How good is the GH4 video?

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mpgxsvcd
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How good is the GH4 video?
4 months ago

So we all like to talk about what camera is better and what features are must haves to make our content stand out from all of the rest. However, do we really know what matters and what doesn't? Do we really know how much dynamic range we need? Do we really know if 4K will make a difference?

I recently had a chance to shoot video at the US Youth Sport Climbing Nationals along with several other people. Myself and one of the competitors were just shooting handheld home movie style for our own highlights videos. However, there was a crew there who was hired to shoot the official Highlights video. Since there are so many climbers not much was overlapped between all of our videos.

I used my GH4 mostly but I always had the GH3 running as a backup with a wide angle lens in case I missed something. The other person was using a Canon T5i and the camera crew had full frame Canon cameras with rigs and stabilizers.

It is pretty obvious that the extra time the camera crew put in for editing paid off. The overall editing of their video is what they really get paid for. However, I was really surprised at how different the Canon video looks to the Panasonic video. Even on youtube you can see that the extra bit rate that the original Panasonic file has shines through. You can also see that the Canon cameras consistently clip the highlights in almost every scene. The GH4 only clips it in the scenes with direct sunlight shining through the windows.

The video in my file was completely ungraded. It is straight out of the camera and just pieced together with the music. I started out shooting 4K @ 30 FPS because I wanted to see if the extra resolution would allow me to do image stabilization in post processing. I quickly realized that while the extra resolution is a plus the slower Auto Focus was a HUGE minus. With these shots the kids are moving constantly and changing direction during falls.

You can see in the T5i video how often the focus goes out and comes back in. You really need good AFF for this type of video. Therefore, I switched to 1080p @ 60 FPS with a 1/120 shutter duration and 1080p @ 96 FPS for slow motion.

I liked the fact that I could do super slow motion with the 96 FPS footage. However, there is a severe resolution drop when using that 1080p mode. In the end I found out that the 1080p @ 60 FPS mode really is the most versatile. It simply never loses focus and it still has significantly more resolution than any of the Canon cameras. It also retains all of the highlights in creative movie mode with the Cinema D setting.

So what do you guys think? Everyone complains about the Panasonic cameras having 13 stops vs. 14 stops, or the lack of All-I for 4K, or the rolling shutter not being fast enough. Does that really matter? Isn't the significant resolution difference and compression artifacts of the Canon cameras a much bigger issue? Yet the professionals still shoot with the Canon cameras and get paid for it.

So what do you like about the videos below and what do you dislike? I for one love the shallow depth of field of the larger sensor cameras. Even the mighty 35-100mm F2.8 doesn't give me the depth of field I would want on the GH4. However, I wouldn't trade that for the lack of resolution.

Videos:

Amateur T5i video. Remember to select 1080p in the youtube player for highest quality.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=42N8dOpgXmA

Amateur GH4 and GH3 video. Mostly 1080p @ 60 FPS, with some 1080p @ 96 FPS, and 4K @ 30 FPS. Remember to select 1440p for highest quality.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0_Sd3AH_oo4

Amateur GH4 video. Almost all 1080p @ 60 FPS. Remember to select 1440p in the youtube player for highest quality.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aXcEddrTVOk

Professional Canon full frame video(I think. Could be APSC as well). Remember to select 1080p in the youtube player for highest quality.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jkr0uwYDsGI

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