A few weeks back I was asked to shoot a promo piece for a local LA model who needed content for her new website. This was a very small project I shot/edited with no crew, and had the intention of also showing in here on the blog to discuss slow motion work on the GH4. I rarely get to show my work on NoamKroll.com as the projects I’m usually working on can’t be openly posted online, but that’s where projects like this come in. They give me a chance to test out some of my gear while shooting something fun and low key.
The main thing I wanted to test on this shoot was the ability to intercut regular speed 4K/24p footage with slow motion 1080/60p footage. In other words, I wanted to know if there would be a noticeable drop in quality in a real world shooting situation between 1080/60p and 4k/24p.
I shot this video in about 4 hours – most of which was spent waiting for the sun to change. There was less than an hour of actual shooting during that time, and I probably captured 30 minutes (at the very most) of footage. I knew I wouldn’t need a lot of footage since the edit was supposed to be about one minute long, and there wasn’t any storyline that would call for more coverage.
I decided to shoot every shot in both 4K/24p and 1080/60p so that I would have the option in post to use either format. Normally, I would have been inclined to shoot the entire video in slow motion as it’s conducive to this piece… But I wanted to challenge myself to use some regular speed footage too, although I didn’t use as much of it in the edit.
The only two lenses that I used were the Lumix 20mm F1.7 pancake lens, and an adapted Nikkor 50mm F1.4 manual lens. I didn’t have any stabilization other than a tripod, so my shots were somewhat limited to either sticks or some very light handheld work. I didn’t even have a shoulder rig, so it wasn’t really possible to do many tracking shots. As you might imagine, this was a very tiny micro-shoot, but that was part of the fun. I like to shoot in a very bare bones way from time to time to challenge myself to make the most of the gear I have. Sometimes it sparks some creative stuff… Other times it’s limiting.
In terms of camera settings, I shot this at Cine D with no other settings tweaked in camera. Sometimes I’ll dial in the picture profile settings a little bit, but more often than not these days I am avoiding messing with the GH4 settings too much.
I cut this together in about an hour using FCP X and graded it in FCP X too as I didn’t have time to send it out to Resolve. I also ran it through Film Convert at the very end and added a subtle look to it.
Here is the cut:
All in all, I was really happy with what the GH4 was able to deliver. If I had more time, resources, or a crew there are certainly things I would have done differently or added on to the shoot. But considering the limitations that I was working with, I was happy with the quality the GH4 was able to pull off.
In terms of mixing and matching the 4K and HD footage in post: I had no issues at all, and would happily intercut 1080p material into many of my 4K GH4 projects in the future. I’m sure if I were to master this in 4K and display it on a UHD TV the resolution difference would be more noticeable, but for the purpose of this video (which will be web based) it didn’t matter at all. In fact, if I were to do it again I would shoot it all in 60p since the slow motion effect is more critical than the added resolution in this case. But of course, that was the whole point of this test in the first place…
Why I Shoot 60p
I wrote an article a while ago about why I don’t shoot in the 96fps mode on the GH4. Essentially my point was that the data rate at 96fps is spread so thin that the image quality can suffer. I still feel that way. I know many of you out there have shot some great 96fps material, but for my needs it usually doesn’t work as well. I tend to need to grade my footage past what I would consider the GH4’s breaking point at 96fps, so to play it safe I like to stick to a lower frame rate. That said, even though I prefer to have more information in the file so I have maximum color flexibility in post, I also sometimes break that rule and sneak in some 96fps shots.
60p is always my go-to setting however, as it is just gorgeous. The compression is being pushed significantly less in camera which allows for a much stronger and more gradable image, in my opinion. I have also had some great results at 48fps, but for whatever reason I prefer the look of 60p footage – specifically when shooting in actual 60p mode, and not 60fps in over cranked variable frame rate mode.
The GH4 is a great tool. I knew that going into the shoot – which of course is why I used it. But I haven’t really had the opportunity to shoot this type of guerrilla style run and gun footage with the GH4 until this point, and it was nice to see how it performed under very limited conditions. Testing the camera in these circumstances really showed what the GH4 is made of, and solidified for me the quality of the 60p mode.
Feel free to post in the comments and let me know how you’re liking the GH4 – and slow motion in particular!
Thanks for all your ideas and help. I am using a GH4 and experimenting with learning slow motion. Your blog has been very helpful. Thanks.
So happy to hear that, Mark.
I know this is late but I am currently starting videography work on a budget, trying to add up to my gear on the way.
I shoot with gx80 60p and mix with 24p 4k. The problem is: 60p only runs at 25mbit/s. Do you think that is too little? I really think that in comparison to your 100mbit 60p it might get stretched too much in cine d, which is why I am using natural, as I don’t to try out cine d but didn’t dare to ruin my next shoot so far.
Would you recommend me to get an external recorder to be able to record higher framerates?
Looking forward to your feedback onto what I am doing.
Great question, Julius. In theory – I do think the bitrate sounds a bit low for 60p. That said, run some tests and see what it looks like to your eye. If it looks fine (and is easy to color in post), don’t worry too much about the bitrate. Otherwise, you should know right away if there is an image quality issue just by eye balling it.
I am from India. I am going to shoot music video this month which will be sad story based. But the confusion is what frame rates should is use as i also need slow motion and the rest in 24. And ya what is right shutter and angle for me if i use 60fps and 24 fps as i live in 50HZ country. And i am quite confused which camera should i prefer as i own both GH4 and blackmagic URSA 4.6K.
Please guide me through this. and
Hi Praveen! Both the GH4 and URSA 4.6K can work for your project, and you will want to use a 180 degree shutter, regardless of which camera you are using. If you are recording on the GH4 for example, in 60p the shutter should be set to 1/125 (or 180 degrees, which automatically adjusts shutter speed based on your frame rate). The same goes for the 4.6K, keep it at 180 degrees and you are good to go!
Thank you Noam! I really appreciate your help. Now my doubts are quite clear and i can go confidently.
Hi, would a 150 mb/s sd card still be fine when recording in 200mbs for 60fps ?
Which card are you looking to buy? Some are more reliable than others!
I’m gonna shoot on GH4 with 96fps, on daylight music video.
(Couse after that editor must collect slow motion video).
I need to know how much shutter speed should i need to use, during video shooting period
for getting best slow motion?
Maybe 1/180 or 1/190 & if yes , why should i need use so/
Hey Hayk – The best thing to do is set it to “Shutter Angle” instead of shutter speed, and then dial in the 180 degree shutter angle setting. That will ensure you are set up correctly if you choose to toggle between 96fps and any other frame rate. Alternatively, you could keep it at 1/190 or higher (shutter speed), but you just need to remember to adjust it each time you change your frame rate.
Found my mistake. Shutter speed was set to 1/30. Sorry for interrupting you.
Ok there we go! Good to know 🙂
Hi Noam. Nice article!
I just bought a GH4 and tried to make a little slow motion sequence. I read all the comments, but I really can’t find an answer. I shot the footage in 59.94p and decreased speed to 50% in Premiere. All my sequences have framerate set to 29.97fps. I uploaded a small peace in realtime and then with 50% speed. As you can see, the part which is slowed down is very stuttering. Do you have an idea where my mistake is?
Thank you for your help.
Hey Scoddy! Did you shoot with your shutter speed at 1/125 (or shutter angle at 180 degrees). That could be the issue…
Thanks, very helpful. Did you keep your shutter speed the same for 24 and 60P?
No problem Jack! Shutter speed was 1/125 for 60p and 1/50 for 24p.
Wich settings did you use beside CineD?
This is going back a while now so I can’t say for certain, but I don’t believe I tweaked any of the settings. Generally I always left the curves, master ped, etc. at their stock settings.
I will Thanks
I just got back from Tulum Mexico with 150 GBS of video. I used your advice and shot mostly in UHD 4K 24 fps and some in HD 60 fps. I just looked at some of the clips in 4K and it is like knock your socks off video, it is really amazing what the GH4 can do. I mostly used the Panasonic lica 25mm 1.4 lens with a Hoya 16 ND filter. I use Vegas Pro 14 .
I would like to get a copy of the film burns you used in your video, I tried Google them but I couldn’t find the ones you used so if you have a download for them I wouldn’t mind buying them from you.
Thanks for all your help
Hi Mike! Congrats on a successful shoot. Check out the 5D Leaks on Editwithlight.com – I believe those are the ones that I used.
I have a model shoot coming up in Mexico this month, similar to what you did here but with 12 models. Do you think it would be wise to shoot the whole thing in 1080 60p ? I use to shoot in 24p only,, but with the GH4 I would like the ability to use slo mo when needed , without degrading the image. Finale out put will be 1080 24p.
Sounds like a fun shoot, Mike. I would suggest shooting only the material that you need to have in slow motion at 60p. Shooting at 24p in 4K will give you the best possible image quality, and even though you are delivering at 1080p, you will probably still see a difference. So if possible, shoot everything in 4K except for the shots that have to be slow mo!
If you need to shoot everything at 60p though, it’s not the end of the world. Your footage will still look really great, you just might take a slight hit in the resolution department.
Thanks for your professional help, I appreciate it.
Thanks Mike! Glad you’re enjoying the site.
Thank you so much for this information and I love the video. I have been fortunate enough to work with an established fashion photographer and even more fortunate to be able to obtain a Panasonic AG-AF100A.
With this type of camera do I need to worry about shutter speed, to obtain the same look? I read about a rolling shutter in my camera and how I don’t need to change it. I’ve been having trouble finding info on that.
Also do you use auto focus to get all of those moving shots? I haven’t quite grasped what’s needed to get those moving shots that I see. I’ve been shooting in 24p and I think that may have contributed to shakiness I have seen in my results.
Thanks so much!
Hi Mike – thanks for the note! Your shutter speed or shutter angle will always be important no matter what camera you are using. To get the most natural look, you will always want to use the 180 degree rule. In other words, your shutter speed should always be double that of your frame rate. That said, you may sometimes want to use a higher or lower speed if you are going for a certain stylistic effect.
In terms of moving shots, I never use auto focus. On small projects, I will just pull focus manually myself when the subject or camera moves and the focal plane changes. On larger projects I work with a dedicated 1st AC who will pull focus for me as I operate the camera.
Hi Noam! So it’s looking like the gh4 is the best camera for what I’m doing — I’m working with a marketing guru right now and he’s hired me to be his videographer. One of his main platforms is Facebook Live streams running 45 mins to an hour or standard course videos also running long. I love the Sony a7s, however that only continuously records up to 30 mins or so. But I’ve read that Gh4 continuously shoots and in my case, filming short and long videos — this would be the best camera option for me.
I also shoot weddings and I LOVE that the Sony a7s can shoot 60fps at 1080p for an awesome slow motion look. But seeing that the gh4 can also do that — I’m thinking for my workload this is the best camera option. Do you agree? Thanks!
Hi James – I definitely agree that the GH4 would be the better option for you based on your situation. The only consideration in terms of shooting weddings is the low-light capability. Even though the GH4 can do 60fps, it will still need more light than the A7S, since the shutter speed will be set to 1/125 and that will ultimately cause you to lose some light. The same is true of the A7S of course, but it can be bumped up much higher without introducing noise. That said, if you have a good lighting setup, or even a powerful on-camera light with the GH4, you should be good to go!
Funny! I was looking up the slow motion GH4 footage and realized I photographed Liberty last June as well. Gorgeous work my friend.
Hahaha what a small world! Thanks for the note.
Cheers Noam, thank you for your time… https://youtu.be/x2Z8xXHy6Y4
Hi Noam, just checking if you had a second to take a look at the video. Cheers
Hi Tomas – sorry for the delay! I didn’t realize you were using FCP 7. The best method in that case is to use Cinema Tools to conform your footage to 23.98. Do you have a copy of Cinema Tools installed? Alternatively you can use compressor to convert your footage and then bring it into FCP 7 natively as slow motion.
Hello Noam, again thank you for a great read!
I would just like to ask, what filters or Effects did you use in FCP X to achieve that orange moving look (almost like a lens flare) in your video? I am slowly transitioning from FCP 7 to either FCP X or Premiere and I would love to know if this is something FCP X has internally or if its an external purchase/requirement!
Hi Tomas – I actually just use existing film burn elements and overlay them on the footage. If you do a google search for “film burns” you should be able to find some that you can purchase or download for free to try out on your footage.
Thanks Noam! One more question – I was testing your 60p settings (for slow motion) the other day instead of shooting 60 in VFR and I can’t get it to play a smooth slow motion on my timeline in FCP. I tried creating a 23.97 sequence and dropping the 60p clip there and slowing it down 40% but it is very laggy and blurred slow motion. I tried to do the same on a 60fps sequence and it creates the same effect. What am I doing wrong here? Cheers
Hi Tomas! I think the issue is that if you have no other clips in your timeline, it might automatically change the settings back to 23.98 for the timeline. Try dropping a 23.98 clip first into the timeline, and then drop in the 60fps clip after to see if it’s still doing the same thing…
Hi Noam – thanks for the swift reply!
I forgot to mention – I did drop a 23.98fps clip at the very start (I always do that, it’s a good habit to confirm your sequence and match the clip) BUT it still does not work for me.
The sequence is 23.98fps and when I import and drop my 59.94fps clip in the timeline, it plays in normal speed (but with much more crisp due to the 60p) but when I slow it down it looks absolutely horrible, blurry and laggy……. I’m more than happy to share a super quick video for you to see how it looks and if I really am not doing anything wrong……
Hi Tomas – yes please share a video with me so I can see! Sorry to hear you’ve had issues with it…
Lumix GH5 Predictions: What Panasonic Needs To Do To Stay In The Game | Noam Krollat
[…] GH4 already is able to capture some really beautiful slow motion in 1080p – especially when the camera is kept to 60fps or lower. But in 4K mode you have no real ability to overcrank, much like Sony’s A7R II. If the GH5 is […]
I just found this video and it’s seriously underrated. Panasonic should be using you for their promo videos. Excellent results with Cine-D!
Would you still recommend your later blog settings using -5 CineD over this one?
Also, I noticed you mentioning Tiffen NDs. Would you recommend fixed over variable?
Thanks a lot Paul! And I would love to work with Panasonic… I work with a number of other brands, but unfortunately haven’t been able to beta test for Panny yet.
Yes, I would usually recommend using -5 Cine D…. Although it changes from shoot to shoot. I haven’t found one mode that works for everything perfectly on the GH4. And I would also recommend fixed over variable ND’s as they will be sharper and usually have less of a tint to them. Hope this helps!
Appreciate the response, Noam.
If you haven’t already seen it, Driftwood released a sample clip with VLog-L over on DVXUser.
You should have been included in that beta!
I wish I was! And I haven’t seen that… I’ll need to take a look. Thanks for the heads up.
Great article and great work! I’ll be doing a similar shoot in regards to format/use of multiple frame rates and had a few clarifications to ask.
1: Are you working with Shutter Speed or Shutter Angle settings?
2: At 1080/60p (59.94) were you at 120d (shutter angle) or 125 (shutter speed)
3: At 4K/24p (23.98) what were you at in regards to shutter speed/angle?
4: Were you using 200m at 1080/60fps
5: Your system was of course at 59.94Hz?
Sorry for the boring sequence of questions! Just didn’t want to miss anything. Thank in advance man!
To answer your questions:
1 – I use shutter angle.
2 – I kept it at 180 degree shutter, which would have been close to 1/125 shutter speed.
3 – Again, I kept it at 180 degrees (always keep it there), which would have been close to 1/50 shutter speed.
4 – Yes I was, although I’ve heard 100mbps works well too.
5 – Sure was!
Hope this helps…
Noam! Thank you so much, that helped a bunch. Love your work.
Thanks a lot! Really appreciate the kind words.
Back with some logic!
I’ve spent a few minutes doing calculations for anyone else in this situation. Feel free to correct my math!
Slomo Footage is shot at 96 fps and internally converted to 30drop FPS. 96/30=3.2. Therefore the footage is 3.2 times slower than realtime. If I speed the clip up 320% it should playback in realtime give or take a couple drop frames. I figure I can use the rate stretch tool to compensate for the drop frame decimal when I find a sync point.
Great article. Solid advice on the over crank, did that myself on my last shoot before reading this. Translates in the edit suite for sure.
I shot some footage in 96fps for a few cover shots (also just read your article on why it should be avoided, I seem to always learn the hard way!), converted to 30 drop frame internally on the gh4 last week. Unfortunately for me, I want to change the playback speed to realtime and sync it with audio of a person talking recorded separately on an external recorder (Zoom h6). Was just curious if you had the magic number to increase my speed by to have it play back in real time?
Thanks again for the solid read,
Great to hear it worked out for you Christian.
AS for your audio question – I never roll audio when over cranking for sync issues. Unfortunately audio/video work differently in that way so you’ll never be able to match them up once the footage is slowed down.
I have send you a FB message.. please check… thnx
Great article! Which shutterspeed did you use, 125? I own a G6 and am curious to see a comparison between g6 and gh4 at these settings (1080, 60p) and the same lenses 🙂
Yes – I did use 125. If I get a chance to do this comparison in the future, I absolutely will!
Hey Noah, thanks for posting this. Can you elaborate on how to switch back and forth between VFR 60fps (or 96fps) and 1080 60p and 4K 24p?
Do I need to change the “System Frequency” in the menu to 59.94 in order shoot 60p? (requires camera to be shut off)
What frame rate is best for VFR 96fps and 60p? Always double?
Thanks in advance.
(Sorry, I mistyped “Noah” instead of “Noam” in the above comment. Couldn’t figure out how to edit my comment, but hopefully you can fix 🙂
No worries! Get that all the time…
Hi Jeff! You actually don’t need to switch into 24.00hz mode, unless you want to shoot at 24fps instead of 23.98. To switch the mode, simply select 1080/60p from the menu (with variable frame rate turned off) as opposed to turning VFR on, and then selected 60fps from the VFR menu. Make sense?
Thanks for clarifying. I’m still trying to get a handle on the think behind different frame rates 24p vs 30p vs 60p.
So I should shoot 1080 60p and then slow down to 50% in post or shoot in 24p for when I want footage at 100% speed?
Is 60p footage usable at 100% speed or is 24p preferable? It seems like people always say to shoot in 24p for cinematic quality.
24p is the most cinematic and you should only shoot 60p for the cinema look if you are planning on slowing it down to 24fps in post (which will still look very good). If that’s the case though, slow it down by 40% as opposed to 50%, since the latter would be the correct speed for a 30fps timeline.
Hey Noam. Actually, I have the same question as Jeff and your answer is a bit confusing for me. Can you explain a little better? Are you saying to leave the System Frequency to 59.94 NTSC and then just adjust the REC QUALITY to either 23.98 at 4k or the 59.94p at 1920?
Second question, between the 100Mbps and 200Mbps 60p modes, do you think that the 200Mbps is significantly better than the 100Mbps? I notice that it uses significantly more space on the card which, for me mean, a bigger headache in post.
Third (somewhat unrelated question), I notice some people shoot 30p and conform to 24p. I know this slows down the footage a tad. When would you say this is useful in filming vs just sticking to 24p?
Hey Peter! To answer your questions:
1 – Yes, you can leave the system frequency on 59.94. But once you are in that mode, there are two ways to shoot at 60p. One is to set your REC Quality to 59.94 (as I recommended). This will give you a 60p file that you can slow down in post. The other option is to shoot in 23.98 VFR mode. This will allow you to select from a wide range of frame rates, including 60fps. The main difference is that using this setting will actually do the slow-motion conversion in camera. This is useful, but for whatever reason I find shooting at true 60p yields the best results.
2 – I personally usually shoot at 200Mbps for slow motion work, and 100Mbps for everything else. I haven’t done any side by side comparisons, but would guess that the 100Mbps setting may be just as good (since it’s actually better for regular speed footage). So if you need to save card space, that’s definitely an option.
3 – Personally I don’t often shoot slow motion at 30fps, since it is only an 80% speed change when you conform to 23.98. That said, I have done it before and it is useful… But it just barely feels like slow motion. It might work well for music videos or montage sequences. Hope this helps!
Hi Noam, very nice work! I’d like to know if you use some filter on the lens to obtain some shallow depth of field at constant aperture with the sunlight. I own a polaroid vario nd on my 12-35mm lumix lens and I don’t know if it better don’t use filter for image quality. What do you think about that?
Thanks in advance
Hi Carmelo! Yes, I almost always shoot with an ND filter during daylight – unless I am stopped way down or shooting at a very high shutter speed. I find the cheaper ND filters can have some color shifting issues and soften the image quite a bit… But even middle of the road ND filters are usually pretty good. I use Tiffen ND’s (non-variable). Hope this helps!
Once again, nice work. This video reminds me of the Guess commercial I’ve been seeing in NYC taxis for the past two months. I’ve been looking to possibly upgrade to the gh4 and I was wondering what your 4k workflow is? I recently read that you can downsample the 8 bit 422 4k footage, from the gh4, to 10 bit 444 prores? Do you have any experience with that? Also, you said you shoot with cine d but you don’t tweak the settings? Could you elaborate? Thanks again.
I read this as well, I am getting my GH4 next week, so very interested to see how getting the 10 bit out of 4K works.
Thanks for the note Tristan.
Great shoot. I too shoot with the GH4, and always wondered what the difference between shooting 1080 60p vs VFR 60fps?
Do you notice any difference in quality?
Thanks so much Diego. I do notice a difference but it is very subjective… Both look great, but for some reason when color grading I find the 60p footage gives me better results. Not sure why that is on a technical level, but just something I’ve noticed subjectively.
The 60p setting gives you a data rate of 200mbps, vs VFR of any framerate which gives you 100mbps. The difference is clear particularly when comparing 60p to 96fps, since at that point you’re only recording about 1/3 the data per frame.