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GH4 - Best Video Settings
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  • I have been getting to know my GH4 this past week and wow, you really can introduce shadow noise if you want to by combining mstr pedestal with boosted shadows, etc.

    But I find that I am seeing fine shadow noise at base ISO even in fairly low-contrast scenes like this one - the blue of my shirt is quite noisy. Curiously, less so at ISO 400 and exposure adjusted accordingly. This was shot with me about one stop underexposed to preserve the sky - not much.

    My settings are Natural -5, -3, -3, -3, ISO 200, mstr ped 0, 0-255, no adj to highlights and shadows. Whether CineD, CineV, and NR at 0 and even increasing exposure one stop and losing the highlights slightly, I still see this fine noise.

    I know others have mentioned this issue but I am unsure that it is a settings issue or when do you know that your camera should be exchanged for another?

    1920 x 1080 - 778K
  • Mine has exactly the same problem. I think this is a camera limitation. I wish it wasnt as i really love all the GH line. However in low light can t even be compared with the 1DC. I believe it is a question of sensors.

  • Thanks for mentioning that, Kikojiu. Just trying to get a feel for what's reasonable to expect with this new camera vs. not.

  • Walter I still think the 1080 is cleaner than the 4k. Even with 0.95 lenses it is very difficult to Get a clean image. If you increase the brightness on your computer monitor you will see noise at any ISO and light

  • I will be 100% honest with you. That noise is 100% acceptable! I used to think the exact same thing about all of my gh cameras but turns out it was my monitor's gamma settings showing much more than was actually visible to most people. It's not as clean as any of the professional canon cameras sure, but for such a small sensor and extremely detailed image, this is completely fine!

  • @walterH that shot is underexposed, also the clouds in the background are overcast.

    If you truly want blue clouds you need to be using a professional polarizer on your camera lens, but this can take away some life from skin tones. A simple fill light or reflector can help a lot though. Furthermore the only cameras that will hold more detail are the ones with a greater dynamic range.

    On the cheaper side you have blackmagic cinema cameras on the more expensive Canon Cinema line, Sony, Red, Arri etc. Panasonic GH4 has more dynamic range + resolution than Canon 5D Mark III, if these cameras aren't enough you need to buy a more professional tool.

    Furthermore keep your noise reduction at 0 , not -3. From my experience with 8-bit internal codec you want to get the image as close too as possibly in camera. Anyone can say what they want, in camera well always give you the best settings as opposed to trying to fix in post.

  • You are right Tyler. But in professional use clients tend to be more demanding than I think they should. With the hacked GH2 I have better low light response (less noise). I think Panasonic could solve it with firmware. They are pushing up the detail hence greatly increasing the noise. Or probably taking too much detail from such a small sensor

  • @EliasD

    Footage looks real nice, I keep telling everyone to stop putting noise reduction at anything but 0. Also using Cine-D in camera looks horrible as it takes out the life of your image. With external recorder things may be different......

    I also am using Cine-V and love the way it looks in camera. I adjust saturation at -3 and pretty much use the same settings you listed as well.

  • I tried recording with Atomos Ninja and it doesnt work. This is settings but I suspect the sensor is over its limit.

  • Thanks, all, for the assurance and clarifications. I've been focusing stills shooting the past 18 months and the re-entry to video is a little disorienting.

    I am beginning a documentary on young women taking over dairy farm and the contrasts of exposing for inside the structures (barns, etc.) and the open doors/windows is pretty extreme. I will have to start using fill light - there's no option (tho it becomes a lot more cumbersome and obtrusive.) Particularly as I am often not crazy about what playing with the shadow and highlights curve does to skin tones.

    @ FilmingArt No, I've no desire for something more profesh than this little cam. Still feeling out the compromises of when to hold and when to blow the highlights and what I can do that my GH2 couldn't.

    @ EliasD Gorgeous, helpful, encouraging.

  • I will agree with FilmingArt that cineD and noise reduction turned down is what is creating all the noise. Having the cam do the processing in cam with full sensor data before the codec is producing way better images for me as well. 100mbps is simply not enough data rate for 4K to allow much of push in post at all.

    Everyone complaining about noise are almost always shooting for a flat image in cam. Shoot for a final image in cam and it's much cleaner. The information is there and you can move it around just as much (which isn't a lot), only you don't end up with as much noise.

    The GH4 doesn't appear to be the best option for that washed out low contrast final image. Fortunately, I really like the super contrasty over saturated image that the GH4 does so well.

    Cheers, Pete

  • @c3hammer,

    I also think it is much better to get as close to the final look you want in camera than to shoot overly flat and murder the image in post later.

  • For those wondering whether or not 16-235 vs. 0-255 is just hype or if it affects DR and highlight rolloff...well, I did a little test. More to come.

  • I'm still using CineD -3-2-5-3-0 and 16-235 for outdoor shots , very easy to process in post

  • Main settings I have been using:

    iDynamic/iResolution off.

    Cine D, no changes to settings. Just plain Cine D.

    James Miller D: Cine D, -5, -5, -5, -5, 0. Shadows and Highlights +2, -2 respectively. Master Pedestal 0.

    James Miller V: Cine V, -5, -5, -5, -5, 0. Shadows and Highlights +2, -2 respectively. Master Pedestal +15.

    Dragon: Cine D, 0,0,-3,-3,0. Shadows and Highlights +1, -4 respectively, and WB Adjustment 2-Amber 2-Green. (Found in a RED Dragon User Forum from someone who tested GH4 and RED Dragon attempting to match. Prioritizing saving highlights, but only barely raising shadows to reduce introducing noise.)

    Driftwood: Cine D, -2, -2, -2, -2, 0. Shadows and highlights 0,0. Master Pedestal 0.

    Film Convert Low Contrast: Plain Cine D, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0. Shadows and Highlights +5, -5 respectively. Listed on their site as the setting for Low Contrast.

  • @zachasurp

    No way in the world anyone can judge footage on a 50mm lens with your camera being stabilized only by your hands, looks very poor and unprofessional. When shooting a moving such as this water you should definitely stabilize your shots, even if your tripod "broke" as you said you could have easily just place the camera on the ground, a higher rock, bag, anything....

    Nothing worst than any form of Dslr footage with Micro jitters, heck any camera for that matter.

  • The biggest problem with that type of jumpy footage is that the codec definitely can't keep up. Shakey footage destroys image quality more than any other factor. Mushy images ??? There's your answer right there.

    When these cams can determine where they are going with any sort of consistency, they do an incredible job of compressing to the mediocre data rate. When the thing is herking and jerking all over the place, there's no way it can keep up and you get dog chow.

  • @valpopando - very nice (as usual). Are you using a monitor to judge exposure, or zebras and histogram?

  • @FilmingArt

    I agree, very jittery. But even non jittery footage isn't as clean as some I find online. The 422HQ export looked great even for the shaky shots, but every compression came out extremely poor.

    As for setting the camera down on something, it was at the LA River, and its a 45* angle down to the water, nowhere to set it down and rest. I was hoping with a Zacuto Z-Finder I could hold it steady enough. I was wrong, you can step down from your high horse now.


    Like I said above, those jittery shots came out fine from the camera and 422HQ, but when converting for upload it could not keep up. I look forward to your tests though.

  • @mrbill Thx mate just histogram ! never tried zebras LOL I have to : ))

  • @zachasurp, 96fps to 24p test, cineV, all zero's, 16-235 a bit of an s-color curve and sharpening added in post

    UHD 30p then 1080-60p 100mbps for the closeup. cineV, all zeros, 16-235, mp+5, exported to XAVC S UHD 4K

    UHD 30p conformed to 24p cineV 16-235 mp +10 all zero's

    Shakey footage falls apart when you compress it. The GH4 is particularly sensitive to this effect. btw, why did you completely change your post? Our responses look strange, as they address the main point that you've now completely removed along with your sample.

    Cheers, Pete

  • Regarding getting it "right" in camera vs flatter profiles, I have seen some beautiful footage that basically comes straight out of the camera such as Mark Williams's nature films and of course the advantage is that very little if any correction/grading is needed in post. At the same time, after viewing Valpopando's footage above "Beauty and the Beast", with Cine-D settings turned down, his finished production looks really good even without noise reduction applied in post (read comments/response on Vimeo) - would be interesting to see the same footage with NR having been set at 0 or Neat Video applied in post but regardless, I am not bothered by noise in this particular video. Cine-D just requires a more involved workflow for those who want more room for "artistic" adjustments.

    The following nature footage was shot mostly with Cine-D with an ImpulZ film LUT applied which was created specifically for the Cine-D profile. Using such LUTs make Cine-D a pretty fast workflow also. Regarding certain comments against using Cine-D, does it really look lifeless after decent grading in post? The last few sunset clips were shot with Cine-V, same LUT applied but with lower opacity. So much experimenting yet to do... Is there any common agreement on which profile to use for the most natural skin tones?

  • I've been getting amazing results using James Miller's Cine-V profiles, so far very impressed and satisfied.

  • GH4 -Star Wars 4k. Inspired by recent star wars videos. Cine D -2 -5 -5 -1 0. Pany 14mm-140mm. Added grain and CC

  • Here's a test I shot this morning at the beach at about 7am of some different profiles and settings. All internal 8Bit C4K 24.00 (A few 1080 Slow Mo Over Crank at end). There is a full write up in the description.

    From my tests, if someone wants something more straight out of camera, I wouldn't use Cine V (or Cine D). I would lean towards the other profiles. The Standard/Vivid/Etc couldn't be pushed much in post, except a reverse C (Just dragging the Mids down for a curve in RGB (Premiere)), but straight out of camera they were the cleanest and closest to the end result. Cine V and D are too milky out of camera, and Cine V doesn't render as much color as D does. It has a higher contrast but still comes out milky, which needs light post work, and really seems to ditch a lot of color information. Cine D and V can be great, but both do need post work to be useful.

    Cine D is, to me, the best setting. With the other adjustments you can really dial in the look you want and then do some post work after. I really like the Dragon and Low Contrast settings I have, I think they will be my main settings after I test skin tones. Using the Shadow/Highlight curve I don't see any noise being introduced in my image, which is amazing. Though some may say they are over saturated and probably a thousand other things, I really love the color that is coming out of these. Even 8Bit 100/Mbs at 4K, this camera really can do a lot, and be pushed far in post.