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.
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?
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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