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Panasonic GH4 Audio Levels
  • Hi all,

    I'm considering upgrading from a GH2, mainly due to the slightly better audio abilities of the GH4 (headphone jack, 3.5mm input). I shoot a tonne of interviews so it would come in handy. I've just got a few questions about the GH4 which I'm finding difficult to find answers on...

    FYI: the audio devices I'll be using with the GH4 are the Rode Video Mic Pro or a Sennheiser wireless lapel mic (e3 kit).

    1. Is it possible to adjust audio levels via a function button or some kind of PHYSICAL button on the camera?
    2. If not, is the touch screen audio level adjustment actually useable during shooting or is it very fiddly?
    3. Assuming I buy a GH4 that doesn't have the buzzing issue, is the audio quality acceptable?
    4. Are there any random quirks to the audio of the GH4 I should know about?
    5. Does the GH4 have any issues like the GH2 where the audio levels change slightly once the 'record' button is pressed?
    6. How is the audio level meter? Is it accurate / helpful etc...?

    I'd be keen to hear from anyone shooting and recording audio with the GH4 and get their feedback and opinions. It'd be great to ditch the Zoom H4n recorder that I use with the GH2.

    Cheers!

  • 31 Replies sorted by
  • I run a juiced link preamp with the gh4 levels set as lo as they go. For interviews, the sound quality has been entirely useable, tho I run a backup to a zoom h1 recorder as a safety. Don't over modulate and all should be good. Obviously trimming levels with the juiced link as I go. No buzz problems so far.

  • The electronic buzz noise in the GH4 can be overcome by lowering the mic input sensitivity on the camera (-6 or even -12dB) and compensating that with an higher output from the receiver (I use -9dB on my G3 and -12dB on the GH4). The problem is, when you use the internal mics you must remember to raise the input level.

  • Thanks @mrbill

    @itrofnoc thanks for the tip. I understand, however that sending the camera back to Panasonic and getting the new firmware update solves the buzzing altogether. Is this correct? Cheers.

  • I do not have first-hand experience of the repair. All I know is what you can find online on this topic.

  • Thanks everyone, really appreciate your help. Another question (not about audio) is about picture profiles. There's plenty of talk about flat picture profiles that require grading afterwards, but not much about picture profiles that look good straight out of the camera. A lot of jobs I do don't have the time and budget for a grade. Does anyone have any pointers for good picture profiles that don't require grading? Cheers!

  • The audio on the GH4 gets me crazy. I am trying to get my JuicedLink DT454 to work but everything I do is resulting in saturated gain. On my 60D and 5D I put manually the internal gain to one step above zero, but this is not possible with the GH4. Do I miss something? Also, in a Beachtek video I saw that they recommend to put the 'Limiter' option to 'On'. This is horrible as it increases the hiss whenever there is a dialog pause or something similar and decreases the hiss (and overall gain) when someone starts to talk. Someone got his GH4 working with professional audio internally? I am close to sell my GH4 again. Please anybody?

  • I think the audio directly into the GH4 is actually very good. I set the audio levels at -12db and then use a Y cable to split the channel. One channel has a VideoMic Go on it and the other has a Lav mic. I leave the limiter to on. It doesn't 'increase' noise whatsoever. It just guards against spikes in volumes. I've recorded plenty of interviews this way with more than acceptable results. For using XLR mics, I record separately to a TR60.

  • @creativeblends - you're doing something wrong. Turn the camera record levels down to -12. Turn the limiter off. Now set levels using your juiced link. I have a juiced link pre-amp and this set up works great for me.

  • @mrbill - I hope I am doing something wrong, but it just does not work. Do you have a DT454? If I turn the levels on the JuicedLink up, even just a tiny bit from zero, then it gets saturated too much. I suppose this has something to do with the Meter, but I have this already on the lowest setting... :(

  • Set it to -12db

  • I use my GH4 for informal interview with a splitter, Rode video Mic Pro in one channel, Sennheiser eg3 in second. With sound level input to -8db, output from Rode at +20 and sennheiser to +12, the quality is quite good. The problem I found is that between two different consecutive files, there is an approximatively quarter second hole in sound! So you have to calculate the time allowed by your compression. For long interview with 100 or 200 Mb/s image, I use my DR-680 recorder. Strangely, this problem never appears with my GH3.

  • Hello all,

    I am currently running an Aputure V-Mic D2 into the camera through the 3.5mm jack on the Panasonic Lumix GH4 however even with the in-camera settings set to -12db and the preamp dial set to 1 on the microphone even normal conversation is near peaking levels. Other than switching on the GH4 limiter, or getting an external recorder, are there any settings in the GH4 I can tweak to turn the recording volume down so loud noises and shouting can be recorded without peaking distortion?

    Cheers!!

  • Is there a line/mic switch on the preamp output?

  • Mrbill - no line/mic switch. Another annoying thing is that I can't access the "special mic" function to switch from stereo to shotgun microphone in the gh4 menu even though the gh4 recognises that a microphone has been connected. Any ideas how, if it is at all possible, circumvent this?

  • You need Panasonic mic for that. Rodes or any other wont allow any "special" things :)

  • Yeah I heard some rumours about this. The Panasonic 3.5mm jack apparently has an additional ring which is just such a dick move of Panasonic, really. Apparently the technicians are working on fixing this though.

  • Panasonic's mic is designed to provide different pickup patterns and the camera is able to detect this. Even if mics had an extra ring on the plug, you can't change their pickup pattern unless they were designed for that.

  • Hmmm.... What if I got the zoom h1 recorder. Anyone know if this would give me more control of my minus decibel levels and if I could then actually use my shotgun microphone as a shotgun microphone?

    I appreciate all the feedback so far...

  • Your shotgun mic will always work as a shotgun. A microphone's design doesn't change if you plug it into a different camera or amp.

  • @DNAustremProductions if your mic is too hot, you can use an attenuator to bring levels into a usable range. Here's a review of Beachtek's MCC-2 attenuator with the GH4.

  • Hi everyone, thanks for your help. To help future GH4 users I thought I would answer my own questions after almost a year of using this camera in a professional environment:

    1. Is it possible to adjust audio levels via a function button or some kind of PHYSICAL button on the camera? No, a touch screen button is the only option unfortunately.

    2. If not, is the touch screen audio level adjustment actually useable during shooting or is it very fiddly? It's a bit fiddly but I've done it plenty of times during a locked off interview shot without any problems. I wouldn't want to be adjusting audio on the run, hand held, too much!

    3. Assuming I buy a GH4 that doesn't have the buzzing issue, is the audio quality acceptable? I run either a Sennheiser radio lav mic or Rode Videomic Pro directly into the camera with excellent results. I found the best results are found when keeping the GH4's audio gain at -6 or lower. I try and keep vocal peaks on the last white audio meter bar before it goes red, no hotter!

    4. Are there any random quirks to the audio of the GH4 I should know about? No. Apart from the fact that it's only a 3.5mm input rather than XLR.

    5. Does the GH4 have any issues like the GH2 where the audio levels change slightly once the 'record' button is pressed? No

    6. How is the audio level meter? Is it accurate / helpful etc...? Pretty accurate. Try not to have anything hit the red bars. These are around -6db and -3db and it starts to push the audio processor a bit hard at those levels. I turn the limiter on in the menu settings.

    On a final note, I really enjoy using the Supertone picture profile that uses the Portrait setting. Skin tones are great and the image looks really nice and clean. http://www.supertone.dk/#!GH4-Optimal-Film-Setting-works-in-stills-too/c24o4/8E18836A-F271-4A14-AF0D-C575B9D5F4B6

  • Record max -10dBFS to be safe without inter sample shit - it's not tape! did type more but just do it - trust me its my day job .... NO AGC, NO shit in cam limiters - no need to go any way near 0dBFS

  • Good Morning all. I have a question re audio levels with the gh4 paired with the rode videomic pro. I want to know users experiences with best setting for general run and gun use, changing environments with different levels or noise.

    I believe it is best to always bring down the internal mic to -12 to really cut away the use of the poor internal pre-amps, but then what do I set the rode to? I have been told setting to +20 is way to strong a signal, but then setting it to 0 may be too quiet? Any advise or real life experience would be beneficial thanks!