Monday, May 29, 2023

Sample video from the Lumix S5

With the summer weather upon us, I took out my Lumix S5 to shoot some random video, in order to get a feel for the footage, how it takes a grade, etc. This ended up also being a good test of the built-in stabilisation. Read on for some practical information.

This is the first of four tutorials on optimising DaVinci Resolve for Panasonic Lumix footage. In the second article I describe how to set up an industry-standard ACES workflow in Resolve. The third post explains the film look and provides specific settings for Lumix cameras. The final article develops a Film Look PowerGrade that you can use in your Resolve projects.

One short trip to the canal turned into quite an extensive tutorial series!

First, a link to the video, which you might wish to watch first. I will then add details in this article. 

I shot using the V-Log Photo Style in the highest resolution possible on the camera that preserves 10-bit colour. This is as follows:

  • resolution: DCI 4K (which Panasonic calls C4K), 4096 x 2160
  • frame rate: 23.98 fps
  • colour: 4:2:2 10-bit
  • video format: LongGOP compression in MOV container
  • approximate bit rate: 150 Mbps

The gain was the lowest possible in V-Log, ISO 320. The camera was on continuous auto-focus using all points (224-Area) mode. All clips are hand-held using the built-in body stabilisation (IBIS) but without using the additional modes available for video. I've read that these options can introduce artifacts, so didn't rush to try them.

The lens is the standard kit zoom, 20-60mm. I shot at f/8 and f/11. In order to control exposure I used an SLR Magic variable ND filter. To protect the large front I mounted a classic old Contax Metal Hood #2. Though this is short, it does cause vignetting if the focal length is wider than 24mm. But I am happy enough with that restriction.

Please note that the paid Resolve Studio version is required to edit this footage, since the free version of the software is restricted to 8-bit colour. The editing experience was very smooth. Though I didn't have so-called "RAW" or 12-bit footage, the 10-bit colour range proved enough for this grading, enough even for more extreme manipulations (which you can read about in my next article).

As you can see from the video, stabilisation is quite amazing on the Lumix S5 and tightens up wonderfully with some modest settings in post-production. For my casual work I would never need a gimbal, which suits my minimal approach.

I trust that this video demonstrates how easy it is to get decent footage. If you need an extra stop or two of light, the kit lens will prove restrictive. But it gives up nothing on image quality, as various online tests and thousands of photos have proven.

There are plenty of fashion videos showing off how good the Lumix cameras are in the hands of professionals. This video demonstrates what an amateur can do with no planning or forethought. 


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