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.
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!
In an earlier post I mentioned that I am not a photographer, apart from the odd dabble in flowers. Last Saturday I was at Box Hill School for their summer Copacabana Ball, for Madeleine Pink florist Margaret Alldridge to take some photos of the displays for her portfolio and website, my goodness what a display it was!
I prepped all of my photo kit that afternoon, taking with me the Canon 5D mkIII and a range of lenses, but I predominantly used the Samyang 35mm T/1.5 cine as its minimum focus distance is similar to that of a macro lens, the old Nikkor 50m F/1.4 and Saymang 85mm T/1.5. The Tamron 24-70mm is constantly attached to my camera as my main go to lens so that was with me too.
It was a beautiful afternoon, and very hot too! Here is a selection from the photos I took;
I took the photos in RAW, then post processed in Photoshop for small adjustments like exposure and a kick of contrast. Most of the photos had to have the saturation reduced as the vibrant colours were so punchy! Photo’s copyright Adam Plowden Videography 2014.
Yesterday I was out filming talking heads and some b-roll for a Wellbeing project on behalf of EEBC. Wellbeing is our general mental and physical health, but there are many factors in the way that we live that can affect our chances of developing serious health problems in the future. These include some sensitive subjects, that I was capturing to provide an information base for those in the community that may be suffering, or have friends and relatives of those diagnosed with; Cancer, Coronary Heart Disease, Dementia and Diabetes.
I was featuring nutritional expert Yvonne McMeel throughout the videos, so I began by planning my main piece to camera with her in the Wellbeing Centre.
This was a standard video shoot, so I packed my kit bag to be prepared with whatever the day would bring! This included;
Lighting – Daylight balanced 85W studio light with soft umbrella.
Extras – Lilliput 1018 (I am currently testing out and reviewing this product).
I took along the Lilliput 1018; the new flagship 10 inch touch screen field monitor, which produced crisp pictures and well represented colours. I ran this on a F-970 battery with HDMI through from the 5D, so I could monitor both. This did however cause the camera to heat up quite quickly. However, the monitor has awesome features usually found on high end products which include; exposure and focus peaking, on screen waveform monitors, levels and much more, which came in very handy for assessing the quality of the picture. (More coming later regarding this product).
Char doing her make up thang!
I began setup at 9am, shortly followed by Char the make up artist who set up her bits. The location for filming was the Wellbeing Centre, which as a wonderfully bright open facade with big doors and windows. Luckily enough, blaring heat and sunshine poured through the windows, so that was my key light at slightly cooler than daylight colour balance at 5200k. This also matched the daylight light fixture I was using to add a fill and kick to the subject.
Why did I use a 2-point light setup?
I could have rocked up with the intention of using just the daylight and the incandescent lights in the centre with the mentality that it will illuminate my subject well, but there are risks you have to be willing to take if you approach lighting in a casual way. Some points to remember when thinking about lighting your subjects;
Are they defined from the background?
Do they have harsh shadows on their face?
Moving sunlight will change throughout the day, in brightness, direction and colour.
Now, when you haven’t been to the location before it is difficult to judge the lighting conditions, so firstly if you can have a RECCE of the location. It is very beneficial as you can begin to compose the scene, judging the internal and external lighting, now noisy the environment is, whether you will need a backdrop instead of a plain background.. All points to consider before you turn up with the camera kit and begin filming.
Defining the subject from the background is what makes them look 3-dimensional and not flat, this is the same for the shadows too as it shows that features are visible on the face. With DSLR’s it is possible to use depth of field to define your subject from the background, but lighting can also be used to ‘pop’ the subject out of the BG.
Harsh shadows are caused by strong direct light, and are unwanted as they mask features and don’t represent the subject properly, unless this is the effect you are looking for. For piece to cameras and interviews having soft shadows around the nose show the features of the subject, again making them look real.
The sunlight is your best friend and worst enemy at the same time… As the Earth rotates, we move further away or closer to the sun which changes the lights direction; if you start filming in the morning with your subject lit from the front, by 12 noon the sun is over head and by the late afternoon the light will be behind you. To combat this, keep continuity by filming at the same times each day, or even simpler be aware of the suns direction and gradually rotate the subject and other lights to keep a constant illumination. For me, I was filming from 11am through to 15:00 with the sunlight to my left for the whole day which was very beneficial, but not every time will I be that lucky!
Watch out for clouds that can block the sunlight, and be aware of how the colour temperature of daylight changes throughout the day; cool in the morning and warm in the evening. For me, shooting in midday sun meant a constant temperature of 5200K for both cameras, matching the other light.
The use of a kicker or fill light, pushes out the shadows caused by the key light (the sun), and gives a halo effect to the hair of the subject making them stand out. The difference is subtle but effective.
Camera Setup and Composition
Once I had my lighting up and running, it was time to set up the cameras and audio equipment. I was going to shoot using the Samyang 35mm T/1.5 cine lens, but this would result in being intimately close to Yvonne, the subject, which would be quite off putting and may add shadows/interference such as me rustling papers to the recording. Instead, I used a telephoto lens as I can be a good distance away from the subject, and create a narrow field of view that frames up as an MCU (medium close up).
My main A camera was the 5D mkIII, and although the Sigma lens can open up its aperture to F/2.8 for shallow depth of field, this was not required for today. Instead, the camera was set to F/4.5 for a still shallow depth of field, but deep enough for the subject to move forward and backwards in the frame a little, and to de-focus the background. The ISO was set to 200, although when the Sun disappeared behind clouds I would ride the ISO to 250 or 320 depending. To stick to the 180 degree shutter rule, the electronic shutter remained locked at 1/50th.
The B camera was the Canon 60D, I paired this with the sharp Tamron 24-70 F/2.8 and shot wide open, again riding the ISO when required. I did this because this camera was capturing a wide shot of the subject, so depth of field was not noticeable. To keep continuity, both cameras were set to a white balance/colour temperature of 5200K, but it appears that the 60D picture is slightly yellow/green than the 5D picture.
The often forgotten partner to the pretty pictures you see, having top quality audio is just as important as having your subject in focus and exposed. I used the Zoom H6 as my recorder, with the XY mic attached to capture one stereo recording. I also used the Sennheiser ENG-G3 wireless mic kit, attaching a lav/lapel mic to the subject which would be my main audio source. As a back up I also used the Rotolight Roto-Mic plugged into the 5D just in case. Remember to take headphones so you can monitor the sound recording, just like you would use the cameras screen to compose the picture.
The filming went brilliantly. As a precaution I decided to use the ‘record to multiple card’ function in the 5D so I had a back up of the footage in case the cards got corrupted from such long recording times. As mentioned earlier with the lighting, as the light slowly changed, I also adjusted the position of the kick/fill to push back the shadows.
I was very impressed with the Lilliput 1018 field monitor too, and although it is larger than monitors I would usually use the touch screen control and diverse functions suited the shoot well, so I could keep a close eye on the changing light levels.
After the principal piece to camera filming was complete, I ventured out into Epsom and Ewell with Yvonne to film some b-roll pieces that would add to the information and dialogue about wellbeing and health. So, we visited Shadbolt Park outdoor gym, Ewell Court Library, Epsom’s Derby Square, we were going to hit the market but by that time it was 17:30 and no chance of finding fresh fruit and veg to film.. We returned to the car to go to the last location, Epsom Downs, when this happened…
My car broke down. The filming day abruptly ended with a call to my insurers for recovery, while I also arranged a taxi for Yvonne to take her to the train station. That didn’t put a dampener on the day though, I had captured great video and dialogue that I hope will help many people in the borough and wider community who may be suffering with cancer, heart disease, diabetes or dementia.
I then ingested the footage, and backed up a whopping 80Gb of footage and audio.. Lots to edit through, but thankfully those wonderful geniuses at Red Giant have a tool called Pluraleyes which can sync video with externally recorded video, so suddenly the issue to matching up the audio to the video disappeared, saving me potentially hours of work!
A bunch of un-synced video and audio clips gets transformed into this –
Pluraleyes then allows you to export the sequence as an XML that I then imported into Adobe Premiere Pro to edit! It’s ready to go!
Overall, very happy with the footage and the outcome of the first day! I need to get out and shoot some more cutaways/b-roll of healthy food, socializing and some more bits and bobs to add.
I had a venture out of my workspace today, I’m quite lucky in where I live is surrounded by green. Just down the road there is Horton Country Park, further afield is Epsom Common and The Downs, where you have seen videos and photos from with Glen for Manfrotto.
With sunshine beaming, I gathered by camera gear and took a walk into the wild.
Todays kit included the Canon 5DmkIII, Tamron 24-70 F/2.8 VC and Sigma 70-200 F/2.8 OS. I kept it simple for a change!
Here are a couple of photos from my walk, having the chance to take a RAW photo and a JPEG and then edit the CR2’s in Photoshop makes me want RAW video so badly. You get lots more wiggle room, or latitude to work with in post processing to enhance the photos, please Magic Lantern help all of us 5DmkIII videographers out and get a stable RAW video release out soon!