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Mike Kobal

July 6, 2014

Studio visit: Raymond Verdaguer: a video portrait, shot with the Panasonic GH4


La peur de l’insignifiance / The fear of insignificance – linogravure / linoleum cut ©2014 Raymond Verdaguer

Raymond Verdaguer’s linocuts act like traps for the viewer. Being drawn in by seemingly innocent lines of beauty on closer inspection one realizes the meaning of its content and at that point it is too late, the artist delivered his message like a cut from a concealed knife during a fist fight. Raymond was kind enough to allow us invade his studio
more after the break

Studio visit: Raymond Verdaguer: a video portrait, shot with the Panasonic GH4 from Mike Kobal on Vimeo.

In the past I would have brought the Sony FS100 or rented the FS700 for this kind of gig. However, the ability to shoot 4k for 1080 output had two obvious advantages: downsizing for increased micro detail and cropping without quality loss. I could use one take for a wide and master shot simultaneously. The small footprint was also welcome since it got very tight once we put up the LED for fill and the B camera.

A few behind the scene shots

My assistant Darima setting up the GH4 with the Olympus 9-18mm

Sony A7 with the Nikkor E 75 150mm

Sony A7 with Nikkor E 75 150mm

Our main light came from the window and I tried to use the LED carefully, without overriding then natural feel of daylight. Shooting with the GH4 was a breeze. The mf assist with native Lumix and adapted Nikkor lenses worked like a charm, although the green focus peaking did take some getting used to, however, the zoomable square produced a clear image field which made it easy enough to focus. One caveat though, focus-magnification during recording is disabled (you CAN zoom in with the A7/r/s while recording, although only to 4x mag).

Everything was shot in manual focus mode. To record sound, we used the Giant Squid omni directional lav mic, directly into the GH4. This mic is extremely sensitive, we had to turn down the volume to minus 10 db! This totally eliminated the annoying noise issue the GH4 is known to produce when shooting with the Rode Videomic Pro or other 3rd party mic. Perhaps Panasonic’s latest firmware update already addressed this issue? Haven’t had a chance to test it yet.

Shooting with the GH4 as main camera and the Sony A7 as B cam for a few shallow depth of field close ups worked out very well.

I also had a M43 Mikaton lens turbo available, it performed okay with the 50 and 100mm, close up shot of hands @ 2:09, however, the image contrast dropped significantly as soon as one pointed the camera at a bright surface or a light source. I hope Mikaton will address this with their mark 2 release and use better coating/glass. At this point the lens turbo is going back for full refund.

The GH4 is an easy camera to use, all hard buttons are in the right place, the articulated touch screen adds control, especially if you need to change sound volume during filming. At low ISO the footage is absolutely stunning, No moiré or any other distracting artifacts and to a certain extend, one can even achieve pleasant shallow depth of field.

Settings:

4K/100mbps/24fps
Cinelike D
contrast -5
sharpness -3
saturation -2
NR 0
Hue 0

Custom curve, shadow +3
Master Pedestral Level 0
Luminance Level 16-255

Shutter speed 1/50.
aperture, wide open on all lenses with ND faders

Manual white balance, mostly 5600K.
Graded for a “nostalgic b/w look”

Equipment list:
Panasonic GH4, here on Ebay, Adorama and BH.
Lumix 14 140mm lens
Olympus 9-18mm
Mitakon Lens turbo
Nikkor E 50mm lens
Nikkor E 100mm lens (on Sony A7/B roll)
Nikkor E 75-150mm

Nikkor to m43 adapter
Bi Color LED
Giant Squid Lavalier Mic (shielded extension audio cable)

Some of you already emailed asking which one to get, the new Sony A7s or the Panasonic GH4. Since I have the Sony A7s sitting at home, I can tell you these two cameras don’t compare. I will end up with both eventually, sigh. Stay tuned for my working impressions with the Sony A7s.

youtube 1080 version

If you find this article helpful, please consider helping me maintaining this blog by purchasing your gear through my product links to Adorama and B&H and Ebay. It will cost you nothing and allows me to keep adding! Or consider making a direct donation using PayPal, thank you!


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7 Comments »

  1. Hi Mike! Looks impressive, what do you say, GH4 or A7s?

    Comment by frtheelder — July 6, 2014 @ 5:15 pm

  2. Thanks for sharing BTS. A mega day out. GH4 forever!

    Comment by Ron Coker — July 6, 2014 @ 9:45 pm

  3. hi frtheelder, can’t compare them, totally different tools, I think one needs both :)

    Comment by mike.kobal — July 7, 2014 @ 2:44 pm

  4. :) you are welcome, Ron!

    Comment by mike.kobal — July 7, 2014 @ 2:47 pm

  5. Thx for sharing Mike, great stuff !!

    Comment by Peter Miranda — July 7, 2014 @ 3:21 pm

  6. Beautiful piece, Mike, and perfectly suited to B&W. Lovely!

    Comment by Bob Krist — July 22, 2014 @ 8:04 am

  7. Thank you, Bob, glad to hear you liked it!

    Comment by mike.kobal — July 22, 2014 @ 8:23 am

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