Panasonic has announced firmware v2.2 for the GH4 to make it easier to use anamorphic lenses with the camera. The new anamorphic mode allows the camera to capture video from a 4:3 aspect ratio chunk from the middle of the sensor to match the projection of specialist lenses, allowing genuine anamorphic capture, rather than digital simulation of the look.

Anamorphic lenses have a wider horizontal field-of-view than they do vertically, meaning a very wide-format image gets horizontally compressed onto a narrower recording medium. This is then 'stretched' again, either using software or by projecting the footage using another anamorphic lens. The process was originally used in Hollywood to make full use all of a standard film frame when shooting ultra-wide format movies (rather than using a short, wide strip from the middle of each frame), lends a distinctive look to the footage and the way depth and motion are conveyed.

This distinctive look has become highly desirable, to the point that Panasonic said it became aware of GH4 users using anamorphic lenses with the camera's 4K Photo function that shoots 4:3 4K video so that stills can be grabbed from it. Adding anamorphic mode as a full video mode means users have complete control over recording format, bitrate and luminance scale, which aren't available in 4K Photo mode. The faster, stills-orientated autofocus of 4K Photo mode is also disengaged.

The anamorphic mode shoots 3328 x 2496 video at 23.98, 24, 25 or 29.97 fps. However, while the camera will also output 4:3 video over HMDI as a 10-bit 4:2:2 stream, this has to fit within the height constraints of standard 4K footage, so is downscaled to 2880 x 2160 with black bars on either side.


Press Release:

Panasonic Announces an Anamorphic Firmware Update for the LUMIX GH4

Las Vegas, NV (April 13, 2015) – Panasonic announced the release of a much anticipated firmware update Ver.2.2 for the award winning LUMIX GH4. This new firmware enables two new features, most notably the ability to record anamorphic video content.

Anamorphic lenses are used to create a cinemascope aspect such as 2.39:1 or 2.35:1. Panasonic discovered that cinematographers had been experimenting with the 4K PHOTO mode 4:3 aspect ratio in the LUMIX GH4 and vintage anamorphic cine lenses to achieve the classic Hollywood look of anamorphic film capture. Unlike complex digital post processing needed to achieve the look, many of the background distortion and light flare effects that became so popular with anamorphic film capture can now be achieved optically in the LUMIX GH4.

Thanks in part to its Micro Four Thirds format and 4K recording ability, firmware Ver.2.2 for the LUMIX GH4 enables an Anamorphic (4:3) Mode capable of recording video in 3328 x 2496 pixel (equivalent to approx. 8.3-megapixel) resolution at a frame rate of either 23.98, 24, 25 or 29.97 fps. With an anamorphic lens such as 2x*1 you can capture and un-squeeze a 3356x2496 image in post-production. In addition, 4:2:2 / 10 bit HDMI output is also available*2.

A further enhancement of the new firmware is the addition of a very high shutter speed of 1/16,000 sec. when using its electronic shutter mode.

To learn more about how Panasonic LUMIX is “Changing Photography”, visit the LUMIX Lounge at www.LumixLounge.com and follow @LumixUSA on Twitter for updates. The new firmware is scheduled to be released in late April, 2015 at the following website:

LUMIX DMC-GH4 Firmware Ver.2.2

http://panasonic.jp/support/global/cs/dsc/

*1 To convert the footage to a cinemascope aspect for playback, corresponding software and device(s) are required.
*2 If you use the HDMI output when [Bit Mode] in [HDMI Rec Output] is set to [4:2:2 10bit], black bars appear on the right and left side of the image. As a result, the image will appear on the screen in a smaller size (2880x2160). In addition, you cannot record motion picture while using the HDMI output.