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Author Topic: Panasonic GH3  (Read 4418 times)
bcooter
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« on: May 03, 2013, 05:25:34 PM »
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Has anyone used the GH3 for film production?

I've been following it and yesterday played around with the newer 2.8 zooms and the touch screen focus.

The touch screen focus is truly amazing and the camera is small enough to use as a crash cam or pull some interesting cut aways without moving heavy supports.

If anyone has used it please let me know.

Thanks

BC
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fredjeang2
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« Reply #1 on: May 03, 2013, 06:48:29 PM »
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Hi Coot,

I had the chance to see the GH3 in action on set and in the editing stage last week. I haven't ordered one yet, I saw it in action with a friend's working on a feature film independant,
then we went to his home to review the footage. So I can give you my first impressions.

My overall sensation is very positive, with some irritating negative points.

I'll start with the negatives.

- It pisses me-off that Pana, in order to protect their pro gear, still refuses to go 4:2:2 (bye bye green screens and heavy CC)
even the HDMI output is 4:2:0. Anyway, with those cams going external recorder is pointless and doesn't add any benefit.
The 4:2:0 is for me the very worst negative point.

- Second negative in order of importance is the lack of Log support. That is really a stupid limitation.

- If the battery seems more robust than the Gh2, I desperatly miss a 12V imput like in the Black Magic Camera.
There is a grip option but it's suitable for stills. D.I.Y solutions will show-up but they are D.I.Y

- If they choosed to go INTRA, wich is a very wise decision, they should have provide at least 100 MB/s and not 70
because INTRA is more demanding in terms of bitrate. Not bad, it could have been 50, but not ideal. However, this could be
solved very soon with the hackers. We will have at least 150MB/s reliable no doubt.

Nota: keep in mind that the hackers with the GH2 have pushed the boundaries quite far and the lastest hacks, Intra GOP1, are really amazing,
and enhanced the GH2 capabilities to levels unknown until recently. Some are even based on the GH3, but with double bitrate of the GH3 factory.

- No peaking focus or if there were we couldn't see it.

- No built-in ND filters wich would be ideal to keep the phylosophy of micro-cam and avoid Mateboxes. The screew filters are a mess, they fall, they break, they are lost etc...
I hate them.


The Goodies

- Codec finaly INTRA. Time are gone of those ridiculous long GOP sagas.

The other option of 1080/60p and 50p for us at 50Mbit in H.264 and wrapped in QT is very decent for this framerate, even some respectable pro gear don't do that.
My only complain is that it's wrapped in QT. Bloody QT !...They just could have provide a MXF.

- In the editing room, I found the footage truly better than any Canon DSLR on earth, it has a less pronunced "video look" (cold and too detailed) than the GH2 and seems a-priori easier to get organic look but also less detailled than an high-end hacked GH2 (but still much more precise output than the Canons)
In fact there is plenty of detail and the only downside resides in the limitations of 8bits 4:2:0
wich obliges to lite perfectly and nail it. Not a lot of room for averageness or mistakes.
The screen is more reliable in terms of exposure than on the GH2. It's more WYSIWYG. The GH2 was a mess.

I found the DR a little better than the gH2, specially on the shadow. But it's not gona be Red DR, no.

We didn't do high ISOS so can't comment on that.

The Intra allows a very straightforward workflow, a bit like the Alexa with Prores config. You shoot, you edit. No transcode. (you like that don't you?)
Mmmm...I'm speaking too fast. If you are still in FCP7, you might well need to transcode to Prores 4:2:2
Gosh, you really need to take a sweet look at MC and go out of the vintage zone.
Or you could see if you could transcode directly from Resolve and link it to FCP.

We haven't use the timecode (we had a manual clapperboard wich results super reliable always) so can't comment on that point.


- Good point although not ideal: they abandonned the silly minijack for audio present on the GH2 for a decent and less breakable standart jack.
The audio is Dolby digital.

- I've been very impressed by the AF performance. Probably the most surprising thing. Can't remember the lens involved, but it means
that it has to be a Pana one. I'm not far to think that AF is truly usable in motion with this camera. It looks intelligent, ultra fast, silent, a perl.
What I don't know is that AF will be only that good with latest Pana lens generation, or if it would work so well with the current Pana line? No idea on that.

It's IMO definatly a very good device for crash cam, B-roll, impossible angles, fast action cam, reportage-news and it will stand still along with Red footage
with no problem.
I would have some reservations in ultra low-light, higher isos, but the R1 is not super top in higher isos either. Battery life is ok, but again, a proper way to connect power devices should indeed
be present. The Cam however doesn't heat-up. So in a day of shooting you can calculate 4-5 batteries numbered and the corresponding chargers.
The battery grip is not an option in the rig config (it could but really is silly).
  
To be honest, I wasn't hot to buy a GH3 when I heard that it was 4:2:0. After seeing it in action, I might well change my view. It's a great motion tool and IMO has it's place on set
to do things others cams will be a burden.
It's 1000 bucks, delivers top imagery (but not flexible because 8bits 420 bla bla), is small, has a really really wide lens options, included cine Zeiss, takes PL without issues and the hackers are working on boosting its performance and it will improve within the next months.

Now...the big question is: how does it stands in front of a high-end hacked intra GH2? Honestly, you might well get 2 GH2 for the price of 1 GH3, hack them with the latest hacks, and you'll got the same grocery.
So you double the crash cams. IMO, it's a plus compared to the GH2, but the improovements are not huge enough to make the choice evident. If Pana had done 4:2:2, log support, MXF wrapper, 12V imput, that would have been another story and the choice compared to the GH2 would have been easy to make.

But what's sure, is that if you got one, you're going to use it.
« Last Edit: May 03, 2013, 08:07:48 PM by fredjeang2 » Logged
bcooter
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« Reply #2 on: May 03, 2013, 08:17:40 PM »
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Thanks Fred,

Yes 4:2:0 at 8 bit is sill in this day and age, but all the less expensive cams are at that level.  70mps is good, the new 2.8 lens lines is very good, (those are what I tested) and the footage is much better than the Sony FS100.  I intentionally shot the pana with flare and it looked ok, where the Sony will blow white pink and is not anywhere close to pretty or recoverable.

The sony is also 4:2:0 and 8 bits and cost 4 times as much.

The focus, though I tested it briefly blew me away.  On fast clip of someone coming to me, it would rack miss once at most, but usually held all the way through.

Pushing the touch screen and racking from foreground to background is just beautiful.  Really, Really great.

To me the downside is it's small but looks to dslr like.  I would really like the form factor of the gx series because they are not as noticable and a heck of a lot prettier.

The GH3 isn't a pretty camera, but it seems well built.  I went to 1600 and it looked ok, is useable, as useable as the mysterium X in the RED's, probably with a little noise killer.

No this camera won't replace a RED or an Arri, but for an investment of $3,600 including lenses it's less than one module for the RED.

The thing is if you can somewhat control the light, with IS and the ability to focus on the run, it's a great camera for adding excitement to a rather static video.

That's the problems with the RED's.  They're great cameras, complete professional quality, but they're big, even the scarlet/epic by the time you matte box them, pl lens them, module them, etc. etc. and they're not cameras you step outside and do a quick shot of talent walking past you down the street or the zillion other little things that make a story go blah to great.

Maybe I'm selling myself into buying one I don't know.

I also looked at the Sony NEX line as I have a lot of Zeiss and Sony lenses in A and E mount, but the look of the Sony file is too consumer looking.

Sony's are built well, but my fs100 never looks like film it looks like video and the pana looks like film.

Thanks for your input Fred.

James



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fredjeang2
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« Reply #3 on: May 03, 2013, 08:28:54 PM »
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You're welcome James.

Yes, I've also been surprised in the good sense by the Autofocus. Really good. It follows the talent even if obstacles are showing-up on different plane.

If you want, I can send you by wetransfer or ftp some GH2 footage in fullres with the latest INTRA hack. It's truly amazing. As crash cam, they surpases the GH3 in terms of detail rendition.
But the GH3 will be also hacked. So you can compare and maybe get 1 or 2 gh2 for dangerous takes, at 600 euros the cam... Just PM me if you want footage.

Cheers.

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bcooter
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« Reply #4 on: May 03, 2013, 08:53:17 PM »
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You're welcome James.

Yes, I've also been surprised in the good sense by the Autofocus. Really good. It follows the talent even if obstacles are showing-up on different plane.

If you want, I can send you by wetransfer or ftp some GH2 footage in fullres with the latest INTRA hack. It's truly amazing. As crash cam, they surpases the GH3 in terms of detail rendition.
But the GH3 will be also hacked. So you can compare and maybe get 1 or 2 gh2 for dangerous takes, at 600 euros the cam... Just PM me if you want footage.

Cheers.



I'll tell ya, I love these little lumix cameras.  When I bought the gh1 I hated the menu and never learned it, never used it, except for one editorial gig.

Two years later I started playing with it, learned the settings and it's the only camera I carry around.  Heck I don't even use the leica anymore.

I just wish the GX series had sound input and out and I'd be happy.

BTW:  The new lenses are great.  Not exactly jewel like, like a Leica lens, but nice feeling than Canon and Nikon.  Great little lenses with fixed f.

Thanks for the offer of footage, but it will just break my heart because what I really want the gx3 is for the focus capabilities as well as other uses, but mostly to rack focus back and forth by myself.

But thank you very much.

James.
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fredjeang2
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« Reply #5 on: May 03, 2013, 09:13:13 PM »
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I understand you. The AF of the GH3 is really in another league and to obtain really dynamic extra footage it's definatly a better option than the GH2 technology.

Nice info on the new lenses. I'll try one on my GH2.

I do think too that the GX line were more elegant than the GH. I had one that I gifted. It was a great camera. It would have been nice if they had done a GX optimized for motion.

The GH3, although not pretty is very well built, waterproof. The GH2 is toyish in comparaison.

Let us know if you bought one GH3 and what you think of it after real sessions with your Red ones.

Cheers.
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Bern Caughey
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« Reply #6 on: May 03, 2013, 09:54:10 PM »
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Great to see Fred back here! In a bit of a rush so this reply will be sloppy:

I picked up a pair of GH3(s) & retired the GH2. Combined with the new f/2.8 zooms they are a powerful little package, & I bring them everywhere.

The handling, color, CODEC, AF, slomo, & stability, are better than the GH2's but unlike it's predecessor it does moire on occasion. And though I haven't done side-by-side tests It seems the ISO has been improved by at least a stop.

Wide-open any of the better Panasonic & Olympus m43 lenses will produce a crisp image even with the sharpening at it's lowest setting. Some like this look while others choose softer glass that doesn't get electronically sharpened by the camera. I use both, but tend to stick with the electronically coupled lenses for their convinces, particularly AF & stabalization.

The 12-35/2.8 & 35-100/2.8 are my workhorse lenses for this system, & they're great, but not without issue. Neither are truly parfocal, rather parfocal-ish, as the focus gets corrected electronically & goes a bit soft as they're zoomed. The 12-35/2.8 also extends as it zoomed in, so not great with a rails mounted matte box, & even the weight of a clip-on 3x3 or 4x4 will tax this lens.

As both zooms have a 58mm front thread my solution has been to use Xume Adapters. They are a magnetic system for attaching screw-ins while utilizing the OEM lens hoods.

http://www.xumeadapters.com/

Xume warns that their adapter may vignette with lenses with a FOV equivalent to 24mm on a full frame 35mm stills camera, but I haven't seen any at the 12mm end of the zoom (I've only tested in 16:9 video mode). It's even possible to mount Heliopan variable NDs within both the OEM hoods, but due to the extra glass it will vignette softly at 12mm. The Xume pushes the filter about a 1/4" further away from the front element so this is understandable. In general I don't think the Xumes are appropriate for stacking filters, but plenty strong enough for singles.

The GHs are so light & compact that they don't need big rigs, especially with the stabilized lenses, & my favorite setup is a Pocket Rig & lightweight handles.

Pocket Rig
http://www.edelkrone.com/the-pocket-rig/

A Pocket Rig clone
http://www.amazon.com/Fotodiox-Compact-Rig-Stabilizer-Lightweight/dp/B00AUKBVEE/

And while not usually a fan of Cavision, I have two sets of these handles.
http://www.amazon.com/Cavision-Handgrips-Connector-Diameter-Connection/dp/B000QVBLBK/

Keeping with the lightweight setup I use either the internal mics for dual sound setups, or a Rode VideoMic Pro if there's any chance we might use the onboard audio (in general set the Rode to +20db & the GH3 to Level #1).

Rode VMP
http://www.rodemic.com/mics/videomicpro

Lastly while the EVF & LCD are usuable they could use a bit of love. I have Alphatron & Zacuto EVFs, but they bulk up the rig & more importantly I dread using mini-HDMI without some sort of support. On one of my rigs I have a HMDI support latch but the rig is heavy so I rarely travel with it. Also EVFs require batteries, backup batteries, chargers, backup chargers, cables, backup cables, mounts, backup mounts, etc, so I've special ordered Varavon's new "Loupe for the GH3". It should be here next week & I'll report back. And if I like it I'll pickup a backup...GRRRRRRR.

http://www.personal-view.com/talks/discussion/6771/varavon-loupe-for-gh3/p1

Best,
Bern
« Last Edit: May 03, 2013, 10:25:13 PM by Bern Caughey » Logged
bcooter
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« Reply #7 on: May 04, 2013, 12:48:03 AM »
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So Bern,

If you don't mind, are you using the Autofocus for tracking, standard production on sticks or supports and do you use the touch screen focusing racking from one subject to another?

You mentioned moire.  Is that on buildings hard structures or fabrics?

Are you mixing the footage with footage from other cameras and does it grade well?

Now the biggest question.  Have the cameras been solid and reliable?

Thanks

BC

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fredjeang2
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« Reply #8 on: May 04, 2013, 06:48:08 AM »
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Nice to see you too Bern.

« Last Edit: May 28, 2013, 04:58:33 PM by fredjeang2 » Logged
Chris Barrett
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« Reply #9 on: May 04, 2013, 08:13:27 AM »
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I'm anxious to see how the Black Magic Pocket Cine Cam stacks up against RED footage. I expect they'll intercut nicely. No idea if that camera even does AF.

CB
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Chris Barrett
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« Reply #10 on: May 04, 2013, 09:44:31 AM »
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You should probably just get a D800.
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fredjeang2
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« Reply #11 on: May 04, 2013, 09:46:33 AM »
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You should probably just get a D800.

Horror ! After the Nikon bombings in the MF section, I just can't hear the name of this brand anymore. Grin
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fredjeang2
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« Reply #12 on: May 04, 2013, 09:52:36 AM »
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By the way Chris, I remember that I wanted to ask you if you visited the Assimilate stand in NAB ?

Their new Scratch has very little to do with the scratch I had on trial some time ago and looks really appealing.

Anyway, when you got the mini BM, it's going to be nice to have your view on that and how did you integrated the workflow
with RED. Because all we know on the BM now are laconic datas and very little real life infos.
« Last Edit: May 04, 2013, 10:12:26 AM by fredjeang2 » Logged
Chris Barrett
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« Reply #13 on: May 04, 2013, 10:14:52 AM »
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Ha!  Stupid D800. 

I didn't bother.  I got a recent trial of the software and I couldn't get past the interface.  I spoke with them over the phone a few months ago, trying to arrange a demo while I was in LA.  I told them that I was happy with the abilities of Premier and Resolve but would love an integrated solution.  They admitted that scratch would have the capabilities of neither Premier nor Resolve.
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bcooter
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« Reply #14 on: May 04, 2013, 10:20:11 AM »
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yeah. I have mixed feelings on both, this micro Black Magic and the GH3. Both have their strenghs and both have annoying aspects.



I have some projects coming up that are more docudrama than pure advertising, though they are pure advertising.

In the film days I'd shoot super 16, but today with budgets, time, the use of small led's and quick sound set up it needs an orgranic look that is fluid and mobile.

The style is something like this

http://www.spotsinthebox.com/Six_Man.mov

This was shot 16mm film (I didn't shoot it) it's done by an editor I know.

The BM camera doesn't thrill me.   The cost is good, but to me it's like a stripped down Scarlet that requires a focus puller, a lot of add ons, C mount lenses etc. etc. and at that stage your into Epic Scarlet form factors that don't lend themselves for small crews and organic work.

If I can get the look I want out of the GH3 I'd be thrilled.   I love the smallish form factor and through I just quickly tested the autofocus, it's pretty damn amazing.

With a small rig like Bern is using, one or two led panels, a small slider, sticks and  a Rode Mike and you can roll.    The only thing I would add is a cage with a top handle for dutch angles and low shots.

The only downside of the gh3 vs. the gh2 is the gh2 had an oversized sensor for different formats.

For some reason panasonic changed that.

IMO

BC
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fredjeang2
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« Reply #15 on: May 04, 2013, 10:22:21 AM »
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Ha!  Stupid D800. 

I didn't bother.  I got a recent trial of the software and I couldn't get past the interface.  I spoke with them over the phone a few months ago, trying to arrange a demo while I was in LA.  I told them that I was happy with the abilities of Premier and Resolve but would love an integrated solution.  They admitted that scratch would have the capabilities of neither Premier nor Resolve.

Yeah. I also asked about integrated solution in the Avid sphere. And it smells bad. DS has not been updated at the latest NAB and the interface is now too dated.
It seems like a sweet abandon.

For what I've been told from trustable Avid sources, what happens is that they are integrating resolve workflow in the new comming versions. They bet on Resolve.
They don't seem to care anymore about providing a super app like DS and don't want to compeat with Autodesk Smoke.
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fredjeang2
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« Reply #16 on: May 04, 2013, 10:27:05 AM »
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Audio on this mov is just perfect! Pro work.

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fredjeang2
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« Reply #17 on: May 04, 2013, 10:32:51 AM »
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Coot, there was this Rewo cage for the gh2
http://www.dvxuser.com/V6/showthread.php?244276-ReWo-s-GH2-cage

but now that the GH3 is bigger...they'll have to build new one. (if it's not done already)
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bcooter
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« Reply #18 on: May 04, 2013, 10:54:04 AM »
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Audio on this mov is just perfect! Pro work.



Fred your right.  The sound and script make it.

The visuals are well done, but not technically perfect (thank god).  They blow whites, they collapse blacks, some framing is stunning, some looks like the camera was accidentely turned on, but the piece is believable, though with bad sound, this video would have collapsed.

I'm done with doing our own sound.  I've bought lavs, radios, arms, mikes, and hate all of it.  I'm not a sound guy and for the money, nothing adds professionalism to a project like great sound.

I'll bend to a client in a lot of ways, but sound is non negotiable.

In LA I have a amazing sound guy, can do about anything, always backed up, always on time, on speed on sync. 

If I had to make a decision to leave a gaffer or the sound man, the gaffer would stay home.

IMO
BC
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