Panasonic GH3 Guide CH.6 Video & Filmmaking

OSGFilms Ultimate GH3 Guide : Jump to other content:
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

Panasonic GH3 Guide Ch.6 Video & Filmmaking

Previously in the Panasonic GH2 to get the best image quality out of the camaera 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.

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.


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


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.


(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.


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

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.


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.

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