Another quick update from the NAB showroom floor –
I just finished chatting with a rep from Panasonic who had a number of Lumix GH4’s rigged up with anamorphic lenses, running the highly sought after V-Log cinema profile. For those of you that don’t know, V-Log is essentially a very flat picture profile that may become available for the GH4 at some point via a firmware update. It delivers a beautiful log-style image similar to C-Log or S-log on other cinema cameras, and could theoretically generate images that are more gradable than what you might get with Cine-D (the flattest GH4 setting currently)… Not to mention, V-Log will likely improve dynamic range by some extent.
Naturally, I asked the Panasonic rep if V-Log would be made available soon, but was surprised to hear that it may never be made available. According to the rep, it is still being beta tested and if it is made available it would be later this year, but there are no guarantees. I can only speculate as to why they don’t want to release it at this point, but might guess that the V-Log setting introduces too much shadow noise or other unfavorable artifacts that you might expect with such a flat profile. Hopefully whatever kinks may exist at the moment get fixed so all of us GH4 owners can start using this amazing setting.
It is also possible that if V-log isn’t made available until very late in the year, Panasonic may opt to roll it out with their Lumix GH5 as opposed to a firmware update for the GH4.
I would say that there is certainly a chance that V-Log may become available for GH4 users this year, but personally I’m not holding my breath.
That said though, the new firmware update announced today by Panasonic (version 2.2) looks quite good. Here is the info from their press release:
Panasonic announced the release of a much anticipated firmware update Ver.2.2 for the award winning LUMIX GH4. This new firmware enables two new features, most notably the ability to record anamorphic video content.
Anamorphic lenses are used to create a cinemascope aspect such as 2.39:1 or 2.35:1. Panasonic discovered that cinematographers had been experimenting with the 4K PHOTO mode 4:3 aspect ratio in the LUMIX GH4 and vintage anamorphic cine lenses to achieve the classic Hollywood look of anamorphic film capture. Unlike complex digital post processing needed to achieve the look, many of the background distortion and light flare effects that became so popular with anamorphic film capture can now be achieved optically in the LUMIX GH4.
Thanks in part to its Micro Four Thirds format and 4K recording ability, firmware Ver.2.2 for the LUMIX GH4 enables an Anamorphic (4:3) Mode capable of recording video in 3328 x 2496 pixel (equivalent to approx. 8.3-megapixel) resolution at a frame rate of either 23.98, 24, 25 or 29.97 fps. With an anamorphic lens such as 2x*1 you can capture and un-squeeze a 3356×2496 image in post-production. In addition, 4:2:2 / 10 bit HDMI output is also available*2.
A further enhancement of the new firmware is the addition of a very high shutter speed of 1/16,000 sec. when using its electronic shutter mode.
Anamorphic shooters will be particularly impressed by this update as the GH4 will now have the ability to shoot at 3328 x 2496. This is incredible for DPs that love the look of anamorphic lenses, but don’t necessarily want to use the GH4’s 4K Photo Mode (which also allows for anamorphic shooting) as 23.98 and 24 frames per second modes were not previously available.
That’s about it for now…
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!