A decent baseline for Fujifilm X-T4 video recording (for video beginners)

Started Jan 14, 2023 | Discussions thread
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Rightsaidfred
Rightsaidfred Senior Member • Posts: 2,505
A decent baseline for Fujifilm X-T4 video recording (for video beginners)
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Dear Fujifilm video beginners and occasional video shooters

This is to you. I am definitely not addressing advancved and experienced video shooters. As opposed to cell phone videotaping, with a semi professional camera, one is forced to take so many decisions that it takes a lot of time to understand only the basics. It is just so overwhelming. You cannot just shoot. So what I want is to provide some information and decent baseline settings for those who just occasionally want to shoot video with Fujifilm.

My information is based on my X-T4, but certainly transferable to other contemporary Fujifilm camera models. Two and a half years ago, I did the same with my X-T20 (see A decent baseline for Fujifilm video recording (for video beginners)); in the meantime, I went for an X-T4, and I've also learned and practiced a bit more when it comes to video.

When it comes to the video parameters, it's a lot about finding your own compromise between quality and storage space resp. processor requirements.

OK. Let's go.

Smaller investments you really should make

Already for moderate needs such as family footage, you are strongly encouraged to make a few smaller investments.

  • As soon as you want to have recorded sound in your videos, an external microphone is highly recommended. Whether this is a mic mounted on the camera's shoe mount or a wireless Lavalier (clip-on) mic is a question of your needs. The camera's internal mic is only a stopgap solution, you will definitely not be happy with its audio quality. I prefer a Lavalier mic.
  • As soon as you want to record video outdoors, you will need ND filters, reason being the relatively long ss typical for video footage. Outdoors, you will typically have to solve the problem of way too much light hitting the sensor. You need to be able to avoid clipping at reasonable ISO (limiting is the lower end, the base ISO), typical video footage apertures (f/2.8...f/4), and typical ss (1/48 s or 1/60 s). Whatever it is, a variable ND filter or a set of fix filters. Also think of step-up rings.

There is nearly infinite potential for further investments (camera cage, gimbal, external monitor, external recorder, yadayada), but an external mic and the ND filters are enough to produce really good footage.

Movie mode - resolution and aspect ratio

The X-T4 offers 4K and full HD, and you are forced to take a decision for one of those. Of course, the required memory space will depend on your decision.

4K (means approx. 4096 pixels horizontally)

  • 4K 16:9 (3840 x 2160) - this is the one I'd go with for good quality video footage.
  • DCI 17:9 (4096 x 2160) (“Digital Cinema Initiatives”)

Full High Definition

  • FHD 16:9 (1920 x 1080)
  • FHD 17:9 (2048 x 1080)

Movie mode - Frame rate

The X-T4 offers a plethora of frame rates, and you are forced to take a decision for one of those. They come from different standards (the whole numbers come from the PAL standard, the decimal numbers come from NTSC), and the offering looks pretty confusing if you never concerned yourselves with frame rates. Of course, the higher the frame rate, the greater the memory demand.

Let's keep that simple.

  • For "cinematic look", 23.97/s is a good choice.
  • For a bit smoother impression, choose 29.98/s.
  • For really fast moving subjects or for fast panning but definitely not as a standard setting, choose 59.98/s.

Movie mode - Bit rate

The X-T4 offers different bit rates between 50 and 400 Mbit/s, the choice may be limited depending on other settings, and you are forced to take a decision for one of those. Of course, the bit rate directly influences storage requirements.

If you can afford, select 200 Mbit/s. Watch out: your sd card needs to be fast enough. I've recently done a good enough family video with 50 Mbit/s.

File format - the codec

The X-T4 offers three different codecs, and you are forced to take a decision for one of those.

  • MOV/H.265 (HEVC) LPCM – the newest codec, best compression & best quality, but demanding for processor/software in post treatment.
  • MOV/H.264 LPCM
  • MP4/H.264 AAC

Difficult for me to give a recommendation. IT equipment wise (post treatment), you should be on the safe side with the MOV/H.264 LPCM. On the other hand, I have no problems with the H.265, at least with shorter sequences, and I don't have a high performance computer.

Movie Compression

The X-T4 offers two different compression rates, and you are forced to take a decision for one of those. There are All Intra and Long GOP (stands for "long group of pictures"). All Intra is basically frame by frame recording. Long GOP makes a compromise, is more compressed and of course takes less storage space.

  • Select Long GOP for standard sequences.
  • Select All Intra for fast panning or fast movement.

Film simulation vs FLog

FLog is for the advanced videographs. FLog is about recording with flat colors (but you can display real colors while recording in the viewfinder) and more dynamic range, the colors being added in video post processing using LUTs available from Fujifilm. Stay away from FLog as a beginner. Stay with the film simulation.

But what film simulation to select? Of course it is a matter of taste. Many including me like those with the more moderate colors. Eterna, Classic Chrome, Classic Negative, to mention a few. Often, highlights and shadows are reduced, particularly important with the harsh Classic Chrome. I saved myself a few custom settings.

Many youtubers reduce sharpness. I don't currently.

Movie optimized control - and how to set exposure in video, actually

Movie optimized control is about deactivating all dials and also the aperture ring, and steering those and more parameters on the LCD screen. Beyond the obvious advantage, there is an invaluable advantage to all those who mix video and stills: you keep exposure the settings separate. In video mode, the dial and aperture ring settings play no role. As soon as you leave the video mode, the dials and the aperture ring settings apply. So you can really instantly change betweem video and stills by switching the lever under the ss dial.

So I recommend to use the movie optimized control.

For exposure setting, I always go fully manual. Always. I want to have a constant look, I want to have the full control over exposure. I determine my exposure parameters simply by looking into the viewfinder and looking at the histogram. I also use the zebras, I set them to 100 %, but I accept a blown out sky if I want to have the face in good light. Exposure setting comes basically down to the right ISO setting in combination with an ND filter, since the ss is given anyway, and since I mostly want to use apertures around f/2.8....4.

Shutter speed

Relax! One of the very few decisions you don’t need to make! It’s a given as soon as you selected your frame rate. It’s known as the "180° rule".

What does that mean? If the frame rate is x, the ss has to be 1/2x, reason being that this is ideal for the „cinematic smoothness“ of movements. Just believe it.

Two examples

  • Frame rate = 23.97/s => ss = 1/48 s.
  • Frame rate = 29.98/s => ss = 1/60 s.

Stabilization

Home turf of the X-T4. There is even a boost mode that is not recommended by Fujifilm when you are panning.

There can sometimes be a "wobble" in your footage. This is a consequence of stabilization.

There is also the possibility to add additional digital stabilization in post treatment. Of course it costs some crop.

White balance

Very important to not leave it on auto. With auto WB, the camera may constantly change the WB as the scene slightly changes which does not look good in your footage. Select a preset (daylight) or do a custom WB. Movie optimized control as well as any video custom setting will remember this.

I often use "daylight" but make it a bit cooler with the WB Shift (just a bit into the positive y axis direction).

The right lens and the AF-C setting

Not an easy topic. There is a lot of criticism on Fujifilm video AF vs Sony for example. Let's not go into that debate. Let's use what we have.

You have two parameters to set, tracking sensitivity and AF speed. The former is the "stickiness", how fast does the AF react to changes. As a standard, I recommend a high value (+4) which means high stickiness. When it comes to AF speed, I prefer a slow speed (-5, -4 or so) for as smooth as possible focus transitions.

Unfortunately, lenses behave very differently. Not all lenses make a smooth focus transition even if you set the AF speed to a negative value. I will not go too far into that, as I am really not a super experienced video shooter. But I can say I have good results with the XF 16-55, XF 18-55, XF 50/2. Also well usable are the XF 90/2, XF 23/2. This list is not complete. And it is just my opinion. On the other hand, the old ones with the slow and clumsy AF like the old 56/1.2 or the 35/1.4 are of limited value when it comes to video AF capabilities; BUT you of course can use them with manual focus or with care (I used the 35/1.4 very successfully in a more or less constant distance shooting). The Viltrox 23/1.4 does not really provide smooth transitions, according to my experience.

There is much more options and complexity. There is the possibility of utilizing the AF range limiter. There is the possibility of tapping on the LCD screen in different focus modes. There is the possibility to use MF. There is the possibility to use the AF On button. Really, complex.

To the very best of my knowledge, in contrast to stills photography, not even the H-H2S and X-T5 offer subject tracking in video mode (except from face detection).

One more, I recommend to not use the zoom ring during videotaping even with a zoom lens attached. It was one of my beginner's mistakes. Just don't do it. You will definitely not be able to zoom smoothly. Better zoom with your feet

If you want to get great results, you definitely need to play and exercise with focus. Video AF is probably the most demanding department for video beginners who want to achieve good looking videos.

Mic level

Probably best to set it to auto. Sometimes I set it to manual. I am a kind of indifferent here.

LCD screen

If you use the LCD screen, set the viewfinder mode to LCD only. You avoid blackouts due to the movements of your hand.

Post processing video footage

You will want to combine sequences, to do fade-in, fade-out, cross fading, add titles, and so on. There is excellent software at no cost. There is of course DaVinci Resolve. I currently use Kdenlive because it is really easy to use and really quick to learn.

My sources

I watched videos, also critical ones when it comes to Fujifilm video AF capabilities, and I read an article by Rodrigo Tan. My sources used to write this up are,

FB welcome.

Cheers,

Martin

 Rightsaidfred's gear list:Rightsaidfred's gear list
Fujifilm X-T20 Fujifilm X-T4 Fujifilm XF 35mm F1.4 R Fujifilm XF 18-55mm F2.8-4 R LM OIS Fujifilm XF 55-200mm F3.5-4.8 R LM OIS +5 more
Fujifilm X-T4
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