The Muse – Panasonic’s new V-Log L Profile for GH4


I pre-ordered the Panasonic V-Log L upgrade the day it was announced. I was giddy. We’ve been teased with the possibility of log on our GH4s for almost a year! The concept of a log profile combined with the GH4’s ability to output 10-bit 4k video over HDMI into my Atomos Shogun has been the thing of my dreams. Seriously.

If you’re wondering why I’m so thrilled to make my footage look like grey mush, it’s because V-Log L has the potential to give us 2 ADDITIONAL STOPS OF LATITUDE! That means I can pull more information out of the dark shadows or bright highlights that previously would have been lost. No one in their right mind would shoot log footage without the intention of grading it. In the grade is where log footage shines.

Panasonic GH4 V-Log Before and After
See? So pretty!

Currently B&H says my V-Log upgrade kit will ship Oct 7. Uh, ok? Isn’t it just part of the 2.3 firmware that was released a week ago?

What’s that? I need to go through an insanely long “activation” process?

Too long; didn't read. TL;DR for the uninformed. AKA Teal Deer.

Fine. Whatever. It’ll be worth it.

Wait a second, I can just enable it with my iPhone before Panny even “ships” the upgrade my way? Sweet! Done.

I don’t know about you, dear reader, but I found Panasonic’s “apology” hilarious.

“We are aware of an oversight in our Panasonic Image App which allows enabling of V-Log L as a ‘custom’ setting without purchase. This was not our intent, and our apologies for the oversight.”

Don’t worry, Panasonic, your apology for giving away V-Log L for free will not go unnoticed to those of us who actually paid for it. I forgive you. On the other hand, I’m positive all the cheapskates will simply say, “Thanks for the heads up!”, and promptly google for a mirror of the 2.3 firmware since you decided to take it down. Oh, and you messed up the histogram and zebras in 2.3? No worries, I much prefer the tools on my Shogun anyway.

Hot tip: if you’re wanting to use your GH4 zebras, set them to 80%. It’d be like setting them to 100% before. At 80 it’s not quite burnt, but pretty damn close.

Armed with my freshly V-Log L enabled GH4, Sigma 18-35mm f1.8, Metabones Speedbooster, and Atomos Shogun, I grabbed a few clips of my good friend Emily Dawn rehearsing her aerial work while I was in NYC. Thought you might like it.

Obviously I’m not talking about aerial GH4 footage. I’m taking about GH4 aerial footage. Got it? Never mind.

I dropped the Sharpness and Noise Reduction all the way down. I was hoping to shoot at 30p and conform to 24p, but I noticed a strange noise pattern that only shows up when shooting 30p (sample clip coming soon). Weird, right? So for now I’m sticking to 24p. That’s actually reason enough to upgrade to the paid version. That is if they actually fix the 30p-pattern-problems. #alliterationFTW

The row of windows brought in the most amazing streams of light. Then there was the color red, from both the stage curtain and my performer, Emily Dawn, who is blessed with natural red hair. I chose the Fuji 8543 VD film stock inside FilmConvert for it’s beautiful handling of the darks, highlight rolloff, and strong red interpretation that tends a touch toward violet, which I love.

I dialed in the look with an adjustment layer over a sampling of shots from the piece. When I was happy, I applied that look to every shot and tweaked them individually.

Here’s a split of the graded video against the original V-Log profile.

The use of FilmConvert began before I even hit record. In my Shogun, I loaded a few FilmConvert LUTs which I prefer over Panasonic’s 709 LUT as it gives me a better idea of what the finished shot might look like while making it a whole lot easier to expose my shot.

I still can hardly believe the latitude I’m getting from my good ol’ GH4. I feel like I’ve just been given a brand new camera. In a way, I have. Since V-Log L recorded internally to the 100mbps 8-bit h264 codec really falls apart in the darks, I must then lug around my Shogun as well which makes my tiny GH4 much less tiny.

Personally, when I’m unable or unwilling to bring along the shogun, I’ll stick with my low contrast Cine-D profile, but whenever I feel like capturing gorgeous footage from a camera setup that’s 1/4 the size of my RED, I’ll definitely be shooting ProRes V-Log with my GH4+Shogun.

I’ve uploaded a few seconds of 4k ProRes footage straight off of the Shogun for you to play with. I would love to hear what sort of LUTs and other grading tools you’re using with your own V-Log L edits.

Let me know your questions and thoughts below!

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8 Comments

  • Hey Ryan, this looks really cool. I own the exact same setup you described. Me too, I’m very happy with V-Log. Ordered it but B&H keeps me on hold too. So gladly there is the workaround version. Me too I look at my scopes in Shogun. Tell me, did you expose to her face, … guess so? So you ignored the highlights from thw windows?

    What I did so far was to import the varicam35 log to 709 lut an to turn it on in preview mode. By that way the waveform went back to normal displaying from 0 to 1023. I didn’nt dare to overexpose so far. But for the look in your video I think you have to do so. And it’s a great look.
    I bought the Osiris Luts and there you can decide to use eihher the Log or 709 version. Looks good. Then I bought the Neumann Films GH4 V-Log Luts. Happy with them too. Editing in Davinci 12 you can easily decrease the Lut-Overlay in Key Mode. Sometimes it’s sort of too much for me. So anyway, doing the Color grade in Davinci is heaven for me. Let’s stay in contact if you like.
    Regards from Cologne,
    Michael

  • First of all, thanks for shooting this, i don’t see too many GH4, vlog, 10 bit 4k footage online.

    A couple questions, which metabones speedbooster are you using, it seems like people use the regular one, the S, the Ultra, or the XL. I tried the XL and don’t like the cropping, I contacted metabones and they said if i’m wanting a more versatile option to go for the Ultra. And I believe the Ultra replaced the S version, but they should be pretty similar. Also, they have the regular speedbooster, which they don’t seem to carry on their website anymore. They have a smart adapter but I know they used to sell a m4/3 to canon speedbooster that you can still find on eBay.

    Also, I know the shogun outputs 4k, i’ve been thinking of getting a black magic external recorder or Ninja Blade to get a prores 10 bit file in 1080 (too expensive to get a shogun). Do you think that recording in prores and getting 10 bit for grading would be worth the investment?

    Thanks!

    • I only have the lowly original SpeedBooster. I’ve heard good things about the Ultra, but haven’t been able to try it out yet.

      As far as a 1080p external recorder versus something like the Shogun, I’m not sure that you’d see a huge difference between that and downconverting the UHD 4:2:0 to a 1080p 4:4:4 ProRes file. I haven’t tested this theory myself, but it’s worth a shot. Check out this article here from EOSHD that explains it in more detail.

  • Hello,

    Have you tried inputting C4k from the Gh4 and having it downconvert to 1080p in the shogun?

    I would like to know if there is any noticeable difference in the final result when shooting and recording in 4k, but then exporting/downconverting to 1080p in post versus having the downconvert to 1080p occur in the recorder.

    I ask because I always finish projects in 1080p, and would like to save money if I could getting an Atomos Ninja 2, rather than a shogun or an assassin, filming v-log C4k from the Gh4 and having this downconvert to 1080p in the Ninja 2.

    Please let me know if you’ve experimented with this. I would greatly appreciate it. Good work btw. I’m loving V-Log as well, just not as much as I could when I’ll have it in 10 bit 422.

    • Hey Lucien! Thanks for the question. I LOVE me some 4k, so if I ever have the choice, I always opt for 3840p over 1080p. So I can’t say I’ve tried what you’re asking. That, and I believe ATOMOS just added the ability to downconvert inside the Shogun, and to be honest, I haven’t had a chance to try that feature out yet. I’ll keep you posted if I get a second. Thanks!

  • Hi Ryan!

    Love the look you’re getting here, mind elaborating more on the Film Convert LUT you made/loaded into your Atomos monitor? I’ve been using V-Log with the Film Convert presets/custom profile, but my footage looks rather overexposed and contrasty by comparison… are you using Film Convert’s GH4 V-Log settings, or are you using using the default log one in film convert? thanks 🙂

    • Hey Stephen! The profile I’ve loaded into my Shogun is indeed the GH4 V-Log profile and the grade was done with the GH4 V-Log profile as well. With this piece I didn’t need to do much with the grade aside from a slight exposure adjustment here or there, but in most of my work I’ll wind up using Premiere’s Lumetri tools to make curve and color saturation adjustments throughout.

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