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Old June 29th, 2014, 05:17 AM   #1
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Advantages of 4K for soloshooters

A friend of mine shoots a few weddings a year and he bought the gh4 2 weeks ago, he asked me if I could take his camera with me to my next wedding as he wanted to have some real life footage to play with before he would take it to his next wedding. Now I had decided for myself I don't need 4K for this and even next year as my clients are not asking for it yet and from a business point of view it would save me the most money to wait until end of next year to upgrade my camera's.

I only regret taking the camera with me to try :) I actually liked shooting in 4K that much that I got a gh4 for myself 2 days ago, I know, call me stupid, but I felt the advantages of shooting in 4K outweigh any disadvantages that I found it important enough investing in such a camera now and as soon as my budget allows to get another 4K camera and sell a few of my 1080p camera's.

Here is why; ability to zoom into your footage, up to 50%, without any visual loss in image quality.
To give an example, yesterday the groom gave his mother flowers in the morning and she started to cry, as this happened unannounced I only had the time to start up my camera, point it to the right direction and press the autofocus button to focus right (I had the 12-35mm lens on which was at 12mm at that moment) I was standing a bit further back and had no time to zoom in as it was happening so fast I feared I would ruin the moment with that zoom. In post however I was able to zoom in 50% and get a nice and tight framed shot of that moment.
The cropped footage still looks nice and sharp, as if it was shot that way.

Another example was from the wedding 2 weeks ago, my gh4 was at the back of a small chapel during the ceremony with a 12-35mm lens and shot at 12mm. At a certain point I had to move to the front with another camera and leave the gh4 in the back, I noticed later in post that one of the guests had bumped the tripod legs and changed the framing of the camera, but again no problem as I just could zoom in and reframe in post to correct the error the guest had caused. And still a nice and sharp image. I kept that shot on location wide enough as I wanted to experiment with the cropping in post so that eventually gave the necessary room to correct any mistakes.

And also yesterday in church I let the gh4 run with the altar and lectern (my two cx730 where running the show, the gh4 was placed just for testing purposes) and here I could make use of the cropping ability to put teh focus more on the lectern or the altar or to crop me out of the image when they where doing the vows as I saw myself in the camera frame. This was a real eye opener being able to move my frame around on a unmanned camera and place it just where I wanted it and still have it nice and sharp.

The fact that you can zoom in up to 50% to correct any framing errors without any visual quality loss is hugh for me as I don't have a second shooter to rely on,
As I see it now I can make use of that cropping advantage for at least 2 years (non of my weddings I get booked for right now for 2015 ask for 4K delivery), I would expect for anything I shoot in 2016 could get a few requests for delivering 4K (that would mean my clients should be asking for it next year as they usually book me one year in advance) but it will take untill 2017 before I expect that 4K delivery might be equal then 1080p.

That was my reasoning behind my stepping into 4K right now and use it to my own advantage as long as I can, in a few years that advantage will be gone if you have to deliver in 4K but who knows, 8K might be the new 4K then :)

About workflow issues, I shot in a 100mbs codec which edits just fine on my 2 year old pc, actually I don't notice that much difference compared to editing 50p avchd, it's slower, yes, especially exporting but in my case I can export almost twice realtime to a 25mbs h.264 1080p mp4 file which is still fast enough for my purposes and during edit I hardly see any differences compared to edit avchd, only editing two 4K files in a multicam is not possible in realtime, it's doable but then my machine struggles but editing one 4K layer and 2 1080p layers is possible in multicam mode in Edius 7.

So anyone questioning the use of 4K, the cropping ability is definitely the main reason for me now. It doesn't mean I will get lazy when I shoot, just leave the camera wide and fix it in post but I can find enough reasons that it will help me as a soloshooter to deliver a better product being able to correct framing mistakes or give more point of views in post where I don't have the time to do that on location.
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Old June 29th, 2014, 06:08 AM   #2
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Re: Advantages of 4K for soloshooters

That is how I use my FDR-AX1. I use it as a full wide camera for stage shoots.Set just a little wider than I would for a CX700 or XR500. In Edius Pro 7 I can then crop and fine level camera. The FDR-AX1 needs to be better in low light but works fine most of the time.

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Old June 29th, 2014, 06:14 AM   #3
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Re: Advantages of 4K for soloshooters

Hi Noa

Just one question from your expert brain???

On the EA-50 because the image size is actually bigger then HD you supposedly can digitally zoom 2X on the camera and not lose any resolution but you already know that the image is indeed softer.

What is the difference with the 4K image when cropping it in your NLE ? compared to the sorta same cropping the EA-50 does with it's digital zoom?? In theory is the process much and same and the GH4 image is actually a LOT bigger than the initial image the sensor gets on the EA-50??

Just curious?? although I have yet to use any digital zoom at a wedding it would be nice to know why you can do it on the GH4 without any resolution loss but not on the EA-50 ??

Chris
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Old June 29th, 2014, 06:42 AM   #4
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Re: Advantages of 4K for soloshooters

That's easy to know what the difference is, take a random shot from your ea50 and zoom in 50% and then compare the original not zoomed to the one zoomed in, I think you can agree the 50% zoomed in image would look unusable in combination with other not zoomed in footage.
A 4K camera will allow you to zoom in 50% in a 1080p project and still show more detail then the ea50.
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Old June 29th, 2014, 06:43 AM   #5
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Re: Advantages of 4K for soloshooters

It is not sensor size its the number of pixels. 4K or really UHD has 4 times as many pixels as HD so one could really zoom in 4:1 for the same HD image. If you do not zoom too much then the 420 source becomes close to a 422 image too increasing the colour resolution from a similar HD camera. Clear on my FDR-AX1 compared to the NX5U for instance. Downside is those small pixel do not collect much light compared to a HD array so the FDR-AX1 is about 2 stops slower than my NX5U.

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Old June 29th, 2014, 06:46 AM   #6
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Re: Advantages of 4K for soloshooters

I'm tempted to upgrade to a FDR-AX100E handycam.
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Old June 29th, 2014, 06:54 AM   #7
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Re: Advantages of 4K for soloshooters

Hi Noa

Not according to Sony! The EA-50 actually creates a much bigger image than 1080 on the sensor and then downsizes it in camera to 1080. For this reason they say that zooming on the sensor image will still create a new image that exceeds 1080 so in theory there is no loss. Then again they don't say what size image the sensor creates and I cannot see it being as big as a 4K image ..What does the GH4 create as an image size ?? Is it 4X the size of a full HD image (ie: 3840x 2160) or goes the Panny sensor also make an even bigger sensor footprint and then downsize to 4K??

I do understand that you cannot tale a 1920x1080 frame and zoom it 50% and expect it to be the same resolution as other 1920x1080 frames. But I'm wondering what size footprint the APSC sensor creates ..it seems it must be insufficient to be able to do a 2X zoom on it??

Chris
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Old June 29th, 2014, 07:06 AM   #8
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Re: Advantages of 4K for soloshooters

The digital zoom on the ea50 turns all fine detail into mush and increases moire patterns as well, compare a digitally zoomed image on the ea50 to a cropped 4K image is like night and day. I"m not such a technical guy and rather just see it for myself, so that's why below a test I did with the DZ on the ea50, for me that dz result looks really bad on wider shots.

password: ea50
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Old June 29th, 2014, 07:19 AM   #9
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Re: Advantages of 4K for soloshooters

I see a lot of discussion going on about the detail a 4K camera delivers and with every new 4K camera that is coming out people start comparing that detail, saying one is sharper then the other. That actually is not important, it's just pixelpeeping, all 4K camera's deliver a very sharp image compared to 1080p only camera's and in a 1080p project they do show how 1080p is supposed to look when it comes to resolved detail (not sharpness, that's something else) The main advantage is that you can move around in that image to either cover up framing mistakes or improve a shot by re-framing without your clients noticing you did, there are no workarounds like sharpening up the image, you just reframe as needed and it will match just fine.
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Old June 29th, 2014, 08:25 AM   #10
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Re: Advantages of 4K for soloshooters

Thanks Noa

I saw that video and yes I also found that you can get away with up to 1.5X zoom on the EA-50 and although it does go soft it's still way better than zooming the same amount on a 1080 frame in your NLE

Thanks for that ..looking forward to some stunning 4K video from you when your GH4 arrives!!

Chris
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Old August 22nd, 2014, 10:32 AM   #11
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Re: Advantages of 4K for soloshooters

The ability to crop that 4k video is great!

Most shooters are using 4k in the GH4 for a different reason:
4k converted to 1080P is a lot better than 1080P native.

My reason for using 4k with my GH4 has to do with the much superior frame grabs
as I prefer to shoot 1080 P60 otherwise.
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Old October 16th, 2014, 08:35 AM   #12
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Re: Advantages of 4K for soloshooters

This is some interesting discussion! I am also considering 4K for this very reason as well...

However while reading this thread, and do correct me if I'm wroong, But I can't help but feeling like there are a few folks here who seem confused that this discussion is about doing the digital zoom in post and NOT in the camera while shooting the event.
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Old October 16th, 2014, 09:11 AM   #13
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Re: Advantages of 4K for soloshooters

Quote:
Originally Posted by Noa Put View Post
I actually liked shooting in 4K that much that I got a gh4 for myself 2 days ago, I know, call me stupid, but I felt the advantages of shooting in 4K outweigh any disadvantages
For what you do, I wouldn't think of it as stupid as all. 4K on the GH4 is very doable, especially for long-form content like you shoot. It's not the heavy-lifting of 4K ProRes or raw, which would require an actual investment in a hard drive company in order to keep all of that. ;-)
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Old December 31st, 2014, 08:21 AM   #14
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Re: Advantages of 4K for soloshooters

How is the low light quality of the gh4?

It's interesting that you shot a wedding in your OP because those seem to be the jobs that challenge cameras low light abilities the most and, to be honest, the low light capability is the only thing holding me back from purchasing it.
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Old December 31st, 2014, 08:44 AM   #15
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Re: Advantages of 4K for soloshooters

For what it's worth, a few weeks ago I shot part of an instructional video in a photographic darkroom with the GH4 + 17.5/0.95. Quality was not bad.

It's no night vision camera like the A7S or even as quiet as the Canon C's, but for most realistic situations where the attendees will be given some opportunity to see, you should be able to get the shot. Also remember the crop factor means you can effectively utilize wider f-stops and still have controllable focus depth.
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