While we were testing the Panasonic GH4 we filmed at a street festival in Frankfurt called “Bahnhofsviertelnacht”. The festival takes place in the famous redlight district that has become a melting pot of different cultures and artists. Since it takes place in the evening it was the ideal test for us to see how well the camera performs under low light conditions when recording in UHD (3840×2160, also known as QFHD).

You can watch the video in the original resolution below:

The hand-held shots were mostly taken with the Panasonic Lumix G VARIO 14-42mm F/3.5-5.6 II which has image stabilization. Other lenses included the Tokina 11-16mm for wide shots, the Canon 50mm F/1.8 for extreme low light shots and a few shots were taken with the Canon 24-105mm. The GH4 has a Micro Four Thirds mount so we used an adapter to be able to use our EF glass.

The image quality was impressive overall except when the sun light was gone and the street lights weren’t on. Image noise is clearly visible in some of the shots as well as blocking. That issue vanished when the street lights went on.

Audio was another important part. Different bands and musicians performed on little stages or on the streets. We used the RØDE Stereo VideoMic Pro for all the audio you hear in the video. We mixed background noise with the musical performance of the band (The Rock’n Roll Revolution Club). We haven’t had any issues with the sound in terms of hiss or noise. The audio levels are visible on the screen which makes it easy to control the level properly.

Due to the form factor and the ergonomics it is a great camera for documentary work especially in crowded places where it’s hard to carry a lot of stuff. People also don’t freak out because they think you want to invade their privacy with some big ENG camera. What’s also noticeable in the major part of shots is the deep depth of field. You really need a lens with an aperture below F/2.8 to be able to control the depth of field.

The Ultra HD footage was edited using Adobe Premiere Pro CC. The difference between editing 1080p and 4K footage is clearly noticeable in speed and performance of the software. I color corrected and graded the clips using a three-way-color-corrector and FilmConvert. The plug-in has a dedicated GH4 profile which means it doesn’t take long to adjust the settings and to find the right look.

Below are a few UHD daylight samples that were graded in very different ways to showcase the variety of looks you can get when filming with the GH4 in CineD (flat picture profile).

Written by Moritz Janisch