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My first music video - GH2, 44 meg hack
  • Firstly I would like to put a big thank you out there to Vitaliy for his amazing work on the patch.

    I shoot stills on a 5D Mk2 (I'm a photographer in Aus) but I recently wanted to shoot a music video, and after a lot of research, went for the GH2, and thought I'd share the pre-release video and give some details. The 5D was simply not an option after I did a few video tests. Moire etc, especially on instruments and shiny surfaces (something this video had in spades) was a 5D nightmare. The GH2 proved it can handle detailed images with hard highlighted edges with ease.

    The video is here:

    I used the first stable 44 meg patch at 1080p, 24fps. Edited on Final Cut and graded in Color.

    Due to seeing more noise in the smooth setting in my testing, I went for the Cinema setting, to also bake in a little more of a look, before grading. This worked out ok, but in retrospect, I would have gone for Smooth. I had noise, sharpness, sat turned to -2.

    I did want to try Resolve for grading, but as I went for a little bit of an overexposed look, the GH2's tendency to yellow up the roll off in highlights, I simply didn't have the knowledge to correct that in Resolve as easily as I could in Color. I also wanted to put in a softening layer, and that was easy in Color using an add function in the Color FX room.

    Lenses used were the Panasonic 20mm F1.7 and the Olympus 45mm F1.8. Both were pretty impressive, especially the Olympus. To keep the aperture wide I used a Singh Ray variable ND. Interesting thing about this was the flare and reflections you get from highlights. See if you can spot a few floating hotspots, which is the dress and highlights in the BG simply hitting the flat optics of the ND.

    Lights were 2 x 650w Arri knock off fresnel lights for the performances, and 2 banks of 3200k flouros for the bar, and the hotel room shots.

    White balance for the Arri shots was 3800k to warm the shot up in camera. This was a mistake. Looked great when shooting, but was too warm when grading and meant it had to be pushed harder to cool it off lowering quality. A mixture of warming the white balance and Cinema profile gave me great headaches in grading. Never again. You live and learn.

    White balance for the flouros was native at 3200k and worked better. ISO changed here and there but was mostly around 640iso.
  • 16 Replies sorted by
  • Wow, Damn, this looks good.. congrats you have done a great job.........
  • Thanks for the comment mozes. This forum helped a lot, as everything I needed to know about the camera I could find here, so it got me off to a good start.
  • @dean, looks awesome. Your background in stils definitely shows (in a good way) with the lighting. I was curious. what are the 650w Arri knockoffs you mention?
  • Fresnels look amazing I find if you like that 'look'. I wish there was an equivalent in stills.

    I bought mine from a local photography store on a whim one day, but having ordered a few other things from Konova, I'm pretty certain that these are the same ones. Top right in the list.
  • Great video Dean, what Settings did you use to make all thys fast camera moves like the slide in the beginnin without jerking?
  • When you say settings? The shutter was 50th, F1.8 to F4, 24p. Just came out ok. If we are talking 24p judder, you just have to go slow enough, and it's not too bad. For the fast jib shot it seemed fine. I think vertical movements don't show the judder nearly as bad as horizontal pans.

    For the first dolly shot I built a dolly based roughly on a great youtube tutorial. It's ridiculously effective and smooth for not much money. Mine cost maybe Aus $400 as I bought nice wheels with aluminium rotators from the states.

    What I did find was that I was able to do zooms and pans in Final Cut, zooming to 120% and the image still looked good, even on my 30" monitor, so that's interesting. It allowed me to bring a bit of camera movement into the thing in post, and make up for doing mostly tripod shots on set.
  • Dean, I personally thought that was brilliant. I especially liked the wider shot with the whole band, where the muted colours offset with the brilliantly sharp, saturated and punchy dress really shone. I also like the transition in the hotel room to behind the white opaque screen; a nice touch and cleverly done.

    Only bit I thought might need a touch more work, is fighting the sharpness of those two lenses you were using with the fresnels, while up close and capturing faces. The young ladies complexion, although very good, is still getting issues, where some diffusion and possibly better make-up would have helped. The men's facial hair was a bit gritty too, which could have done with a touch of softening.

    Excellent piece of work though mate. I sat through the whole six minutes with interest. Thanks for posting.

  • You're right Tim. I had issues with the light in terms of lighting both the band, and getting beauty lighting on the singer, which I'd do differently next time.

    Coming from stills, and having a habit of retouching flaws like that out, I didn't give the fact I couldn't enough thought.

    A front on fashion light for the singer would have looked best in retrospect, but then the wide shots would not have matched, with the side lighting on the band, but you live and learn.

    I guess it's ironic that the GH2's sharpness and detail has it's downsides :-)
  • @dean, very useful thanks!
  • @dean you are right, it can be too sharp.....who'dda thought it!

    Most big budget productions still make the same mistakes, they've just got wedges of cash to sort it out by compositing later. I hope your very proud of what you've achieved, cos I would be if the results were only half as good as you have.
  • I'm pleased with the result Tim, although of course would want to make a leap forward on the next one.

    Having the GH2 now is a big boost, knowing that I can forget about all the camera woes, and discussion and just get one with using it with confidence.

    If this was an $8,000 camera, I'd still have been impressed, and the hack just takes it to another level.
  • Very well done! If you graded in AE, you may want to try Red Giant's cosmo plug in for the singer's complexion. It looks good as in, it's almost there to perfection, but maybe it could be "smoked" a bit. The only thing that I found bothersome was the old film effect. It was a little distracting and could maybe be dialed down or removed, put a soft fx filter on the scene and you have a 40's esque glamour era look.
    I really like it, though! Nice job!
  • The old film effect started off as a bit of a joke, in honesty I expected it to be taken out or altered at some point, but then I showed one person, then another, and they all thought it was funny, but wanted it left in, so in the end it was, to my surprise. It was really a quick and dirty demo of where I might take that idea, but never expected it to stay like that, so I fully get your comments. I think people saw it as purposefully amusing, as opposed to trying to be serious and failing. It was neither :-), just a placeholder that never got replaced.

    The skin was a problem, really from the lighting choice. One of the issues there was the gh2s screen res, and a lack of on set monitoring.

    I just couldn't tell it was highlighting skin imperfections that badly on the screen, and I was gutted when I saw the hd on the Mac. I softened as much as I dare in Color, but maybe could have gone a little further.

    Had I known on set, a slight lighting change would have solved it. Again, all good experience.
  • @dean

    Very impressed. This is the first real GH2 gold that i've seen, and by gold I mean titanium...
  • Very nice work!

    Try Nostalgic @ -2 all....
    it has the best Dynamic Range better than smooth, the yellowish hue is easy to offset in the WB adjust.
  • Thanks for the 'gold' comment. Sweet :-)

    Thanks for the advice on Nostalgic. I did back away from that setting (ironic given the videos style) but I guess, the tint is easy as to remove in post, so I'll give it a go.

    No-one talks about the extra noise in 'Smooth' but I couldn't bring myself to use it for that reason and that alone.

    Now the video is out of the way, I can do a few tests to see if anything can be improved.