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Panasonic DMC-GH4 comprehensive hands on review

Panasonic DMC-GH4 comprehensive hands on review

| On 02, Apr 2015

It took a while before I was able to borrow the Panasonic GH4 – a camera I’d been looking forward to for some time. I hadn’t reviewed the GH3, so this was my first exposure. The GH4 truly leads the pack, particularly in terms of features for recording video.

Obviously, as the video is produced in cinema 4K (4096×2148), it would be best to watch in on a screen that can reproduce that image – I recommend the 27inch 5K iMac. It suffers somewhat from Youtube’s compression, but it’s still most impressive.

I was severely distracted by the broadcast and gamma (highliight/shadow) settings on this camera. I owe my understanding of video technology (and waveforms) to Andy Kufluk, one of my instructors at Ryerson Radio and Television. Several years of putting that learning to practice while I worked as a broadcast technician at TVOntario also helped. I’m intrigued that these old tools continue to find use in a video world that otherwise has changed pretty dramatically. Once I started down this path I couldn’t stop.

Toronto is a challenge in February, particularly this year as we experienced record low temperatures. I recorded primarily in Toronto – but also in Lincoln Ontario – snowshoeing at Thirty Bench Winery; and in Hartford Connecticut, where my nephew Nathaniel plays goal for the Trinity College Bantams. This was recorded in February, the Bantams ended the season as the NCAA champions. In the final game their opponents outshot them 37-24, but Trinity won 5-2. Nathaniel was named the Player of the Tournament. Yoga poses by Calla. Skating at Sam Smith and Nathan Philips. Graham Ko arranged for me to record Milan and DPC at 3030, I had to leave before he took the stage. You need to see more of Nick Tateishi, Dead Penny Collect’s lead guitarist.

As always, I’m thankful to Tom Hanley for recording guitar tracks for me – he gets it just right first time. I added bird sound effects for the shot at the feeder, as well as arena sounds for the cranked scenes (no audio is recorded in that mode).

Photos are available on flickr, where you’ll find the EXIF data. The photos are mapped to the video resolution using “Fit” and 95%. All photos have been processed in Lightroom, minimally in most cases

In addition to the GH4, the video was recorded using a Sony a6000, with  the SEL1670Z and the SEL30M35 for macro shots. I’m always happy when the camera outputs a “dirty” feed on the HDMI so I can capture the screens. Surprisingly, the GH4 also outputs the peaking edges – first time I’ve seen that on the output. The direct recording of the GH4 screens was made using an Atomos Ninja Star. VO recorded using a Rode NT-USB.  On camera, I use the Sennheiser ew-2 wireless system. I use the x-rite colorchecker passport for white balance and colour reference, invaluable if you are trying to align recordings between two cameras. Edited in Final Cut 10.1.

As always, if there are any details I’ve overlooked, I welcome (and reply to) your comments and questions.

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