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GH4 Firmware 2.3, V-log for $99, Epic Panasonic marketing fail
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  • @aaronchicago I did not use the LOG LUT for the M31 LUT, LOG LUTs are way too generic and can really mess up the footage... I used the REC709 LUT, (since REC709 is always REC709...) applied it to the footage, then I added some contrast, then some saturation, adjusted for exposure, and that is how I got a professional colorists approval... Simple, not too long, and I love the look... Most importantly my clients seem to like it too! :D

  • There is nothing wrong with the orange teal look it is popular. I wouldn't doubt if it's look came from an old film stock seeing as I've seen old movies that seems to have that look going on. In fact now that I am aware of it I see it all over and am amazed when the costuming, wall and floor coverings etc have apparently been hand picked for that look. The simple fact is the big money wouldn't be using it if it did not sell and they wouldn't put that much effort into it. I'm sure some scientist with esoteric color knowledge could tell us why it appeals. Perhaps and internet search is in order.

  • @BrennanK Thanks for making the footage available. My comment regarding the orange/teal look is purely based on the kind of looks I am asked for when doing commercial grading work. I can't begin to tell you how many directors have specifically asked me to avoid that kind of look! It certainly works for some projects but mostly my grading is based on what is required to enhance the audience experience rather than what I (or the director) personally like to see. There is no correct or incorrect in this area, just opinion. The important thing is to be open-minded and to constantly refer to the intent of the story. I do use LUTs as a way to do VERY subtle tweaks to the overall look but I very rarely use them at more than 30% intensity. Also it is important to determine if the LUT is based on 0 - 1023 or 64 - 940 levels. It is easy to clip highlights or get other unwanted effects if the LUT does not match the source material.

  • @crowbar When overexposing V-log the top 20% of luminance range gets 'squashed' into less digital bits and the lows get expanded much the same as when using standard camera profiles. Because the V-log LUT is designed to work over a specific range of levels encoded in the log clip, the conversion to rec709 (or other colour space) is not ideal. With internally recorded 8 bit clips the banding effects in the sky and other graduated areas become exaggerated. When I under exposed 2/3 of a stop I was able to minimise the banding in Resolve by using unusual curves to adjust the dynamic range of the sky somewhat independently of the rest of the image. I was surprised by how good the results were compared to overexposing. I still think external 10 bit recording is the preferred option as there is more room to move if the exposure is a bit 'off'.

  • @caveport For sure, the Orange/Teal look is not everyone's taste, that is the beauty of the industry! There is really no "wrong" look so long as your customer likes it and is willing to pay you for it! :)

    Totally agree with you that going 10-bit is the way forward... Even a Hyperdeck Shuttle 2 will make 1080p grading that much easier...

    Anyone find that recording 1080p externally gives you more noise than external 4K recording?

  • @brennank yeah for styles looks like the M31 I wouldn't use the LOG version. I find it much easier to match the curve of LOG first with a generic LOG LUT, then apply REC709 stylized looks.

  • @aaronchicago Even applying a generic LOG LUT gives me skewed results... If you want a direct REC709 conversion you should be using Panasonic's own V-Log L LUT for the DVX200.

    The way I do it is apply the REC709 style LUT, then manually pull up the contrast and saturation to my taste so that the shadows are not completely crushed, the highlights are not completely blown, but the image still looks nicely contrasted. I like it that way, gives more control than the REC709 conversion LUT. My customers are more impressed too, makes it look like I might know what I am doing, for once!!! :D

  • @caveport: makes total sense. Wondering if you can describe/illustrate those unusual curves for independent adjustments of the sky or if too much trouble no worries. I too seldom use LUTs at full opacity including technical LUTs. Until I can afford an external recorder, I simply avoid using Vlog except on subject matter without obvious graduated areas. Vlog does a nice job even when recorded internally on close-ups of faces with far less post grading hassle than Cine-like D.

  • Shane's test is the typical over/under key light test done by many cinematographer's of the analog era (film) to find the true ASA rating ("sweet spot") of an emulsion (film) before starting a 3 month feature film with their name (and reputation) on it. Often stocks looked better over exposed which equaled a denser negative, less grain.

    He has just extrapolated that test to find the true "sweet spot" of the camera's sensor and to know how far you can over/underexpose and still bring the image back in post. This works really well when you work with a light meter and get familiar with how the camera reacts to different lighting situations.

    The full story is here:

    Shane's conclusion is the same as a cinematographer I worked with years ago, who was used to doing low budget TV movies on Digibeta in Europe. He found underexposing on those cameras yielded a very nice looking image, since things got ugly with highlight clipping on those cameras.

  • @CFreak: Thanks for that explanation on Shanes testing.. This guy worked his way up from grip, gaffer, camera, to big feature DP so I believe he has a lot to offer. In fact I have learned tons from him as he shares his knowledge and experience like no other big time DP that I know of. Most of his work is done on Canon or Red cameras and I was upset with his initial review of the GH4 thinking that he never really got to know the camera and it's optimal settings. However in his latest testing of the VLog recorded externally at 10 bit/422, he has changed his tune with regards to the GH4 being used to capture beautiful skin tones as a cinema camera for budget film making. Of course the GH4 does not have the latitude as a Red Dragon, Arri Alexa etc. but by nailing exposure along with excellent grading and lens choice, I think this test along with the many samples of footage that others have posted, indeed proves that the GH4 can render beautiful skin tones for a nice filmic/cinematic look.

  • This isn't a troll post but is there really any point shooting V-Log with only 8 bits?! There's just not the information there to shoot flat and heavily grade/add LUTS etc is there? I don't understand peoples determination to use this with a camera like the GH4, with a 10 bit output something can be achieved that is (maybe) worth the effort but IMHO its better to get the look you need in camera isn't it? Maybe I'm just ranting but i see so much time and effort put into something which ultimately is like your banging head against a brick wall, when more creative avenues could be followed instead of investing in fruitless technological pursuits.

  • Bad idea to use V-Log when using an 8-bit codec unless you want a really flat look for your final color choice (if you grade it you get banding...), but if you have an external 10-bit recorder then you really have nothing to lose by shooting V-Log except time in post. People claim the added dynamic range is a hoax but I disagree. We have "won awards" when we used V-Log for our gamma, but the "award" came for the colorist who was able to manipulate the flat image. The noise that comes with V-Log, if handled correctly, adds a lot of character to the image, almost like film grain. Go 10-bit and go V-Log and get grading!!!

    Let's all pray that Panasonic gives us 10-bit 422 4K INTERNAL on the GH5. And some cleaner higher ISO performance. And less compression in the VFR settings!!!

  • Really, thats interesting, and reduces my scepticism a little - did your colorist find the image good to work with?

  • So your advice is to have a great colorist? That's not good advice for the average user. V-Log L is anything but easy to work with.

  • @tubefingers

    We shot in 4K 3840x2160 at 23.976fps, using the DNxHR HQX 422 10-bit codec at 220MB/s (the more-PC-friendly equivalent of ProRes 422 HQ). We used our Atomos Ninja Flame to record this file and our colorist absolutely LOVED it.

    Here is how our colorist worked his image to an "award":

    1. Import files into DaVinci Resolve
    2. Immediately apply the Panasonic V-Log to REC709 LUT to the footage to ease editing, do all the edits/audio.
    3. Color-match and balance all the shots once all clips are in sequence
    4. Remove the Panasonic LUT and add in his own signature stylizing REC709 LUT (one meant for regular saturated footage... not a LOG-to-REC709 conversion)
    5. Increase the contrast to taste, add in some saturation.
    6. Adjust the shadows/highlights using their respective lift/gain adjusters
    7. Add a mask to the skin-tones and adjust them separately using the gamma adjuster to taste
    8. Output using the same DNxHR codec and settings, review the output files using Telestream Switch PRO 3
    9. Go back and correct anything seen in the final files, output again.
    10. Play back the final output using Switch PRO 3 (it is a true 4K 10-bit video player for AVID codecs!!!) to the judges, win the "award"! Go home happy!
    11. Go shoot something else!


  • @balazer

    I was hoping no one would bring up the topic of "the colorist"... The colorist I am referring to is actually myself, I was just trying to keep a low profile.

    I am not an expirienced colorist at all: I learned DaVinci Resolve by messing around with it and by watching a video on that showed how to isolate skin-tones. Literally, I am not an expert at grading by any stretch. But by persistent trial and error I was able to make something that was "good enough" to catch the eye of the judges.

    Just have a go at shooting in V-Log. Hollywood does, but step 1 is get a REAL 10-BIT FILE to work with. Your life will never be the same again :D

  • Where can we view the video? :)

    Have you actually tried a similar process on similar types of shots with internal recording to see how it goes?

  • @tjabo I have not done side-by-side comparisons, but I know that when I have a 10-bit file the finished clip looks nice as it has no banding in areas such as the sky. I have confidence that I can do whatever I want with the grading and still have an acceptable finished clip. Peace of mind.

  • //// latest mpv (18.1) build implements panachonic V-Log support //// - Release's changelog
    and 4 the lazy

    compiled OSX version's DL link - mpv 18.1 OSX
    a visu on mpv with modded (mouse over) progressbar and stats' scripts image
    standard mpv's OSD streming from YT // as simple as mpv's path + "media URL"

  • @BrennanK great info thanks - I've never dipped into grading on a serious level, my experience is limited to getting the look in cam (AVCHD 8 bit) and then CC'ing with FCPX before adding a Filmlook or a custom Magic Bullet look, the work we do rarely calls for serious grading. I'm going to look into Davinci and do some online training, anyone recommend good resources?

  • @tubefingers, try this link for a lot of short video tutorials about various functions of Davinci Resolve 12 and 12.5

  • Thanks @Zaven13 i'll check that out

  • Final thoughts on V-log

  • V-log-shot video that does not have some colorist's grade are rare. Thus it is difficult to assess the qualities of the Panasonic Vlog/REC709 LUT. Here is a GH4 Vlog video shot using the Shogun Inferno (10bit, 4:2:2, Pro Res 422 HQ) and then edited in Resolve using the Panasonic Vlog/REC709 LUT. Only played with gamma and exposure; no additional mucking around with colors.

  • I am so sorry for bringing this up from the dead, but I was around the 40's page where the V-Log L macroblocking, banding and magenta artifacts were being discussed and attempts were made to bring this issue up to Panasonic.

    May I ask, has this EVER been resolved???