time and with newly acquired knowledge (and using brand new gear!).
We could obviously use a few more days sweetening the audio, fine tuning transitions, and grading, but for a two-hour shoot and a three-hour edit, I believe this is a good example of what can be accomplished with great teamwork, interesting subjects, and the GH3’s many customizable options.
Below you will see a few additional sample clips, all shot as H.264, 1920 x 1080, 23.976 72Mbps ALL-I, using the GH3’s “Standard” profile (Contrats = 0, Sharpness = 0, Saturation = 0, Noise Reduction = 0). The Exposure and White Balance were set manually. The lens was the Lumix GX Vario 12-35mm F2.8 set on AF Tracking mode, which worked very well most of the time. Despite the lens having “environmental sealing,” as you can see the fine desert’s sand inevitably found its way to the sensor. I put the clips together on Adobe Premiere Pro CS6, and have NOT done any grading nor sharpening. These short clips are intended to show you what the GH3 is capable of, not to tell a specific story.
So, mission accomplished, right? Not so fast. A couple of days later, as I was wrapping up my day, a friend asked “Are you busy? I wanna show you something interesting.” With only the GH3, the 12-35mm 2.8 lens, a 4GB card and a low battery I jumped into his car. The “something interesting” happened to be access to the Royal Suite at the 7-star Hotel Burj Al Arab—a notoriously difficult area to access. With limited amount of storage space and battery life I managed to capture a few keepers.
The very next morning (on my “day off”), I headed out to meet an old friend for brunch at the Atlantis. Should you ever find yourself in this neck of the woods, I strongly recommend that you pay the Atlantis a visit. As we enjoyed the seemingly endless food, my friend received a call to drive to Abu Dhabi right away to pick someone up and then drive back to Dubai. Would I like to come? Guess what I had hanging on my shoulder? This time I had a full battery and a 16GB card, but nothing else to shoot the magnificent mosque and the impossibly opulent Emirates Palace. Once again, the GH3 did a fantastic job.
These are some of the GH3’s features that are not obvious to the naked eye, but are interesting once you are aware of them:
• A magnesium alloy camera body that Panasonic describes as “splash proof and dust proof.”
• The Panasonic RAW files (RW2) work fine in Adobe Lightroom [add link to LR workshop] but the most current version (4.3 as of this writing) is needed. Unfortunately there are no Panasonic lens profiles available as of this writing.
• All the video formats worked seamlessly on Adobe Premiere Pro CS6. Even the video recorded at 72 Mbps was easy to preview and edit on a two-year old MacBook Pro (with 8GB of RAM and an external 7200 RPM Hard Drive as a Scratch Disk).
• HDMI monitor output can be sent with or without information overlays.
• I had a DMW-MS2 Stereo Shotgun Mic with me, but was happy to learn that the camera’s built-in internal microphones provide stereo audio.
• The GH3’s sensor has a 4:3 aspect ratio.
• Built-in Time Lapse, and HDR but unfortunately it works only for JPGs not RAW.
• Five physical function buttons, and two touch-screen function buttons, all customizable with close to 40 options to choose from.
• Virtually all the key shooting controls are within the right hand’s reach. This frees up the left hand to hold the camera or focus manually.
• Excellent battery life, lasting a full day under normal operation. For extended video sessions I’d consider getting the DMW-BGGH3 Battery Grip.
• Apparently (I have not tested this) the GH3 is also capable of real-time image output to the LVF or the rear monitor AND to an external monitor via HDMI.
I shot extensively (more than 2,000 images in 18 days) with the Lumix GX Vario 12-35mm F2.8. The lens is tiny. And fast. And awesome. It has the equivalent focal length to a 24-70mm F2.8 on a 35mm system but it is a fraction of the size and weight. As you already know, this is a very good start when dealing with packing issues.
In terms of depth of field, the lens behaves like a 16-45mm F3.5 lens on an APS-C sensor, or a 24-70mm F5.6 lens on a Full Frame sensor. It is hard to get used to this, especially when shooting another system simultaneously, but it is not a disadvantage per se.
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Traveling with photography and video equipment. Technical and Practical Tips.
These are some travel tips I’ve learned over 20 years of traveling with photo equipment. Most of the recommendations below will be most helpful for photographers shooting video.
• Format all your memory cards on the specific system you are planning to use them with (7D vs. 60D vs. H4N).
• Change and charge all your batteries before leaving.
• Test all your devices.
• Test that the software on your laptop is working. Trying to update the OS, an Adobe application, or plugins from an airport lounge or hotel’s WiFi is NOT fun.
• Match memory cards. The 7D takes CF cards and the 60D takes SD cards. Use the same capacity (32GB cards or 16GB) for each system at the same time. It will make your asset management on location much easier.
• Bring enough additional storage. Photographers tend to underestimate the size of video files. I can easily shoot more than 100GB in a day. And you will need a backup. Twelve minutes of video take approximately 4GB of space. With two cameras we then have 8GB. With a backup we now have 16GB for the same 12 minutes of footage.
• I recommend G-Tech hard drives. The G-Technology G-DRIVE Mini 500GB is an excellent product. Make sure your external hard drive is 7200 RPM (as opposed to 5400). It will make editing video much faster.
• Buy only hard drives with multiple Interfaces (USB 2.0, FireWire 400, FireWire 800). When (not if) your one and only USB port breaks, you won’t be able to retrieve your information.
• Bring a backup of all the essential items. My list includes: reading glasses, camera, lenses, memory cards, hard drives, chargers, card readers, all cables, and quick release plates.
• Use TSA-approved locks. I preferred padlocks and use the same combination on all of them.
• Simplify. I purchased my specific Android tablet because it matched the power adapter for my phone. And both can be charged via USB using the card reader cable, which is the same as Canon’s camera cable!
• Simplify some more. Bring a multi-card reader. I can simultaneously download the 7D’s CF Card and the 60D’s SD Card using the same reader and the H4N’s SD card using the laptop’s built-in SD card slot.
• Simply even more: One of the reasons why I purchased the 60D as my B camera is because it uses the same batteries/charger as my 7D. I also liked the fact that it uses DIFFERENT memory cards, so it is much easier to keep track what was shot with what.
• Before you leave, check the electrical plug/outlet and voltage information at your destination. Oman and the United Arab Emirates seem to use three kinds.
• Test your workflow. It goes without saying, but never bring new equipment to a shoot, especially overseas. Make sure your files work well with your software and that your cards work well with your cameras.
• If you are capturing Full HD video (1080p) you shouldn’t be using older/slower memory cards, otherwise you might experience dropouts and stuttering. Been there, done that. Not a good day.
• Don’t forget your business cards! The more the better.
If you’re nervous about upgrading gear or making the leap to HDSLR cinema we can help. Book a virtual one-on-one consulting session today!
What to bring and how to pack when shooting overseas.
UPDATED January 20, 2015
For a limited time, Tenba is offering a 10% off ANY item on their website using the Code: EduardoAngel
I have always been fascinated with bags and how photographers pack their gear. I remember reading the equipment lists of National Geographic photographers when I was younger. I used to wonder how they moved around the world with so much stuff.
Those times, as you might have noticed, are over. Nowadays, we need to deal with increasingly tighter airline safety, weight, and size regulations.
We have covered the “essential” video gear on previous posts. However, when it comes to deciding what to bring on a trip as carry on, what to check, and what to leave behind, the theory becomes much more interesting.
I tend to start with the personal stuff. Medicines, pain killers, toiletries, travel documents, etc. Some of these items are not easily replaceable; some are, but it would be inconvenient to forget them (think passport, credit cards, or headphones).
Disclaimer: The images below are taken with my phone, simply to illustrate this article. They are not intended to be fine art masterpieces of any kind. And yes, the “background” is my bed.
This is my “rolling studio” when shooting on location in New York. Add a fluid head tripod, monopod, three hot lights, umbrellas, cables and light stands. It is a lot, but two people can easily carry everything even on public transportation.
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Adobe Lightroom Tips and Tricks 005. Viewing Options.
Grid View, Loupe View, Info View. With so many options, which one should you use and when? Check the tutorial below and learn a few shortcuts that will help you speed up your editing process.
If you have specific questions or want to learn more, we are now offering virtual one-on-one sessions to give you customized solutions and personalized training no matter where you are in the world. Sign up now!
Adobe Lightroom Tips and Tricks 002. Exporting directly to Dropbox.
Here’s our second Lightroom Tip & Trick: How to quickly export images from Lightroom to Dropbox and share the link with your clients. Unless you LOVE burning CDs and DVDs you can really use this one. If you don’t have a Dropbox account, you can get one with 2GB of storage for FREE. Yes, you read that correctly. Now, you and I can get an additional 500MB of bonus space each if you choose to use this link which is also free.
This is one way of doing it. Another way is to set up your Dropbox folder as a Hard Drive in Lightroom under your “Publish Services” (see image below).
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Cloud Storage Solutions and Adobe Lightroom.
In the past couple of weeks, we have done several One-on-One Consulting sessions where the “Cloud Storage” question came up. This is a very quick overview of the most popular online storage options with pricing and direct links to each.
My own situation:
• My Lightroom Catalog has 70,000 RAW Images. I shoot a lot, but I am merciless editing.
• The entire catalog (NOT the RAW files) takes about 26GB of space.
• The RAW files take about 860GB of space.
This means I need about 900GB of storage space if I wanted to move my Lightroom Catalog, including all RAW files, to the Cloud.
Dropbox customers are provided with 2 GB for free.
IMPORTANT: If you don’t have a Dropbox account, use this link to get started. You get 2GB for free, and we both get an additional 500MB as a bonus. Hurry up!
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I have never understood why so many photographers like to keep information to themselves. Perhaps it is a self confidence issue, or maybe they spent years perfecting a unique technique or system. Regardless the reason, it isn’t smart. A couple of years ago we were hired to produce a series of workshops in South America. Early on, we realize it would not be possible to launch the event. The reason? The local photographers hosting and coordinating the event did not want other photographers to see what they were working on.
Do you become a Grand Master chess player after reading Aron Nimzowitsch’s “My System,” or a great Chef by simply following Mario Batali’s Italian recipes? Would you become a rock star after reading Keith Richards wonderful “Life.” Of course not! So, why do you think that by sharing your Lightroom presets, a Backup workflow, cool editing shortcuts or new lighting techniques you are losing something invaluable? Quite the opposite.
Apple observed the flood of illegal music file sharing that began in the late 1990s. Instead of building higher walls and better fences, they built iTunes and started offering legal, easy-to-use, and flexible à la carte song PAID downloads. Record Labels obviously win, artists, who receive 65 percent of the purchase price of digitally downloaded songs, also win, customers who don’t need to purchase an entire CD when they want only one or two songs, win, and Apple clearly wins. In a nutshell, everybody wins. Instead of hiding in your studio so your trade “secrets” are not “stolen”, find better ways to share your ideas, to involve others, and to celebrate often.
Adobe Lightroom 4.1 is (finally) available.
The Adobe Lightroom 4.1 update brings support for several new cameras including:
- Canon EOS 1D X
- Canon EOS 5D Mark III
- Canon EOS 60Da
- Canon PowerShot G1 X
- Fuji X-Pro1
- Leaf Credo 80
- Nikon D4
- Nikon D800
- Nikon D800E
- Olympus OM-D E-M5.
Other additional features and enhancements are:
• The ability to process HDR TIFF files. (16, 24 or 32-bit TIFF files)
• Additional Color Fringing corrections to help address chromatic aberration.
• Save photobooks created in the Book Module to JPEG
• Publishing photos to Adobe Revel is now accessible via a Publish plugin
• Corrections for issues introduced in previous versions of Lightroom.
How to install the new version? Easy.
1. Open your Lightroom 4 and when the software update dialog pops up click “download.” This will take you to Adobe’s download page.
2. Click on “proceed to download” and “download now.”
3. Save the file to the desktop (so it is easier to find it). The download should take about 3 minutes or less.
4. Double click on the installer, follow the step-by-step instructions.
In two weeks we will be presenting an awesome 2-day Lightroom 4 Workshop at the School of Visual Arts (SVA). We hope to see you there.
32-bit or 64-bit – that is the question.
By popular demand, here’s the easiest way to tell if your Mac has a 32-bit or a 64-bit processor:
Step 1: Click on the Apple icon in the upper-left menu bar of your screen
Step 2:Click on “More Info”
Step 3:Under the “Hardware” section, locate the “Processor Name”
Step 4: Find your Processor on this chart to determine whether your Mac has a 32-bit or 64-bit processor.
Yay! We got a winner! Easy, right?
Catching up with the coolest tech news. Summary.
I’ve been on the road for the past 2 weeks, with very limited internet access. Today, I finally had some time to catch up with the latest technology news (1683 articles and 268 emails). These are, in my opinion, the most interesting and relevant announcements:
Two years ago I set up my camera to take a picture every 15 seconds for 36 hour and edited 698 still images into a 29-second video.
• Recently I was interviewed by PDN about the “13 Products you need to add HD Video to your business.” Do you agree or disagree? Did we miss something? We would love to hear your comments below. The article is also available on PDN’s May print issue.
• Blurb posted a cool article about how we use the Book Module on Adobe Lightroom 4. If you are interested in exploring this option don’t miss one of our upcoming seminars. Here’s the sample book (about wine!) we created.
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Are you eligible for a complimentary (free) Lightroom 4 upgrade?
Adobe doesn’t notify customers who purchased single-user licenses about complimentary post-announce upgrades, BUT according to a somewhat obscure company policy, users who bought software (full or upgrade) soon after a new version was announced, might be eligible for a complimentary upgrade. If you followed my instructions on a previous post to purchase Lightroom 4 50% off, you might be one of the lucky ones.You need to contact Adobe directly to find out if you fall in the eligibility period. Let me know how it goes.
Upgrading to Adobe Lightroom 4 in 7 simple steps.
The following steps can be used to upgrade Lightroom 1, Lightroom 2 or Lightroom 3, as well as Lightroom 4 Beta catalogs.
Step 1. Download and Install Lightroom 4
Step 2. On your Mac’s finder, find the location of your Lightroom 3 catalog. It should look something like name.lrcat
Step 3. Right click on that file and select “open with Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 4”
Step 4. You should see the “Lightroom Catalog Upgrade” dialog. Be very careful with this step. Catalog names can NOT be changed later. I strongly suggest you click on “change” and determine the best location and name for your upgraded catalog.
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The million-dollar question: Where are my ICC profiles stored?
The million-dollar question: Where are my ICC profiles stored? And the answer is, it depends on your Operating System (OS). When you first install your printer’s driver, a variety of standard profiles are added by default to the corresponding folder on your system. You can also download ICC profiles, or create your own custom profiles in which case, you will need to drag and drop them to the corresponding folder:
Mac OS X
Now, what about Apple’s OS X 10.7? Ah, that crazy Lion…
For some odd reason, someone at Apple decided that the user library where the profiles are installed should be hidden by default, and only someone with Admin privileges should have access to it. That’s why most profile-managing and image-editing software applications (like Adobe Photoshop) that need access to the profiles are having a hard time “seeing” them.
Here’s my simplest workaround: While holding down the option key, navigate to “Go” on the menu bar, click on the ColorSync folder, and click again on the Profiles folder. Done.
I recommend dragging the (now temporarily visible) Profiles folder to your Favorites in the side bar so you can access them at any time.
How to remove your Google search history (before it’s posted on YouTube).
For a long time I have been a huge advocate of Google products. Every single day I use Google Calendar, Gmail, Documents, Voice, Finance, Contacts, Currents, Music, among many other apps. I actually believe Google is one of the most innovative companies in the world and provides the best cloud computing experience. That was until about 30 minutes ago…
” When you sign up for a Google Account, we ask you for personal information. We may combine the information you submit under your account with information from other Google services or third parties in order to provide you with a better experience and to improve the quality of our services. For certain services, we may give you the opportunity to opt out of combining such information.”
How to avoid this? Thankfully you just need to follow FOUR simple steps to erase and turn off your search history.
Step 1: Go to https://google.com/history
Video Lighting Tutorial.
Bobbi Lane shares a 30-second tutorial on lighting techniques for digital cinema using only two Lowel Tota 1000-watt lights (more about this on a future post). Before and after images and lighting diagrams are included.
Is this too short? Too long? Would you like to see more 30-second Tutorials? Talk to us.
UPDATE: May readers and Lynda.com subscribers have been asking about the equipment we used on our Lighting course on Lynda.com. Here are the answers:
We used a variety of lights, but the main ones were Bowens Limelite Mosaic 30x30cm Daylight LED Panel.
As our A Camera we used a Canon EOS C100 Cinema EOS shooting to an Atomos Ninja-2 recorder. As our B and C Cameras we used a couple of Canon EOS 5D Mark III. We used a variety of lenses, but the main one was the Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM.
The Best Smartphone Apps for Cinematographers – Test 001.
According to the developers this app “aims to be a Swiss army knife of tools for filmmakers, currently providing an interactive Depth of Field (DOF) calculator, equipment and media management, shot logging, and a virtual slate (or clapper). The latest version added a rudimentary digital Director’s Viewfinder as an experimental feature, and that is what got my attention. Sometime I carry my camera, but I always have my phone with me. With Acacia’s Director’s Viewfinder I can now scout any location and determine which lenses do I need for a shoot. But, is it accurate? Watch the video to find out.
Since this is our very fist field test, we would love to hear your feedback and comments. What can we improve? What else would you like us to review?
How to Sync Catalogs with Adobe Lightroom 3.
I am often shooting on location, and I need to make sure that my images are safe and properly backed up. I start by creating a temporary Lightroom catalog, usually with the client’s name. For this tutorial I am going to name it “Temporary Catalog TBD.”
We can see that I have 2 external hard drives connected to my laptop, my MAIN external hard drive is called “ONE TB” and a SECONDARY external hard drive is called “ORANGE 120”.