Web Series Shot on Lumix GH3 and GH4 Nominated for Outstanding Cinematography
“Perfect Girl Series” by BananaMana Films has been nominated for Outstanding Cinematography at LA Web Fest 2015. This is among 7 other nominations:
- Outstanding Drama Series
- Outstanding Writing
- Outstanding Directing
- Outstanding Lead Actor
- Outstanding Lead Actress
- Outstanding Editing
- Outstanding Sound Design
While a lot more goes into the look and feel of a production (art design, costume, make up, lighting, composition) we would like to discuss the cameras we used because they helped us in enormous ways. I’ve used other bulkier, more popular cameras in the past and I have to say – its as much the tool you choose as how you use it.
The Lumix GH3 and GH4 Camera
We at BananaMana Films have always touted the prowess of the Lumix GH series ever since we started using them. We started with the Lumix GH1 years ago and were mightily impressed with its resolution and ease of use. The Panasonic Lumix GH2 followed with many new benefits not the least being that it was hacked by a brilliant Russian engineer, well known online as: Vitaly. This hack brought amazing resolution to the tiny GH2 with less moire and aliasing than many of its more expensive and seemingly more famous competitors. It’s tiny footprint, rotating LCD screen and micro 4/3 format meant it was incredibly light, could squeeze into corners everywhere and yet yielded amazing images. Jump a couple of years to the Lumix GH3 and now GH4 and Panasonic have continued to build on solid foundations.
The Lumix GH3 took the best parts of the hacks and gave us:
- increased bit rate with stability,
- multiple bit rates and compression codecs,
- gave us manual control over audio input,
- an extra stop of dynamic range (better in low light),
- live audio monitoring,
- time-lapse in camera,
- wifi control and previewing,
- much increased battery performance.
Here’s a video detailing just some of the reasons we decided to use the Lumix GH3 for our TV production “What Do Men Want?”
You can really see what a difference a camera like the GH3 will make in production by viewing some of these AUDITION vs ACTUAL PRODUCTION clips.
The Lumix GH4 brought many new improvements as well:
- 4k internal recording – this is huge – 4 times the resolution of 2k,
- improved dynamic range,
- 96fps slow motion in 2k,
- zebra pattern,
- improved OLED display,
- focus peaking,
- excellent battery life!
On Shooting “Perfect Girl Series” with the Lumix GH3 and GH4
So, when we came to shoot our second series “Perfect Girl Series” it was only natural to choose the Lumix GH3 and the GH4. We had just gotten a new GH4 and didn’t have time to practise shooting with it – so we ended up using it as our SPECIAL cam to get Slo Mo shots and 4k wides. 4k footage blew us away with the incredible detail in each shot – so much so it scared our makeup artists. Every blemish was now clearly photographed and there was little room for error. In general we opted for the GH3 for most scenes and then kept the GH4 way back if possible! However, we’re looking forward to the day we can use only the GH4 in 4k mode – next production.
We were very happy with look of the production rushes from day 1. Although we still needed to de-noise some darker footage from time to time – in general it was detailed, not overly sharpened and fairly easy to grade. The one thing we did find though was that it was always hard matching the GH3 to the GH4 – I’d always recommend using one or the other in future. Slow motion was fantastic on the GH4 – a little noisier than normal footage and so in retrospect we should have increased light (since you’re shooting more frames with a faster shutter speed). What was great with the slow motion function was the ability to immediately watch the footage back at slo-mo speed in camera so you could tell exactly what you captured. 96 fps is plenty slow enough too! We were constantly blown away by how long the batteries lasted. On this shoot (roughly 10 hours a day) we rarely changed batteries! Most times – each battery would last us the entire day! The footage from the GH4 (even 4k) was easy to import and much smaller than most 4k footage, I’m told. The compression is excellent without compromises like noise, moire or aliasing. We edited on fcpx and the workflow was easy and flawless. All the footage imported easily – we converted to ProRes in the background and just started editing! 4k downscaled simply by pulling the 4k footage into a 2k timeline.
At our launch screening we digitally projected the series onto a smallish cinema screen. Footage held up incredibly well. The series got into the finals of the Rome Web Fest and has since been selected to screen at Rome Film Festival at Auditorium Parco della Musica – a huge arena – we’re confident the images will hold up there too!
All in all – we’re proud to get a Cinematography nomination and would like to thank Panasonic for continuing to innovate and listening to their users with the Lumix GH series. It really is a dream to be able to make films these days with equipment that fits into a backpack!
Watch the whole Perfect Girl Series HERE.
A few screen grabs from the series: