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GH3 Best Video Settings
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  • I hate to break the news, but the best iso to shoot at is the one that produces the least noise, which is iso 200. you just might get 1/2 stop better DR with some settings, but if the image suffers (less color saturation, creeping dots moving around the frame, etc.), it's best to shoot at 200. I haven't found any reason why AVCHD should be inherently better than MOV files, except that in the past, MOV files could be imported directly into the NLE, whereas AVCHD USED TO HAVE to be transcoded. Also, the file structure - when I shot with a TM900, for example, I got all kinds of extra files I had to discard. But that isn't true for the GM1, which CAN be imported directly into FCP now and produces beautiful looking images. The only reason to choose one over the other might be bit rate - often the MOV files offer a higher bit rate, which in and of itself DOES NOT produce a more beautiful looking image, but may be easier to grade than your low bit rate AVCHD files.

  • @jonpais frankly I believe that the only one spreading false information here is you. MOV and AVHCD are quite different, not just in terms of bitrate and file handling (everyone knows how it works here, no need to explain). Also All-I MOV is a lot different than not-All-I, in the GH3. Please take the time to read previous posts before picking on people who, as far as I have the chance to see here, showed plenty of skill and dedication

  • @jonpais The great thing about this forum is it's about personal opinions based off of personal research. Some eyes are more advanced than others. After quite a few months of exhausting personal test's and broadcast jobs - it is my opinion that rNeil isn't spreading falsehoods. This is his opinion. This real issue is the way the GH3 translates color and texture of "white" skin. In my humble but very educated opinion, It's bad...period. It's been the biggest complaint about the GH3 on this thread alone. That can't be circumstantial. Can you get good skin? Yes. But, I've edited footage from 6 different cameras (from the GH2 to the RED Epic) in the last 8 months and the GH3 footage is always the "problem child" in post. It's especially notable or proven when I've done multi cam shoots with the same lighting on set for both cameras. That said the GH3 footage still needs work than other footage in post.

    @flablo Ditto your comments.

  • @rNeil @maadog15 maybe it's stupid or it's been already discussed, but did we take in account that Panasonic is an asian company and most of the MFT market is asian? The majority of people I read from who said there was no skin tone issue were showing videos with asian people ... and of course asian skin tone is generally different from caucasian skin tone ...

  • Okay guys, I don't want to battle it out with you, but: #1. Is anyone here saying it's worth shooting at iso800 for a tiny bit of added DR (provided there is enough light to shoot at a lower iso) when noise noticeably increases? #2 As for AVCHD vs MOV, I said the difference was all in grading. In fact, I would never edit AVCHD files directly. Also, the implementation of the codec varies from camera to camera, manufacturer to manufacturer. I see the transcoded GM1 AVCHD files as no better or worse than the GH3's MOV container #3 if you checked out the post office clip I shared here a little while back, you'd see many Western faces. #4 I won't deny the GH3 magenta issue, just saying in my experience, a quick pass in post is usually all it takes to correct. #5 I object to rNeil's unverified conspiracy theories

    @flablo in case you haven't noticed, most of the manufacturers are Asian!

  • @jonpais #1 Not me. I do everything I can to shoot a well exposed ISO 200 shot with the GH3. That said I get great results up to 800 ISO - but that's the limit unless I'm doing something that supposed to have a raw look to it. Problem for me is that high ISO on the GH3 doesn't produce a nice cinematic grain. Just looks more like the onset of blotchy noise or small artifacting. So unfortunately pushing the GH3's ISO higher doesn't yield the same nostalgic, moody grain results that other camera systems might. (BTW: I'm in the process of editing a job where the footage was originally shot on 35mm film then transcoded to ProRes HQ files. It's "noisy" yes. But with a beautifully rich cinematic grain. Nice.) #2 I've actually edited "raw" AVCHD files and achieved wonderful results in Premiere Pro. NOTE to PP users: I found the trick is importing the "private" file directly into PP's bin using the "import files" menu. Dragging the footage from the desktop into the bin (which i did frequently since I'm on a Mac) apparently looses some of the multitudes of information buried within the folders and files of the Private folder. That said, working with all the associated files within files of the Private folder is a pain in the a**. So now I just use ClipWrap and rewrap AVCHD files as single ProRes HQ files. Very tidy. #3 Good looking faces. Very nice. #4 I object to your using the word "Quick" in point 4 above. Replace that word with "Arduous".... and I would completely agree with you! #5 The way you've redefined your objection on this one made be laugh. Good one. Worded like a passionate pro...with a sense of humor. That's what it's all about. IMHO :)

  • @maddog15 no hard feelings. & I'll accept somewhere between 'quick' and 'arduous' ;

  • Had a good laugh at the way @jonpais considers I'm spreading conspiracy theories. Naw, just from human experience ... and having been through the pro-side of Nikon still cameras ... and so many other products where engineers determine what the problem is and the best solution ... and don't really want to talk about their internal decisions ... and the "user base" doesn't necessarily agree with the engineers.

    Such as ... the Nikon D3's twin "user banks", each with four options you could make. One bank for certain kinds of settings, the other for a different set. Sounded amazing. A bit confusing, but amazing.

    Why the two banks? One sort of "settings" and one sort of "shooting" ... but an interesting set of choices for what's included in each. Kinda hard to figure out why but ok, just use it, right?

    One leetle problem with the utilization ... you couldn't lock either bank or any of each banks four presets you could create. You could set them, name them ... but not lock that down. SO ... invoke a bank/preset, start shooting. Change ANY setting on your camera, and you've just reset that bank/preset. Permanently.

    The lack of a lock made them worthless to use. I tried & gave up. The only pros I know that actually used them for a while kept a flash-card with their banks on it in their case. Every flippin' time they pulled the cam out, they'd re-load their banks from the cards. Stupidly implemented great idea.

    Now ... would the Nikon engineers listen to their users? Nope ... in fact, just mentioning that in a meeting with the engineers would get them angered, yelling at the pro they'd brought in to advise them that he clearly was incapable of understanding the true brilliance of their work, and they'd leave. To the point of cancelling the relationship with the pro they'd brought in to advise them on how the users would like that camera set-up.

    In any industry there are many accounts of the wisdom of the engineers vs. the wishes of the users. So ... just putting my knowledge of human nature and engineers vs. users relational issues, the intriguing case of the pink plasticene skin of the GH3 (which is not common to many other cameras Panny or otherwise) and also a quote I saw a year back or so from Panny about their approach to adjusting the in-cam processing to handle that all-important detail of facial recognition and handling of human skin ... a general blah-de-blah comment but an extensive one of blah-de-blah ... well, it seems a reasonable assumption to me that there were some design choices in this specific camera that led to what we've then had to clean up.

    Calling that a "conspiracy theory" ... now that's a howl. Is it any kind of claim I'm making about knowing things or being prescient or able to mind read through several thousand miles of separation and language barriers? Of course not. Nor is it any more conspiracy than discussing why they left say zebra or focus-peaking off the GH3 while clearly prepping them for inclusion in other cameras released about the same time. Panny's never given a detailed response from their engineers on that one, either ... but again, it was a design consideration & decision.


  • @jonpais To my liking GH3 skin reproduction is abysmal, graded or not, well lit or not. Me holding the cam or you... If you like the results it's a good thing, I wish I did...

  • @yak abysmal? I'm curious: exactly what is meant by 'me holding the cam or you..'? that you don't like the skin tones in the shots I shared? Actually, even in the four latest screen grabs I just posted (page 30 of this thread), if you look carefully, you'll see two Western faces, and they have quite a pleasing rendition to my eyes, and that's without any color correction applied. Abysmal means appalling, which I think is quite a strong word: if the skin tones were green; if people looked like martians; or if I were shooting in daylight and subjects appeared like they were shot under fluorescent light, I might agree. But that's simply not the case.

  • @yak and if your position is that no matter how well the subject is lighted, no matter what settings one uses, no matter how brilliant a colorist one is, one simply cannot get a pleasing result from the camera, then I'm afraid the two of us have nothing more to say to one another.

  • @jonpais AND @yak ...

    So I've been in professional imaging for nearly 40 years. In me younger days, it was (within the pro portrait crowd) Hasselblad or Mamiya RB67. The acrimony at times was so absurd as to be humorous in a sort of snarky way ... a pox on both-houses look at things, perhaps? (Hassy lenses were sharper with a titch more contrast but for large enlargements the much larger negs of the RB's made for sharper prints ... BARELY ... mostly seen with a loupe. Why castigate each other over those small differences?)

    In digital for portrait photogs it's been a 3-way mashup ... Canon, Nikon, or the "snobby" hold-outs in film. but note ... it doesn't make any difference now between Hassy & RB users still shooting film ... they're together against the World.

    You two have different eyeballs and from a couple of the comments your monitors are probably not identical either. You have slightly different approaches but not as far apart as it seems to both of you, compared to what else I see and hear about. Laugh at your wonderful human uniquenesses, sip your favorite beverages, and enjoy perhaps teasing each other a bit. It's those differences that make live worth chasing after ...

  • @rNeil - the importance of calibrated monitors cannot be overstated (not to say they don't have calibrated monitors). The difference between even monitors from the same manufacturer amazes me. Even after calibration, there are notable differences. An example would be the two monitors I have. The Acer 243W(?) is a very old monitor (5+ years) that has a CFL backlight and only is potentially capable of sRGB calibration (98% gamut). My Dell 2413 Ultrasharp uses LED backlighting and is Adobe RGB capable (set to sRGB gamut in monitor), though I only have it calibrated to sRGB (102% gamut) because sRGB is the standard (foundation) for almost all viewing we use (web, NTSC, rec 709, etc.). Both were calibrated the same day using the same software and i1DisplayPro.

    Even though these two monitors are calibrated to the same standard, with the same white point and brightness, the overall contrast of the Dell is noticably better than the Acer. The colors are very similar, though there are noticable (if very slight) differences between the two, especially in the blues.

    Oh, my point. Even slight differences between "calibrated" monitors can make a pic/vid look different. If they aren't calibrated (with good, proven software and sensor), the variation can be pretty large. Most people don't notice it unless they have a dual (or more) monitor setup. I use my Dell for color correction/grading if only because I figure (i.e. hope/pray) it is actually closer to the standard than the old Acer since it is actually made for that purpose.

    Anyway, I, personally, have not noticed an objectional color cast or texture to skin tones with my GH3 and monitors(both). Perhaps there is some variation in the sensors that cause some cameras to perform worse than others? An interesting experiment to try.


  • @GlueFactoryBJJ ...

    Quite true. We had LaCie pro-type CRT monitors, one set of 'em bought three at a time ... identical monitors ... calibrated with the same equipment every time ... and all three had their own 'characteristics'. Images that looked perfect on mine came up just a bit over-yellow on the wife's.

    There were a few folks what told us that when the LCD and other "modern" style monitors came in, things would be SO much better. Yea ... right ... I've seen two identical spendy "pro" monitors side-by-side on same computer, calibrated ... and there was still a slight difference in them. Between monitors of differing brands on different computers/OS & all? Not making any assumption they'll be dead-on the same.

    And that of course is not considering the other big slip-up here: the eyeballs and "hardware" in the head of each person is clearly unique. Every single one of us.

    Combo the above? Best guess is what you have to go with much of the time ...

  • At least when you have the monitors calibrated, they are in the same ballpark... :)

  • NTSC: Never Twice Same Color

  • My eyes don't even have the same color balance.

  • I wanted to see that they were difference between both modes the 72Mbits and the 50Mbits, if they changed something at the level of the skin or other one, it's up to you. I used LUT of @YAK, as well as davinci resolve and filmconvert. The white balance was made on a neutral grey in 80 % with 2 in the green.

  • Picture Profile: Natural (-5,-4,0,-4)

    Normally I use all setting at -5 but I noticed that when I have lots of underexposed areas and hard backlights I need a bit more saturation to avoid losing colours on the shadows. Graded with Film Convert and Colorista

  • Hi there,

    Lots of tests here ! Very interesting but a little bit confusing for me. After make my own tests, I decided to use settings recommend by Andrew Reid in his GH3 guide. And I'm pretty happy with it. For instance, I've only use the one for good light situation, Natural set to -5, -5, 0, -5. Love the way it's flat and have so much details.

    For what I've seen, it's just a way of color correction and grading. All my "curves" was pretty well balance, the skin tones was not bad, pretty close naturally (very quite place in the vectorscope). If your shot is well exposed, I find the GH3 very capable. Only little corrections with FastColorCorrection (for example).

    The 50Mbs is very robust, better than what I was making with the 5DmkII. You can grade pretty well without artefacts. Like @jonpais says, it's just color correct/grade. GH3 is fantastic, I'm so happy with it. If you want, I could make screenshot of my vectorscopes by default.

    Here is an edit shot with my GH3, everything in Natural with -5, -5, 0, -5 settings. Just make some little corrections and grades.


  • I realize this will appear a bit rambling, but this is the edited version... :) In many ways, this is a kind of summary/replay of the discussions a few pages back regarding optimal settings, with MY reasoning/understanding thrown in. I just didn't really understand the "why" behind the comments, being a noob and all.

    I've been playing around and taking some video outside over the last few months and, like many, have been kind of disappointed with the "color recoverability" (probably wrong term) of the GH3. Now before everyone jumps on me for this, let me explain.

    Since I got my GH3 (almost exclusively for home videos) I've been playing with different settings and trying to learn how to get the most out of a camera like this. My previous camera (still have it as I'm still transferring old tapes) was a Sony HVR-Z1U HDV camcorder. By comparison, with the Z1U what was recorded was what you got. With the GH3, I have a lot more flexibility.

    So I started learning about video and kept seeing that the "good" cameras for video always produced video that was really flat and dull out of the camera, but during processing would "come alive" with some color correction and grading. I was amazed. So I started trying to shoot everything as flat as I could with the GH3 (Natural, -5, -5, -5, -5) thinking I would be able to do the same.

    Unfortunately, once I started processing these videos in Premiere Pro CC, there were limitations that I've been trying to ignore, but wouldn't go away. I realize that some of them could probably be addressed by using SpeedGrade or Resolve, but, for home videos and similar, that is just way more work than it is worth... I'm not a colorist. And even then, I question that the results would be as impressive.

    So I've been trying to understand WHY I'm having trouble bringing back flat video out of the GH3, when it appears to be relatively easy with "higher end" cameras. And I think I've figured it out.

    While I may be overstating the obvious for those of you who are professionals, I'm just trying to see if my understanding is close to correct. Here goes...

    The higher end cameras don't produce video as nice (IMO) as the GH3 straight out of the camera (with just about any settings). However, their video can be brought back to the point where they CAN look better than the video on the GH3. I guess this is why all pros keep going on about "latitude".

    These higher end cameras have a number of advantages that give them this ability. From my perspective they are dynamic range (sensor), bit rate, bit depth (e.g. 8 or 10-bit), color encoding (e.g. 420 or 422), and codec (I could well be missing some). While they are somewhat inter-related, it seems only two are directly responsible for the GH3's limitations and are not resolvable with things like external recorders (or sensor limited).

    Because of the GH3's 420 8-bit recording/output (SD card or HDMI), it will NEVER have the latitude that the higher end cameras have. So from what I can see, it becomes even more important to get it as close to "right" out of the camera (for the look you are trying to achieve) than these higher end cameras... without a hack that will give us access to higher end recording. EPIPHANY ALERT! :)

    I say this because the GH3 appears to only have about 1/3 or less of the latitude of higher end cameras due to its 420 8-bit recording (I haven't scientifically tested this, so it could be a bit higher or much lower). So we can only recover about 1/3 of the information that a higher end camera can. Due to this, we need to have the camera set close to how we want it so we can do the final color correction/grade and get our "perfect look".

    Based on this, here are my thoughts on in camera settings (especially since photos and videos appear to share the settings):

    Photo Style: I'm going to have to do a lot of experimentation here to see what looks best to MY eyes. I really don't know what I'm going to select here. Especially in light of discussion regarding skin tone earlier in this thread.

    Contrast: I think I'm going to end up a bit higher than -5 on this one, though below 0. My reasoning here is partially based on's review of the GH3 where they found -5 left some "muddy" shadow tones. Though, theoretically, a negative value here (up to the -5) should allow for increased shadow detail recovery and apparent dynamic range. Though I may get more benefit by adding some exposure compensation for an "exposure to the right" (ETTR) approach at the risk of blowing out some highlight detail (my current preference).

    Sharpness: I think that this will stay at -5. However, I will need to do some experimenting to see if -5 really just doesn't add any sharpness (or minimizes what is added) or actually actively softens the video. This can affect the amount of aliasing and moire that can be see in addition to the visibility of noise.

    Saturation: Like many here (though I didn't understand it before), I think that I will be setting this much closer to 0 than I have been in the past, though probably not above 0. I just haven't been able to bring the saturation back in post at -5. Not to mention that it seems to be easier to reduce saturation than to increase it without strange color artifacts.

    Noise reduction: I am likely to keep this at or close to -5. I say this for two reasons. First, noise reduction will almost always reduce detail. Because of this, I would rather have the detail and associated noise and adjust it afterward to my liking (in Premiere or using Neat) than to not have it and have no way to recover the real detail (sharpening doesn't add/recover detail). Second, with products like Neat, there are far better (if more computationally expensive) methods to control noise than what is available in the GH3. Though I may increase it depending on if I don't want to do much/any noise reduction in post (i.e. how lazy I am and the video's importance).

    Anyway, am I nuts? Or am I finally beginning to understand the limitations of the GH3?

    I also may try transcoding to ProRes (DNxHD?) 422 10-bit to see if that helps at all in post. My poor hard drives! :)

  • In general, you're pretty well along the way. Yep, NAIL what you can while shooting ... WB & exposure ... and to my eyes, there's not a lot of "close" to count. You've got some leeway, if you want to end up with the finest output ... but not a lot.

    I tried transcoding to DNxHD at first ... but Premiere Pro works in floating-point 32 bit internally, so it doesn't really matter that much whether the files are transcoded "up" to 10-bit before it sees them. I couldn't tell a difference, I just spent more time doing it.

    You're right about the differences between the GH-x and more spendy cams ... largely due to data-rates, partly due to superior sensors, processors, & camera codecs.

  • @surfculture very nice test. strangely, I liked all of the results (especially the film convert, for a stylized look), except for the color corrected ones, which looked kind of yellowish to my eyes (but again, I'm watching on a MBP Retina, not a calibrated monitor)

  • @ jonpais thank you, yes the color correction is a few yellow, I was, all the time, perfectly exposed or just -1, no more. at the end of tis month, I go to Maroco to make a film with my GH3 and my canon FD lenses and slr magic, and I don't know if I take 72Mbits or 50Mbits ????