Panasonic GH3 sketches

The Ultimate Panasonic GH3 Guide

Hello dearest friends,

The successor to The Panasonic GH2 Guide for Filmmakers is finally here! However there are some major differences … For this guide book I am offering a free version / preview book which is very similar to the free GH2 guide, a book embedded on the website with tabs to organize the chapters. The paid version (cost = $19.99) is upgraded to a full downloadable interactive PDF with embedded images and tutorial videos right in book with no extra downloads needed. The videos play within the pdf which makes this a unique Hybrid of a tutorial book =) You get all the written stuff, images, and videos right on the same pages with no need for extra links or videos outside the pdf, its all included in the Interactive PDF download. It also includes future updates FOR FREE.

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The Ultimate Panasonic GH3 Guide

 

Introduction

1. The Hybrid Mentality

2.Whats new? wifi and more

3.Choosing the right SD Card

4.Choosing the right Lens

5. Essential Gear

6. The GH3 for Video & Filmmaking:

7. The GH3 for Photography:

8. Workflow for Film and Video

9. Workflow for Photography

Conclusion

By Orlando S. Gondar
An OSGFilms.com Exclusive




Introduction

Welcome to the Ultimate Panasonic GH3 Guide. Back in 2012 I released the GH2 Guide for filmmakers but i focused only on filmmaking features and video functionality. My new guide is different and more robust. I aim to cover everything you could possibly need out of your new GH series camera. The GH2 last year reached immense popularity for its video quality and much of that was due in part to the Hacks that were coming out at the time. The hacks were made possible by Ptool, a program Vitaliy Kiselev created to allow us to write patches and create custom firmware for the Panasonic GH2. The custom firmware allowed bit-rates much higher than the factory settings which gave the video a look and overall quality closer to that of film. My Brief GH2 guide was born out of the posts I wrote and accompanying videos I posted teaching others how to squeeze more out of the video quality. As of today there is no such hack for the Panasonic GH3 or at least the hack tool is not yet compatible with the GH3 firmware. It is coming yes, but for now that will be omitted from the guide. That chapter will be added as soon as the tool becomes compatible.

The guide you are reading now differs from my last outing in that it is a full featured master everything kind of guide, not just the necessities and hacking. It aims to teach you everything you can squeeze out of the Panasonic GH3 and all of its new features. Many of these features for both Video and Photography were not possible on the GH2 at all, which is why the upgrade is welcomed. The GH3 is everything we wished the GH2 was and more and I say that with my GH3 at stock settings and firmware. We now have all the codecs and standards we wished for the GH2 via hacks, but were simply not impossible. Some of these features are standard in the GH3 and they include slow motion in full 1080p along with high bit rates for standard broadcast and better post production workflow for filmmakers. We now get Higher dynamic range and much better noise performance in the high iso range along with a few features we didn’t expect such as weather a sealed body, wifi uploads, and remotely controlling the camera from a smart phone.

If this is your first Micro Four Thirds or DSLR style camera then this is going to have its learning curve but we will move along quickly. I am here to minimize the time it takes you to go from zero to hero. This struggle is a classic scenario for anyone coming from traditional film cameras whether it be 8mm, 16mm cameras or bigger digital cameras such as the HPX, DVX and various other choices in the pro-sumer market. This camera is unique in that it is a true hybrid camera offering professional quality for both video and photography all in one body. The camera’s sensor offers the best video quality a DSLR form factor can deliver today and to make matters even more attractive the MFT systems has a very versatile mount. Having purchased this camera will open you to a fantastic variety of lenses, film like depth of field, image quality and the versatility of the small size of this camera. You can basically shoot with any lens system you ever had previously and simply adapt it to the GH3 with the right lens adapter! That is assuming of course you are ok with shooting manually which you should and will be.

If we never see a hack for the GH3 then that is ok! You are already at an advantage with the GH3’s Video quality and wealth of features. The default encoder choices are already at a high bitrate with few compromises compared to how crippled the GH2 was. The GH3 offers a host of great features and by time i’m done with you, you will be a GH3 master, making great looking films, videos and photos will be second nature.


Ch. 1 The Hybrid Mentality


If this is your first camera then get happy, you will not find a better way to learn both professional photo and video workflows at the industry standard all in one body. Hybrid cameras unlike digital SLRs are true digital cameras, DSLRs are basically 35mm film cameras with digital sensors. They still use a mirror for the view finder and incorporate the classic internal prism. Micro Four Thirds cameras do not, they can be much smaller and lightweight thanks to removing the mirror and prism for the viewfinder system. Lenses can be closer to the sensor so they can be designed to be much smaller and lighter. This is also why the cameras can be much smaller than dslrs. This day and age the hybrid / MFT has come along way from simply being lighter more travel friendly cameras. The GH3 is a complete and able competitor to professional video cameras as well as professional photography cameras, all in one body.

GH3-Save-Photo-from-Movie-OSGFilms The GH3 offers unique capabilities by adding some built in features that make for a true mash up, features such as being able to take a single frame from any video shot in camera and turning it into a separate photograph while running the video. All by simply pausing a video and selecting save still as a separate photograph, as if exporting it from the video stream. You can do this as many times as you like per video for a few perfect moments. Outside of the video for photography features, the quality of the raw format and jpeg photographs the camera can shoot are up to par for professional photography work as well. Pro raw performance combined with the best in class video capabilities truly make this a unique piece of equipment. Video quality as you may know is the focus of the GH3 and we will take a good look at that in the Video sections.

In this chapter I will push the hybrid idea a step further and see how well video for photography performs by comparing the the built in frame grabs to stills saved from videos in post production or exported from your video editor. I feel that this feature is an amazing addition to the GH3 vs the GH2. Previously, in order to accomplish a frame grab… you had no other option than the NLE export. . Many a times the moment was not caught in a single lucky photograph but over the course of a video. As a result you would hope the still frame holds up being turned into legitimate photography. Before the GH3 i had only done this from exporting stills via GH2 videos from my NLE. I wonder if the internally exported frame compares to the old way of doing it. Let’s find out!

Here is a clip i shot for the weather sealed examples, turns out i like the image of the guy shooting the statue so I want a photograph of it.
I saved a frame in camera by pausing the video and selecting “save this image” right from the GH3 menu. This created a 355 KB jpeg in camera and was saved in camera. I figured it would be a good idea to compare this to a frame saved in post using less compression than a jpeg such as a TIFF or PNG. So i exported the same frame from my Premiere timeline as a TIFF. This created an 8 megabyte still frame in comparison to the jpeg.

Next i applied the same color correction and grading to both stills and got the following. Here is the GH3 still vs the Tiff from Premiere Pro

And here is a pixel peep of the two:


 

The Verdict

The GH2 did not have a way to save images from video, you simply had no choice but the NLE export. Video for photo works well in many applications outside of large poster printing but even then it can get the job done. The GH3 adds the workflow in camera and there is little difference between the images compared to the old way of doing it from your video editor. The jpeg compressed from the footage in camera fairs well against the NLE still frame. The quality the video is compressed at, even with the new Higher bit-rates can be appreciated in the smaller in camera jpeg exports.

Even if you need to grade the image you wont benefit much from the NLE export, there is only minor improvement over the jpeg. The reason is that the images are already fairly compressed in the video stream. Obviously this will not compare to a raw photograph in photo mode but if filming a scene was the only way to ensure you captured the perfect moment, then you will make good use of this feature. Perhaps when the hack comes out this workflow will change but for now go ahead and enjoy the in camera video to stills feature as the new way to get the perfect frame.

 

Ch.2 What’s New? Wifi & More

There a few new features added to the GH3 that should be noted in comparison to its processor. If this is your first GH Series camera then that is ok too, you may not be comparing it to the GH2 but these are still features you should know about and take advantage of. There have been improvements in high ISO detail and digital noise, better shadow detail, color reproduction white balance is more accurate over its predecessor. There are also a few new modes to speak of, many of which are covered in their respective chapters so here are a few examples of KEY highlights not covered elsewhere in the guide.

Weather Sealed.
The GH3 is now a weather sealed camera thanks to a new magnesium alloy body. That means the camera will pair well with available weather proof components such as weather proof SD cards and weather proof lenses to complete the effect. Whenever i shot my GH2 i usually did not use any weather oriented accessories, It held up ok but it was always a concern. With the GH3 however i am happy to push the camera more than ever before and capture images in rain or snow! The following was taken with a Panasonic GH3 and 20mm 1.7 lens. Nothing more.


 
How to use the Wifi

You can now control the camera remotely! Using the WiFi Feature for remote control of the GH3 is simple.
Step 1. Turn on the GH3, Go to the menu item that looks like a wrench (not the custom wrench)
Step 2. On the first page of this menu, the fourth item should be Wi-Fi.
Step 3. Select WiFi Function
Step 4. Select New Connection
step 5. Choose Remote Shooting, Immediately after selecting this the camera will show you an SSID and a PassWord
Step 6. Download and install “Lumix Link” for Androids or Iphone, enable WIFI on your phone. Launch the app.
Step 7. Lumix link will search for wifi connections, select the SSD matching your GH3 and Enter the Password your GH3 gave you.
Step 8. You are set, at this point they can connect and you can see what the camera sees on your phone. Just play with the app, its a lot like working from the touch screen on the camera with a few differences in interface and usability.

- A huge con of the app in its current version is that there is a two minute recording limit on video!
- Also no live monitoring. Once you hit record you cant see what is going on and there is a 2 minute time limit .To stop the recording before the limit is up you have to walk to the camera and stop it manually.
-This app can come in very handy absolutely! Right now its kind of limited for what it should be able to do so make the best of it. For photo it basically does what it should but it is unfortunately very limited for video applications.

ISO Range and Performance
The noise is much cleaner than in the GH2 for the higher iso range. A nice touch for the GH3 is that you do not need a hack for extended iso.
For video i get 200 all the way up to 6400
For Photo i get 125 all the way up 25600, that is pretty insane. I shot film my whole life for photo and the highest iso i ever used with film was around 1600. I may have approached 2k on one shoot but 25,600 ? Its official, With the GH3 you can absolutely see in the dark. Of course the grain at 25k is not very usable but if you needed to see in the dark well there is always that…

Electronic Shutter
For photos, having the electronic shutter has the advantage of being silent since no mechanical shutter is moving, great for incognito photography. It does it have its cons however.
- It cannot be used with high ISO or a very slow shutter speed.
- The electronic shutter suffers from rolling shutter artifacts like the you see in fast moving video
- It does not work with a flash

Ch.3 Choosing the right SD Card

The SD card you should purchase must be considered carefully due to a variety of factors unique to the GH3. It will depend on how much you plan to get out of the Panasonic GH3’s capabilities and I don’t just mean video or photo quality. Since the GH3 is weather sealed then it stands to reason you may want to use weatherproof SD cards. I have been asked about this a few times now so i will say that it is not a necessity; it all depends on how much you plan to push the camera. Personally I like to shoot in all kinds of weather including pouring rain and snow so I ordered one of the weatherproof cards. There are without a doubt certain conditions in which the weatherproof SD card could come in handy. Many cards will survive getting wet even if they are not marketed that way but just as many will give an error til dry or cease to function completely. If this weather safe is important to you then i suggest you use a card designed to withstand more than a simple or quick dunking.

If you do not shoot in harsh conditions then you may want to save the cash for less expensive but still reliable storage media. Typically if you do not go with Panasonics’ offerings in the weatherproof category then I would recommend SANDISK because they have proven to be a solid investment. Before I paired my weather sealed camera with a weatherproof card, I used the SanDisk SDXC 64gig 45mbs card in my GH3. Just a tip, since high bitrates and better burst is something you’ll want to enjoy then you may want a bigger card than you are used to.

Proper Care Tips & Tricks

Use card cases

If you do not shell out for a rugged weather proof card, then you simply MUST use an SD card case. If you do drop it in the water you will be glad you used one of these.

Do not fragment data

If you are the kind of person that likes to preview every single take or every other photo then you are likely deleting bad shots or clips as you review them. This is bad practice in terms of keeping your card in good shape during a shoot. You will end up fragmenting the data on the card when you record your next clip. Every time you delete a photo here and there you are designating this space as writable but in order to use it the card has to go through an extra process to fill deleted content while writing to new fresh spaces. This means you will not be writing at top speed because an extra process is happening and risk write errors. This is especially going to become an issue if you are shooting very high mbs video like on a hacked GH2 or soon be hacked GH3 where you need every bit of speed and stability the card can offer.

Allocating data sequentially on a hard disk for example will save time on accessing the file thus improving read and write speed. Generally SD cards don’t fragment in the sense of physical space like a classic hard drive but you will still impact read and write speed due to adding operations to be performed. Plus its just kinda nice to think a file is neatly written in one spot rather than randomly spread out into thousands of tiny fragmented bits, which then need to be read in the right order to preview the file. This is when you can get the whole “cant play back” issue. There are arguments that the impact is negligible in solid state media but its there and will certainly help in receiving errors.

Best practice is to just buy a second card! If you fill one card then just pop in the next one, don’t waste precious time deleting a file here and there especially not mid shoot. When you get to your workstation dump the card and format the card in camera before your next shoot. Do not highlight and delete everything to clear it, that would be the worst practice possible; do a clean full format before the next gig.

Use an up to date Card Reader

Before the GH3 I used a 32gig SanDisk SDHC card on my GH2. When I upgraded to the 64gig SDXC card for my GH3 I had to upgrade my card reader as well, my old one didn’t read SDXC properly. This is common so be ready for that possible expense if only ever used SDHC since most bigger cards are SDXC and may not be compatible with your current card reader.

If you do not use a card reader then I recommend you start. The GH3 does come with a cable allowing you to connect to the SD card through the on board slot but it’s going to slow you down! We have USB 3.0 these days and paired with an up to date card reader will ensure you get the transfers speeds reported on the card. Rather than watch the GH3 transfer at 10 megs a second you could be going at 30 megs or more! This is something to keep in mind if you had a long day or a long shoot. Now you have a couple of cards filled with footage and photo. Why waste time staring at a transfer rate?

Below i have made a list of recommendations chosen for their performance and price.

Marketed as Weather proof and for rugged use.

Panasonic 64GB SDXC Gold Series Class 10 UHS-1 (bhphotovideo.com)
Panasonic 32GB SDHC Gold Series Class 10 UHS-1 (bhphotovideo.com, Adorama)
Panasonic 16GB SDHC Gold Series Class 10 UHS-1 (bhphotovideo.com, Adorama)

Recommend Solid Performance
SanDisk 64GB Extreme Pro SDXC 95MB/s (Amazon.com, bhphotovideo.com, Adorama)
SanDisk 32GB Extreme Pro SDHC 95MB/s (Amazon.com, bhphotovideo.com, Adorama)

Editors Choice! Pro Quality performance but well priced
*SanDisk 128GB Extreme SDXC 45MB/s (Amazon.com, bhphotovideo.com, Adorama)
*SanDisk 64GB Extreme SDXC 45MB/s (Amazon.com, bhphotovideo.com, Adorama)
*SanDisk 32GB Extreme SDHC 45MB/s (Amazon.com, bhphotovideo.com, Adorama)
SanDisk 16GB Extreme SDHC 45MB/s (Amazon.com, bhphotovideo.com, Adorama)

starred cards * = Editor’s Choice! The best bang for the buck. Sure other cards then those i mentioned may work fine but you do not want to go below the 30MB/s cards which is the write speed rating on the still floating around discontinued SANDISK extreme variations. They are still pretty good though. Class 10 is the obvious bet but many cards that qualify as a class 10 are still rather slow. Unlike its predecessor (The GH2) The Panasonic GH3 fully supports UHS-1 standards. It may not be critical but one day when the hack arrives you will be pushing the data rate! so plan ahead. That means you really shouldn’t be looking at 16gig cards unless its you mainly do photography.

Ch.4 Choosing the right lens

When it comes to Micro Four Thirds this is a complex question. First there is the crop sensor and this makes a huge difference on what lenses you choose because you are dealing with a 2x crop factor on the GH3. That means if you bought a 20mm you are getting something more like a 40mm in terms of how it will look and behave. If you had a 100mm lens then you really have a 200mm when shooting on the GH3. This is fantastic on the telephoto end sure… but you suffer looking around for wider options well at least you did, its gotten a lot better.

This is a micro four thirds camera but you can virtually use any lens you want! The way lenses are designed for the GH3 and mft cameras means you can adapt almost any lens because on micro four thirds a very shallow distance is used between the sensor and the lens. Most lenses on other bodies are designed to function properly being seated further away from the sensor or film etc. That means with the right adapter you can put more space between the GH3 sensor and any lens you desire from another system since it only needs to be further away.

Lenses with manual controls for the focus and aperture will work best. There are lenses out there that are completely electronic and controlled via in camera software. These lenses cannot be adapted easily because you would lose control over the aperture. Outside of that issue there are little downsides to choosing more organic vintage or great budget lenses from other systems. I shoot manually 99% of the time so for me its a none issue to lose auto focus due to lack of communication with the adapted lens compared to a native MFT lens.

I highly recommend getting a cheap prime lens off of Ebay or second hand to get a feel for a more organic bokeh and look. This often creates a much more cinematic image! Native MFT and modern glass can sometimes be too clinical and too sharp. Your first lens should ideally be a standard length than can be versatile in most situations. Which brings us to our next issue.

Should your first lens be a prime or a zoom lens? I would say definitively a prime lens but many would argue you would be limited to that focal length and a zoom would be better. As a cinematographer i appreciate a prime lens for forcing you to really think about your composition. You have to Walk closer, further away, feel the image! Live the composition. Its far more intentional forcing us to see as the lens sees and making THAT work thus getting better at composition. I like the connection i get out of working with prime lenses only. I do have but some zoom lenses but it was a smart budget buy just to have one around. Lets cover focal ranges and narrow down your needs. What focal range you get largely depends on your Priorities. Here is some need to know:

Lenses 101 : Focal Length

Fish eye, strong barrel distortion up to – 10ish mm
Anything this wide is probably a Fish eye or has a noticeable barrel distortion. These have a specific use and an ostentatious effect which will dominate any photo you take. Not a good first lens but neat if you want this effect.
Landscapes & Architecture | 10-35 mm
These Lenses have large angle of view and lend themselves well for landscapes, beautiful sunsets, shooting cityscapes, architecture. Because they are so side they are also useful in indoor photography due to how much you can see. Even in small quarters you can create some room.
Standard, Close to Human eye | 35-70 mm
This covers close to what the human eye sees! These lens are standard looking and are useful for most situations.
Portraits, Medium telephoto lenses | 75-135mm
These are great for portraits and getting a strong bokeh or blur in the photo. You can make a subject pop much easier from the background due to how much is out of focus compared to the subject in focus.
Spying, Bird Watching, Wildlife. Telephoto lenses | 135-300 mm and over
These go up to ten times or further than the human eye, they are when keeping distance or going unnoticed is crucial. Besides wildlife they are also very common in sports photography and in celebrity photos because you cant always get that close.

When looking at these values keep in mind the crop factor. In the case of the GH3 you must look at them by HALF because what ever lens you get is going to be x2 because the GH3 will double the reported focal length or if its a zoom then it will double the focal range it supposedly covers. That means to shoot the values above as a general guide, you need to get half for the intended look. If you wanted at 100mm lens, then you buy a 50mm lens for the GH3.

Recommended Lenses

For many of these you will need adapters. Adapters are generally over priced so i suggest you [look for them on Ebay Here]
Native MFT Lenses
Olympus M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 12mm f/2.0 Lens Amazon
Panasonic Lumix 14mm f/2.5 G Aspherical Lens Amazon
Voigtlander Nokton 17.5mm f/0.95 Amazon
Panasonic Lumix 20mm f/1.7 Amazon
Panasonic Leica DG Summilux 25mm f/1.4 ASPH Amazon
Voigtlander Nokton 25mm f/0.95 Amazon
Olympus Zuiko M. ED 45mm f/1.8 Amazon
From other systems
Nikon 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G ED II AF-S DX Nikkor Zoom Lens Amazon


Chapter 5. Essential Gear

Tripods


Tripods will give you the most basic of shots. You can tilt, pan, or combine the two for a diagonal shot. In the video above we showed you a 504HD head on a pair basics sticks, or legs. The sticks can be had rather cheap but the head will cost you the most. The Price is $349.95 on average for the one in the video depending on where you get it. The Manfrotto 504HD Video Fluid Quick Release Head can supports up to 19 lbs.
Check it out @ Amazon.com.com, Bhphotovideo.com, Adorama.com

Shoulder Mounts


A huge advantage of a shoulder mount is that you can have a rail system and use matte boxes and pull focus on the go rather than mount all the stuff on a tripod. This gives you the support of a tripod but the ability to get action shots in which you follow a subject. The most affordable yet professional one i can think of is made by indieSystem. There are many affordable options in this category though, its certainly one of the most over manufactured. I
Check it out indieSystem on Amazon.com.com

Steadicams


If i had to own one and only one piece of equipment it would be a decent Steadicam. With a bit of practice you can mimic just about all of the other essential gear in this chapter. It is highly mobile allowing you to walk along a subject and still keep everything looking nice and steady. If you master the steadicam it may be all you ever need! It is by far my favorite piece of equipment. There are many choices in this area some of which are heavy and some lighter, some way over priced and some not so much. Its hard to recommend a steadicam because they are all so similar in results it comes down to personal preference a lot of the time, they all have their pros and cons..
Check it out the Glide-cam 2000Amazon.com.com, Bhphotovideo.com, Adorama.com

Sliders


Sliders give you a very distinct shot which can look extremely professional and cinematic. You are bound to come across a client that wants you to do some sliding. I personally recommend the Rhino Slider for its price and versatility. You can do just about anything you expect from the ones that cost 2 grand and up but for under 500$. Its a quite the bargain! You can check out the Rhino Slider at Rhino Camera gear @ http://www.rhinocameragear.com/ , and our video review of it here

 

Ch. 6 The GH3 for Video & Filmmaking

Previously , to get the best image quality out of the Panasonic GH2 your choices were to shoot in a 1920×1080 resolution, 24 frames a second, the AVCHD codec, and the Smooth or flattest color curve. In the GH3 this is still true for the AVCHD codec but there are a few new codec option this time around which greatly improve on its predecessor. There is also the addition of 60fps in full HD 1080p resolution!

For most professional uses you will want to get the most latitude and dynamic range thus shooting with the flattest image possible for post production. In the GH3 the best latitude and flatness can be found in the color profile natural. At least that is my contention. Some claim standard works well too but i think natural is the winner for now. The main advantage here over the GH2 is the ability to turn down the settings far past -2. In the GH3 going down to -5 in the color settings gives a very noticeable change to the footage. Its not subtle like in the GH2, You can really see just how flat it is getting as you play with the settings from high to low. Anything too saturated or with too much contrast will create problems since you will be STUCK with that look and it will severely limit the color grading options and it will limit you creativity when you get to post production. The key to film making besides getting a good shot, is being able to create a look that is right for your film. You can only do this if you are not stuck with a baked in curve or color profile.

Setting up for Film & Video

Set the dial on top of the camera to the setting that shows the letter M proceeded by the image of a traditional film camera, now you are in movie mode and can access the “Motion Picture” menu through your Viewfinder or lcd.

Photo Style

This option gives you a series of preset colour curves, or color profiles. Choosing one will determine the look of footage.

Standard meant to be the “normal” setting.

Vivid is high in saturation and has a bit extra contrast than standard. This setting is meant to make images pop.

Natural This setting gives a look that is meant to be naturalistic and softer, meaning nothing pops and has a more even color and exposure curve. It has low saturation, much softer look than vivid and a touch more than standard.

Mono Mono is basically black and white, a monochromatic color profile.

Portrait Portrait has a good saturation but focuses on giving a warmer look to the skin tones.

Custom This setting allows you create a style of your choosing and save it. All the styles can be tweaked for contrast, sharpening, saturation and noise reduction and saved in that modified form to custom.

Recommended Setting
I recommend Natural: Contrast -5 Sharpness-5 Saturation-3 Noise Reduction-2
This gives a nice flat image that so far i have been able to color grade to my hearts content. You may or may not need to go all the way down but -3 on everything is a good start to work from until you are sure of what to do here. Give -5 on all settings a comparison to -3 and start to get the curve you like grade from. The setting you shoot with should give you the right touch to work from in post production.

Rec Mode

The GH3 offers AVCHD, MP4, MOV modes or codecs. They each handle information differently and are just as different in post production. For our purposes we will be shooting MOV which offers the highest bit rate and flexibility in post production. If you are making a movie or editing a video extensively MOV is the right choice. Shooting in AVCHD is ok for playback, not editing. Shoot AVCHD or MP4 and if you do not plan on post grading and are ok sticking to a color profile that has the look you want baked onto the footage in camera.

Rec Quality

The GH3 offers a few options here. If you want to match the film look and frame rate then you want to select 24 frames per second at a high bit rate of 50Mbps or higher. Personally i prefer to shoot 72Mbs All-I compression. Both IPB and All-I compression methods are offered, and right now they are pretty close in terms of quality but should the hack arrive i promise all i frame will have the better image because it encodes very frame individually thus offering more data in post production.

Exposure Mode

(M) Generally speaking you are exposing things manually if you are shooting for professional film and video work. So choose the letter M for manual and expose lens, iso, and shutter accordingly. NOTE : When shooting 24fps the choice for shutter should be 48 but The GH3 only allows for a shutter of 50, Its the next best choice since 48 is not available for a shutter setting.

(S) If you want to have your lens expose the image automatically then you want to use (S) setting. This setting is called shutter priority. The shutter will stay as you set it but the iris on your lens will expose automatically.

I recommend you choose the one with the letter M, for Manual, like a real cinematographer. In this mode you can adjust your F stop and iso when ever you like even while filming! This makes a huge difference in your bokeh and depth of field. Wide open is a softer organic look and typically stopped down on the lens is sharper and more of the frame is in focus etc.

Frame Rate

Slow and fast motion recording modes are offered giving you the option to capture video for playback as slow as 40% of the original speed or as fast as 300% the original speed. All of this can be done in post but if you want to play with it go ahead. 200% speeds things up 2x. A car going at 50mph appears to be going at 100mph. The opposite is true in 40% mode etc. Things can easily be sped up and slowed in post so I never use this feature. Use to your liking.

Continuous AF

If you turn this on the camera will attempt follow focus while recording. A half press on the shutter or touch on the Monitor will readjust the focus point. Set it to Off but with Focus lever on either AFC or AFS modes and the camera will focus when you start the video only, never during recording. Set to Off with the Focus Mode Lever on MF, focus is fully manual with no camera intervention.

Metering Mode

This sets the way in which the camera reads and exposes the image.

Multiple
the whole screen is read and judges according to the average of many readings through the frame.

Center Weighted
Assumes the subject of the image is in the center of the screen and thus reads and exposes for the center more heavily.

Spot Metering
Exposes a very precise area where the spot is present, A small green cross appears on the screen to tell you it is spot metering.

i.Dynamic

This tweaks the exposure and contrast to achieve a better exposure, protect highlights or lift shadows as needed. Nice to keep on.

i.Resolution

This tweaks the sharpness setting. not needed.

Rec Highlight

Remember Zebras? Its the same thing! If any part of your image is over exposed to the point that there is nothing but white, no detail there. It is going to blink and flicker in a solid black covering the over exposed area. I keep this off and instead rely on the histogram. You could do a combination of the two but its far from necessary since the histogram already gives the information you need. Choose this or the histogram, rarely at the same time.

EX. TELE CONV

(Click images for high res pop up)


This is a nifty feature that doubles your focal length! In my case i love shooting prime lenses only but what about when i can’t walk closer for x reason? Lets just go ahead and double your lens’ focal length. IT IS NOT A ZOOM feature, It doesn’t degrade the image or at least not like a zoom mode does. It can get grainier in the higher ISO than not using it but this feature keeps a similar sharpness, it is a full scan at 1080p by simply using a bigger crop factor. It scans a smaller section of the sensor. This can also be very useful with lenses not designed to cover the sensor which happens in classic 16mm lenses or any c mount lenses where you have too much vignetting or you literally see the sides of the lens.

Histogram

Always leave this on. You cannot always trust the LCD screen to show you an accurate image but the histogram will keep you in check. It is a graph on screen showing you the exposure as a diagram.

Not Recommneded

WINDCUT
When this is set to ON the camera will try to cut out wind-noise on the internal mics, nothing you cant do in post. I recommend leaving this set to off.

Auto focus
eh. But if you cant be manually perfecting your image i suppose you can use this. I prefer you get with it and learn how to master manual focus, rack focus, take control of your image! Esepcailyl for film, this can be ok in a casual settings but not for anything professional. Don’t rely on the camera to be the DP for you. That is your job! Not to mention it will randomly focus on things that are not the subject of the shot. You do not want that to happen.

CONTINUOUS AF
With compatible lenses this will determine whether or not it will auto-focus continually during recording in an attempt to keep the subject in focus at all times. Not generally recommended for a film but can be very useful at times in casual situations.

Strong Color profiles
If you want to do any post production or color grading, this goes for both video and photo modes. Do not use high contrast or high saturation OR high NR. You can fix all that in post to the perfect vibe if you shoot flat. If you think the color profile is perfect and needs no editing or any post work, then great! but generally its not the case.


Ch. 7 The GH3 for Photography:

With the addition of the Lumix Link application the GH3 can now be used to remotely control the GH3 over WiFi. In the setting up chapters i showed you how to do this.
Once connected you will see some basic settings. The app can be very useful, now you can set it down and walk into the photograph for a change. Instead of being blinded by the ten second count down you can focus and choose the prefect moment right from your smart phone. This is a pretty neat upgrade.

Lets start with the RAW vs Jpeg debate and why you would or would shoot them in relations to the GH3′s capabilities with each of the formats.

RAW vs JPEG

Quality

Your choice can depend on more than just the quality you need from the photo. Raw offers an incredible tonal range. If you are shooting landscapes, nature, or need high film like Dynamic Range, then you want to be shooting in RAW. This will allow you to have additional post production flexibility when setting your curves or applying effects. If you want to color grade or edit your photos to perfection then you wan to shoot RAW. Jpeg in my opinion is best used for casual photos or when you like the built in color profiles and do not need to touch things up.

Burst Rate

Raw does have its disadvantage over Jpeg. When shooting burst sequences or photos in rapid succession, your buffer will fill up very quickly and render you unable to continue shooting while the camera is transferring those images to your memory card. JPEG, becasue it is smaller, will not use up the buffer as quickly allowing for a burst rate much higher than RAW. This ensures you never miss the moment! Raw does have a good 5 or so burst in it at a time so you ask me i think you are fine with RAW but if a huge burst rate is important than jpeg may suit your needs.

Compatibility

Raw images are not able to preview from the average desktop, you simply must have a way to read and process camera raw. I recommend light room, there is also Photoshop etc but these are not necessarily cheap items. Jpeg on the other hand is compatible with anything, you can preview it on your computers desktop so viewing your photos without a special program is possible. Jpegs will also edit fine in any free or commercial product allowing you to enjoy editing without spending a dime. Those free programs may be limited but they may have all you will need because they all have the basics, and you can do a lot with that.

Post Production

With raw you simply must have post production in mind, but with jpeg you are set from the get go. Shooting jpeg still allows you to work it in post if the file size is large enough but generally speaking it is far too limited for professional use. Jpeg will never give you the perfect look the way a RAW can. Which is why my photography workflow chapter only focuses on RAW. A jpeg will artifact and fall apart the more you try to edit it, much sooner and far more severe than a RAW image will. JPEG files are processed and compressed right within the camera and you are generally stuck with the color temperature and exposure you were set at based on your camera settings when you took the photograph. It can be flexible for minor re working but you cant do very much with them compared to raw.


THANK YOU!

Thank you so much for buying my new guide book and helping me help you! Without your support OSGFilms would not grow or be where it is today, i truly appreciate it!

I look forward to your questions and feedback. The guide will continue to grow with your needs, updates & second editions are free! The book in the spirit of the GH3 and micro four thirds, is a hybrid. It is not just a photo and text guide it also features a few in depth videos with many more to come. If you feel i missed anything feel free to ask, feel free to request it. I may not do very advanced after effects tutorials within this project simply because its not within the scope of the guide book, its more of an advanced VFX thing which we can do in another post or something. Otherwise most requests will be honored especially anything requested in mass .

Credits

Essential Gear Hosted by Alex David. Thank You for being in my book!
Workflow for Photography The lovely singer in the photo is Brigitte Zozula here is her facebook.
Everything Else Written, directed and edited by Orlando S. Gondar

Thank You and talk to you soon!


Orlando S. Gondar
Orlando S. Gondar is a native New Yorker, and NYC based artist. He received his BFA for Film and Video with a minor in Art History from Pratt Institute in 2010 and has since freelanced and operated OSGFilms.com. He wears many hats around here and currently runs OSGFilms.com single handily. i.e. writes all the articles, shoots and edits all the videos, graphic designs / codes the site, creates images, does the photography etc, you get the idea. Hope you enjoy what you see, Thank You for visiting and come again soon!
Orlando S. Gondar
Blackmagic Pocket Cinema “first impressions” Color graded | OSGFilms http://t.co/qBRihrTZiO via @osgfilms @BMPCC @Blackmagic Pocket Cinema - 121 days ago
Orlando S. Gondar
Orlando S. Gondar

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32 Responses

  1. [...] The Panasonic GH3 Guide for FilmmakersRegister [...]

  2. Travis J says:

    Cheers Orlando, great work! Just read it and am ready to take on the world with my Gh3. Well done.

    Travis.

    • Orlando S. Gondar says:

      Thank You Travis! I am happy you enjoyed my book!

      If you have any more questions later on, do come back =) . I will be updating with more content in the coming weeks too.

  3. Laura says:

    Hi Orlando, a friend of mine just bought a GH3 and is very much a beginner in relation to “dlsr” video shooting. Is this book geared towards the beginner or does it assume you have experience with the GH2, etc.?

    • Orlando S. Gondar says:

      Hi Laura
      Its pretty much to the point on the basics with a few intermediate video tutorials.I do make comparisons to the GH2 at times but only in mentioning what has changed vs the GH3. I talk from a “this is your first gh camera perspective”

      If you need more help or have more questions than what is in the guide i’m open to answering them right here on this post, that also part of the deal =) I am very responsive to your feedback and happy to help.

      • Laura says:

        Thank you for the quick response. I will recommend your book to my friend. I currently have a GH2 and am on the fence about whether to upgrade to the GH3 myself. Can you tell me if the EVF is really as bad as I’ve been reading on the internet? I’m interested in using it for both still and videos (mainly of my kids) and am wondering if it’s worth the extra money. Of course if I do upgrade, I will make sure to check out your book! Thanks!

        • Orlando S. Gondar says:

          In my opinion the GH3 is worth it! I LOVE it. I loved my GH2 as well but this is an upgrade in every single way. I also love that i can use it in any weather and it does well with spills and such being weather sealed. Video and photo quality is also a huge upgrade due to flatter profiles and more accurate color which mean a lot to me for both professional and casual filming. Thank You for referring me =) talk to you soon.

  4. bdodger1 says:

    Orlando,

    Am much more into photo than video. Does your new guidebook cover both?
    Also, if one purchases the guidebook can it be accessed from a tablet, laptop,
    smartphone, etc, or do you need multiple licenses?

    Thanks in advance and best wishes.

    Paul

  5. Tolga Basol says:

    Also no pdf avaliable for download? Why?

    • Hi, sorry about that but if you check again… recently with the latest update came the fully offline version which is now the new paid version and no longer embedded on the website. Its a full featured interactive pdf with the videos and everything else baked right into the pages. fully view able offline! i hope this fixes your issue =)

  6. Tim James Murphy says:

    Hi really good work with the site… is it possible to see a contents page so I have an idea what the guide contains? thx again for the info.

  7. I just bought this, i like it! I will say It’s good but it can still be amazing with more work, i look forward to the updates. There isn’t another book out there of this kind for the GH3 yet so that’s good. Also other guides charge more for updates so that’s a good move on your part. Love that they are included for free so ill def give you some feedback soon. We are just getting started with our own productions so this will still definitively help us. Soon we wont beginners anymore, look forward to see what you do with it.

    Thanks!

  8. recklessray says:

    I would be happy to purchase your guide if you can assure me that it will illustrate how to overcome the problems I’m having with GH3 autofocus while shooting video. I have only one lens– the Lumix H-H020, and I’ve tried the various focus modes, both with continuous autofocus enabled and disabled (pressing the shutter half way to re-focus). Sometimes it works okay, other times it fails to refocus on a new subject or change in distance, other times it engages in this bizarre hunting ritual where it first de-focuses before hunting for the proper focus. I’m beyond frustrated.

    Does your guide explain how to effectively uses the autofocus under a variety of conditions while shooting video?

    Thanks for your attention,

    Matt Henry

    • You mean the 20mm 1.7 which is a great lens. The 20mm is a decent all around focal length for most cases. However nothing i can tell you will fix auto focus. Generally speaking auto focus is something to be avoided especially if you care about your shot. If you care about getting the shot perfect then you definitely don’t want to use auto focus. The camera is bound to focus on the wrong thing eventually its a fact. Its just how it is. “Sometimes it works okay, other times it fails to refocus on a new subject or change in distance” yea that’s auto-focus for you.

      Auto focus will NEVER replace you or a decent cinematographer so start learning how to use your camera and get off of auto. I’m sorry but that’s my best advice. In the guide and any other guide you will find the same advice. Getting good at the GH3 and being a good DP equals taking control of the shot, taking control of your camera, Auto focus will never be as good as you. There is no camera out there you can buy and then just point and shoot and the camera will be a better DP than you and rack focus and focus on new subjects perfectly.. It just doesn’t work that way. Heck most shoots have someone on JUST the rack focusing while the other frames the shot.

      Instead of getting frustrated that auto focus isn’t as smart as you, start getting used to manual focus and start getting the shots you want.

      • recklessray says:

        Thanks for taking the time to compose such a thoughtful and cogent reply. I certainly do respect your view on this, and I would like to increase my proficiency with manual focus.

        However, this is still an underlying problem in that the GH3 is by far the most expensive video camera I have ever owned and yet has the most capricious autofocus I’ve ever seen. I have a $400 Sanyo camcorder whose focus sometimes lags, particularly in low light, yet it is *vastly* superior in focusing versatility to the GH3. It never holds focus on a subject and then spontaneously decides to de-focus the way that the GH3 does with continuous autofocus enabled. Very disappointing for such a sophisticated piece of technology.

        If this is the “reality” of shooting video with the GH3, then I’ll have to adapt. At the same time, I’m surprised that this frailty versus high-end consumer camcorders is not more openly acknowledged. Shooting in a social situation with lots of moving people could challenge the manual focus skills of almost anyone, and perhaps it’s my mistake to believe that the GH3 might be the suitable tool for that.

        • But its almost like asking it to read your mind too. You cant expect so much from auto.

          Casually speaking, If i had a friend in the shot say 15 feet away doing something very cool and interesting and another walked across my frame…NAKED. How would the camera know what i want here. I could want the camera to keep focus on the friend already in the shot doing something VERY cool and interesting. or i could want it to rack focus closer to the new subject walking by instead just in time for the peep show. How in the world would the camera know who to focus on? Mostly likely it will try to do both and get NEITHER etc. as it searches like a maniac. Or it will keep focus on the fist subject and get you angry it didn’t rack focus to the new one. Or what if you have no such nudity perversion and wanted to sick to the first subject completely ignoring the blurry naked friend..

          The camera does not have your brain. No camera will. Its not necessarily a short coming of the camera to focus on the wrong thing, sometimes you are literally asking it to read your mind if you are thinking its going to be rack focusing for you… that’s asking too much. In the case above only you and manual focus could possibly have chosen the right thing what to look at based on your own subjective liking.

          However in the case of nothing special going on and yet it refocuses for no reason, yes that is very frustrating. You should experiment with the focus modes. One of them is designed to keep track one person in the shot even if they are moving around. It puts a square around them does its best to follow them. If you want to be able to refocus even after setting auto, that too is an option, AF+MF set to ON. Just for you i have decided to add a focus tutorial for manual / auto. Ill add it to the guide in the coming week or two. I realize i have a lot more to say on the subject. Perhaps my breakdown of the various focus modes will help you.

  9. videobug1 says:

    Like the idea or. Ap for I phone also are your videos on utube?

  10. reelcut says:

    Thank you for your dedication and your great website. It is a huge inspiration to me!
    I have serious trouble with juddering images while panning with my GH 3 and I hope you can give me a brief advice. I tried ALL the different video modes and found out, that shooting 50p .mov 50MB almost avoid juddering. And I did one movie with this setting. But now even 50p images judder while panning. The issue appears handheld or on fluid heads. Either while panning super slow or medium speed. I tried different shutter speeds and I use a 45Mbit/S card. I am not talking about rolling shutter when doing fast pans. Sometimes the juddering even appears when the cam is fix but the object move. Is this a known issue on the GH 3 or is it possible, that it is a problem of my cam and I have to return it to Panny?

    • You mentioned various shutter speeds, this is a huge culprit of how motion is handled! You should stick to twice the frame rate, rule of thumb. In other words 180 degress. The 180 degree rule should be obeyed for achieving the “film look” and no weird motion effects. For example since i normally shoot 24fps i should be selecting a shutter of 48 but closest to this is 1/50 on the GH3. No biggie. If you are shooting 50fps keep your shutter at 100.. etc. It could be that

      At the moment that’s about my best guess if you don’t provide a visual for me to actually see the issue…Please provide me with a link to see an example of your Judder. It may just be the normal stutter of progressive footage or something else. I cant really tell with out seeing it.

      • reelcut says:

        Thank you for answering!
        Yes, usually I shoot in twice frame rate shutter speed. But I just tried out, if things work out better, when I change it. Which they don’t. Here are two examples, both shot with the 1.4 Pan/Leica. Settings standard 0,0,0,0 with shutter speed 1/50. Panned smoothly with a fluid head:

        https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/1639541/24p_Judder.mov
        https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/1639541/25p_Judder.mov

        I am looking forward to your answer and hope, this stutter/judder isn’t just normal, because in my eyes then panning is not really usable.

        • I’m afraid you are just experiencing the normal motion stutter that comes with 24p, try 30p if you don’t like the 24p look/motion and tell me what you think. This effect can be seen on television shows etc on tight shots like yours but generally not as prominent due to wider views. However it is indeed there as well.

  11. reelcut says:

    I am still looking for the right settings for panning. Or is it just impossible to pan without judder with the GH3? I have the feeling that when I use AVCHD it becomes better, but of course I loose quality, which can’t really be the solution. Would be glad, if you find time to view the examples and share your thoughts.

  12. The current stats are
    Interactive PDF : 156MB | 37 pages | Embedded Videos total : 28min
    With another update or two planned to launch in the next week or two…
    clearly its grown since its first appearance, which was a bit rushed due to fan demands but yea, much better now.

  13. Henri says:

    Just downloaded now, happy to see it explores many of the areas I was exploring by myself and quite helpful to get confirmation in many items I was not 100% shure (mainly on settings).

    What should I do to have the embedded videos working ? I have few links like “Click the image below to play Workflow Example 1″ but there is white space instead of image and no clickable link.

    The only link working is “click here to download the RAW IMAGE to make your own Before & After” from the Chapter 9 Workflow for photography. This gets me back to the internet side and downloads the picture.

    I have an iMac and use Safari browser, After purchasing, I downloaded the full pdf with right click on the link “Click here to download The Ultimate Panasonic GH3 Guide (Interactive PDF)”. The document is 163,9 Mo and 37 pages as you said.

    (Also tried straight download as indicated (no right click) and I got same pdf and same results on browser)

    Thanks for support.

    • I am happy you are finding it useful come back in a week or so for the new updates! Free updates are included =)

      Im sorry to hear videos are not playing correctly, did you also make sure to get flash for your pdf viewer? Firstly dont use the browsers pdf viewer, only from the desktop so it uses the real one from adobe and not some plug in, so yes correctly done you downloaded it “save as” to desktop. Secondly just clicking the boxed area should play the video… not working? I am sending you a few links via email to play them off of vimeo, look for my email at 3:00pm Eastern. To mantankali@mac.com, from osgondar@osgfilms. Thanks!

  14. AerialVue says:

    Have paid for the down load but for some reason it just does not download!

    Dave

    • Dave please “save link as” and put it on your desktop, if you do not have it i also provided a link to official PDF reader and flash add on. Nobody is having this issue so i am not sure how else to help you. We spoke over email, so i hope this has been resolved and i am sorry i missed this comment. On windows left click for “save as” option, on mac i believe its apple or ctrl click for the same menu, download it to your computer / desktop etc. Thank You for your support!

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