Is this the ultimate combination for indie movie-making? The Panasonic GH4 records 4k, the Speedbooster “expands” your sensor and give your more light, and together with the Sigma 18-35mm f1.8 you are able to shoot video with aperture F1.2. Total price is $2,896. It seems a lot, but compared to other equipment with similar features and technology, this has to be the best deal. But why not the Sony A7s, you may ask? Let me explain.
The downside with the Panasonic GH4 compared too 5D mark iii and Sony A7S, is the poor video quality when shooting in high ISO. So using a really fast lens is necessary when shooting in low light with the GH4 to avoid high ISO. But, last year Metabone released the Speedooster, which is an adapter for Canon EF lenses and micro four third cameras like the GH4. It is not just an adapter. Inside the speedbooster, it’s a special glass that increases your lenses maximum aperture by one stop (a f1.8 lens is then a f1.2 lens) and also makes lenses o,7x wider. That means it would not only give you more light, but also decrease the cropping inside the camera (you then get shorter depth of field). So the low light is no longer a big issue. In addition the A7s doesn’t have the 4k recording inside the camera and it doesn’t have the same slow motion functions as the GH4. You are able to shoot 4k with the Sony, but then you need an external recorder which is really expensive. So what else is great with the GH4?
Many people think that 4k itself is what creates sharp and good looking video, but the video codec is as important, as well as the lens. The Panasonic GH4 has the possibility to record 4K video in 100 Megabit per second, Full HD in 200 Mbps and even 96fps FULL HD 100 Mbps. The Canon 5D mark ii, which was my latest camera, captures video in 42mbps, and compared to the Canon 5D mark iii which captures video in 92 mbps, you can really see the difference. With FULL HD 200mbit in the GH4 the 5d mark iii footage is twice as compressed and that makes a difference.
You can modify the picture profiles in the GH4, and you also have presets like Cinelike D, which makes your image flat and easier to color grade in post production (see video below). It has focus peeking and zebra stripes, which helps a lot during shooting. The flip screen is genius, and the viewfinder is a must if you are shooting in bright sunlight and don’t have any external viewfinders. On the LCD screen you can see the sound level, which is great. The camera has a microphone input, a headphone output, a HDMI output and an AV output. The camera is small and has a lot of buttons which you can customize as you want. It even has a genius built in time-lapse function.
So as a conclusion, I think this setup is exactly what I need. Take a look at the video below where I explain and show tests done with this setup:
This is how I color graded the footage in post, using the Cinelike D profile, FilmConvert Pro, Premiere Pro CS6 and Da Vinci Resolve:
Main music by Thomas Leypoldt
Other music by Tchaikovsky and Strauss
Thanks to Eskild Fors (Youtbe.com/Exkild), Kim Groustra and Tor-Andre Stuland