Noam Kroll’s GH4 First Impressions

Categories: GH5 camera No Comments


I’m an LA based narrative and commercial director with a hands on approach to cinematography and post-production.
In addition to making movies, I also have a commercial production house called “Creative Rebellion”, and run a filmmaking blog here –
Thanks for watching!

GH4 First Impressions & Video Review from Noam Kroll on Vimeo.

For all your video production needs in Scotland, get in touch with Small Video Company Ltd

Don’t skimp on the Media

Categories: Media 3 Comments


SDXC cards are at a price that you would be a fool not to buy them over SDHC cards. A 64G SDXC card is now £26 and that’s a UHS Speed Class 3 card fast enough to record 4K.


It’s important to remember how flimsy a normal SD card actually is and it does not take much to unhinge the memory from the board. Everything is spot welded and there are over 40 miniature welds per wafer underneath the two memory boards, the act of dropping the card on a hard floor is enough to cause irreversible damage.


One of my regulars, Charles, has given me a more precise update on cards and their speeds, over to you Charles…

“Both the C class and the U class are minimum sustained write speeds which is the important one for video as this must be higher than the video stream rate to stop drop outs.

The C class is the traditional SD card databus and the U class is the newer UHS databus.

If you put a UHS capable SD card in a non UHS capable device it will fallback to the traditional databus. UHS cards can be marked with a C class as well for this reason as your Panasonic is, but it’s not essential as it’s an unusual situtation.

UHS itself has two versions markeds as an I or II after the SD logo. The later II variant has additional pins to make the bus wider but will work as a I if the devuce does not use them. Currently the U class is the same in both but in future it’s likely that II cards will support higher U classes that I cards cannot.

It is unfortunate that there are no standards around marking cards with maximum burst speeds as read is often much faster than write. The Panasonic card is being very clear, the SanDisk isn’t leading me to suspect that is actually a read speed.

Nevertheless on markings those are equivalent cards and the SanDisk likely the faster one and is certainly using the later UHS spec.

There are still very sensible reasons to stick with the cards that are marked in the manual as compatible, especially with early firmware in new devices and especially for paying jobs, but those tend to be due to unexpected interactions between card and device chipsets that often only surface in the field. After all the price difference is likely negligable compared to other costs unlike SD vs SxS.

Long term I strongly suspect a device like the GH4 will get a lot of testing by enthusiasts who will build up references of which other cards work well as in my experience manufacturers rarely update compatibility lists once the device is in market with stable firmware.

More detail on the speed standards at the SD Association, something everyone relying on SD cards for work should read

As an aside certainly for HD work I think SD cards are now cheap enough to treat them like tape used to be ie used once and then archived with the cost factored into the job. A fire safe of ‘originals’ at a different location to your mainline storage certainly makes sense.”

This is fine for testing the water or personal use but if you are a professional working with a paying customer don’t skimp on your media to save a few bucks.

If Panasonic tell you that you need UHS Speed Class 3 cards then thats what you use for 4K its that simple, anyone filming otherwise is a fool and remember it will come back to bite you when you least expect it if you don’t follow the simple rules.

For all your video production needs in Scotland, get in touch with Small Video Company Ltd

Missionary Films 1st thoughts with their new GH4

Categories: 4K filming No Comments


We are an award winning ministry that help missionaries and organisations share their story. By using a short video to share their story; missionaries, churches, and can better motivate congregations, supporters, and web audiences to give, go, and pray!

“Missionary Films was born out of our passion to tell great stories that take part in the greatest story ever told!”

Are you a church? We can help you tell the story of what your missionaries are doing all over the world. With your help we travel to the country where the missionary is and spend a week with them. We interview, travel with, and help them tell their story. We usually edit the video as we travel, keeping the cost down. We can also travel with a church mission to help tell the story of the work that’s being done.

Are you a missionary? We can help you tell your story. We have helped several missionaries share their ministry to their supportive churches or individuals. Scholarships and discounts are available for missionaries in the field.

Are you a mission organization? We can help you tell your story. If you have workers spread over several countries, that is not a problem for us. We have worked for large and small organizations that spread across Asia and Africa. We can help.

W. Ashley Maddox…I received my GH4 from Texas Media Systems in the mail on Friday. Wanting to test it out immediately, I headed up to the Window Rock National Park, and after shooting for a couple of hours here are some initial thoughts:

I’m not a Panasonic die-hard and this is the first Lumix camera I’ve owned, so everything is new to me. My lens range for the GH4 is limited right now as I don’t yet have an EF adapter, but I did get a 14-42 mm Lumix kit lens and this is what I used…

HDW : This is an article by my good friend Dan Chung over as News Shooter so I will send you over to him to read the rest of the interview…

Window Rock | Panasonic GH4 | 4K Test from W. Ashley Maddox on Vimeo.

For all your video production needs in Scotland, get in touch with Small Video Company Ltd

“First GH4 low light testing @ 4K as expected” with Gordon Laing (

Categories: GH5 Low light test No Comments


Gordon is one of the lucky photographers who has his hands on a Panasonic GH4 and told me that it was FW version 1.0 which was a surprise to me as I would have expected it to have been V1.1


This picture is from an original .MOV downloaded from Vimeo.

This is the problem you get when you have nothing to compare with, we are getting users running ISO tests… now to be fair Gordon Laing is from and is from a reputable source.

As I would expect from an entry level 4K DSLR high ISO pictures are never going to look good, this is taking the chips technology to the end of its ability.


At ISO 6400 the grain is not good but lets be honest if it was a lot better Panasonic Broadcast would be redundant.

I have two on back order so I have a very keen interest in all the early findings coming out of the USA, I will be reassessing my GH3 tomorrow just to see how badly it copes with ISO 800…something that my former Canon C300 was good at…noiseless low light.


Panasonic Lumix GH4 sample movie: 800 ISO / UHD / 25p from Gordon Laing on Vimeo.

For all your video production needs in Scotland, get in touch with Small Video Company Ltd

3cm thick GH4 manual

Categories: GH5 News No Comments



While we wait for our GH4s to eventually turn up can I point you to a link for the full manual although its a US version its fine for getting into the camera in detail.

For all your video production needs in Scotland, get in touch with Small Video Company Ltd

Panasonic GH4 arrives in the USA “2 weeks ahead of time” What’s happened to the Global marketplace ?

Categories: GH5 News 6 Comments


Firstly great news the Panasonic GH4s are out earlier than expected, the bad news is that B&H the biggest photographic retailer in the world is still telling customers END OF APRIL the same as UK retailers but clearly something has gone wrong somewhere.

UK retailers are unaware of the advance shipment to the USA but are clearly unhappy that Panasonic have not updated them with a new ETA.


This was conversations coming from a well known forum in the USA yesterday the 23rd April 2014, I was also told that a UK company had picked up their GH4 yesterday as yet I have no details of who from and I suspect it was an American order.

I am waiting for Panasonic UK to get back to me on this one but I can assure them that there are 100’s of disgruntled UK customers not to mention UK retailers who have had orders in for over 2 months not to mention myself who has invested in this web site with no hint of any of my two GH4s arriving this side of April…poor show Panasonic !

This is an ongoing story I hope it promotes Panasonic UK to hand over an early shipment of GH4s, then we can get working with them…just as I write the Panasonic GH4 Users Group release this picture from Texas Media Systems who claim to have stock.


UPDATE : Panasonic UK “Panasonic UK have no idea why Panasonic USA have released the GH4 early, Panasonic USA is a branch of its own.”

So there we have it from delivery in the USA to unboxing pictures all over American web sites, personally I think this will have done a huge amount of harm to Panasonics relationships with not only B&H who are now expecting delivery today (25th April) but the European market not to mention the UK retailers, certain UK customers are now contemplating ordering from the US…its a total cock-up by Panasonic and very unfair if we in the UK have to wait till May.



For all your video production needs in Scotland, get in touch with Small Video Company Ltd

Peter Loughran talkes about CROP FACTORS

Categories: GH5 camera 4 Comments


One of my readers Peter Loughran has been sending me some very interesting facts about crop factors…

Regarding the question of crop factors on the GH4.
Having used and tested these things on the the GH3 for over a year (and currently waiting for my GH4 Body to ship!) I’ve made some observations and calculations which may (if they prove correct when we get the actual camera) offer some clarification. Sorry this is a bit dry but there’s a lot of misinformation and speculation around so I thought I’d best justify my thoughts by showing the calculations used (please feel free to offer corrections if I’ve got anything wrong).
Because the GH3 (unlike the GH2 which has an over-sized constant crop factor ‘Multi Format’ sensor) actually crops its 4:3 format sensor (2x crop factor applies ONLY @ 4:3) down vertically to give 3:2 & 16:9 formats, the crop factor at 16:9 is actually ~2.18 (based on 43.27mm diagonal of 35mm still frame format of 36x24mm).

Full Frame Film/DSLR format = 36x24mm = 43.27mm diagonal (image circle diameter)

GH3 sensor (@4:3 full sensor) = 17.3×13.0mm = 21.64mm diagonal
Crop Factor = 43.27/21.64 = 2

GH3 sensor (@3:2 crop) = 17.3×11.53mm = 20.79mm diagonal
Crop Factor = 43.27/20.79 = 2.08

GH3 sensor (@16:9 crop) = 17.3×9.73mm = 19.85mm diagonal
Crop Factor = 43.27/19.85 = 2.18
(GH3 video EXIF data shows this scale factor as rounded to 2.2 but shows 35mm equivalent focal lengths correctly as multiplied by 2.18)

GH3 sensor when using the ‘Extra Tele Conversion’ 100% pixel for pixel 1920×1080 16:9 video crop mode = 7.21×4.06mm = 8.28mm diagonal
Crop Factor = 43.27/8.28 = ~5.22
(GH3 video EXIF data shows this scale factor as rounded to 5.2 but shows 35mm equivalent focal lengths correctly as multiplied by 5.22)

The GH4s new sensor appears to be same size & resolution as that in the GH3 so crop factors seem to be the same when shooting at Full HD.
Panasonics online specs. sheet for the GH4 shows exactly the same range of magnifications when using the ‘Extra Tele Conversion’ mode as those listed for the GH3:
“Extra Tele Conversion: Motion picture: 2.4x (FHD), 3.6x (HD), 4.8x (VGA)”
(Remember those magnifications are in addition to the crop factor of the sensor and selected format).
No official crop factor is so far listed, as far as I can see, for the C4K & QFHD video modes so whether the crop factor is different from that in Full HD (where it appears to use the full sensor width) remains to be confirmed.

If the GH4 is using a 100% pixel for pixel crop to obtain the 4K & QFHD images from the sensor the crop factors would be something like this:

Image sensor size 17.3 x 13.0 mm (in 4:3 aspect ratio)
Full horizontal sensor resolution is 4608 pixels over 17.3mm
C4K = 4096×2160 would imply a sensor crop of ~15.38×8.14mm = 17.4mm diagonal = Crop factor of ~2.5
4K = 3840×2160 would imply a sensor crop of ~14.42×8.11mm = 16.54mm diagonal = Crop Factor of ~2.6

Some ‘sources’ are claiming that the GH4s 4K crop factor is ~2.3 but seem to be working on the false assumption that the 16:9 (full sensor width) crop is 2x (which ONLY applies at the full 4:3 sensor aspect ratio) whereas the actual calculated 16:9 (full sensor width) crop factor is 2.18 as shown above.
Add their approximately 0.3 extra crop factor to my calculated (and EXIF confirmed) figure of 2.18 and you come to a very similar figures for the possible (100% pixel for pixel) crop factors (as calculated above) of ~2.5 to 2.6.
If that proves to be true I anticipate a lot of wailing and gnashing of teeth from those folks who long for bigger and bigger sensors.
Personally, I’d be delighted if the crop factor is a touch higher than in 1080p mode as it would give my longer lenses even more ‘pulling power’ in 4K (when shooting nature with telephoto and macro lenses) whilst still having the possible equivalent of ~18mm wide-angle coverage (more than enough for most purposes) by use of the Panasonic or Olympus 7-14mm lenses.

For all your video production needs in Scotland, get in touch with Small Video Company Ltd

Richard Payne and his pre production Panasonic GH4

Categories: 4K filming 1 Comment

(Above… Myself and Richard presenting a show special at IBC 2013, Amsterdam)
Early days with the Panasonic GH4

I was trained on professional camcorders and if I’m doing a shoot I always take something like a Panasonic HPX250 – it’s familiar, easy to use and produces wonderful results. My DSLR shoots HD, but has always seemed unnatural to use for video. The controls are all in the wrong place, the settings are buried deep in menus, and the aliasing and moiré are simply nasty.

I was concerned that the GH4 might be more of the same. It’s not. All the video controls and settings are exactly where you need them to be. Changing aperture, white balance, and ISO quickly becomes something you can do without taking your eye off the viewfinder. (I’ve barely had to look at the manual).

Talking about the OLED viewfinder, like the OLED back screen, it is incredibly good in terms of resolution and contrast. You can really see proper blacks really clearly and 2 settings of Zebra aid exposure. Focusing is so much easier thanks to both expanded focus and peaking, and shot framing seems totally accurate.  The Auto Focus is scarily fast and accurate and if I was a focus puller I might start considering other employment options having tried the touch focus pulling on the back screen.

Picture Quality

I’ve shot 29 minute sequences of cinematic 4K at 24fps and UltraHD at 25fps (slightly smaller with a more familiar aspect ratio) and at 100Mb/s I’m very impressed. The dynamic range may not be in the Alexa class, but it’s really good (don’t ask me for a figure yet!) and the colour rendition is excellent. Because of Panasonic’s heritage in video, the GH4 lets you adjust gamma curves, master pedestal and other professional camera settings which will help you get the right look straight out of the camera and save time in post.  If you get a chance, play with the 96fps HD mode: silky smooth slow-motion, with replay on the camera!


It won’t be until we get the DMW-YAGHE interface unit and record externally at 10-bit until we can see what the sensor can really achieve. But even at 8-bit, it’s looking very impressive.


We’ve successfully imported and edited footage in EDIUS 7.2 Pro, Sony Vegas and Adobe Premiere Pro CC. One of the advantages of shooting in production codecs (AVCHD and AVC-Intra) is that the files are so much smaller than RAW or intermediate codec. On location it means far less swapping, changing and misplacing memory cards and in the edit suite, it means that I don’t have to invest in lots of new RAID storage.

Note : The GH4 files will also import into FCPX.


I think Panasonic have cleverly avoided a lot of the aliasing issues so common with DSLRs. I’m going to ask the developers how they’ve done it at NAB. It’s my guess that it’s capturing 4K and HD using the sensor in different ways – I want to know if that’s the case and whether that will make a difference to picture quality at different frame sizes. Finally, it struck me that the crop factor is not the same in HD as it is for 4K… Bloggers say it’s 2x for 1080 and 2.3 for 4K. I think we need to have some clarity on this one.


Richard works for Holdan in Technical Development.

For all your video production needs in Scotland, get in touch with Small Video Company Ltd

Is 4K Right for Your Next Production ?

Categories: 4K filming 3 Comments


With the last few days of April remaining and the Panasonic GH4 arriving early May I thought I would give my guest writer Bob Miano a space to give us some thought provoking lines on 4K.

Bob “Recently an out-of-town client called asking if I would be willing to help his internal “web guy” with a video production problem.  He wanted to buy a new piece of hardware for their internally produced web videos.  My first question was “What issue are you trying to overcome?”  Long story short, he was trying to fix a pre-production planning problem with hardware.  I told him that he should save his money and then gave him suggestions on how to fix the issue with proper pre-pro planning.  Experience beats equipment every time!

In the coming weeks, months, or year you are going to be asked if you want to shoot in 4K ( is one of the companies that will be asking clients that question).  But is 4K the best choice for your next project?  The truth is, a knowledgeable producer/director (slight plug here for yours truly) can help make that decision easy for you.

If you don’t know what 4K is – frankly, even if you do – you owe it to yourself to walk into a Best Buy (or your favorite technology store) and take a look at a 4K television.  The difference in image quality will blow you away in much the same way High Definition did when compared to Standard Definition.  This little “field trip” will only take a few minutes but will be well worth it.

You may ask: “But how many people actually own a 4K television?”  That’s really not the point.  Let me give you a few reasons why 4K may or may not be the right choice for your next production:

4K is four times the resolution of High Definition!  Yes, that means the images are stunning but it also means that if your end product will be an HD production, capturing in 4K will allow you to “zoom in” to the footage in post.  So, if you are shooting an interview and plan to post in HD, with 4K you’ve essentially captured both a medium shot and a close-up with a single camera.

Another example?  If you want to impress your customers with a gorgeous video playing in your corporate headquarters lobby or bring customers into your trade show booth, a 4K production shown on a 4K television will definitely get their attention!

And of course, if you’re capturing images that you know you’ll want to use again in the future, 4K should give you the most flexibility.

Why wouldn’t you want to shoot 4K?  Well, for one thing, 4K can significantly slow down the post-production process.  All that quality takes more storage, more rendering, more horsepower.  To a certain extent that depends on the camera.  NOT ALL 4K CAMERAS ARE THE SAME!  A select few offer the choice of capturing images in a wide variety of file formats – some are more efficient than others.  This is where it gets tricky and it’s beyond the scope of this simple blog post to explain why one camera is better than another (and why not all “4K” cameras truly shoot 4K).

NOTE: Not to give too much information to my competitors but, depending on the camera and file format, 4K files can be more than eight times larger than what production houses are used to working with – this can cause significant challenges in post production, as well as massive storage issues.  In reality, a project might not need the “extra information” those large files hold – for instance, if you are not considering heavy image grading in post. As a corporate client, you need to be wary when a production house suggests shooting in 4K. Ask about the additional time, costs, and storage involved before you commit.

So here is the million dollar question:  Is 4K the right choice for you right now?  4K is aproduction tool.  Like so many production tools, you need to work with a production company that has the experience and knowledge to pick the best tools for each production – camera, lighting, audio, make-up, etc. – and the experienced production personnel to use those tools. is certainly one good option.

There’s a fitting story about violin virtuoso Jascha Heifetz:  An audience member came back stage after one of his performances and said “Mr. Heifetz, your violin sounded so good tonight.”  He picked up the violin, held it to his ear and said “Funny, I don’t hear anything.”

Guest Writer Bob Miano


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How are we going to power our GH4 with the YAGH SDI adapter

Categories: Power 1 Comment


I am hoping to answer this later on today when everyone gets back to normality but there will be a lot of disappointed people buying the GH4 and YAGH SDI adapter if you don’t have a power solution in place.

Firstly does the YAGH have a regulated power input if not you will be forced to buy a 12V regulated power adapter like a “V” lock adapter and a flying lead with a 4pin XLR power plug.

These are the questions I hope to get answers too from a couple of chaps who attended NAB in Las Vegas.

Its shocking that not even Panasonic mention wether the YAGH is regulated or not if its regulated it can take anything from 11-17v.

Even more shocking is that not one retailer is advising us what is the best solution to power the YAGH or giving us any alternatives.


NOTE : This is only an example of the type of adapter needed to power the YAGH, I am not recommending this item as I do not know if it is suitable for the job.

For all your video production needs in Scotland, get in touch with Small Video Company Ltd