CAMERA



HDSLM: Panasonic GH4

With the GH4, Panasonic delivered 2014 its first 4K stills/video camera with the ability to record 4K, 4096x2160 pixels in 24p.

Many people are aware of the term DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) Cameras. These devices have become more popular over the last decade, as a lower cost, flexible entry point into programme making. Following the success of DSLRs cameras a new category of DSLM cameras (Digital Single Lens Mirrorless) and system cameras has developed.

These cameras do not have a folding mirror mechanism, although operate with a large sensor and interchangeable lenses. These cameras, as well as the DSLRs, are relatively inexpensive and easy to handle. They are fast, flexible, and unobtrusive in use. The storage devices are widely available and data management is straightforward due to the use of largely established consumer formats.  SDHC or SDXC cards, as well as memory sticks, or CF cards can be used depending on the model and required memory speed.

With the GH4, Panasonic delivered its first 4K stills/video camera with the ability to record 4K, 4096x2160 pixels in 24p, therefore this camera is targeted more towards video professionals. Despite being smaller than a full frame sensor, the GH4’s Micro Four Thirds sensor still delivers a cinematic look. The 4K signal is taken directly from the high-resolution sensor without pixel interpolation, delivering very high levels of sharpness. As the sensor size is 4:3, the camera uses a 16:9 window to use slightly less of the sensor.

Internally the camera records continuously in 8 bits with a colour sub-sampling rate of 4:2:0. Despite the high resolution and excellent optical quality, this is not considered as broadcast quality by a number of broadcasters. It’s important to check your broadcast delivery documents to see whether this will be a problem. A 4:2:2 10-bit signal can be recorded externally via HDMI. In 10-bit mode, however, there is no simultaneous, internal recording. An optional interface unit allows the camera to be expanded with 4 SDI ports, TC, and 2 XLR ports.

The continued development of sensor technology, codecs , and filming capabilities of stills cameras makes them an attractive choice for many film makers on a budget. The form factor does make panning and tilting more complex, and the cameras are often supplemented with additional rigs and attachments to make them more like traditional cameras. However the flexibility of these cameras is incredibly popular, particularly with online content creators.

It’s possible to connect external recorders to the Micro-HDMI connection on many Digital SLR or DSLM cameras, however productions should take care with frequent plugging and unplugging, as this can cause damage to the mechanism.

Panasonic GH4 Summary