Tag Archives: Panasonic GH4

My New Royce 5’9″ Video Was Shot Entirely with the Varavon Birdycam Lite

Check out my latest music video for Royce 5’9″ titled “Which Is Cool”, shot entirely with the Varavon Birdycam Lite and the Panasonic GH4. The concept is that Royce can hardly contain his honest thoughts which start filtering into the real world through his music. Here’s my treatment for the song:

We open on Royce and his brother walking out of their SUV and into a convenience store in Detroit. Inside the store are various extras – a skinny dude wearing feminine tight clothes, a girl dressed in baggy, masculine clothes, rich businessman, street dude, hooker, etc. Each time he calls out these personality types in his thoughts, we’ll cut to their actions. As this is happening Royce will walk through the store, gathering various items to purchase.

Royce’s performance will be gradual. It will begin as just his thoughts so his lyrics will be translated through his body language and looks which causes him to rap in spurts. The extras will interact with him, offended that they are being called out yet are too afraid to do anything about it.

Suddenly we cut to Royce and his brother purchasing the items at the counter. In the background all of the extras are staring at them in silence, emotionless and offended. We follow Royce and his bro into the SUV. Royce turns the radio on and suddenly we…

Cut to black.


Varavon Birdycam Lite 3-Axis Camera Gimbal

product information button runplayback Panasonic GH4 4K Video Recording

Shooting an ICON Q Spot with the GH4 + Atomos Shogun 4K Recorder

A few weeks ago I posted my first impressions with the Atomos Shogun 4K Recorder paired with the Panasonic GH4 on a branded content shoot for ICON Q featuring Producer, DJ and Designer Emily Oberg. The ProRes 10-bit 4K image the Shogun records from the GH4 does make a difference when compared to recording on SD cards. I noticed the banding around light sources in lowlight situations disappeared and more detail overall. There’s also a feature on the GH4 that auto triggers the Shogun when pressing the record button on the GH4. There are however, some caveats when shooting with this workflow: simultaneous recording to SD card is not possible in 4K, only in 1080p mode and 96fps slow motion is not possible through the GH4 4K HDMI output, only 24fps and 30fps. The Atomos Shogun is a solid accessory for the GH4 and with the recent firmware announcements at NAB this year, it will only get better. Check out the final ICON Q spot in the video above and be sure to visit their shop to receive a 10% discount using promo code: RUNPLAYBACK

product information button runplayback Atomos Shogun 4K HDMI/12G-SDI Recorder and 7″ Monitor

Atomos Shogun 4K Recorder 6.2 Firmware Test with the Panasonic GH4 & Sony A7S

After my first impressions with the Atomos Shogun 6.2 Firmware Update, we decided to do a Steadicam field test with the new features on both the Panasonic GH4 and Sony A7S. Using the same Canon FD lenses and Avid DNxHR 4K codec, I was able to get great results that showcase the advanced performance of both cameras when paired with the Atomos Shogun. Click the video above to compare the results.

product information button runplayback Atomos Shogun 4K HDMI/12G-SDI Recorder and 7″ Monitor


The Panasonic GH4 was outfitted with a Metabones Canon FD Speedbooster to maximize focal length while using my custom CineLike V color profile would require very minor grading in post. With the Atomos Shogun 6.2 Firmware Update, I was also able to utilize the 4K to HD downconvert to allow passthrough to an HD monitor on the Steadicam sled. This proved to be a valuable feature since my AC could use the Shogun to easily focus and access all the features on the touchscreen.

product information button runplayback Panasonic GH4 4K Video Recording

Metabones Canon FD Speedbooster GH4Metabones FD speed booster GH4 4k adapter
Metabones Speedbooster Canon FD Lens to M43 Adapter


The Sony A7S was fitted with a Metabones E-Mount to Canon FD adapter which retained the full frame focal length while the S-Log color profile and native 3200 ISO required using a Tiffen ND 1.5 Filter and a custom LUT in post. The 3D LUT feature on the Shogun was helpful to quickly preview the color grade and assist with focusing. I can see this being a great feature for client preview since those unfamiliar with S-Log can sometimes get thrown off by the flatness.

product information button runplayback Sony Alpha A7S Mirrorless Digital Camera

product information button runplayback Metabones Canon FD to Sony NEX Camera Lens Adapter

product information button runplayback Tiffen 77mm Neutral Density 1.5 Filter


This is also the first time I’ve used the Avid DNxHR 4K codec which uses a 4:4:4 color space for high quality color correction and finishing. I had to download and install the codec from the Avid website to make it compatible with Adobe Premiere Pro CC. While I can’t tell the difference between DNxHR and ProRes just yet, it’s always good to have options for the different flavors of NLE.


Overall, I’m very pleased with the new Shogun firmware and how easily it adapts to the quirks of both the GH4 and A7S. While it’s no surprise that the GH4 performs consistently everytime, I was definitely pleased with the amount of dynamic range the A7S is capable of, especially when paired with the Shogun. Next, I look forward to testing out the Shogun’s new firmware features at night.


PVGear also just announced a full metal cage system that protects the plastic housing of the Atomos Shogun, locks down and protects fragile HDMI Ports, and provides several mounting threads for additional accessories that are often used with the Shogun. To further protect the Shogun Audio Input Cable, PVGear has designed a custom block that surrounds and protects the cable from accidental damage. I’ve always felt the Shogun housing feels very fragile and a bit exposed so this will definitely become an essential part of my rig. Look for the PVGear Shogun Cage to start shipping this April.

Cage for Atomos Shogun 4K Recorder

Lightweight Defy G2x Camera Gimbal Now Available

Today the Defy G2x camera gimbal has been officially launched for a retail price of $1,995.00. Since checking out the G2x prototype back in October, the final launch version looks to be very similar, at least cosmetically. The gimbal is designed for lightweight mirrorless cameras such as the Sony A7s or Panasonic GH4 and features the following specs:

  • Holds camera and lens combinations up to 3.5lbs
  • Built in stand for ability to balance in 3 minutes
  • Pre-selected auto tuned mode selections
  • Dual IMU sensors for auto sensing camera orientation
  • Extremely compact and lightweight at only 4.5lbs
  • defy_g2x
    Defy G2x Camera Gimbal

    How to Quickly De-Fish Your Fisheye Footage in Adobe Premiere CC

    Rapper Joell Ortiz and I recently collaborated on a promo spot for New Era titled “Home of the Authentic”. Our goal was to shoot a few of Joell’s childhood stomping grounds in addition to capturing soundbites about his love for his hometown of Brooklyn, NY. Our locations were mostly walking exterior scenes so we decided to shoot on the Panasonic GH4 with the Rokinon 7.5mm 3.5 fisheye mounted on the Varavon Birdycam 3-Axis Camera Gimbal. Although I love the fisheye look, it felt a little extreme for a promo video. However, I knew that I would be able to de-fish the footage in post without slowing down my workflow. Here’s how I did it.


    For those using the latest version of Adobe Premiere CC, there’s a quick trick to de-fishing your footage when using lenses like the Rokinon 7.5mm or action cameras like the GoPro. Simply create an Adjustment Layer and place it on a layer above the fisheye footage. Next, go to Video Effects > Distort > Lens Distortion and drag that onto your Adjustment Layer. Under Curvature, enter -20 and you will instantly notice that the footage has been de-fished or straightened out. Your mileage may vary when inputing the Curvature settings but somewhere between -20 and -30 should be your sweet spot. If you have more de-fishing tricks hit me on the comments below.

    product information button runplayback Panasonic GH4 4K Video Recording

    product information button runplayback Rokinon 7.5mm f/3.5 Ultra Wide-Angle Fisheye Lens for Micro 4/3

    varavon birdycam
    Varavon Birdycam2 3-Axis Camera Gimbal

    Shooting the new LG G Watch R with Eric West

    Recently, I had the pleasure of working with actor, artist and musician Eric West on a promotional series for the new LG G Watch R smartwatch. Composed of 3 short episodes, Eric and I made our way through Brooklyn and Manhattan, capturing his day to day activities and how wearable technology seamlessly integrates into his life.

    The LG G Watch R has a lot of cool features such as voice recognition – great for hands free texting and emailing, fitness tracking with a built in heart rate monitor and a high resolution circular POLED display where you can customize the watch face with a large variety of colors and designs.

    product information button runplayback LG G Watch R

    I shot Eric with my go-to Panasonic GH4 and Metabones Canon FD Speedbooster setup along with a Canon FD 20mm f2.8 and a Canon FD 35-105mm 3.5 for macro shots of the G Watch. For exterior shots I used a Tiffen 77mm ND 0.9 filter and also placed Sensei 72-77mm step up rings on both lenses for convenience. It was a fun, easy shoot and capturing Eric as he discovered the benefits of wearable technology in real-time was inspiring.

    product information button runplayback Panasonic GH4 4K Video Recording

    Metabones Canon FD Speedbooster GH4
    Metabones Speedbooster Canon FD Lens to M43 Adapter

    product information button runplayback Tiffen 77mm Neutral Density 0.9 Filter

    product information button runplayback Sensei 72-77mm Step-Up Ring

    Shooting a 275mph Beer Cannon with a DIY GoPro Bullet-Time Rig

    A few weeks ago we had the pleasure of working with craft brewery Oskar Blues to create a choose-your-own-adventure style video series that utilized a custom-built air pressure cannon capable of shooting beer cans at 275 miles per hour. The mission was straightforward – capture various targets exploding with multiple cameras including the Sony FS-700, Panasonic GH4 and GoPro HERO3 and HERO4. Only one caveat, the HERO4 must be rigged into the center of the target platform and revolve around the target in a full 360 degree circle without getting blasted by a can.


    Blowing things up is a primal urge for many of us but safety was a number one priority. While a beer cannon is theoretically awesome, it could also be lethal without the proper precautions. Note: DO NOT TRY TO BUILD THIS AT HOME. Tarps were setup around the blasting area to keep projectiles contained and safety goggles were mandatory. Once all the cameras were speeding everyone had to clear the blast area. Once clear, the air cannon would be charged up to the proper PSI, giving us a full minute before blast off, allowing any last minute safety checks.



    Everything was lit with two 1.2 HMI’s with two Arri 650’s providing some fill for the cannon. Our 240fps “beauty” camera was the Sony FS-700 with a Cannon 80-200mm and an Odyssey 7Q. A Panasonic GH4 was mounted on a doorway dolly with curved tracks that wrapped around the cannon which became our “reveal” camera. Another GH4 was mounted on the Varavon Birdycam 3-Axis gimble to provide pre-blast coverage of the targets sitting on the platform. Finally the GoPro’s were mounted in various angles within the blast site to provide maximum coverage of targets. Since many of the targets were liquids, the GoPro cases had to be wiped off repeatedly.


    To create the GoPro Bullet-Time Rig, we had to create a truss using planks of lumber from Home Depot. Height was important as the GoPro would have to revolve around the center of the target. Since all of the targets were of various sizes, we picked an average height of 8’.


    Next we mounted a standard ceiling fan onto a wooden disc and mounted that onto the center of the truss. To create the arm, we rigged scraps of plexiglass through the center of the fan and held everything together using grip tape and industrial zip ties. A wooden dowel rod was rigged diagonally to provide additional support. A GoPro adhesive mount was attached to the bottom and reinforced with more grip tape. The entire rig was spray painted black for cosmetic reasons. As the rig got blasted with liquids, the mount would come loose and everything had to be repositioned and taped back together. If we had more time, the design would have been much more secure but for a 3 hour DIY project, it did the job.


    Overall, I’m very pleased with the results of the shoot. The post work was intense as we had a total of 19 final target footage from 8 different cameras. The GoPro HERO4 4K codec seems to require some heavy CPU resources so it’s important to have a fast computer when editing it natively. Check out the final piece below and please note that you’ll have to watch it on a desktop computer to utilize the navigational buttons on YouTube.

    varavon birdycam
    Varavon Birdycam2 3-Axis Camera Gimbal

    product information button runplayback GoPro HERO4 Black Edition 4K Video Action Camera

    product information button runplayback Panasonic GH4 4K Video Recording

    product information button runplayback Odyssey 7Q OLED Monitor & 4K RAW Recorder

    Panasonic GH4 Multi-Camera Shooting Part 2

    After receiving great feedback about the benefits of GH4 Multi-Camera Shooting, I wanted to share the second collaboration between myself and Emm from Cheesycam for Heineken. Featuring Chris Gibbs from Union LA and luxury brand RTH, Emm and I were tasked with shooting a multi-camera conversational interview utilizing 4 Panasonic GH4’s, tripods, a Zoom H6 recorder, a few Sennheiser G3 wireless lav kits, a Rode NTG-2 shotgun mic, F&V K4000 LED Light panels with stands, and Emm’s homemade gimbal stabilizer. Check it out.

    Heineken 100 “Open Your World” Branded Content

    product information button runplayback Panasonic GH4 4K Video Recording

    runplayback zoom h6
    product information button runplayback Zoom H6 Portable Audio Recorder

    sennheiser g3 wireless audio
    product information button runplayback Sennheiser G3 Wireless Audio

    Rode NTG-2 Shotgun Mic
    product information button runplayback Rode NTG-2 Shotgun Microphone

    product information button runplayback F&V K4000 LED Light Panel Kit

    Sony NPF Battery V Mount adapter
    product information button runplayback V-Mount Battery Adapter using Sony NPF Batteries

    Panasonic GH4 + Metabones Speedbooster + Adobe Premiere Color Correction

    I’m often asked about the color settings I use for my Panasonic GH4 + Metabones Canon FD Speedbooster combo. I did a few extensive tests and these are the settings I came up with to create a “lived-in” look with the least amount of noise in low light situations. I’ve included a few of my selected works that prominently feature this color correction.

    Amalgamated Bank & Rock the Vote Present: City of the Sun

    I try to steer away from film-style effects in post unless the concept explicitly calls for it. Also that out-of-the-box, sharp digital look isn’t my cup of tea.

    Live In Levi’s (60 Second Spot)

    Cinelike V
    Contrast: 0
    Sharpness: -5
    Noise Reduction: 0
    Saturation: -2
    Hue: +2
    Highlight Shadow: Standard
    i.Dynamic: Off
    i.Resolution: Standard
    Master Pedestal Level: +10
    Luminance Level: 0-255

    Adobe Premiere Pro CC 2014

    I used to combine a bunch of different color correction filters like Three-Way Color Corrector or Fast Color Corrector with RGB Curves until I realized I could achieve the best results using only RGB Curves which makes matching footage with various exposure levels a piece of cake. This is my typical starting point for RGB Curves for a standard daylight scene. Remember to apply this effect to an adjustment layer to maintain the look throughout your sequence.

    Nico & Vinz “Am I Wrong” Music Video (Official U.S. Version)

    Master: I’ll either do an S curve for overexposed footage or a reverse S curve for underexposed. You’ll want to dial in carefully here as the keyframes can be pretty sensitive.

    Red: I play with this curve to dial in scenes that are tungsten or too warm.

    Green: I don’t touch the green curve too much unless there’s too much green in the shot.

    Blue: I also like to bring the bottom left Blue keyframe up slightly to bring some color into the shadows and dark highlights. Dial this in for scenes that are too cool.

    I also like to add a little post sharpening (20-30 is the sweet spot) to punch up the details. Follow these settings if you dig this look and if you can push it even further, please share your settings in the comments below.

    Migos “Bando” Musical

    product information button runplayback Panasonic GH4 4K Video Recording

    Metabones Canon FD Speedbooster GH4Metabones FD speed booster GH4 4k adapter
    Metabones Speedbooster Canon FD Lens to M43 Adapter