My experience on the Lumix GH4 4K DSLM

Having just aqcuired the lumix gh4, I'm still in the process of learning how to get optimum performance from this camera. This post will be updated as I go through the learning process.

With a Nikon Mount Metabones Speedbooster for BMCC, I can achieve a 2.3X crop in 4K when I use my old nikkors on the camera.

Last July, I went on a vacation to the Philippines, on the Island of Bohol and managed to grab a few shots around the Island. I used a combination of settings in Cine-D and Cine-V and probably a couple of shots in Neutral.

This piece can be viewed in 4K if your monitor and internet bandwidth allows it.

Also uploaded in Vimeo: Snippets from Bohol


DIY Declicking your old nikkors for video use.

Click on images to go to DIY corner.

FPS Over Ride in Canon DSLRs with Magic Lantern for clean low light and timelapse shooting.

The FPS over ride in magic lantern is very useful not only for sustained shooting in crop modes, but also allowing clean low light shooting as well as timelapse. On the 5D2 that I have tested, FPS override can be from .4, yes point four frames per second up to 30 fps.
With low FPS such as 1fps you can shoot nightscapes, like city scapes for instance, and get those nice light streaks from vehicle lights, and at the same time keep video noise under control by lowering your ISOs, I have shot at 100 Iso in very dark scenes and images come out clean. During daytime, I have shot at 1fps wide landscapes but you'd really need either ND filters or a VariND.
When shooting raw video, low FPS shooting obviously saves you storage space as well as saving your shutter mechanism since there is no shutter actuations.
Here's a short piece I shot during a road trip to New Mexico, shot at Albuquerque and at Sandia Mountain Range.
Used MLV raw, for extraction to CDNG I used Chmee's useful raw2cdng app which you can download here; RAW2CDNG
Grading was done in Da Vinci Resolve.
Lens used: Canon 24-105 f4L.
CF card: Komputerbay.

Click image to view.

On April 15, a rare lunar event took place called a Blood Moon eclipse. I rigged up my camera, stacking 2 pcs of a 2x teleconverter then mounting a Nikkor 80-200mm f2.8 to my 5D mkII.
At 1X mode it gave me an equivalent of an 800mm. In 3X crop mode that would be 2,400mm.
Good think it was a still night with no winds, otherwise, any slight breeze would shake the rig. It was one of the coldest nights in Texas though so I had to run inside my home while the cam was recording.
I shot in raw at 1fps using FPS Override, doing so made me shoot the entire 2hr plus event onto one CF card. I used the Komputerbay 128gig 1050x CF.
Below is a shot of the long setup I used.

After converting the MLV files to CDNGs, I conformed them to 23.976 on the timeline to speed them up.

Click on the image below to view the video.

Shooting "2K" Raw Video with the 7D in Tech Talk page.

Good, Fast and.. FREE ! New Resolve Lite 10 offers Industry standard color correction and non-linear editing.

Da Vinci Resolve Lite version 10 is available for download FREE at the Black Magic Design website and it is feature packed. The features in the lite and free version would offer so much more than some dedicated NLE that users have to buy!
Aside from having a built in NLE it also has a basic titler.
Another improvement that would interest users of the Canon DSLRs with Magic Lantern Raw video is that this version apparently has fixed the purple fringing in highlights that plagued raw footage processed by version 9.

Below are samples from a previous test I did using the crop mode of the 5DmkII raw video. It shows the difference between version 9 and 10.

Click on image to enlarge.

Another scene.
Click on image to enlarge.



Shooting in 3X Crop Mode with Canon 5D mkII, mkIII and 7D.

Magic Lantern has another neat trick for the canon DSLR and that is enabling it to shoot sharper images with a 1:1 pixel crop from the sensor with no line skipping. The image is a 3X crop from normal 1080P, essentially similar in crop factor to the new Black Magic Cinema Camera (2.88x).

How is it enabled and how good does it look ?

Go to Tech Talk section.


Testing KomputerBay 256gig 1200X CF card for 5DmkII,III and 7D

Go to TechTalk to see test.


Taking the Raw video capable 5DmkII for an evening stroll.

With the current Magic Lantern firmware with raw video recording capability
installed on my 5D mkII, I took an early evening stroll at Lost Creek Ranch to get some footage.

I brought a single lens, the 24-105 f4L, knowing that with the new crop mode feature in Magic Lantern firmware I basically have "2 lenses" with me. With the 3X crop I would have an equivalent of a 24-315 mm lens.

Shooting at dusk would stress test the dynamic range of the footage.
Using a couple of 64gig 1000X KomputerBay CF cards I shot around 93 gigabytes of raw footage.

Conformed and graded the DNG files in DaVinci Resolve and finished in Edius.
I also used a Mosaic VAF5d2 to minimize aliasing and moire.

Since I dare not take out the filter in the field, the crop mode shots' a bit soft.
Ideally, since the crop mode is 1:1 pixel with no line skipping, you should not use the VAF when its engaged to get a sharp image. I still find the images quite usable.
It's hard to go back to shooting with H264 on a DSLR when you've shot with 14bit raw.

1080P version in YouTube


FREE Guide to installing and using Magic Lantern Raw video by DVXUser available for download.

Download Guide


Bells Ring, Mr. King is an official entry to the 29th Los Angeles Asia Pacific Film Festival

The short film I directed is about a multitasking undocumented home-health caregiver working in the U.S. suffering from an acute case of homesickness.

Written by Lorely Trinidad and starring Mitzi Ibaya it will be screened this coming May 4 at 4:45 P.M at the Directors Guild of America Theater 2.

Link to LAAPFF.

BRMK was the 2012 Gawad Urian nominee for best short film in the Philippines.


Behind the scenes photos and production notes on our Facebook page.


The way of the foot and fist, a martial arts school documentary

I recently did a documentary presentation for a martial arts school based in Irving, Texas. When I had a preproduction meeting with Master John Monroe, the founder, Korean Taekwondo Institute was preparing to celebrate its 20th year of operations, this event provided us with a sense of urgency to fast track production in time for the video to premiere on its anniversary celebration.
Having set up my production company in the U.S.  just recently, this production allowed me an opportunity to assess my equipment and current capabilities but at the same time presented challenges like the fact that I still have no assistants and will have to do the production solo.
The subject matter also presented challenges, to make martial arts and interviews dynamic required at least a 2 camera shoot, adequate lighting and good sound.
Currently I am using DSLRs, that would also present challenges, however, due to developments made to the DSLR workflow by such companies like mosaic engineering and software developers like those with Magic Lantern have made DSLRs a viable option for projects like this.

Mosaic engineering made the OLPF that I currently use thus eliminating moiré and aliasing found in most DSLR footage due to line skipping and with Magic Lantern software, the 5D mkII can now have capabilities far beyond what it was originally made to do, among those are the ability to use headphone monitoring, multi track audio, variable frame rates and HDR video.

Here is a link to my tests with the Mosaic filter:

Resolution charts

Outdoor and fabrics tests.

I wouldn't be using most of those features for this project but a few are important, the ability to monitor sound, control audio gain for 2 separate audio channels and, very important in doing interviews, the ability to automatically continue recording after the 4 gig limit has been reached. Working alone, the auto restart recording feature allowed me to do long sit down interviews and with multi cameras without the need for another operator.

With a very tight deadline and a post production time of only 4 days I needed to find a workflow that is faster. One way to achieve this is to ditch dual system sound and record audio straight to camera. Those working with Canon DSLRs and a separate sound recorder know how challenging this is. I have a ZOOM H4n sound recorder and with certain shotguns, the built in pre amps is just not good enough, giving me a wave form of around -24db only.  This is not good enough since this takes a lot of fixing post.

I found a cheap portable pre-amp made by Applied Research and Technology (ART) called the USB Dual Pre which is just a little more than $30 and provides 48v Phantom and up to +48db of gain. It's light enough to be modified for rail mounting thus making it part of a portable filming rig.

Lighting is a combination of tungsten redheads and fluorescent soft boxes.
This filming system together with several DIY rigs I made, like the Plywood Skater and mini track allowed me to produce the documentary by myself and on schedule.

Click on image links below to play video.


3D logo animations for Dallas Marathon live broadcast

Ramasola productions was commissioned to do the motion graphics and 3D animated logo for the recent Dallas Marathon live broadcast. A production of Silver Horn Entertainment, they required a fast turn around and that the final product contained alpha channels for composition over scenes from the event.
More in tech talk.


In Tech talk; DIY Variable ND, does it work?

Go to article.


Documentary series DALLAS HOPE features title graphics made by Ramasola Productions
The 3 part documentary series aired on November 8, 15 &17 2012 on ABC WFAA8.
It is the story of three real-life heroes as they face the uncertainty of cancer in Dallas.
This was a production of Silverhorn Entertainment for Baylor health care system.
Click image to view the entire episode.


The 2nd Annual Pilipino American Film Festival at UCLA will screen the short film I directed, Bells Ring, Mr. King in L.A. on Oct. 30. 
Link to event's FB page.
Link to screening schedules.

How to make a Mattebox with adjustable filter trays.

Step by step guide posted in the DIY corner.

Click to enlarge.

Click image to play video


DIY DSLR Rig with various configurations for different shooting conditions.

Head over to our DIY Corner.


Creating a 3D Chocolate Hills animation in Tech Talk page.


The DIY Corner features stuff for those who like building things.

Making your own LCD finder or loupe for your DSLR.

The Plywood Skater, for curved and straight camera moves.


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