April 4, 2016 at 3:55AM

0

Is the GH4 the best option for short interviews? Which lens?

Hi,

I need to get a camera for short interviews for my company.

Camera crews we work with all seem to have the Canon 5D M III but I know people here aren't weren't fond of it for various reasons.

Would the GH4 be the best option, even if the Canon has Magic Lantern?

We don't need cinematic, beautiful images.

I want:
- reliability (many hours of filming on one day)
- nice image (sharp but flattering :P)
- zebras, peaking
- no moire

In my book, that means the GH4 as the 5D doesn't really offer that much and that's what I want to recommend to my company, unless there's a better option I'm not aware of?

Also, could someone recommend some lenses for the GH4? Would the 12-35mm be a good option?

Thanks!

20 Comments

I think the GH4 is a good solution. Do not forget that if you produce in HD you have an additional benefit. You shoot in 4k and then you can crop and zoom in post-production without any loss in resolution. If you carefully choose your framing you can even get 3 different plans in the same shooting: subject 1, subject 2 and both subjects.

April 4, 2016 at 5:51AM

0
Reply

Thanks! Yes that's another benefit of the GH4 that's worth adding to the list. Do you have a link/tutorial for how to set it up so you get 3 different shots from one framing? (Your idea sounds great for cases when we interview two people at the same time!)

I don't think we'd be shooting in 4k all the time though as I imagine you fill memory card and hard drive space rather quickly with 4k files.

Sophia Smoloka

April 4, 2016 at 2:15PM

The 12-35mm is a great all purpose lens, however a little short for those nice close up narrow depth of field facial shots.

Alternatively you could get the 25mm and the 42.5mm Panasonic primes, optionally supplemented with a 15mm r 17mm prime.

April 4, 2016 at 7:36AM

8
Reply
avatar
Cary Knoop
Member
1915

Thank you! I was wondering whether it might be a bit on the short side, but with the sort of interviews we do (busy people, short interviews), there won't be time to swap lenses.

Do you know of another lens that might be suitable, like something equivalent to the Canon 24-105?

Sophia Smoloka

April 4, 2016 at 2:11PM, Edited April 4, 2:11PM

The Olympus Zuiko Pro 12-40mm F2.8 gives you a little bit more reach:

http://www.amazon.com/Olympus-M-ZUIKO-DIGITAL-12-40mm-Interchangeable/dp...

It also seems parfocal, has a fixed aperture and you can 'rack focus' from automatic to a previously set manual position.

April 4, 2016 at 2:17PM

0
Reply
avatar
Cary Knoop
Member
1915

Indeed, I am waiting for Mario Conforti to post the 3-in-1 setup. I have played with digital punch-ins, and while the GH4 does have the resolution to do a 2x punch-in when finishing in 1080p, its compression artifacts really start getting ugly when going 3x or more. When I think of a typical two-person setup (which is typically a medium wide shot for two people) and a one-person cut-away (which is typically a medium close up of one person), there's at least a 3x difference in focal length.

There are many, many ways that the GH4 beats the EOS 5D3 for video, including being able to do a credible 2x punch-in on a single person. But I haven't seen an example of the "3-shots from one". If there is a good example, on YouTube, I'd love to see it!

April 6, 2016 at 2:19AM

1
Reply

Probably something framed like this video-switcher that can output four custom 1080p video streams from one 4K input feed.

Datavideo KMU–100 Switcher
http://goo.gl/s0eAsw

Guy McLoughlin

April 7, 2016 at 2:17PM

The Panasonic 12-35 is a great all round lens; if you do want shallow DOF use the Voigtlander 25mm opened up to ~ F1.2 (or all the way to F0.95 if HD) - whenever I use this and the client sees the images it gets a 'wow' response.

April 6, 2016 at 4:30AM

0
Reply
Thomas Dove
DoP
169

i've actually been shooting with the panasonic gh4 (my personal camera) and a canon c100 for a few months now. overall, i have to say i love the gh4.

- relatively inexpensive for all the features that you get
- 4k is super awesome. definitely useful for leaving your master shot wide (interview in this case is perfect) and punching in on occasion. i don't think you've got enough resolution to be able to go from wide to medium-close on the face, so i would probably shoot close-up on the face with a second camera. or just do some inserts of the parts that you really liked.
- for 4k, just be ready to wrangle some big files. i don't have exact numbers, but on a day-long shoot, we would end up with about 80-100gigs of data from the gh4. certainly no red epic footage, but compared to the avchd format of the c100 (the canon is also shooting 1080), it's a big difference. just get a 4tb external drive and you'll be fine for awhile. be sure you get one with the fastest interface your laptop/computer can handle (esata, usb3, thunderbolt, whatever).
- the colors are pretty good. i'm not a pro filmmaker or anything of the sort yet (i come from shooting wedding photography for a number of years), but i think generally the image from the gh4 is very nice. compared to the c100, i do notice that the skin tones are a little more red and ruddy, sometimes also being a little more muddy. the c100 seems to have a really nice even toning and super pleasant skin tones generally speaking. i feel the c100 is also better than the gh4 when it comes to high contrast situations (strong sunlight). the dynamic range seems better or something.
- battery life is good on the gh4.
- i love the swiveling lcd display. great for shooting in non-traditional angles, although with an interview not as much of a concern. still nice to swivel the display if you want to see it from the front or whatever though.
- in-camera audio is ok for being in-camera audio, especially if you're not too far from the talent. i would definitely opt for boom or lav'd audio over the in-camera audio, but hey, if your lav gets interference or your sound hiccups in some way, you can almost fall back on the in-camera audio (with some adjustments and sweetening).
- i love the ergonomics of the camera. coming from a photography background, the camera just makes sense to me. comparing it to the canon c100, i just can't seem to wrap my head around the way the c100 is supposed to work. and that retarded thumb-stick with the push button, oh my god. on the gh4, some of the features are a little buried and i've gotta remember how to get to some settings, but the most important features are really quick and easy things for me to adjust. not so on the c100. maybe i just need more time with the c100 though.

i have both the panasonic 12-35 2.8 and the sigma 18-35 1.8. i seem to prefer shooting with the sigma because it has a nicer look to it. however, the panasonic 12-35 is super small and lightweight, and you can also control the focus and such through an ipad with the panasonic image app.

i also have the nikon 70-200 2.8 which i haven't had a chance to shoot anything meaningful with yet, but the test footage i've shot looks gorgeous. additionally, i've tried various odd lenses here and there i have lying around from my photography years and they all look pleasing, some more so than others. which is to say that regardless of what lens you're using, the gh4 is a great body to pair it with. again, considering that i got mine shortly after it came out for a little under $2k (body only), the camera is remarkable.

i replied on a different post about my audio setup using lav mics going into iphones, which i find to be pretty good. the post is here..
- http://nofilmschool.com/boards/questions/audio-monitoring-i-phone

April 6, 2016 at 5:48PM

2
Reply
min win
nerd
152

And the GH4 has no record time limit! It'll just record until you run out of memory or battery.

April 7, 2016 at 1:03PM

0
Reply

There's a new Sigma 30mm f/1.4 AF lens for Micro 4/3 cameras that should be great for interviews. Currently I'm using a manual Nikon 50mm f/1.4 lens with a Metabones SpeedBooster which converts to a 35mm f/1.0 lens that I have to stop down at least one F-stop to get a sharp enough image out of it. This new lens is auto-focus ( so good for stills and video ):

Sigma 30mm f/1.4 DC DN AF Lens : $339
http://goo.gl/5kCeLd

April 7, 2016 at 2:22PM

18
Reply
Guy McLoughlin
Video Producer
31852

The new Sigma fills a currently open gap in MFT between the 25mm F 1.4 Summilux and the 42.5mm F 1.7 Panasonic or the outrageously expensive but delightful Nocticron F 1.2.

$339 is a pretty low price, are there any reviews out on this lens yet?

April 7, 2016 at 5:11PM, Edited April 7, 5:11PM

13
Reply
avatar
Cary Knoop
Member
1915

If you switch to the Sony E mount version of this lens you will see that there are currently three user reviews on the B&H website.

I haven't seen any commercial reviews of it yet, but if it becomes a popular lens then it eventually be covered at some point.

Guy McLoughlin

April 7, 2016 at 9:40PM

I never understood how anyone can argue that a lens is too sharp.

Cary Knoop

April 10, 2016 at 10:06AM, Edited April 10, 10:06AM

That the Sony E-Mount version appears to be similar to the MFT mount version is worrisome. I would have hoped they designed the lens for MFT instead of just sticking on a MFT mount. The lens will likely be less sharp compared to the E-Mount version.

April 8, 2016 at 7:31AM

15
Reply
avatar
Cary Knoop
Member
1915

It really depends on the quality of the lens. Most of the better quality lenses made today far outperform the resolution of 1080p or 4K video. You might see a slight difference when shooting high resolution still photos, but most of the time the difference imperceptible.

Where you will see a bigger difference is when you are using Full Frame lenses ( like Canon or Nikon ) to shoot 4K video with a Micro 4/3 camera, but I actually prefer the softer look most of the time. Olympus or Panasonic Micro 4/3 lenses can be too sharp, so switching over to older Nikon AI-S lenses produces a softer more flattering image. ( I use Micro 4/3 lenses when shooting stills or when I want as much resolution as possible in my image )

Guy McLoughlin

April 9, 2016 at 10:24AM

Michael, here you can find a quick demo: https://www.dropbox.com/s/w1kqqgykla4phzq/GH4_3-plans_demo_4k-to-1080.mp...
The narrowest framings are 1920x1080 crops, and the zoom at the end is made in post.

April 9, 2016 at 3:08PM, Edited April 9, 3:10PM

13
Reply

>>>I never understood how anyone can argue that a lens is too sharp

Depends on what you're shooting and what sort of look you are after.

I love the softer look of Nikon AI-S prime lenses with my GH4 camera because Olympus and Panasonic Micro 4/3 lenses can produce an image that is too sharp for something like a corporate interview. I don't want to see every imperfection in a person's face or the small hairs on the surface of their nose, so the Nikon AI-S lenses produce a softer more attractive image without looking too-soft or out-of-focus.

April 11, 2016 at 1:35PM, Edited April 11, 1:35PM

0
Reply
Guy McLoughlin
Video Producer
31852

Totally agree.

Not long ago, me and and some colleagues were shooting a short documentary about a day care for old people. Out of ignorance, we shot some scenes with a micro 4/3 lens and a M42 Helios lens. Even shooting at similar apertures and focal lengths, the difference was night and day, and for that particular case, the Helios lens had a much, much more appropriate look, because it was not so harsh (i.e., sharp). Obviously, that meant the micro 4/3 footage was not usable, at least if it was to be intercut with the Helios footage.

It taught us to test before we shoot, and to make sure we choose the right lens.

José Pedro Pinto

April 11, 2016 at 1:48PM, Edited April 11, 1:48PM

Wow, seriously, filming old people as how they are you consider inappropriate? Whatever happened to respect for old age, instead we want to cover it up?

Cary Knoop

April 14, 2016 at 9:45AM

You're putting a different spin on my words than what I meant.
I said "harsh" and "sharp" not as in "makes them look too old" or "it highlights their wrinkles", and I didn't mean to say the Helios was more appropriate because it hid the way they look. The thing is, there was something in the way a 50mm shot with the Helios looked (in contrast to a 50mm shot with a micro 4/3 lens) that just *felt* much more right for that particular documentary. Me saying "harsh" and "sharp" was just putting that difference between the lenses into words.
Yes, the images from the Helios were softer, and yes, it softened their faces and skin, but somehow they also felt attentive, while the micro 4/3 images felt more clinical in their "vision". It's not something that needs to be put into words, we just knew the Helios was better.

The whole point of my post was to say that I think that it doesn't matter if a lens is soft, or has low contrast, or has weird vignetting, weird color casts, or weird flares, as long as it feels right for the particular scene you shoot with it.

José Pedro Pinto

April 14, 2016 at 5:11PM

Your Comment