Cinematography : Gh4 by Courtney Miller

Courtney Miller


Has anyone shot using the GH4? In thinking of making the purchase to support writing and shooting my own short film material. My budget is $2500. From the tests I've seen, shooting in 4K and scaling down to 1080 gives beautiful video. I plan on utilizing LUTs for grading. Thanks!

Franz Salvatierra

Shooting 4K and playing 4K also looks pretty good ;) I've never shot on the GH4 From the footage I've seen, I think I'd prefer a BMPCC. I've only seen test shots of either but the black magic to me feels like it has better color latitude and dynamic range. it's gonna be less sharp than the GH4 but that's not something I care about over latitude.

Dawson Boyle

The gh4 is a great camera and if you buy it i suggest shooting anamorphic as well, heres an example i found on YouTube! you don't have to buy an anamorphic lens in fact i suggest an adapter from Vid-Atlantic called the Cinemorph ($80) I didn't really like the camera they used in this test but i promise you anamorphic gh4 footage looks great and you get that stretched bokeh that we relate to hollywood films the filter is for focal lengths 50mm and above but they make a lens mod for the sigma 18-35mm zoom that will make that lens anamorphic as well this Sigma lens is incredible on the gh4 but at $700 and for primes if your looking to go that route i suggest Rokinon cine primes which are great on every camera and inexpensive considering the quality But if you are running low on cash maybe renting is your best bet, i know on borrowlwnses you can rent almost all of this except the anamorphic filters and lens mod But yeah those are my thoughts, anyways good luck with your short! :)

Courtney Miller

Dawson! Thank you!! I think I'll rent before I buy!

Courtney Miller

Thank you Franz!!

Royce Allen Dudley

There are other things besides resolution that affect a camera's image and it's usability. In the price range it's a decent compact tool but it's got a harsh, video-ish ( not cinematic ) look to it, even dialed in manually. I shot the title sequence for the feature BONED with it; the footage does not intercut well with the principal footage I shot on Epics ( FWIW I am not a RED fanboy at all... but the GH4 is over hyped). The M 4/3 format can be an issue too depending on your intended use of lenses,

Courtney Miller

Royce.. I'd like to see the footage for boned. Is it available online?

Manny Donaldson

Hey everyone. I do have a GH4 and it's a decent camera. I agree with some of the comments here but the big problem for me is the 4:2:0 signal out of the camera. As a result I have bought and ATOMOS to get a RAW signal. Take a look at this

Royce Allen Dudley

Courtney, BONED is in post right now at Original Productions. You can track it's festival and VOD releases on twitter @ #bonedthemovie and the project info is here :

Courtney Miller

Thanks Royce!

Robert Nevico

For that budget, I would also consider:

Chris Tsalikis

Tomas, I've shot with both the GH4 and A7s and I have to say, my choice would be the A7s. The low-light capabilities of the A7s are incredible even at a very high ISO. I mounted it on a Freefly MoVI M5 with an Atomos shogun and I have to say, I love the flexibility of having such a small - almost TOO small - body deliver such a beautiful picture quality. And the full-frame sensor compared to the GH4 is a tremendous reason to go with the A7s in my opinion. The autofocus, although somewhat slow, worked pretty well when I needed it when mounted on the Movi. So I'd have to agree with you. A7s all the way.

Edgar Nazario

I currently own and shoot on GH4. I have a Speedbooster on it which helps improve both my field of view and gives me an extra stop of light. I love it. Here are the reasons why I got it and stuck with it: 1) The ability to over/undercrank. I do a lot of music videos, and slo-mo is a very important part of it. 96fps is glorious on the GH4. And, unlike the A7s, it's in 1080P. :) 2) 10-bit 4:2:2 output. I've paired it with the Shogun and it's beautiful. 3) Internal 4K. If I ever ran out of space (or anything happened) to my Shogun, I still have great footage from it's internal codec. BTW the 8-bit 4:2:2 in camera has such a high bitrate that it grades like a charm. 4) Proper video functions. Internal scopes, peaking, true 180-degree shutter, synchro scan, etc. 5) NO MOIRE. 6) I can fit/use ANY lens I want. Even PL. And as a bonus, it can now shoot in anamorphic 4:3 mode, and will soon have V-Log (available across all ISO's, unlike the A7S which shoots S-LOG only on 3200 ISO) which will give it 2 extra stops of light. (About 13 total, comparable to the BMPCC). The amount of detail the GH4 produces is astounding.

Courtney Miller

Thank you Robert! I used a blackmagic cinema in the past (1st version) I wasn't happy with the results..

Courtney Miller

Tomas! Thanks! I'm going back and forth between the A7s and GH4. I'm really going for the "filmic" look and want to take advantage of an anamorphic lens...

Courtney Miller

Edgar, thank you very much for your detailed explanation.. I think I'm going to do some test shoots with both cameras, grade, and post the results.. I'll be shooting some dance videos..

Jim Edgar

@Dawson, worth mentioning that the Vid Atlantic filters you mention only give an oval bokeh to out of focus highlights, they don't give any of the other qualities of anamorphic lenses. You can also get streak filters to give you the anamorphic style flares. However, the main reason I love anamorphic, and whether or not they know it the reason most people love it, is the strange 3D quality that comes from having 1 field of view on the horizontal axis and a different field of view on the vertical. Sometimes known as "anamorphic funkiness"! This can only be achieved with true anamorphic squeeze and cannot be replicated in any other way. The GH4 firmware update now allows it shoot to it's native 4:3 sensor, allowing the use of proper 2x anamorphics, something only the highest end cameras can do. Old anamorphic projector lenses can be adapted to give a cheap "true 2x" squeeze if owning or renting proper lenses isn't an option.

Jason Chua

On the topic of anamorphic shooting, a popular option for the GH4 (or any other DSLR really) seems to be the SLR Magic Anamorphot 1.33x or upcoming 2x adapter so if anamorphic is of an interest to you it might be worth checking those out too! I've neither used the Vid Atlantic Filter nor the Anamorphot partly due to having a limited budget but also due to the extra setup time and step involved in focusing the near/far of the adapter itself (this not being an issue for the Cinemorph as it is simply a filter and not an adapter with optical elements) though I too have been really tempted simply because the 'anamorphic look' seems to make the image that much more cinematic and interesting in a way that spherical cannot achieve. In any case, there's also the upcoming Veydra anamorphic cine primes if your budget allows! But back on the topic of the GH4 itself, as a student filmmaker I have to say that the price point and performance of the GH4 are simply perfect and unbeatable. Granted, after having shot several projects on the side over the past year of owning the camera, there were times when I felt the relatively poor low-light performance and challenge to achieve the wider focal lengths (compared to DX or full frame) limited my creative choices and made filming harder (note however that I do not own the metabones speedbooster and have been shooting primarily with the lumix 12-35 & 35-100 f2.8 as well as the voigtlander 25mm f0.95). As such, I have often wondered if I should have instead saved up more and purchase the a7s or a more complete package like the C100 and I still do consider these larger format cameras very often. At the same time, I do not regret my decision with the GH4 and to me it is a great camera to use, a joy to shoot on (actually a very important quality I feel), and has a really competitive price (this taking into account also the general difference in cost between m4/3 lenses and full frame). But I would say do check out more reviews and if you have the chance, test out the cameras yourself! And as Robert above mentioned, check out the blackmagic cinema cameras too!

Rafael Pinero

So the canon 5D is out?

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