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The Best GH4 Settings For Video & Why You Shouldn’t Be Tweaking Things Too Much

Although the GH4 has been widely available for some time now, there is still no consensus on what combination of picture profiles/settings is best for achieving maximum image quality. Some DPs have had luck using very drastic setting combinations, but as far as my experience goes pushing the settings too far can result in some really noisy and low quality footage.

If you haven’t already shot with the GH4, I’ll re-iterate here (as I’ve said many times before) that this camera is incredibly powerful when used properly… Especially considering the size and overall cost. As long as you understand how certain settings can fundamentally make or break your image, you will be able to capture images with this camera that can rival cinema cameras many times it’s price. Below, I’ve gone over the picture profiles and settings that I like working with most – and you might be surprised at how simple they are.

Some of my recent GH4 shots:

GH4-4K-Quality

GH4-Settings

GH4-Shoot

When I first started shooting with the GH4, one of the things I was most impressed with was the level of control that was available in the menu system. Not only were there new cinema style picture profiles (Cine V and Cine D), but there were curve adjustments, master pedestal settings, and many other options that really allowed the user to dial in the look to their preference. That said, I think that many users make the mistake of taking things way too far with some of these settings simply because they can, and I myself have fallen into that trap once or twice.

GH4-Master-Pedestal

On the GH2/GH3 and any other DSLR for that matter, the goal in the past has always been to get the flattest picture out of the camera possible. A flat picture naturally means that there is a bit more dynamic range captured in the file, and that typically allows for a better grading process. Even so, when attempting to achieve a flat image on any of the GH4’s predecessors, you could only take things so far as the cameras didn’t have any sort of true log-style picture profile. Essentially, the strategy was usually to use one of the flatter picture profiles available and then dial back the contrast all the way. This technique worked pretty well, as the flattest picture profiles that the GH2/GH3 offered weren’t all that flat to begin with so the really called for that extra contrast adjustment. In the end, the final image you would get was far from log/cinema-style, but was still very useable in post.

With the GH4 however, everything changed. There were now very flat picture profiles available (namely Cine D), that already delivered an image that was flatter than anything you could get from a GH2 or GH3, without even having to adjust the settings at all. This was great news, but unfortunately for some – it wasn’t enough. Many shooters wanted to get even more flatness out of their image, and as such resorted to messing with their settings to the detriment of their final image. The most common issue was that people would up the master pedestal setting (which effectively controls your black level) so much that their blacks would be sitting way above where they should have been. They would then dial down the contrast on their picture profile to -5, and perhaps even use one of the curves adjustments to push up the shadows even more and reduce the highlights. I can tell you from first hand experience, this is one of the worst things you can do to your image and the GH4 was not designed to be pushed this far.

What people are attempting to do when messing with their settings to this degree, is to emulate a true Log setting like you might get on the Arri Alexa which is a camera that is actually designed to shoot that way. The only real issue of course, is that the GH4 is not an Arri Alexa and shouldn’t necessarily be treated like one. When you start pushing around the levels too much, you end up with an image that is very noisy and has been flattened in such a strange way that it becomes difficult if not impossible to achieve the desired look in post, while color correcting.

Here’s a quick frame grab from my Guide For Capturing Cinematic Images With Your DSLR, which shows grain exposed when cranking up the master pedestal, and keeping the contrast low (click to enlarge):

Grainy-GH4-Image

I’m not saying that you shouldn’t mess with your settings a little bit, and I am going to get to some specific settings that I would recommend adjusting in a moment… However, I am saying that you need to be very careful about where you push things. Don’t make the mistake of pushing up your black levels because you don’t want to set up an extra fill light, as your image will just never look the way that you want it to. There are no shortcuts with great cinematography. It all comes down to how you light the shot, how you frame it, and the camera movement that you implement. These considerations don’t change no matter what camera you’re shooting with, so you should never feel like any of those elements can be overlooked in any way because you can tweak your camera settings pretty drastically. On a side note, this applies not only to color but even to framing. I am hearing so often today people saying “I want to shoot in 4K so I can reframe in post”, and this really is not always the best method for giving you great results – at least as far as a cinema look is concerned. Yes, it’s nice to have the ability in a punch to reframe, but once you get into the habit of shooting with that mentality, the lack of attention to detail can really start to show. If you really want to emulate the ‘cinematic look’, you need to treat your craft with a certain level of respect and a large part of that means capturing the right image in camera, just like the film days.

The Settings

So which settings do I use? I’ve already gone over some of the settings such as the master ped & curves adjustment that I don’t like to mess with (although in some rare instances I make exceptions)… But how about the picture profiles? The biggest thing that I’ve learned with the GH4 is that there is not a one size fits all solution. In the early days, I was using the James Miller settings (which essentially meant shooting in Cine V and cranking up the master ped), and while this worked well in some types of shooting situations, it worked poorly in others. Ultimately I found that pushing the settings less gave a much better result across all shooting scenarios, so I started to shoot more and more with much simpler setting combinations.

The two picture profiles that I use almost exclusively are still Cine D and Cine V, which should come at no surprise as nearly every GH4 shooter swears by them. For those of you that haven’t shot with either, Cine V delivers a higher contrast cinema look and Cine D is intended for a low-contrast cine look.

The difference between how I treat these picture profiles now and how I did in the past, is that I typically will now only adjust settings within the picture profile itself, and leave all of the bonus settings (like master ped, shadow/highlight curve, etc.) set to their base values. This works really well for me as it not only delivers consistent results, but allows me to move quickly on set by limiting my options. Depending on the scene I am shooting, 90% of the time I will end up using one of the two setting combinations listed below. In some rare instances, I will make additional adjustments within the picture profile to compensate for lighting or color temperature issues:

Cine D

Contrast: 0

Sharpness: -5

Noise Reduction: -5

Saturation: -5

Tint: 0

Generally with Cine D, the biggest thing that I am focused on is reducing the saturation. Although the picture profile is flat, it’s still relatively saturated (unlike a true log profile), which means in post when I add any sort of grade to the footage it can become oversaturated pretty quickly. By pulling down the saturation in camera, it seems to put things at a better baseline for color grading. I also turn down the sharpness and noise reduction as the GH4 is very sharp naturally (almost too sharp), and I can get far better noise reduction results in post using Neat Video. In terms of the contrast, I always leave it at 0 for Cine-D as bringing it down too far can introduce some strange artifacting, and this picture profile is already very flat.

Cine V

Contrast: -5

Sharpness: -5

Noise Reduction: -5

Saturation: 0

Tint: 0

My approach with Cine V is the opposite of what I do with Cine D to some extent. While I also keep the sharpness/NR to -5 for the same reasons stated above, I do like to dial the contrast back based on the nature of this profile. Cine V naturally has a pretty heavy contrast curve applied to it (which looks really nice), but in most situations it can just be a bit too much. By pulling back on the contrast I am able to get a smoother roll off to the shadows, and keep the image looking a bit flatter. The image ends up still looking a touch too contrasty at times, but I have found that bringing down the contrast in post ends up giving me better results than trying to bump up the black levels too high in camera.

Cine D vs. Cine V

There isn’t an exact formula for when to use each of these settings, but I generally find that using Cine D for night exteriors or other low light situations is ideal, while Cine V is great for shooting in day time situations or with a fair amount of lighting. This isn’t always the case, and before each scene I will test both settings to see which is going to work best, but in most situations that is my approach. Cine D helps to retain more of the shadow detail which is really nice, but in some situations it can actually flatten things out a bit too much. Yes, you can add contrast back in post – but once again, this is still a DSLR and capable of grading only to a certain extent. I color correct footage for a living and have worked with nearly every camera format out there, and I would say there is no question that as great as the GH4 is with regards to quality, you still don’t want to push it too far in post in order to preserve maximum image quality. That’s one of the reasons I like Cine V so much… You might lose a little bit of DR while shooting with it, but you can always compensate for that with lighting and you will know that what you see is what you get. There is less need for heavy color correction in post, so whatever is captured in camera will naturally look really great. You just need to rely more on your skills as a DP and less on your skills as a colorist.

Although these settings are pretty basic, that’s exactly why they work. By not messing with things too much and allowing your GH4 to actually shoot like a GH4, you can really get a lot out of the camera.

With regards to other camera settings (such as frame size, resolution, frame rate, etc.), they are all really dependant on the needs of your project. I do shoot 4K on the GH4 pretty often, but there are many instances where I shoot to 1080p instead. The same goes for shooting at a true 24 frames per second as opposed to 23.98. The focus of this article was really intended to highlight the picture profile settings, as those will be universally important no matter what frame rate or resolution you’re at. The other variables (detailed above) will largely be determined by the technical needs of your project and should always be looked at one a case to case basis.

UPDATE: I recently released 3 Cinematic LUT Packs, which have been carefully designed to help you achieve an organic, filmic look in post-production. They work well with any camera (including the GH4 of course), and I highly recommend them for filmmakers and cinematographers looking to achieve bold color results, while minimizing time in post-production. Be sure to check them out by clicking here!

About Author

Noam Kroll is an award-winning Los Angeles based filmmaker, and the founder of the boutique production house, Creative Rebellion. His work can be seen at international film festivals, on network television, and in various publications across the globe. Follow Noam on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook for more content like this!

102 Comments

  • Tony Koch
    July 1, 2019 at 3:48 am

    Noam, I’m a newbie to the creative video scene having only used Point and shoot cameras historically. Within the past year I have moved up to the DMC FZ300/330 which is proving to be a great camera for my experience level. I’m now progressing onto the use of the Creative Video mode and want to experiment with Cine-D and Cine-V.

    For this reason I found your article on your recommended settings extremely informative and although I’m aware there are considerable differences between the GH4 and the FZ300 I would appreciate your thoughts on whether I should use your recommended settings on the FZ300/330.

    Many thanks.

    Reply
    • Noam Kroll
      August 22, 2019 at 1:39 am

      Good question, Tony! I haven’t used the FZ300. but I would definitely try out my settings and do some test shooting. If they work for you, be sure to let me know. In any case, best of luck with all your work.

      Reply
  • Daniel
    December 20, 2018 at 7:56 pm

    Hi! I have a GX85, will the same rules apply ¿?

    Thanks 🙂
    Danny

    Reply
    • Noam Kroll
      January 17, 2019 at 1:11 am

      Haven’t tried it, but I would guess YES based on the similar color science!

      Reply
  • jason
    July 29, 2018 at 2:53 pm

    hi noam, would these settings be applicable for the GH5 as well?

    Reply
    • Noam Kroll
      August 21, 2018 at 9:26 pm

      Possibly! Try them out and see what you think. I haven’t shot much with GH5, but plan to soon and will try to report back once I have.

      Reply
  • […] This the same image, corrected, shot in Cine V with the recommended settings by Noam Kroll. […]

    Reply
  • Sascha
    May 27, 2018 at 11:44 am

    Hi.
    1. I this article you say that you test if Cinelike D oder V is better for a scene. How do you test that? Just using the camera or do you store the file on a computer to check? In my case I didn’t see much difference between Std and Cinelike when I just looked at the camera screen.
    2. There is another thing I don’t know yet: Is it always necessary to grade Cinelike D/V or is it usually possible to use it without grading?

    Thank you very much,
    Sascha

    Reply
    • Noam Kroll
      June 13, 2018 at 3:41 am

      Hi Sascha. I definitely would recommend looking at the footage on your computer. On the camera screen you can’t get a full sense of what the image actually looks like (it’s too low-res). And yes – you always need to grab Cine D, although Cine V technically doesn’t need to be graded.

      Reply
  • Christopher Roberts
    May 22, 2018 at 6:23 am

    Dear Noam,

    Thanks for the very well written and easy to understand article. I am new to videography and have just left from entry level Canon DSLR and just bought a used GH4.

    I was reading many webpages and after reading this page I came across another page that was quoting you in this exact article.

    I think you sharing your knowledge has made it possible for many people to get deeper into understanding and closer to getting a better result with their camera.

    Thanks for taking the time to share your knowledge with the world!

    Sincerely,
    Christopher
    Dehradun, N. India

    Reply
    • Noam Kroll
      June 13, 2018 at 3:33 am

      Thank you so much, Christopher. I really appreciate the kind words.

      Reply
  • Renato Velarde
    November 25, 2017 at 4:15 pm

    Wow this is really helpful. I’m considering getting a gh4 with insane black friday deals, seems too good to refuse. I’ve shot gh2’s, gh’3s and now 5d more often since lots of clients swoon for shallow DOF now but it’s never as convenient as panasonic. Now my pannys are mostly relegated to performance and remote documentary interviews yet still so much easier to use. Really love your advice here. It’s how I’ve always approached shooting but haven’t dealt with color grading almost at all because just too much is lost to grainy junk with the camera’s I’ve been able to afford. I shoot to get the look I want in camera (that used to be ok, now it seems near laughable to others.) Now I need to play catch up and learn how to shoot for grading in post, this is a helpful start. I’m having a hard time getting my head around how I’m supposed to shoot for a post look when all I can see is muddy greys in camera (without an expensive external recorder that will show me the look in monitor). Not happy about having to adapt to massive storage now too just so I can stop paying attention to my looks while shooting, seems counter intuitive to me… but it seems to be how DP’s work now.
    I’ve assisted with Red’s and Alexa’s for years where it totally makes sense, but using a DSLR with a friggin cage, matte box and cramming low compressions onto little cards feels ridiculous to me, like trying to put a party dress on a mouse. Anyway, this is just a rant now. Point being- thank you. your opinions and tips are helpful, especially as a rare panny-phile like myself. My concern (how I got here) is getting one GH4 and mixing it with any Gh3’s to shoot interviews and mostly shooting for a grade to match them. I’ve mixed 5D and Gh3 before with interviews and it’s a nightmare to match. You ever mix gh4 and gh3’s on one shoot? I know I could punch-in in post but I like to have someone operate my b-cam CU to get some movement on a face. keep it up, you got a fan in me.

    Reply
    • Noam Kroll
      December 6, 2017 at 10:06 pm

      Thank you so much for the kind words, Renato. With regards to the GH4, I would recommend not shooting in Log for a couple of reasons –

      Firstly, because it doesn’t seem to perform well in post, unless it’s been recorded to an external monitor or device. But also because it will likely be easier for you to match footage between GH3 and GH4 if you use similar picture profiles on both.

      And I would also recommend looking into buying a color card, which can help to you match your cameras in post much more easily!

      Reply
  • Jerry
    October 13, 2017 at 12:02 am

    Great tips Noam! I’m a newbie, I have a silly question. I assumed you’d most likely will bring up the saturation in post to your liking? Because the skin tone I see is a little pale from shooting cinelike V with this settings.

    Reply
    • Noam Kroll
      October 20, 2017 at 1:23 am

      Thanks Jerry! Yes – in many cases I would bring up the saturation in post, but it would all depend on the look I was going for in the scene… Good luck!

      Reply
  • Keith Mitchell
    October 6, 2017 at 9:21 pm

    Three years later and still a great article! Very reassuring for a beginner like me to see that I don’t have to tweak much. I’m blown away by my new GH4 and its “bang for the buck,” and I’m soaking up all of the training I can find online. Looks like the Cinelike D setting would work best for real estate walkthroughs in general. Do you agree? Also, if you don’t mind, what video editor do you use?

    Reply
    • Noam Kroll
      October 12, 2017 at 8:33 pm

      Thanks so much Keith! And yes, I think Cine D is a great option all around. I edit mostly in FCP X and DaVinci Resolve… Occasionally in Premiere Pro.

      Reply
  • John Dreiling
    August 24, 2017 at 10:20 pm

    This article was incredible as i am selftaught indie filmer. However, my girlfriend loves to use my GH4 for shooting stills while we travel. I wass wondering if you had amy recomendations for the color profile, as you can’t use these settings in photo mode.

    Thank you!

    Reply
    • Noam Kroll
      August 29, 2017 at 12:25 am

      Hey John! Thanks for the note. I typically would shoot stills on the GH4 in RAW, so the color profile doesn’t matter at all.

      Reply
  • Mundstrøm
    August 9, 2017 at 9:26 am

    I own a GH4 personally, but for work we bought a G7. On the GH4 I don’t use VLOG but Cinelike D, and I’m really happy with it, but on the G7 I’ve found the Cinelike D and V profiles gave absolutely awful skintones with a really strange tone-split between grey/yellow highlights and orange shadows. I use an 18% grey card for exposure and a white balance card for WB, 2 videolights at 6500 k and a reflector to make up for the missing 3rd light, even throwing in a XRITE color checker. Nothing I do seems to fix those skintones. IMHO the “Portrait” and “Natural” modes seem to give far better results.

    Reply
    • Noam Kroll
      August 19, 2017 at 4:02 am

      Good to know… I haven’t shot much on the G7 myself, but I’m sure this will be really helpful for other filmmakers reading the site. Appreciate it!

      Reply
  • Best Video Settings for the GH5
    April 14, 2017 at 2:23 pm

    […] The Gh5, like the Gh4, comes with two cinema picture profiles: CineD and CineV. These aren’t as flat or prestigious as the available vLog profile, but they do offer an advantage when you are shooting footage to grade later. I primarily use CineD, with the settings recommended by Noam Kroll. […]

    Reply
  • Get Ready for the GH5 with These Tips
    April 14, 2017 at 12:00 pm

    […] The Gh5, like the Gh4, comes with two cinema picture profiles: CineD and CineV. These aren’t as flat or prestigious as the available vLog profile, but they do offer an advantage when you are shooting footage to grade later. I primarily use CineD, with the settings recommended by Noam Kroll. […]

    Reply
  • Angelo
    February 20, 2017 at 3:37 am

    Thanks Noam! With gh2 smooth profile I have some wonderful noiseless low light images, then I bought gh4, set it in a drastic way (MP +7/10, cineD all -5, or v-log L all -5) and I’ve never understood why I had so much grain! I thought it was a flop, or that my gh4 was broken :/ now I read this post and I’m looking forward to try your settings.. however, which luminance settings do you use? I use 0-255, but not sure if its the best for getting a noiseless image 🙂 thank you!

    Reply
    • Noam Kroll
      February 23, 2017 at 2:36 am

      Hi Angelo! Great to hear and thanks for sharing this. I experimented with different luma settings and never found it made a huge different in my footage. That said, I think I shot with 0-255 more often than not when I still had my GH4.

      Reply
  • Aaron Jacobs
    January 30, 2017 at 7:04 pm

    Hey Noam,

    Great article. Easily understandable from an amateur’s perspective. I Just started shooting with the G4 and have had good results with both Cine-D and Cine-V during the day (with only minor adjustments to contrast and saturation). I am no pro at grading, but the pre sets on this camera seem to do a lot of the work for you as I tend to appreciate the look right out of the camera. Anyways, I am getting ready to start taking it out at night and was wondering if you have any recommendations on settings. I live in NYC, so most of the streets have a good amount of artificial light, but I’d love to find optimal settings for night filming in situation I can’t really light myself. My worry is getting a lot of noise as I know the ISO on the G4 is quite sensitive.

    Reply
    • Noam Kroll
      February 9, 2017 at 8:32 pm

      Hi Aaron! My best advice for night shooting is to avoid lifting the shadows too much. Definitely don’t adjust the master ped or curves in camera, since that will bring out a ton of noise. You might be better off exposing/lighting for Cine-V and then perhaps switching to Cine D to record. That way you can crush the blacks in post to get rid of any noise, but the levels will be set properly since you will expose for Cine-V. Make sense?

      Reply
      • Aaron Jacobs
        February 14, 2017 at 10:09 pm

        Hey Noam, Thanks for your response. Never thought of exposing for a different setting and then shooting in another. Will definitely give this a shot when I am more comfortable exposing for both.

        Last question and by all means, simplify this as Im sure the full answer would take much to long; When you get into post, is there a typical workflow you tend to follow, or more specifically a general order that keeps you from doing certain things to early or late (i.e. adjusting levels, NR, color correction, cropping, etc)

        Reply
  • Batuhan
    January 18, 2017 at 10:02 pm

    Hi Noam. If i do not use Neat Video Noise Reduction should be 0?

    Reply
    • Noam Kroll
      January 23, 2017 at 9:28 pm

      Yes, I would say 0 should work well in many circumstances.

      Reply
  • Ian
    December 26, 2016 at 1:04 am

    I bought GH4 after working a few years with GH2 and in a way I’m disappointed. It seems like GH4 has much more noise. It’s present even in daylight, something I don’t remember from GH2. Is it because GH2 has a more contrasty image (even with all settings turned negative) and it’s really about post processing? On GH4 when I film something moody where a parts of the frame should be in the dark, it seems like I need to pump so much light into the scene, it looks like shit and there’s no darkness at all. Then in post I can turn it down for the look I want without noise, but I don’t think it’s the right way. Am I missing something?

    Reply
    • Noam Kroll
      January 4, 2017 at 7:34 pm

      Are you shooting in V-Log? I’ve definitely seen this a lot with V-Log, and in some other settings… Cine-D being one of them. You’re definitely right in that the GH4 can be noisy under certain conditions, even when well lit.

      Reply
      • Ian
        January 4, 2017 at 8:07 pm

        No, I use Cine-D. I expected GH4 to be noisy as I read a lot about that, but I didn’t expect it to be more noisy than GH2! But maybe I should try more baked settings.

        Reply
        • Noam Kroll
          January 23, 2017 at 6:13 am

          Couldn’t hurt to experiment… I always found it reacted very differently across different lighting scenarios. Keep experimenting and I’m sure you’ll find the right techniques based on each circumstance!

          Reply
  • dustin
    October 5, 2016 at 8:00 pm

    Hi Noam,
    I’m new to this baby since I used to have consumer full automatic camcorder. I mainly record my kids game and sometimes helping the church and record church event and such…
    Will your LUT packs work for indoor video? Besides, do you offer any training video that can purchase or you only offer onsite training?
    Thanks,
    Dustin

    Reply
  • Albert Nyakundi
    May 16, 2016 at 6:56 pm

    Thanks very much. Just got the little beast 2 months ago and already shot a couple of documentaries with it. This is very educative for me just started out learning color correction/grading. There is no substitute for good lighting and framing though thanks for that.

    Reply
    • Noam Kroll
      May 16, 2016 at 7:40 pm

      Awesome – thanks for the note Albert and congrats on getting the camera.

      Reply
  • mdubbs
    April 25, 2016 at 4:21 am

    Hey noam, sorry I’m responding to a older post but I have a 2 part question.

    1. I just got a g7, will the same rules apply here?

    2. By bringing down contrast to -5 in cine v, will it be okay to bring contrast back up in post ? Well it mess up skin tones? Let’s say if it’s for daylight shooting.

    Reply
    • Noam Kroll
      April 27, 2016 at 12:05 am

      Hey – I actually haven’t tried this out on the G7, but it’s worth a shot as the image off of both cameras is very similar. Adding contrast in post shouldn’t mess up skintones, as long as you don’t push things too far, so definitely give it a go!

      Reply
      • mdubbs
        April 28, 2016 at 4:07 am

        Thanks Noam! You the man

        Reply
  • joyce
    April 18, 2016 at 7:17 pm

    Very nice!
    Now, whats the ideal shutter speed to shoot to avoid noise.

    Reply
    • Noam Kroll
      April 19, 2016 at 5:04 am

      Shutter speed won’t really affect noise much (when shooting video at least), and you should usually have your shutter set to about double that of your frame rate. Hope this helps!

      Reply
  • Junior
    March 11, 2016 at 11:36 am

    hey very nice guy your video!
    I saw that you used Impulz Luts Fuji Pro 400_FC, I have installed the film convert the premiere but do not have that Impulz Luts Fuji Pro 400_FC where can it ??

    Reply
    • Noam Kroll
      March 19, 2016 at 12:12 am

      Hey there! I actually didn’t use the Impulz LUT… Where did you see that?

      Reply
  • Adrian Beholz
    March 6, 2016 at 3:38 pm

    thanks you so much noam, really helpfull!! and so nice you sharing your knowledge along all upcoming questions… best from germany!

    Reply
    • Noam Kroll
      March 6, 2016 at 6:00 pm

      Anytime Adrian! Thanks for the note.

      Reply
  • […] Source: The Best GH4 Settings For Video & Why You Shouldn’t Be Tweaking Things Too Much | Noam Kroll […]

    Reply
  • lennart holterman
    February 19, 2016 at 1:46 pm

    Hello Noam,

    Thanx for this great article.

    I hope i can ask you a question here?

    I only film green screen indoors. Would Cinelike V or Cinelike D, be better?

    And what would you do with the Sharpness, cause i do need some sharpness to cut out my character.

    Hope to hear from you.
    Greetz Lennart

    Reply
    • Noam Kroll
      February 23, 2016 at 5:42 pm

      Anytime Lennart! I haven’t shot a lot of Green-Screen with the GH4, but I would probably choose Cine-D as a starting point to avoid crushing any shadows too heavily on the actual green screen itself. As far as sharpness goes, I always recommend adding it in post as opposed to in camera. Hope this helps…

      Reply
  • Lex
    January 12, 2016 at 5:52 am

    I really like to thank for your time Noam!
    This is the information I needed and also will stick to it.
    Did you already have a chance to check out the vlog upgrade? And if so, what are your findings sofar?

    Regards,
    Lex

    Reply
    • Lex
      January 12, 2016 at 6:06 am

      Never mind! Just read you’ve sold sold your gh4 before vlog 😉
      The sony is twice the price of my gh4, so not in my leaque as a pure hobby video man.

      Reply
      • Noam Kroll
        January 18, 2016 at 11:08 pm

        Haha! Just saw this too… Either way, V-Log is still great, but I would be careful about the banding issue when recording internally.

        Reply
    • Noam Kroll
      January 18, 2016 at 11:07 pm

      Yes! If you check my recent blog posts I did a short writeup on it. Hope that helps!

      Reply
  • toxictabasco
    December 21, 2015 at 7:07 am

    Great information Noam. And excellent explanation. Likely the most useful information on modern DSLR/Mirrorless video I have seen. I totally agree with your perspective. Technology is changing and the video community should be using the technology to it’s advantages.

    I shoot the 4k with MP4 for easy processing. It’s a compressed format that’s easy to manage in post processing. As a result, I strive to get the video to look how I want in camera. Thus, leaving minimal work in post editing. Today’s 4k captures so much detail with so much clarity, I don’t find the need to flatten the video to get details. And, I can always de-saturate or soften in post production. Also, the adjustability/customizability of Panasonics are amazing where I actually use them to get the look I want in camera.

    The way I see it: I would never flatten out a JPEG file shot on a high resolution DSLR to redo in post processing. Much the same way I wouldn’t flatten a compressed video file on a high resolution 4K camera to redo in post editing. Why?… because MP4 and other compressed video files have limited data to work with. And, I can’t add or push the details or color if the file didn’t capture the true details and color. And if I tried to re-create all the color and detail that is non-existent on the file, I would end up with a fake looking bleached out 3 color video with different shades of those 3 colors, and no shadows.

    However, if I was shooting a RAW file for photo or RAW type video file, the data would be there to edit. Thus It would allow uncovering all the data captured on the file. Nevertheless, the editing software plays a huge part on what can be created in post processing, as well as the skills and creativity of the cameraman and producer/editor. The cost of that, and expensive hardware system is beyond what I want to invest in.

    Nevertheless, with today’s new 4K high resolution cameras, do we really need to show more detail in the shadows, and highlights? With all the features and adjustments for customizing video in camera, do we really need to dumb down what the camera captures, so we can spend hours in post editing attempting to recreate a look that the camera can do better than we can? Controversial I know. Some will take the highest resolution 4K cameras, and beat the compressed video files like it owes them money. While others will never use the camera’s full potential. And some will use new high tech mirrorless camera the same way they did their old DSLR. But like you mention, the technology has changed, and cameras, have changed, and if we want to use the full features of the new technology, we need to change the way we create video/photo.

    By the way, some Panasonics have a thing called FILTERS. These are color graded looks, some are adjustable in camera, and some are useful. I’m sure a skilled popular videographer/sales type could create a video using one of these without anyone knowing. And I’m sure people will comment on how nice the color grading is. LOL……………. Anyway, Thanks Noam for the great information, I hope people can learn a lot from this as I have.

    Reply
    • Noam Kroll
      December 21, 2015 at 7:21 pm

      Thanks so much for the kind words! Appreciate it.

      Reply
  • Rasmus
    September 15, 2015 at 10:03 am

    Hi Noam!

    Thanks for a great article!
    You’re the closest I’ve come so far to documenting how the picture style settings on the GH4 actually works. However, I’m still trying to figure out how the negative adjustments work.

    Does in fact negative settings capture a “more pure image” – giving more latitude for post – or am I going to get the same effect capturing at “0” and reducing the contrast in post?

    Color science is not my strong side, I haven’t figured out a reliable way to test this, and the Panasonic reps I’ve spoken won’t give any technical explanation, they only recommend leaving everything at “0”.

    Reply
    • Noam Kroll
      October 2, 2015 at 12:21 am

      Hi Rasmus!

      On many cameras, dipping into the negative settings will in fact give you more leeway in post. That said, I don’t find that to be particularly helpful with the GH4 and usually keep the settings as standard as I can to avoid unwanted artifacts and results.

      Reply
      • Rasmus
        October 5, 2015 at 3:07 pm

        Thank you Noam!

        Reply
  • Jose Moris
    August 17, 2015 at 7:13 pm

    YOU’RE A GENIUS! That is all.

    Reply
    • Noam Kroll
      August 24, 2015 at 3:00 pm

      Haha! I don’t know about genius, but I’ll take it!

      Reply
  • Mat
    July 9, 2015 at 6:05 pm

    Hi Noam! Thank you for the article, it’s extremely useful and, I shouldn’t be afraid of the word, important :). What settings would you recommend me to film fast/action scene in a low light? Moving objects seems to be a little bit blurry, when they stay static everything is ok and looks just awesome, when they move… The effect is terrible.

    Reply
    • Noam Kroll
      July 10, 2015 at 12:12 am

      Hi Mat, thanks for the note! I think what you are looking to do is increase your shutter speed. Rather than shooting at the usual 1/50 shutter speed, try changing it to 1/100 or 1/125. That will give you that really cool action/fast shutter feel for your images. That said, it will mean your camera will need more light so you’ll either need to open up your lens more or bring in an extra light or two to bump up your exposure.

      Reply
  • Bob Wojda
    June 30, 2015 at 12:52 pm

    Nice article Noam. Wondering if you’ve had a chance to experiment with the v-log setting that is rumored to be out ther at the moment. Seems like a nice direction for Panasonic but I could see where it may not be practical for this camera as it may not be able to hold in 8 bit. You’ve done a lot of testing here, any thoughts on this? Thanks for sharing your work! Very helpful.

    Reply
    • Noam Kroll
      July 2, 2015 at 8:26 pm

      Hi Bob – you bring up some great points. Unfortunately I haven’t shot anything with V-log myself, but would love to test it out as soon as possible… Especially to see what it’s capable of within the constraints of the internal codec.

      Reply
  • […] Like many other GH4 shooters out there, I’ve been back and forth about which picture profiles and settings are best to use when shooting with this camera. When I first got the GH4 I was messing around with my settings a lot (master ped, shadow/highlight, etc.), but eventually realized that I would get much better results by not straining the camera too much. As such, I have mainly been using slightly modified Cine-D and Cine-V picture profiles, as outlined … […]

    Reply
  • Vit
    May 21, 2015 at 6:37 am

    great stuff Noam… really like it… I have a shoot today so I will put your advice to test.. 🙂 … thanks mate..

    Reply
  • Mark R
    May 1, 2015 at 9:23 pm

    Hey Noam, I was wondering if you have go-to settings for the A7s as well? I recently picked one up to add to my kit and S-Log seems to be the defacto profile for most shooters, but I also like to have a setting that looks pretty good out of camera. Similar to the cineV setting that you use for the GH4. Nice colours and decent skin tones without losing too much DR. Would be great to know if you have any thoughts! Thanks

    Reply
    • Noam Kroll
      May 4, 2015 at 9:27 pm

      Hey Mark! I will keep you posted on this… Haven’t shot enough with the A7S to give an official recommendation, but when I do I will absolutely post about it.

      Reply
  • Tom
    April 30, 2015 at 3:46 pm

    Hi Noam, I just read this about using Focus Peaking to assess camera Noise on GH4 and is awesome:

    http://www.streamingmedia.com/Producer/Articles/ReadArticle.aspx?ArticleID=103233&PageNum=2

    Reply
  • James
    March 25, 2015 at 10:30 am

    Hi Noam this article was fantastic I was getting so frustrated with noise issues but this seems to have fixed my immediate problems so again thank-you very much.

    Out of curiosity what setting do you set your luminance at ?

    From experience with grading for television making my footage legal generally implies setting the luminance of the footage to 16-235 in post which sometimes strips your grade etc so if you were to shoot for tv would it not make sense to shoot it at 16-235 so that when your grading you no exactly what the end result will be before you legalize your footage in say da vinci ?

    Or would you recommend setting it to 0 – 255 to capture the most information possible ? regardless of banding etc ?

    I hope my question makes sense its kind of my last issue regarding the gh4

    cheers

    James

    Reply
    • Noam Kroll
      April 1, 2015 at 2:47 am

      Hi James! I have messed around with the settings a lot in the past, but lately I try to keep everything as stock as possible unless I really need to change it. So I am constantly shooting at 16-235 now. I don’t have any specific technical reason behind this. It’s more of – if it ain’t broke don’t fix it! However in some situations the other luminance settings may perform better…

      Reply
  • TJ
    March 17, 2015 at 3:26 am

    Hi Noam, thanks for a great article assuring me that buying GH4 was indeed not a mistake;) Can I get your opinion about shooting with ND filters on the GH4? If you shoot with ND Filters yourself, which ones are you using? And if you are not, how do you prefer to shoot (ISO/shutter speed/F Stop) in bright sunny daylight? Thanks very much!

    Reply
    • Noam Kroll
      March 20, 2015 at 4:16 pm

      Hey TJ! Yes, I do use ND filters all the time. I typically use a Tiffen kit that I have, however there are plenty of options out there. Whatever brand you go with, I usually recommend non-variable ND’s as they are often higher quality.

      Reply
      • Daniel Greenwood
        May 22, 2015 at 2:08 pm

        Hello Noam,
        First I’ll add my thanks for your article, its a great mix of tech and anecdote. I was just handed a GH4 yesterday for testing, and I will order some ND filters. Have you noticed any IR pollution in the blacks with heavy ND filtration, that is 1.2 and above? Probably I will put a .9 and a 1.8 in my kit.
        Thanks for your thoughts.

        Reply
        • Noam Kroll
          May 26, 2015 at 6:56 pm

          Hey Daniel – no problem at all. Really glad you enjoyed the article. In therms of IR pollution, I haven’t noticed a terrible amount on the GH4… But with that said, the filters themselves may be adding some color shifting that isn’t even related to IR. Hard to say without seeing the footage and knowing what brand of filters you’re using… But in short, I haven’t had a problem!

          Reply
  • Jim Robinson
    February 7, 2015 at 5:39 am

    I agree completely – Cine D and V obviously have settings pre-set. The only problem is just changing to them does not put settings you can actually see on the camera – so adjusting from there is just doing it blind. I have found that adding anything in the shadows or blacks just adds noise. It becomes even more prevalent when zoomed in ( 4k zoomed to 1080 ) Pushing the master pedestal – pushes noise.

    Reply
    • Noam Kroll
      February 7, 2015 at 9:08 pm

      Agreed – the noise issues on the GH4 can be nearly solved by just leaving the black levels in a reasonable place.

      Reply
  • Arya Boustani
    January 29, 2015 at 7:19 pm

    Hi there,

    I’m excited to see the result of native FHD sensor output from Panasonic GH4 to Atomos Ninja or Shogun.

    Has anyone tried it yet? If so, wouldn’t you mind sharing the results; Perhaps with comparison shots of the recording to the SD card inside the camera. I imagine it requires grading to match the colours but I’m more interested to find out the advantages (more room for grading the raw image without degrading the quality, more natural look, more dynamic range (?), more colour information in extreme dark and bright areas, less noise in low light or I should say nicer image result after applying noise reduction plugin? anything else?) and drawbacks (file size, time to grade, etc., cashing out the purchase or rental of the recorder, anything else?).

    Thank you!

    Reply
    • Noam Kroll
      February 7, 2015 at 9:01 pm

      I haven’t tried it myself, but have seen it done with some really great results. If I get a chance to test this in the future I’ll be sure to do a post on it.

      Reply
  • ricard
    January 15, 2015 at 9:48 am

    Hi Noam!

    Thank you so much for so thoughts on gh4!
    What do you think about shooting with “Natural” Profile?
    I find it renders more natural skin tones and general colors, all about around the orange/red spectrum.
    I tend to put sharpness and noise reduction to -5.

    Thanks!

    Reply
    • Noam Kroll
      January 19, 2015 at 6:19 pm

      I think that’s a great approach. I’ve never found one single GH4 setting to be the ‘be all end all’, although the settings I shared here are what I like. If natural works for you and the type of shots you are looking for, then go for it! I’ll give it a try sometime too…

      Reply
  • Julian
    January 9, 2015 at 1:14 pm

    Thanks Noam! Just got my GH4 a couple weeks ago so I’m still searching and testing for the optimal video settings. What’s the general consensus on ISO? I understand the native ISO is 800. In your experience is that the best place to keep it?

    Reply
    • Noam Kroll
      January 11, 2015 at 9:33 pm

      Hi Julian – Initially I kept the ISO at 800 or sometime 400, but because the GH4 is a relatively noisy camera, now I typically keep is as low as possible. Most often I shoot at 200 or 400, and go up to 800 only when absolutely necessary.

      Reply
  • Mark R
    December 31, 2014 at 4:03 am

    Hey Noam thanks for taking the time to share your findings. I agree with you about using CineD at for night. It gives you the dynamic range to reveal detail in the shadows whilst keeping the noise low (seems much cleaner than the other profiles actually). CIneD exposes slightly lower than the other profiles but bumping it up in post (only needs a slight shift) still leaves the image far cleaner than the others.

    Another difference I notice between cineD and V is that they have slightly different hues. D shifts to red and V to green. At night I’m often using LED lights and find that the red hue from CineD gives me nicer skin tones but I actually kinda like the greener hue of CineV in the day. So I think I’m going to go with your recommendations above – just wondering if you’d noticed the colour shifts too and if that influenced your decisions? The only thing I find I like to change to your settings is to keep the saturation for CineD at around -3. I find that once I’m at a contrast I like I very rarely have to play with saturation.

    Anyway thanks again!

    Reply
    • Noam Kroll
      January 11, 2015 at 9:27 pm

      Thanks for the note, Mark! And yes, I have definitely noticed the color shifting. In the past, when using cine D during the day I had noticed that it sometimes rendered some unpleasing skintones that needed some intricate grading to get looking right. Great to know about your -3 setting on the saturation… I’ll need to try that sometime.

      Reply
    • Nate McLean
      April 23, 2015 at 12:12 am

      Hey Mark, I’m glad to hear someone else has the skin tone issue with Cine-D… so I’m not crazy. But, what about your saturation settings for Cine-V? Keeping it at 0 like Noam? I figured that would only decrease my adjustment ability in post (AE). And I’ve seen other demonstrations with -5 Noise reductions resulting with more noise, ever have this issue? Maybe I should go back to using -5 Noise again.. just havn’t had the time to experiment, only shoot the gigs. Oh and I’m using the Atomos now, so figured I could push a hair more in post and so wanted to keep saturation low, like -3 in Cine-V, but if I’m missing something and should keep it at 0 I’d love to know.

      I really appreciate this blog.

      Thanks guys.

      Reply
      • Mark R
        May 3, 2015 at 10:28 pm

        I think I have my saturation slightly lower – usually around -3 as I find that I don’t need to tinker with it too much. Once I’ve added a slight curve I pretty much have the saturation I like.
        Regarding the skin tones in cineD, I just find that cineD seems to add a kinda beige wash across the whole thing. The skin seems to lose some of its natural contrast and there’s not as much separation from the backgrounds. When I try to mess with it too much things start to go a bit plastic I’m not sure whats happening with various profiles but CineV just helps to keep things a little more punchy. I’m just not a good enough colourist to get CineD to where I like it! I’m sure you lose a little DR with CineV but 99% of people will notice weird skin tones. About 1% will notice half a stop of DR.
        Not sure about your noise issue – I’ve actually been pretty happy with noise on the GH4. It was only ever bad when I was messing around with curves and pedestal.

        Reply
        • Noam Kroll
          May 4, 2015 at 9:28 pm

          Thanks for this Mark. I have to agree with the fact that far more people will notice skin tones over DR. Great points all around.

          Reply
  • Martin Rieder
    December 3, 2014 at 3:28 pm

    Nice post. I’m trying to experiment with both D abd V in different situations. So all other settings ie. luminance level are at the cameras default?

    Reply
    • Noam Kroll
      December 3, 2014 at 7:09 pm

      Thanks Martin! And yes, for the most part I have been leaving my settings at default. Sometimes I will make specific adjustments in rare circumstances, but I definitely feel that pushing this camera less helps a lot.

      Reply
  • Sean Daigle
    November 16, 2014 at 8:27 pm

    Thanks so much for this post Noam. I’ve had the GH4 for a few months now and it seems like there is absolutely no consensus on the right settings for this camera, and everyone has their own opinion. Couldn’t agree with you more on this post though: I stopped messing with the MP and Highlight/Shadow settings in camera. I shot with your CineD settings at a wedding last night and got some of the cleanest flat images I’ve ever gotten out of the camera. I even got pretty noiseless low light footage at 1600 ISO! So grateful for your input to the community. Keep up the good work.

    PS – I’m just a hop, skip, and a jump from you in the Palm Springs area. If you’re ever in the area it’d be a pleasure to sit down and chat!

    Reply
    • Noam Kroll
      November 24, 2014 at 7:02 pm

      Thanks Sean! I’m so glad to hear that the settings worked well for you… I had a few other readers tell me that they had good results with the CineD settings too, so as of now I feel like that is the way to go. And yes, I am in Palm Springs here and there so I will definitely keep you posted!

      Reply
  • Paul N
    November 11, 2014 at 7:27 pm

    This is an excellent post. Thank you for putting this together. I’d really love to hear a followup regarding grading Cine V vs Cine D.

    Reply
    • Noam Kroll
      November 24, 2014 at 6:50 pm

      Thanks Paul – I will certainly consider that for future articles!

      Reply
    • Nate McLean
      April 23, 2015 at 12:05 am

      I am also very curious whether I should be grading Cine V or D. you mentioned keeping Saturation at 0 when using Cine V, but doesn’t that limit some of the coloring in post?

      Thank’s for the amazing articles on the GH4, very reassuring!

      Reply
      • Noam Kroll
        April 24, 2015 at 7:14 pm

        Thanks again Nate! The Cine-V setting with saturation at 0 hasn’t ever affected my ability to grade. If anything, sometimes I would need to dial the contrast back a bit, but saturation can easily be knocked down in post if the image off of the card is too saturated. Glad you’re enjoying these posts!

        Reply
  • […] to Noam Kroll, we shouldn’t treat our GH4 as an ARRI Alexa or Red Epic and try to emulate their Log […]

    Reply
  • Astromann
    November 11, 2014 at 7:26 am

    Great Article.
    I have had the GH4 for several months now and have used it daily.
    I love the camera, and like you described…with the right settings it is an amazing camera.
    I personally dont do the -5 -5 -5 thing with Cine-D, my settings are a lot less extreme, but everyone has a different way of working.
    I have never raised the master pedestal (except in tests) I find it to be damaging too…as you mentioned.
    But in hi contrast scenes…bright sun and shadows I find iDynamic very useful, it really helps balance the dynamic range in extremes and it does not add noise, only in very difficult low light, ditto for the curves, -2 +2 Highlights and shadows works well too, if the profile is not too wound down in contrast and so on.
    Personally I have never had a problem with noise or grading, but as you mentioned…its best to avoid extremes whatever you decide to do.

    The other thing I have found is the 24P in Full 4K can strobe a little in camera pans in hi contrast scenes, whereas 29.97 UHD is about 80% better, so I use that quite a bit these days, the motion (in terms of strobing) looks smoother a lot of the time.
    Anyways Cheers
    Astromann

    Reply
    • Noam Kroll
      November 24, 2014 at 6:50 pm

      Thanks Astromann! I greatly appreciate your insight on this… I have also used iDynamic and iResolution with pretty good results. At first I was afraid to try it as I was worries it might automatically adjust during filming, but I was happy to see that it didn’t ever do that (on my footage at least).

      Reply
  • Jef Gibbons
    November 8, 2014 at 6:14 pm

    Great article Noam!

    The first thing I did was crank down the contrast on the Cine-D settings, and the footage looked awful! My settings are a little less drastic than yours now, with a bit of the curve applied to bring up the lows and down the highs. I’m always trying to match up to the C100 and the 5D3 and I seem to be close enough.

    I really hope they bring on the ability to punch-in on focus during recording, that alone drives me crazy with this camera!

    Definitely going to give your day vs night tips a try regarding Cine-D and Cine-V.
    Thanks!

    Reply
    • Noam Kroll
      November 24, 2014 at 6:47 pm

      Thanks a lot for the feedback Jef. And yes, I agree that they need to allow for focus punch in during recording! It’s very frustrating…

      Reply
      • Dan
        August 4, 2016 at 7:42 am

        I think you can punch in focus during recording by setting AF+MF on in Custom menu. Then AFS on the little dial next to eyepiece. When filming you hold down shutter button halfway and you can then use the focus ring. I hope this is what you were talking about.

        Reply
        • Noam Kroll
          August 4, 2016 at 5:08 pm

          Good to know, Dan. Thanks for the note.

          Reply
  • Paul
    November 7, 2014 at 6:19 pm

    So true that the general practice has been flattening too far, with damaging consequences. Even more conservatively than that mentioned here, if you’re using the LUT-ish looks approach, FilmConvert requires CineD at its default settings with only Shadows/Highlights set to +5/-5 respectively. I prefer this approach for having a consistent reference combined with all the benefits of the film emulsion emulation inherent in that plug-in. To put it another way, not only is that approach something to add to this overview, but also, the Shadows/Highlights setting (not at the picture profiles) should be factored in as a preferred tool for capturing grade-ready footage.

    Reply
    • Noam Kroll
      November 24, 2014 at 6:46 pm

      Thanks a lot Paul! I greatly appreciate your insight, and fully agree with these points.

      Reply

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