Sunday 25 May 2014

Panasonic GH4 first day test

Every few years a camera comes along that makes a lot of noise. 5D and FS700 for example and recently the GH4. All offering the seemingly impossible ahead of the curve.

Promising 4K, decent slow motion frame rates, small form factor among a load of other features that will make most video nerds happy the GH4 certainly made some noise and so far I cant really argue with it either.

I got the camera last week which I was in Slovenia so was keen to give it a testing as soon as I got back, get used to it and see how it performed. With this in mind I gave my mate, Bristol local and Trek world racing rider Laurie Greenland a call and asked if he wanted to go shoot a mini edit. Worked out well in that he had just got his new 27.5 race bike that morning and wanted to test that out as well.

  • All filmed with the GH4, and 14-140 kit lens.
  • All filmed in about 2-3 hours in the rain ( to test the weather proof claims )
  • In either 1080/96 or 4K/24  
  • Using the CinelikeD picture profile, with everything turned down, and Master Pdsl at +10

Here its set up with the video mic pro. The screen is sharp, bright and easy to use.

Settings differ between shots a lot, but for slow motion stuff either 100th or 200th shutter speed, for full speed either 50th or 100th. ISO tried to keep it on either 200/400/800 when outside and the shots indoors at the start are at 1600.

The brilliant WIFI option to use with Iphones and Ipads.
One thing thats worth mentioning as well is the amazing way you can link the camera via its built in WIFI to your phone/Ipad etc

You have full control of the camera, and I mean full. Anything you can do with the camera itself you can now do with no delay, wireless from your phone. When I say no delay I really mean it as well, even violently whipping the camera about the image on the phone shows no noticeable lag, great feature.

Great for when the camera is in a rig, on a jib or even as a small second monitor.

Was raining pretty hard all afternoon and other than rain getting on the lens it didn't flinch once. 
The Weather sealing seemed pretty good as well. Wouldnt want to test it any more to be honest but it dealt with some pretty real persistant drizzle well and without grumble.

Please find the video below. Only short and I tried to include shots that highlight what I want to talk about.

I have taken a few screen grabs of clips to show you some of the things I noticed: 

C4K/24 , The first few shots where inside a dull bike shop. I wanted to see how it acted in low light, and these where shot at ISO 1600 and show some pretty clear noise.
This camera never claimed to be amazing in low light, so it was no surprise that it doesnt quite match the 5D3. That said the image is also a LOT sharper, which really makes any noise there is stand out quite a lot more than the 5D.

200/400/800 are all fine and clean enough to not notice any real noise. Its just as you step up to 1600 you notice some. I managed to underexpose slightly which didn't help, so if your shooting low light on the GH4 make sure you nail exposure and maybe over expose slightly. Not an issue as the image retains lots of detail in the highlights.

C4K/24 off the camera


1080/96 off the camera
1080/96 Graded
1080/96 off the camera
1080/96 Graded

As you can see with my picture profile settings the image right off the camera is really nice and flat and grades well. I will play about and tweak the settings slightly to see if backing off the Master Pdstl helps reduce noise etc but for now I am really happy with the image.

Everyone was saying the 1080/96 image was pretty unuseable for wide shots with lots of detail, but as the final shot in the video shows, I cant see that. Looks great to me.

As for the 96P being soft, when the image is this razor sharp to start with again I didn't notice it at all in real world use. Coming from a 5D3 that in comparison has grease all over the lens all the time it all looks pretty sharp to me.

You get a better image for grading in every way than the 5D3 from what I have seen, and nearly as nice as the FS700 but still not quite. But this camera costs £1500 ish not £6000 ish so...

The C4K looks great, being able to crop in on shots is great, having the room to stabilize in post is again great, its sharp, doesn't band in sky's, is at a sensible data rate so doesn't rape space on cards and drives and the crop factor of the lens isn't much of an issue, its just part of the camera and something you forget pretty fast and just deal with.

Its pretty much the same story for the 1080/96 as well, for 1080 web delivery I cant see any real noticeable difference. Nothing to write home about anyway. Perhaps just steer clear of slow motion check shirts etc and you will be fine.

I think as soon as Metabones pull their fingers out and give us a good EF to M43 speed booster this camera will sing. Till then its still pretty damn impressive.

Any more questions etc comment below.



Wednesday 21 May 2014

Aspect media - The big gear post!

Here at Aspect we seem to have amassed quite the collection of gear over the last few years.

Gear is your best friend and your worst enemy. Just as soon as you buy something, the next model comes out. Gopro, BMCC etc all bringing out new versions of cameras just as the last products start to ship pretty much. This makes investing in gear you own tricky, but well worth it.

Here is a bit of info on what we chose.

So being on the cutting edge is damn near impossible to do, not really worth it now that there are cameras around that can do everything you could ever need, and not to mention damn pricey.

With all that in mind here is a glimpse inside the gear bags of both Chris and Jacob at Aspect.

Jacob the photo nerd who also shoots video, Chris the video specific wizard.

Despite the differing gear we both share the same main bags. The Lowepro Vertex 300AW.

Hell of a main bag, designed with the outdoors in mind, rugged, water resistant zips, AW rain cover built in, fits loads in, is comfy for wearing all day, fits tight enough to be fine riding with it on, and fits in all carry on luggage bins. Which when we have both been on about 20 flights each this year already is a pretty important one. You want to keep 90% of your gear with you at all times, and handing it over to baggage monkeys is your last LAST option. What more do you need !?

Chris -The video man

Chris's day to day bag for Video

Exploded view on the left, all packed up on the right. Just to prove how much you can fit in the Vertex. A real tardis of a bag.

From the top to the bottom of the left image we have:

  • Canon 70-200ii 2.8 IS
  • Canon 7D
  • Samyang 35 1.4 
  • Zoom H4N
  • Sony FS700 ( with Slog upgrade ) 
  • Canon 17-55 2.8 IS
  • Tokina 11-16 2.8 
  • Canon 50mm 1.4
  • Shot gun Mic with dead cat 
  • Sennheiser wireless lav mics
  • Macbook pro 2014 

Lots of battery's, chargers, caps, remotes etc for it all.

Chris running the FS700 shooting for Monster Energy this Feb on Table mountain, RSA

We also have a load more gear for video that you obviously cant fit in that tiny little bag. From various tripods from big heavy duty ones for Jibs etc, to carbon legs for flying with and general work.

We also use steady cams ( Glidecam HD4000 and 2000 )
Sliders, Glidetrack
And various lights etc

These all have their own cases and bags that get ferried about most places we end up.

Getting the shots with the Steady Cam/Fs700 set up.
Jacob - Photo/Video

Jacobs normal day to day kit bag for Still/Video

So shooting both stills and video on most jobs the kit in this bag changes depending on the job. Its much more mix and match than Chris's which stays the same pretty much. 

If I just shoot photos, the Mics, LCDVF, intervalometer etc all come out and extra flashes, reflectors, soft boxes etc go in their place. 

But for a job we have tomorrow where both are needed, its packed as the images above shows: 

Canon 5Dmk3 
Panasonic GH4 with 14-140 IS lens
Gopro 3+black 
Canon 70-200 2.8 IS
Canon 24-105 F4 IS
Canon 100 2.8 macro
Canon 50 1.8
Canon 15 2.8
Zoom H4N
Rode Video mic pro
Rode Lav mic
3 x Nikon SB800 with extra battery packs
4 x PW2 flash triggers
Vari ND filter
Spare cards and battery's etc

Again more gear is used such as sliders, steady cams ( but the HD2000 as my video camera is a lot lighter than the FS700 ) lights etc 

Jacob shooting at the EWS opening round in Chile last month with the FS700

And shooting out in the Israel desert with the 5D3 a few weeks back
So that's it really. There might be the odd clamp, arm, tripod or bag left out but mostly its all here.

Capable of everything from top level still images, 240+ FPS high speed shooting, 4K and everything inbetween and all capable of going as far into the mountains as we can carry it. All in one bag mostly.

Saying that we do have a pretty wide range of Lowpro bags we use, some smaller, lighter for when you dont need much gear, are on a huge ride or location scouting. To Neater bags for commercial jobs in a city where turning up with half a pine tree lodged in your bag isn't quite on. We swap gear between then as it fits us. Its good to have options and they all do their own things.

Few of the other Lowepro bags we use day to day.

We use one for back up gear and spares full time, another for the Gopro gear and accessories, another for studio lights etc etc

Like I say, riding with these on is all part of the job and the gear we use there is just as key. From bikes ( Banshee Spitfires ) to Fox clothing and riding kit. Its all adds up price wise but your only as strong as your weakest link so it makes sense to spend that little bit more and get it right first time and that's what all this gear does.

Any more questions just ask...


PS: GH4 test footage and real world footage coming in the next week for all those who are waiting/on the fence.