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GH4 Firmware 2.3, V-log for $99, Epic Panasonic marketing fail
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  • Hey, on a side note, has anyone had any luck finding a simple system for grading 4K V-Log footage quickly on a PC? I found this route to be very fast when dealing with 4K ProRes footage from my Odyssey 7Q+ in DaVinci Resolve 12:

    1. Import footage onto an internal editing SSD
    2. Open footage with Media Encoder, transcode to DNxHR 10-bit 4K and edit metadata
    3. Open transcoded footage in Resolve 12, a simple timeline layout, and get started with colour:
    4. Apply a REC709 LUT (I use the Osiris M31 REC709) to stop the crushing of blacks that happens when using a LOG LUT, but still add some awesome colour to the shot
    5. Increase the contrast of the shot to about 1.30 (depending on shot... adjust as necessary)
    6. Increase the Saturation to about 90% (depending on shot... adjust as necessary)
    7. Adjust the Pivot, tweak the basic colours for the atmosphere, add in a touch of red to increase the fleshy tones
    8. Add a light pass of Neat Video noise reduction to get rid of excessive grainy features.
    9. Export to another internal SSD, different SATA port, produces at about 20 fps (no Neat Video) or 4 fps (with Neat Video).

    Very efficient work flow, creates images like this:

    Does anyone have any tips on a faster workflow? Other than kicking Convergent Design for not including DNxHR on their Odyssey to stop the extra transcoding steps... :D

  • @BrennanK Why the step to transcode to DNxHR? Why not just work with the file in ProRes?

  • @fredfred27 ProRes was not designed to work well with Windows, and Windows was not designed to work well with ProRes... DNxHD and DNxHR on the other hand, are specifically designed to flow smoothly with Windows.

    When editing Prores 4K UHD 10-bit 422 on my PC, my average frame rate in my NLE while editing is about 6 fps... I transcode to DNxHD/R and instantly my frame rates go over 35 fps. That alone, no matter anything else, makes me transcode to DNxHD/R.

    Besides, my clients all seem to think that the name DNxHR sounds more high-end than "ProRes"... :D So I play this up and they pay more for it! More work for me in transcoding, but it actually saves me time in the end... And the frustration of slow playback!

  • @BrennanK Got it. I have edited in Avid for years on Windows. Love DNxHD/DNxHR. I have a Shogun and record in DNxHR. Sorry you can't.

  • What is the best settings for V-log (Contrast,nr,saturation,etc.) everything at -5 ? Also i've red before that there was some issues with zebra. How should zebras be set in oder to save the highlights ?

  • @swiss_boy you can't control contrast or sat in V Log. The only settings that you can change are sharpness and NR. The highlight recovery is pretty good in V Log so if you're exposing with zebras I would set them to the highest setting. An easier way that I've found to expose is to get your bracket right at 0, assess your highlights, if you can afford to raise the exposure one more stop then go for it.

  • @aaronchicago thanks for the info. So you mean set zebras to 100% and make sure to not clip? That's how i do it on my bmpcc. I guess NR will have to be -5 and play with sharpness for my liking. My english is not perfect.

  • I tested and stop using my ('adulterated') V-Log because GH4 doesn't extend histogram to the right margin and because of those known issues with 8-bit recording.

    Exposure wise, 85% zebra (if I'm not mistaken) did the same as 105% in other picture modes - if you just 'touch it', it won't saturate. I found zebras very reliable in V-Log, in fact, zebras were the only way to expose correctly (in this case, to the right).

  • Hi, anybody has the un updated Imagen panasonic app for IOS? I need the one that comes with the V Log L , the new version does not have it anymore, cheers

  • @jopereira when you say just touch it you mean if i just start to see the zebras set to 85% i'm good, the footage shouldn't clip ?

    I just got a GH4 with firmware 2.3 so i wonder is it worth doing the update 2.4 and buy V-LOG or should i just get the v-log for free ? i've red that the free V-log do not enable 12 stops dynamic range but only 10...

    Also does the paid version(GH4R) unlock the 30min limit on european GH4?

  • @Swiss_Boy Yes, that's what I meant. I do that all the time IF those spots are not your main subject - if so, play safe and expose without zebras in there.

    I think R stands for recording/recorder :) . For Panasonic, GH4 is a stills camera - they just took good care of the video part of it :)

  • Mac DaVinci Resolve: I have found that using the Resolve Colour Management or ACES workflows and avoiding the V-log LUT (or other LUT) allows me to minimise the banding effects with internally recorded 8bit files. I also find that using no Resolve Colour Management at all, (rec709 settings) and using curves to grade also looks better than using the LUT method.

  • @Vitaliy_Kiselev, thank you for posting that video -- VERY informative and interesting. And here I was thinking that I always needed to overexpose V-Log... Now I have some work to do testing out lower exposures.

  • Very interesting tests by big time DP Shane Hurlbut. Compared to his initial unfavorable reactions to the GH4 some time ago, it seems that he has taken the time to find the right settings/sweet spot and now seems very pleased with the quality of skin tone in Vlog when under exposed by 2/3 to 1 stop. It wasn't clear to me how this translates to what most of us have been doing without his access to false color tools. It seems the consensus here has been to over expose mids by 1.5 to 2 stops using in camera meter and checking zebras to monitor and guard important highlights. So then to duplicate his ideal exposure, would we be looking to over expose say by only 1 stop or even less using in camera meter? Yes, further testing is needed in light of that video.

  • If changing the exposure in V-Log L changes the colors, then you are processing the colors incorrectly. Exposure is something that you should be able to fully compensate for in post with very little shift in colors.

    The GH4 has rather poor dynamic range. Expect noisy results if you underexpose by so much.

    I think Shane is off his rocker. Nothing he shot in that test looks very good to me.

  • Expose to the 0 level, (as in neither over nor under-exposed), record the file as a 4K 10-bit 422 file to an Odyssey 7Q+ or a Shogun/Assassin.

    Then use Resolve to balance the shot, add some contrast, add some saturation, and slap on an Osiris M31 LUT and it looks awesome every single time! Check this clip:

    The first clip is a little too saturated, and needs some minor adjustments, but the older actor in the second part of the clip is absolutely stunning!

    I sent this clip in to Brodie at Color Grading Central for his opinion and he implied that it was absolutely perfect... the only thing he would do to the second clip is add some vignetting to it... that is coming from a professional colorist... so V-Log L has potential!!!

    I know - the second clip was just pure luck for me. I know almost nothing about color grading so I am by no means bragging about my skills as they are non-existent, but it can't be too hard to get good skin tones out of V-Log L... Just play around with it for a while...

    If you want me to share the exact Resolve tweaks I did to that second clip let me know...

  • @brennank that's the beauty of V Log in my opinion. Using the correct LOG LUTs gets the footage to a wonderful look without much work. Grading C Log, Cine D, S Log 2 are MUCH harder to get a good look.

  • Shane Hurlbut clearly states in the video test that he is adjusting the key light and everything else including camera exposure remains constant. He is NOT testing the camera being underexposed, he is testing skin tones being underexposed (or subject matter being under-lit). It's a subtle but important difference.

    I did my own tests yesterday (Internal 8bit recording, processing in DaVinci Resolve with Resolve colour Management, no LUT) and was looking for green/magenta noise in graduated colour, such as flat walls, sky etc. and also noise in the dark areas.

    Results: ±0 looked good with some green/magenta noise. -1/3 looked better with less green/magenta noise. -2/3 looked better with much less green/magenta noise. Dark areas starting to get a bit noisey. -1 looked noisey with no green/magenta noise. Dark areas very noisey.

    I managed to reduce banding issues in the sky by using this approach. Previously I had overexposed by 1-2 stops and used the V-log LUT as per some other peoples suggestions but the image just looks way better with -2/3 stop. I have now setup the camera to do the -2/3 stop offset as standard.

  • @BrennanK Osiris M31 LUT has that orange/teal look that is so over used. I'm downloading your clip and I'll post a grade for you. Davinci Resolve colour managed, no LUT.

    BrennanK clip.jpg
    1634 x 934 - 225K
  • Thank you Caveport for your clarification on Shane's testing but regardless of the subtle difference in under lighting vs under exposing, it seems that you are agreement with him in your own practice now by under exposing - 2/3 a stop ( in camera meter) for a superior Vlog image. Very interesting I will have to experiment myself!

  • And one thing that I thought might be critical to Shane's results was how much he crushed the shadows. One reason I was overexposing V-Log was to keep the shadows clean-ish. Shane doesn't care about that because he's going to crush them anyway it seems.

    As far as beautiful Monette's skin tone, his underexposure certainly worked well. Even after he lifts the overall exposure, he still crushes the shadows. The only remaining evidence of his strategy is that the pictures on the wall get brightened some.

  • Yes, so where one sets the exposure will be largely determined by the subject matter and how important or not shadowy areas are.

  • @caveport What is wrong with the Orange/Teal look? I mean sure, all the professional films use it, hence we feel it is overused... But I can't go wrong when a client's jaw hits the floor when they see their commercial for the first time, they quote "looks fit for a cinema screen..." :D (I wish I could make this happen every time for all clients...) If you want to play around with some good footage, try this one, it is a DNxHR 10 bit file converted from the ProRes original from an Odyssey 7Q+:

    All: Have fun tweaking that file, it is a .MXF one, it should open inside most pro edit suites... Post images here of your final grade! Let's see who can get the nicest skin tones! :)