Director of Photography/Editor/Writer
Wrong category. Don't know how this ended up under "Cinematography and Cameras."
If you put a BMPCC Speedbooster on a GH4 (it's a tight fit, but it does fit) then the crop factor goes from 2x to about 1.16x when you shoot 1080p, and about 1.39x when you shoot 4K. It definitely doesn't match up to the 70mm IMAX format (but let's be honest, nothing does) but being able to shoot 4K closer to full frame than super35 is pretty nifty. Throw some fast lenses on there and you'll get some pretty epic shallow dof.
With that setup shooting 4K with a 24mm f1.4 lens will give you the full frame equivalent of a roughly 35mm f0.95.
In my opinion the key to making video look "cinematic" or "filmic" is the lenses and lighting. Sure, the camera specs and dynamic range certainly help, but a BMCC or a Red isn't going to perform any better than something with less dynamic range unless you know what to do with it.
I'm getting ready to shot a feature in November, and we've decided to use the GH4. I did various tests and side by side comparisons between the GH4 and the BMPCC, ungraded and graded, and while the BMPCC obviously had more dynamic range, it wasn't anything significant enough that couldn't be fixed with adjustments in lighting for the GH4. Both cameras have very distinctive aesthetics, but in terms of actual quality of the video the differences were negligible. But, again, this is just my opinion. This is our indiegogo which was shot with the GH4. https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/calamity-feature-film
In terms of 8-bit vs 10-bit, 10 is always better if you plan on doing "heavy" color grading. Otherwise, 8-bit is just fine. The GH4 has a high enough bitrate (100mbps in 4K and 200mbps in1080p) where you could grade it and not have to worry about banding or other issues.
And I agree with Heri. I have a set old Nikon AI lenses that I've converted into cine lenses and they are absolutely amazing on the GH4, especially in 4k. If you can get your hands on some good clean vintage Nikon glass I highly recommend it. They are very crisp and detailed, but not sharp and contrasty.
I guess the point I'm trying to make is compared to other cameras out there the GH4 is fine for a feature. We're shooting ours on one. And from what I've seen (again, just my opinion) the camera only has a little to do with what makes something cinematic or filmic. Lighting, composition, lenses, motivated camera movement. Things like that are what really matters.
We haven't decided which camera we are shooting on yet, but the A7s is at the top of the list.
I like the "streetlight" idea, and that's something we might be able to do. Switching out all of the light bulbs for more powerful ones came to mind. My problem with that is that it doesn't really a have look to it. All it really does is flood the room, and that's what we're trying to get away from. It's definitely an option, but it's our last resort. Getting enough light in the room isn't the issue. It's controlling and directing that light to create a mood that we're struggling with.
One idea we had was to get rolls of LED tape, make our own LED panels with foam core (then they're battery powered) and those will be light enough to tape to walls and the ceiling. Some makeshift barn doors will let us shape the light a little better. It's not ideal or elegant, but at least it's something.