November 21, 2014

New Firmware Updates: The GH4 May Get a High-End Log Color Profile in the Near Future

With a slew of firmware updates on the horizon, a professional logarithmic color profile may soon find its way to the GH4.

As versatile as the Panasonic GH4 has proven to be in the months since its release, it has always been missing a true logarithmic color profile, a tool that many professionals use to maximize the color and luminance data captured in the image. As aesthetically pleasing as the Cinelike D and V profiles on the GH4 are, they are not log profiles, and therefore do not preserve as much data as some would like.

Luckily for log lovers everywhere, an update comes to us courtesy of News Shooter's Matt Allard, who spotted a GH4 running a new firmware at the Inter Bee tradeshow in Tokyo. Here's the quick video he put together, which shows the GH4 shooting a logarithmic color profile called V-Log.

According to Allard, V-Log is actually borrowed from -- or at least very similar to -- the V-Log profile used by the significantly more expensive Panasonic VariCam35, which as we've seen, produces some incredibly lovely footage. What's most significant about V-Log eventually making its way to the GH4, however, is that it will not only capture a much wider tonal range both in terms of luminance and chrominance -- which is what log profiles are designed to do -- but that it will allow the GH4 to be graded to match other cameras much more easily. As great as the Cinelike D and V color profiles are, they produce looks that are distinctly their own, which can make color matching with other cameras a tedious process, especially if chip charts aren't shot.

And now for the bad news, although it first appeared that V-Log would be likely included in the next GH4 firmware update, which is scheduled for December, Matt Allard just confirmed that it's not in the cards this time around. Here's his tweet from earlier this evening.

With the sad news out of the way, here's what we do know about the upcoming GH4 firmware update:

  • With this firmware, timecode and RSS (Recording Start/Stop) signal can be embedded to the HDMI output signal*.
  • * Available when DMC-GH4 or DMW-YAGH are connected with the products of Atomos Global Pty. Ltd. or the products complying with the extended specifications of Atomos Global Pty. Ltd.
  • FHD at 30p/25p native output via HDMI is available while recording video in FHD at 30p/25p.
  • FHD at 30PsF(Over 60i) / 25PsF(Over 50i) output via SDI is available while recording video in FHD at 30p/25p.
  • * When DMW-YAGH is used for SDI output.

Despite the disappointment of no V-Log, folks who are outputting video from the GH4's HDMI port to an Atomos or Convergent Design external recorder will be happy to find that timecode and Start/Stop functions will now sync perfectly without any fuss. With the highly anticipated Atomos Shogun shipping any day now, that should be welcome news.

We'll keep you updated with the latest on Panasonic's GH4 firmware updates and their (hopefully) imminent addition of V-Log.