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Old March 19th, 2013, 10:06 AM   #16
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Re: GH3 - no expanded focus while recording!

All, I have posted my aforementioned two-cam shoot to Youtube, unlisted. So, you can have a look.

Surprisingly, even with the focus failure (and other thumb-fingered problems (my fault, not the cam) with exposure and color balance that were so egregious I gave up trying to fix in post), the image quality is about as good as my standard of comparison, my old CX550V. So, I'm cautiously optimistic. Next time I think I'll shoot at F 3.5 and pay careful attention to focus, using the touch-screen; I'm getting better at it.

Read the video description for a full description of my goofs.

The video opens with a shot from the GH3, fully zoomed. The CX550V shots all have a slightly bluer tinge.


Steve

Last edited by Stephen Crye; March 19th, 2013 at 10:08 AM. Reason: extra info
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Old March 19th, 2013, 04:55 PM   #17
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Re: GH3 - no expanded focus while recording!

I think you're being a bit hard on yourself. This doen't look too bad at all. Large concerts with mixed lighting are always diffcult to get right - especialy using two different cams. For youtube this looks fine to me.
Did you use auto WB ??
My other tip is that you're better off using a video camera for this type of work with zoom rockers,a good 18X or 20X lens, and XLR's lined out from the audio desk. GH's give a high quality pic that lends itself to a cinematic look. I would lock off the wide and go in close with a GH, shallow DOF and pick up creative shots to intercut.
Good luck.
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Old March 20th, 2013, 12:19 AM   #18
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Re: GH3 - no expanded focus while recording!

>>Chris>>I think you're being a bit hard on yourself.
Perhaps. But I can't stand the thought of being stuck with a camera I don't like - went through that with the NX70, it was a huge effort to get sony & B&H to take it back after the time limit.

>> Chris>> Did you use auto WB ??<<

Yes, I was late getting set up, barely plugged in the mic and powered up the cams before hitting record. I usually take them to the stage with my white card and set the WB.

>> Chris>>My other tip is that you're better off using a video camera for this type of work with zoom rockers,a good 18X or 20X lens, and XLR's lined out from the audio desk. <<

I agree, that is why I have been looking for one for the last 18 months. NX5 was too fuzzy (it is actually not a true 1920x1080 cam), and does not have 1080 60p. It was solid and had beautiful build quality, though. AC-160a had bad vignetting and the zoom servos were crazy loud, not to mention rattly buttons & cheap-feeling switches (compared to the NX5) and no vari-zoom on the handle, along with no touch screen. Had high hopes for the JVC GY-HM600, but no 1080 60p. There seems to be no cam on the market right now, regardless of cost, that meets my specs. The high-end cams are all too big and heavy for my purposes; the NX5, AC-160a and GY-HM600 are already slightly too large. I need something no larger than the PMW-100 or XF100.

Regarding XLR, and fancy audio, I'm happy with the cheapo Rode SteroVideo MIC for now. Audio is the least of my worries.

The GH3, when in focus, has fabulous sharpness (at least with the 35-100mm lens). With me, image quality is the ultimate deal breaker. I'm leaning toward keeping it, just hoping against hope for peaking or expanded focus.

>> Chris>>GH's give a high quality pic that lends itself to a cinematic look. I would lock off the wide and go in close with a GH, shallow DOF and pick up creative shots to intercut.<<

Yeah, I'm thinking that too. At least until Sony gets it's act together and builds that dream cam I described a few posts back. I'm so sick of P2 or SxS or CF cards! SDXC is the wave of the future, plenty fast and reliable for all bit rates. I also hate to be forced into shallow DoF by larger sensors. I'm not a big fan of Bokeh, my eyes have deep DoF and overly blurry backgrounds bug me.

Four Thirds is still a bit too big for my tastes. Better noise reduction would allow me to shoot at f8, but indoors with the GH3, that would mean ISO 800 or higher, and I find the noise objectionable at anything higher than ISO 640. IMHO, Sony noise reduction seems better than Panny.
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Old March 20th, 2013, 06:04 AM   #19
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Re: GH3 - no expanded focus while recording!

Stephen, there's a great tutorial around on audio and I remember one main thing from it. Average pictures and good audio are much better than good pictures and bad audio. For concerts I would be lining out of the desk, number one. Audio is very much under-rated. People are always talking about great new gear they've bought, but then use an onboard microphone to shoot their stories - which are basically crap more than a metre from the subject.
As for cameras, its a huge subjective area based on your specific needs. Years ago I bought a Sony Z5 cause it had XLR's and 20x zoom and recorded to a external compact flash card - still love it and use it all the time even though the quality of the pics has beed surpassed many times. Perfect for wides and for the web.
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Old March 20th, 2013, 03:58 PM   #20
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Re: GH3 - no expanded focus while recording!

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Originally Posted by Stephen Crye View Post
>>
Audio is the least of my worries..
You're filming a symphony for gods sake, if audio isn't the top priority what is? And tell me you're not capturing sound with the camera's 16 bit recorder.
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Old March 20th, 2013, 04:20 PM   #21
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Re: GH3 - no expanded focus while recording!

I don't trust PA board feeds at all. They are usually mixed for the room not a stand-alone recording. Entire sections of instruments can be missing, drums for example. If I take a PA board feed, I always have a room recording at the same time. Sometimes they mix together well. Plus the outputs of PA boards are all over the place, some are hot line feeds, others are low microphone feeds.

Symphony orchestras usually record well with a room microphone (unless the room has really bad acoustics). A ZOOM recorder would do an excellent job for an event like this. Not for sale, of course, but for a better than average document of the event.
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Old March 20th, 2013, 05:33 PM   #22
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Re: GH3 - no expanded focus while recording!

William, totally disagree about line feeds and room microphones. I use a location audio person for every symphony shoot, and have never seen them set up a room microphone. Using a room microphone is not the same as what you're hearing - nowhere near. A proper line feed has usually been rehearsed and levels and instruments balanced. I've never had a problem with a line feed, but have had plenty when one is not available. I would also not use a zoom recorder for a room record except in a perfect small acoustic environment, and if you're stopping and starting, synching is a giant pain.
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Old March 21st, 2013, 10:26 AM   #23
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Re: GH3 - no expanded focus while recording!

Sorry I am going to be hard on you - I suggest you get back to basics and learn how to shoot - from the beginning. Then you may hesitate before you complain about not being able to focus and like the old cliche says... blame the tools.

It has never been easier to focus with todays cameras - GH3 included. With ISO's that go up to 3200 and beyond and still useable, focusing is a non-issue. Get behind tha maths of DOF and you will have focused shots all the time. It's basic shooting.

Blaming all the cameras - and you seem to have tried many is not the answer. Any pro can pick up a 20 year old camera and shoot great images today. Nothing's changed except shooting got much easier.

Next week I am in India for a solo 4-week shoot in the Himalaya and Ganges valley. I am taking only a GH3 kit due to weight. It includes Gitzo mountaineer legs, sound recorders and yes I take a field monitor. All this fits into one camera bag. I own other bigger and better cameras (FS-700, Scarlet) but I am really looking forward to this shoot because it is how I used to shoot 20 yrs ago. We have all got a bit soft with todays tech. I am old now but if I can take a field monitor to the himalayas you can take one to a concert I think.

LaForet's lastest blog discusses this....Vincent Laforet's Blog
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Old March 21st, 2013, 12:09 PM   #24
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Re: GH3 - no expanded focus while recording!

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Originally Posted by William Hohauser View Post
I don't trust PA board feeds at all. They are usually mixed for the room not a stand-alone recording.
Not to mention there usually isn't a PA at the symphony. Symphony recordings usually consist of a dedicated system with at least one mic for each section and a well matched, well placed pair of stereo mics all running to a 24 bit recorded or an analog multi track.
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Old March 21st, 2013, 03:28 PM   #25
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Re: GH3 - no expanded focus while recording!

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Originally Posted by Chris Duczynski View Post
William, totally disagree about line feeds and room microphones. I use a location audio person for every symphony shoot, and have never seen them set up a room microphone. Using a room microphone is not the same as what you're hearing - nowhere near. A proper line feed has usually been rehearsed and levels and instruments balanced. I've never had a problem with a line feed, but have had plenty when one is not available. I would also not use a zoom recorder for a room record except in a perfect small acoustic environment, and if you're stopping and starting, synching is a giant pain.
I was being very specific when I mentioned "PA" as in public address systems. This is a house feed that is balanced for the room audience not for recording. These are highly unreliable for any sort of permanent record of an event. You are speaking of a professional recording set-up and yes I happily take those feeds. Frequently we do not have the luxury of a dedicated audio person and we have make do with what we have. I once did a concert at Jazz at Lincoln center and the line feed was horrendous, nothing was balanced for me but the audience was very happy with what they heard live. Fortunately I had a room mike on and the sound was salvageable for publicity but nothing else. Recently I did another one there and they had updated their system to provide two separately mixed feeds, one specifically for recording, and that was much better. They still had impedance issues coming to my cameras and the Zoom recorder but we were able to work it out. A Zoom recorder is much better than the average on-camera mike, however I wouldn't recommend one for run and gun. If you have a camera that can take a good ($300+) directional mike, then yes, that is better.
If you can afford a pro sound person or the venue has one, then yes, that's much, much better.

By the way, symphony orchestras are designed to sound good acoustically, if you are a single cameraperson in a good position in the house, have a decent stereo microphone and the house is a concert hall (not a gymnasium) then the recording, while not Deutsche Grammophon quality, should be very good.
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Old March 24th, 2013, 07:34 AM   #26
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Re: GH3 - no expanded focus while recording!

DSLRs or many HD cameras in general are difficult to focus. That is just the nature of the best when trying to focus a 1920x1080 image on a 800x480 3" screen or whatever res it is.

DDLRs are very different from video cameras and you have to remember they are also designed for killer still images. They are amazing for video but they do have limitations. Some of these limitations can be overcome by adding extra gear. You want to shoot with a DSLR and get the quality from a DSLR then you will have to buy more gear.

I use a loupe with my GH2 to help expand the size of my LCD screen. Yeah it is still low res but it helps tremendously. I think I paid $40.00 for mine or something like that. It is a bit too big for the smaller screen on the GH2 so you may have to get clever to get it to attach. I use Velcro that I formed into a tight loup so it can just slide over the end on the LCD screen. Attaches and detaches in seconds and takes up the space of a small lens. With that said I will be buying a small monitor soon since it is even better. There are some great and affordable 7" monitors with 1280x720 or 1024x600 res that have built in focus peaking and a 1:1 mode while shooting. These things start at $250.00 with focus peaking which is a killer deal and will revolutionize the way you focus with a DSLR.
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Old April 20th, 2013, 11:30 PM   #27
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Re: GH3 - no expanded focus while recording!

Sorry I have been neglecting this thread.

I'm keeping the GH3, despite annoyances. The image is just so freaky sharp I will grit my teeth and put up with the flaws.

Here's a sample of the good and the bad:


Steve
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Old April 21st, 2013, 04:28 PM   #28
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Re: GH3 - no expanded focus while recording!

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Originally Posted by Duane Adam View Post
You're filming a symphony for gods sake, if audio isn't the top priority what is? And tell me you're not capturing sound with the camera's 16 bit recorder.
Sorry, I should have elaborated.

What I meant was that I am not worried about sound, because the sound I get, using my external Rode SV mic (and yes, into the HDR-CX550V's internal 16-bit recorder), is plenty good for these symphony rehearsals. After I equalize it and burn to Bluray and then play back on my Yamaha / Bang & Olufsen system, I hear excellent dynamic range, low noise and low distortion. One reason I choose the 550V is it has impressive audio spec graphs, particularly SNR. It is also true that at age 56, my ears' high-F response is starting to degrade.

Interestingly, I use that cam as the "conductor cam" when I assist Ozzie with his paid, professional recordings of the local symphony. On several occasions, the concert hall hanging mikes, feed into the big audio board, and sent via XLR to his deck, have yielded inferior sound than my little old Rode/Sony combo. Of course , when everything is working correctly, 24-bit PCM from the board is better.

Thanks for your comment,

Steve
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Old April 21st, 2013, 04:34 PM   #29
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Re: GH3 - no expanded focus while recording!

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Originally Posted by Jon Braeley View Post
Sorry I am going to be hard on you - I suggest you get back to basics and learn how to shoot - from the beginning. Then you may hesitate before you complain about not being able to focus and like the old cliche says... blame the tools.
Don't worry about being harsh, no offense taken.

I'm not expecting ENG run-n-gun focus out of the GH3. I just want expanded focus while recording, many other cameras have this - does not the FS700 also have that? I know the NX5 and NX70 had it. Push the expanded focus and presto - expanded, twist the focus dial and get it sharp. All while rolling.

Not sure how going back to the basics would help when the camera is lacking a feature that is included in much of the competition.

Steve
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Old April 21st, 2013, 04:38 PM   #30
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Re: GH3 - no expanded focus while recording!

[QUOTE=Thomas Smet; There are some great and affordable 7" monitors with 1280x720 or 1024x600 res that have built in focus peaking and a 1:1 mode while shooting. These things start at $250.00 with focus peaking which is a killer deal and will revolutionize the way you focus with a DSLR.[/QUOTE]

Although tempting at that price, I still can't lug that into the mountains, and I have been spoiled by the functional expanded focus on the NX70 and NX5. I'm a bit puzzled that the DSLR-style world seems content to live without expanded focus while recording. It is a super-common feature in the Pro Vid world.

I did buy some 3x reading glasses, sort of a loupe!

Steve
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