You are in the same boat as me.. Having bought my 5D mkIII last December, there was no accessible 4K option until the Panasonic GH4 made its appearance in the Spring.
I was devastated. Having invested heavily in Canon gear, any future move I make will need to fit with my current EF mount lenses, not to mention everything else such as batteries, memory cards and my overall production workflow.
At the moment, there are two options on the table. Said to be like comparing apples and oranges, the Sony A7s and GH4 are the current competing professional cameras that offer 4K functionality, however for people that own the cameras and have been comparing the two have found it difficult. This is for a few reasons:
Sensor size: The A7s is full frame, the GH4 is MFT.
4K in camera: The GH4 can record 4K internally, the A7s requires an external recorder such as an Odyssey or Shogun.
Jeromy, CEO of Atomos talking to me and Sam from The IABM about new products and the IBC Show.
Now, many people will be arguing that what does the increased resolution allow you to do, that HD doesn’t? The image produced from the 5D is great; good in low light, versatile, fits my style of filming… But it also has big downfalls for being a DSLR, and not a video camera.
Something that is unique about these two cameras is that their ‘out of the box’ functionality has been fine tuned for video applications, as well as high end photography. This is what Canon has left behind in their non Cinema line cameras, and Magic Lantern has struck gold on with their firmware hack enabling awesome video functions.
I have only recently installed ML on my 5D mkIII due to the current firmware on the camera. It was shipped with version 1.2.3, I was hesitant to downgrade the firmware and was patient in waiting for ML to develop a tested and working version for 1.2.3. Now having access to on screen aid such as waveform monitors and audio levels make such a difference, and restart movie for the longer filming durations is great. It turns your ‘photography’ camera into basically a video camera.
From: About DSLR (Youtube).
For my type of videography, the benefits of having not only 4K, but a wider range of options for recording will allow me to crop and downscale any 4K acquisition to HD and hold incredible picture detail, dynamic range and depth of field.
The recording bit rates are higher, meaning more data is stored for post production editing, compositing or grading.
Lastly, it should increase the production value of what I produce. Now, I am not stating that better equipment makes better videos. It does give you the opportunity to step up with what you can do in your work, and especially as it keeps you up to date in a world of ever changing and improving technology.
So, what is my investment cost?
This is dependent on your current shooting kit, and whether you can merge your current system with a new one. Perhaps you already shoot Sony or Panny, so you’re in luck.
For me, all my lenses are Canon EF mount, some are electronic, others are manual, so an adapter would be needed in my case. The price of this is dependent on the glass you use, or are going to use.
Let’s look at the Panasonic GH4 to start with.
Panasonic GH4 (body only) – £1296.00
Metabones Speedbooster EF to MFT (smart with electronics) – £468.00
Now, as the GH4 is MFT, I might purchase a wide angle lens because my current ultra wide angle 14mm T/3.1 would be almost 28mm T/6 due to the sensor equivalence. So, my options would be either:
Panasonic 12 – 35mm F/2.8 – £829.00
I did have the Samyang 12mm T/2, realizing it does not come in MFT mount.. So the above would be my option. I have used it before, it has great OIS and has a decent depth of field for an F/5.6 equivalent lens.
Total GH4 investment inc extra lens – £2759.00 (excluding extra lens – £1930.00)
That £1930 was pretty much the same price I paid for the 5D mkIII body only.
Now the Sony A7s.
Sony A7s (body and battery/PWR kit) – £2034.00
Metabones Speedbooster EF to E (smart with electronics) – £316.46
The A7s does not record 4K internally, so I would need to purchase the Atomos Shogun recorder at – £1464.00
Also, as the A7s is compact in size, a cage is required to make it more accessible with the recorder and mics etc.
Movcam A7s cage – £148.02
Total A7s investment – £3998.48
(All prices are including VAT from CVP).
Now.. I’ve shot on the Panasonic GH4 and I like it. When I’ve talked to Panasonic reps about the product they all had the same comment that Panasonic listened to videographers, and you can tell. The available recording formats and codecs allow a range of uses for the camera, and the features it packs into its tiny form are perfect for those that already utilize DSLR for video.
Personally, and this is very subjective to the way I was filming when using the camera, the captured video looked like video. Some will understand what I mean, others won’t, but for those that have been shooting on a full frame camera, the ‘look’ is there. Obviously the sensor plays a large part in that, but if I purchased a GH4 kit outright (disregarding my current EF mount lenses).. I would purchase the Voightlander 25mm and the trusted Samyang cine lenses which might just combat the ‘look’ issue I feel like I have. As well as high quality ND filters so my shutter can remain at 1/50th.
Really quick GH4 test:
Trying out the 4K, and again a basic test:
(Please if you have experience, tips, footage or photos that you would like to share, please do!)
What am I going to do then?
My dad taught me something really great; good things come to those who wait. In other words, have patience.
As others test out, review and produce videos using the GH4 and A7s (and other cameras that pop up here and there), I will be closer to making my decision. For now, I know to hold off. A good thing for me to do would be to road test both cameras, work it with all of it’s video functions and produce a couple of vids that I can look back on. The folks at Park Camera’s are great at in store demos, but I can also wait for BVE in Feb 2015.
So, I can frustratingly wait a little longer for my jump to the next innovation of video production and delivery.
In the mean time I can always look at Blackmagic Design’s options that shoot 4K, as well as the Apertus AXIOM modular camera, and keep the new Arri Alexa 65 and RED Dragon for my dreams.
Five things I wish I knew when I first jumped into the creative videograpy adventure that is my life:
1. It does not matter what camera you use, invest wisely in reliable glass.
Entitled ‘F**k with nature and nature f**ks with you’, after previewing it appears it loads as a playlist, so please skip down to the bottom! Shot on my first DSLR; Nikon D5000 and 17-50mm F/3.5 -5.6, a uni project.
2. Work for free (yes, it’s the only way you’ll generate enough video content, but you’ll make friends, have a good laugh, experience terrible mistakes and awesome times).
Produced by Adam Plowden Videography, edited by Joe Bannister. Shot on Canon 60D, Tamron 17-50, Canon 50mm F/1.8, Canon 18-135mm
3. Fix it in post doesn’t exist, in fact, trying to fix it in post can do more harm than good (at least with low budget DSLR productions like mine still are.. For now..).
I had to return to Sian Williams’ house because I had over exposed a shot, and didn’t get good enough sound during her interview.. Produced by Adam Plowden Videography, ‘Behind The Scenes’ uni project and mini web series.
4. Think of the sound and the light, our primary senses for absorbing content.
A quick example video shot for my Manfrotto Takeover seminar showing the use of sound and light in short video drama to add emotion. 5DmkIII, Samyang 35mm, Tamron 24-70
5. Be yourself and create things that inspire you.. IE: Put you in your work. Copying other artists doesn’t make you stand out, you can learn from them and implement your flair and style into whatever you do. That way, when you begin to get clients you know they are interested in not just what you make, but the person behind it.
A personal favorite is filming plants and nature, a good excuse to get away from the computer! ‘Waterhouse’ produced by Adam Plowden Videography.
Bonus tip. It is kind of included as part of No.2: Collaborate and work with others from different mediums; actors, musicians, vfx artists etc. It is how new ideas are generated!
SYNC is HaZ Dulull’s new short film, I worked with him as well as DP Adam Batchelor on the production! It is backed by Blackmagic Design, Adobe, HP and more so give some support!!!
I hope these little tips will serve you well, a shout out to Dave Beck at Avenger and John Harris at John Harris Media too I couldn’t have done it without you! And Glen and Sam. Much love.
What a week it was! There was no doubts we would be busy filming and editing videos for The IABM to release, but not on the scale we anticipated! Overall, Adam Plowden Videography captured and produced at least 8-10 videos each day, an incredible 6 times more video content delivered in one week than previously in the whole of 2013!
I did include a run-down of my kit choices before I left, but here is a quick summary of my chosen equipment to capture the IBC Show:
Manfrotto 546GB twin leg tripod with a 504HD head (A Cam).
Manfrotto 755CX3G tripod with a MVH500AH head (B Cam).
Canon 60D, Tamron 17-50mm, Canon 50mm.
Manfrotto Hydra Arm and super clamp.
Zoom H6, Sennheiser ENG-G3 RxTx kit, Roto-mic.
(This is the kit we took each day to film with!)
I had to have the above tripod gear after testing them out at my Manfrotto Takeover day, I was impressed by the fluidity of the 504 head when using it with telephoto lenses (as you can see above), however for lightweight, portable and quick ‘run and gun’ filming, the 755CX3G is a cracking go to set of legs. (Pictured above with the ProMediaGear Arc-Slider) and 701HDV head.
My main camera was: Canon 5D mkIII, and I was frequently using the Tamron 24-70 F/2.8 VC and Sigma 70-200 F/2.8 DC OS for ‘go to’ lenses around the show. They have a stabilizer in the lens, which means that shake and wobble can be eliminated. I also purchased the Canon 100mm F/2.8L macro lens before the trip for detail shots, but I fell in love with it for capturing everything; crisp and beautifully shallow portraits too.
For establishing and wide shots, the Samyang 14mm T/3.1 cine lens came into it’s own. On a full frame camera it has a huge wide angle view allowing to capture the biggest of expanses with clarity.
Day 2 – Thursday 11th September – Welcome to IBC
Things are gearing up at the RAI; exhibitors are flooding through the doors, the stands are quickly being finished and the equipment is on display. IBC Show 2014 is getting ready to open its doors to 50,000 broadcasting, media and IT professionals from across the globe. We began filming the exterior the the RAI with visitors entering the venue and registering in the main foyer; the arc slider and 14mm lens create a wonderful moving perspective. After a short explore around hall 10 and 11 we made our way to The IABM Members Lounge to film an exclusive interview with Peter White, CEO of The IABM.
The IABM is a global broadcasting organization, representing nearly 80% of the broadcasting industry. The members have access to an exclusive members lounge, the IABM business conference, design & innovation awards and much more. It was our job to capture the events, conferences and members at IBC to promote and inform others about the successes at the show. For the interview, I used the Canon 5D mkIII, Tamron 24-70mm, the B cam was a Canon 60D with Canon 50mm F/1.8. For a reliable audio source I used the Zoom H6 (multi-channel recorder) with the MS mic attachment, as well as the Sennheiser ENG-G3 wireless mic kit; this was so I could attach a lav mic on the interviewees for clear sound.
Yes, this did mean throughout the week we had different video and audio sources, but Red Giant Pluraleyes aided greatly in syncing up the V&A for editing in Adobe Premiere Pro CS6.
Editing the IBC Intro video with Peter White on my laptop, yes, Windows laptop!
After capturing the buzz and excitement of pre-IBC, we headed back to our hotel to edit the intro video for the IABM members to see. The editing was fast, but the uploading was terrible via Wi-Fi, having learned our lesson, we uploaded the rest of the videos in the press room at IBC instead! Unfortunately, the video is only viewable for IABM members, so here is a quick screenshot.
Later on, we ventured out into the city of Amsterdam. It was Glen’s first time, so I look him for a tour around the sights.
Day 3 – Friday 12th September – IABM Business Conference ‘The Future of Broadcasting’ and member interviews.
It was an early start on Friday, we arrived at the RAI for the IABM business conference at 6:45am to set up and capture the members breakfast, the conference and the post networking before the show got underway that day. For added motion, I used the ProMediaGear Arc-slider for some of the opening shots, but the main conference was shot on 3 static cameras.
For a mid shot of the speaker, I shot on the Sigma 70-200mm, and for a wide I used the 60D with the 17-50mm. Glen was filming from the front for a reverse angle on the 60D and Canon 100m L, which captured some stunning reaction shots of the attendees in low light. Unfortunately, this video is only available to watch for IABM members.
As our responsibility was to capture and edit videos for a same day or next day release, our two man filming team split so that Glen could begin ingesting, backing up and editing the conference video while I went out into the show and interviewed a number of IABM members. This turned out to be a godsend tactic to release a stream of high quality videos each day. It was, however, difficult to keep track of all the media from SD and CF cards…
That day, I filmed interviews with Georacing, Harmonic, Nexidia that we edited out for same day release:
I then jetted off to The IABM stand to meet the new winners of the Student award from The IABM (I won last year), to capture some interviews with them about their study and what they are looking forward to at IBC!
Day 4 – Design & Innovation Awards and member interviews
We were already half way through our IBC experience when Saturday struck, after a successful few days of filming and editing we geared ourselves up for a long day ahead. The day begun with a selection of IABM member interviews from around the show, including; Blackmagic Design, Avid, Newtek, Sony and many more. If you have been to IBC or NAB before you’ll know how long it takes to get from one place to another, but with video kit it was a challenge to navigate around the thousands of people at the show!
I had a great time at the Sony booth, interviewing Peter Sykes about the new innovations; camera, 4K transmission, projectors, storage devices. They can be seen here:
I was intrigued by the Sony A7s, a full frame SLR with great low light and DR features.. There was lots of hype around the camera, and I had noticed a lot of the News Shooter guys using them with Atomos Ninja/Blade recorders (we were working next to Dan Chung and News Shooter in the press room), they rated it very well in a variety of conditions and shooting styles.
Bad luck struck on Saturday afternoon… My Canon 60D and 14mm cine lens was capturing a timelapse when it was moved/taken/stolen from where I left it.. Knowing that this would impact the video production of the D&I awards I quickly got help from RAI security to try and locate it. No luck, so later on that afternoon I borrowed a camera from an IABM member to capture a static wide shot of the awards ceremony. Luckily, when I arrived home I got a call from the RAI security who informed me they had found my camera!
We then got set up and prepared for The IABM Design and Innovation Awards 2014, celebrating and awarding outstanding technical developments in the broadcasting and media industry. Before IBC I edited and produced the 9 nominee category videos and graphics presented throughout the awards. Using the same setup as the IABM conference (A cam – Tele, B cam – wide, C cam – reactions) we captured the night in full, showing the excitement and buzz around winning the awards. I got to have a quick chat with some of the winner companies too!
The realities of working 12-14 hour days were catching up with us when we returned to our hotel to ingest and back up the footage. Finally, but 1:30am on Sunday all of the footage was synced and ready to be edited. At that point, we both thought its time to call it a day.
Day 5 – Delivering D&I Award Videos and member interviews
By Sunday, the main haul of event capture had been completed, with the remaining tasks being mainly interviews with members around the IBC show. As our editing ‘system’ had worked so well previously, Glen stayed in the press room using both our laptops to edit, export and upload the winner videos from the awards while I conducted interviews with more exhibitors and IBC members.
I had a great time at the Atomos booth interviewing Jeromy the CEO about the new Shogun for 4K recording and the power pack!
Atomos Interview –
Later that day I bumped into Joe, my old uni housemate who was visiting the show for a day. Later, Glen and myself went for Mexican for dinner and met up with our hotel receptionist, Klaudija for a few drinks in Vondelpark!
At this point, I was completely over my missing 60D and the tiredness. Visiting IBC and Amsterdam for work is a very rare opportunity, so we plowed through and continued to produce great day by day coverage of the show for The IABM. Glen, bless him saw less and less daylight each day!
Day 5 – Rising Stars and more member interviews
Arriving at IBC a little later than usual, Glen and myself parked up the the press area and set up the laptops to upload the previous days interviews to vimeo. Before we headed out to Steve Warners talk at Rising Stars I bumped into Nino Leitner who was off to Photokina that afternoon, so I grabbed a quick pic! Nino had been very busy with Cinema 5D coverage of the show producing their ‘On The Couch’ series with Philip Bloom, HaZ Dullul and more.
At this point, we had captured around 350Gb of video footage and delivered numerous interviews and event videos for The IABM, they were very pleased! We headed over to The Rising Stars lounge; a part of the show dedicated to young professionals in the industry where Steve Warner (training manager of The IABM) was doing a talk on CV’s and representing yourself. Even for me, it was quite interesting to hear what recruiters actually look out for and research!
Catch the full video here –
The team then split so I could conduct some interviews with The IABM student award winners, and with a couple more members for The IABM annual conference in December. It was a short and sweet day; shooting multi-cam on talks and conferences made editing fairly straight forward so we were able to deliver the videos pretty much on the same day. Glen did an awesome job and editing videos out quickly. while I was filming more content!
Day 6 – Last interviews
Day 6 was our opportunity to capture the last interview and glimpse of the show until next year. As we were interviewing members and covering events, we didn’t get to see that much of the show itself, but made time to visit some cool stands before we left on Tuesday afternoon.
We visited the Ross Video stand, to interview Pete Ross for The IABM annual conference, it was interesting to hear about how the company developed the first vision mixers and lead the way for broadcast production throughout the 20th century, definitely worth recognition.
Well, what an incredible time it has been.. We captured over 400Gb of footage and audio, combined with hours of graphics produced before the show. We delivered (and are continuing to deliver) over 55 videos online for The IABM. What a show, what a success! My huge thanks go to the other half of the team, Glen Symes for his help and dedication to getting the videos out, and dealing with my stresses of production and post throughout! Also thanks to The IABM for giving me the opportunity to cover The IBC Show 2014 for you.
Ooh, I almost forgot I stopped by the Vitec Videocom stand to say hi to the Manfrotto reps and return the tripods and grip we borrowed for filming. While we were there I asked Sofia for a short piece to camera on the new Manfrotto tripods and kit; I was over the moon to hear a new follow focus has been developed to go with the SYMPLA rig!
Check out the video with Manfrotto here –
I’ve met up with old friends, and made many new ones. My experience has been overwhelming this year, now I cannot wait to do it all again at The IABM Annual Conference and hopefully IBC 2015! If you have any questions about how we produced the videos, or IBC then drop me a tweet @Plowman91 or comment!
I’m still editing and uploading more videos, so keep updated by checking out The IABM website for more videos and content, and I will have an IBC 2014 wrap up video coming soon. UNTIL NEXT YEAR!
Morning on day 2 of our trip to Amsterdam for The IBC Show! Yesterday was a very, very long day. Arriving at Gatwick at around 4am, we were eventually in the air by 6:45 and in the city for 9:30am.
It is Glen’s first time in Amsterdam so when we arrived we took a leisurely walk from Centraal through Dam Square to Leidseplein which is near where we are staying. After dumping the cases full of camera gear at the hotel, we went and found breakfast in one of the many cafe’s around the area. The coffee is the best ever here!!
We had a couple of hours to spare before check-in so our tour of Amsterdam continued; from Leidseplein to Rembrandtplein, the Rokin and up to the Red Light District. After check-in we headed to Amsterdam RAI, the location of The IBC show where we picked up our IABM Press Passes from the media lounge. First ever time on press, so I am looking forward to the experience and hustle and bustle of the broadcasting news when the conference and expo opens today/tomorrow!
Before our next stop, we headed over to the VITEC stand (hall 11) to collect the Manfrotto tripods, heads and grip that we’ll be filming on for the show from the team; we’ve got; Manfrotto 564B (twin leg) tripod, 504HD fluid video head, 755CX3G carbon fibre tripod and MVH500AH video head, of course I’ve got a super clamp and magic arm too!
After a quick taxi trip from The RAI to The Novotel, Glen and myself met up with Sam Hawkins (Marketing exec) of The IABM to talk about the upcoming video coverage plans; we will be covering all of The IABM’s events that happen at IBC, as well as their members lounge, Rising Stars, the Design and Innovation awards and much more, so if you are a member of The IABM, or simply want to chat; come and find me!
We are off to The RAI again today to shoot general video of the conference, stands, attendees, press area and much more. Tomorrow we’ll be at The IABM’s business conference at 7am.. Plenty to do and be looking forward to! There will be plenty more news coming up when I return from filming today!
It has been a very wild summer for me, lots of productions and shooting and plenty of editing! Going back to the end of July/beginning of August, I was deep into the wedding season with JHWF, filming weddings from Ashford, Kent to St Johns College Cambridge. I also got to fly the companies DJI Phantom II Drone with a GoPro Hero 3 and Zenmuse 2D gimball, it was incredible fun (for a first timer)!!
I spent most weekends out filming weddings, where I got to try out my new Pro Media Gear Duo slider; it is simply a 2ft straight slider with a curved track on the reverse side. Honestly, it is so simple I don’t know how companies didn’t think of it before! It is extremely easy to use and is lightweight, my 5D and Sigma 70-200mm smoothly slides along the track. It sits on a removable carriage (so you can flip the slider over) with four plastic castors. 100% recommended, I purchased directly from them in the USA, it came within the delivery time (3 days) and is cost effective in comparison to similar track based sliders out there.
I mount the slider onto my Manfrotto 755Pro-B tripod (without a video head) using the clamp accessory which holds it firmly in place. This is on my IBC kit list!
I also helped out director HaZ Dulull on the production of his new short film ‘SYNC’, it took place in an underground car park in Southend with a bunch of SWAT guys, two massive SUV’s, Blackmagic Cinema Cameras and a Production camera. It was a great day shooting, operating the camera and jib for some shots was awesome!
Going back a couple of weeks, I was editing the Epsom and Ewell Borough Council Health and Wellbeing videos which involved writing up captions and mastering the audio levels as I’m quite near completion. I was offered the opportunity to get some more footage of the activities that the Wellbeing Centre offers for those that suffer with dementia including tennis and Japanese mind games. I took up the offer to get some more footage for future council projects.
It was a hot and bright couple of days, so I used variable ND filters on my lenses to bring down the exposure without reducing the 5D’s electronic shutter; a great tip for keeping motion blur realistic. I shot mostly on the Sigma 70-200 F/2.8 OS as it does a wonderful job of isolating subjects from the background. A great lens choice if you don’t have red ring fever!
I was also working on the graphics and animation for the EEBC Telecare video; I designed the graphics in Illustrator and Photoshop, then animated in After Effects in a hipstery style using shape layers, pastel tones and lots of easing!
I got some fantastic news towards the end of August, The IABM decided to go for me as their event videographer for the IBC Show and annual conference! Leading up to IBC I have been preparing a number of videos and graphics to be used and shown throughout the show and at a variety of awards, such as The IABM Design & Innovation Award.
I can’t show you much at the moment as everything is under wraps until the events at the conference, but I can show you the title sequence for the videos. It’s made in AE using some of the pics I took around the expo last year and other general press images from IBC.
After being WOW’d by the Canon 100mm F/2.8L Macro lens at my Manfrotto Takeover day, the thought of owning one has been rattling around my head since.. I was hopeful with the Sigma 105mm, but the Canon provided the next step up in terms of stabilization, auto focusing, and personally I just preferred the feel of it. I will be using the lens throughout IBC so keep checking for dedicated pics, videos and more!
(The above photos of Schneider Kreuznach Xenon Cine Lenses taken on the Canon 100mm F/2.8L Macro by Adam Plowden).
I also booked my first wedding for January next year, so I met up with the couple ‘Sarah and Matt’ for a pre-shoot at their venue with Ash (who recommended me, thanks!!). I got some beautiful footage of them in the setting sun, here is a tiny teaser 🙂
One day to go until Glen and I leave for Amsterdam to film the IBC Show for The IABM, I did a quick vlog for you, an update on the kit, what we’ll be covering. I will be releasing videos most days, blogging and tweeting lots to share the news from the conference, so remember the keep checking for updates! I’m hoping to catch up with PB and Nino Leitner too 🙂
Here’s the low down on my kit list:
Canon 5D mkIII
2 x Canon 60D
Tamron 24-70mm F/2.8
Sigma 70-200mm F/2.8
Canon 100mm F/2.8L
Samyang 14mm T/3.1
Samyang 35mm T/1.5
Samyang 85mm T/1.5
Canon 50mm F/1.8
Nikkor 50mm F/1.4
Manfrotto SPECTRA Bi-colour 900FT
Manfrotto SPECTRA 500F
Pro Media Gear Duo arc slider
Sennheiser Wireless ENG-100 Rx-Tx
I’m picking up some tripods, heads and a magic arm-super clamp from the Vitec team tomorrow, they are doing me a huuuge favor so thank you Dave, Mark and Siobhann from Manfrotto/Vitec!!
Here is something I’ve been checking out; If you love motion graphics and After Effects, then definitely check out The School Of Motion ’30 Days of AE’ tutorials, a range of in depth tuts ranging from objects to typography; check it out to learn something! http://www.schoolofmotion.com/
Right, I’m up at 3am to fly at 6. You will be reading the waffle of a very tired Adam tomorrow! Keep on following for more;