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Best video settings to use on GH4. Aiming for best skin tones and little banding.

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Frimann Kjerulf
Best video settings to use on GH4. Aiming for best skin tones and little banding.
on Apr 15, 2015 at 1:27:17 am

Hi there

I'm shooting a short next weekend and will be using the GH4 on set. I will only receive the camera on the shooting day so I've been trying to research what settings should be best for this task.

The end product will be shown in cinemas here in Iceland, and the subjects will mostly be dancers lit up with spotlights and with backgrounds that fade from midtones to black. So aiming for good skintones and little banding in the background gradient is my main goal.

Here come the settings that I'm planning to use, based on various recommendations I've read on the web, and below are explanations on why I've decided on a certain setting. These settings were selected for maximum amount of information to work with and to eliminate banding. However I haven't seen any thoughts about skin tones and what settings would be best for good rendering of them.

I would greatly appreciate if anyone experienced with the camera would tell me if these settings are indeed what I should be using, or if there is some other settings I should go for.

System frequency: 24hz

Recording profile: c4k/100m/24p
From what I've heard then the cinema4k is the standard used in theaters.

Luminance: 16-235
I'm not quite sure if I should use 0-255 and just make sure my exposure is perfect on location (I would then have to completely trust the GH4 screen), or if I should use 16-235, which should leave me with some room if I accidentally blow out the highlights or want to pull in some shadows. I assume that shooting 0-255 would give me less banding issues, given that I've got the exposure right.

Master pedestial 0
I've heard that lifting this up (putting in higher numbers) will only lift up the shadows, resulting in information loss. So leaving at 0 is probably best.

Highlights and shadows +1 and +1
I've read allot of contradicting advices on the net. I guess it boils down to what you're looking for. The background gradient that I'm mostly afraid that will create banding issues, will go from black to little bit over the midpoint, if that makes any difference regarding how this setting should be.

Photo style: Natural
I have the option to use Cinelike D. According to the manual of the camera which describes this like so: "Gives priority to the dynamic range by using a gamma curve¢3
designed to create film-like images. Suited for editing.". Now that sounds really promising, but from what I've heard is that this profile can create problems with correct color rendition, so I've been advised to use Natural or Standard instead. Any thoughts?

Noise Reduction -5
Planning to do my own noise reduction in post. If the internal noise reduction is good though, then this might be unnecessary. Anyone have experience with that?

Then we come to contrast and saturation, which allot of people recommend setting to -5 for the flattest profile. I'm really not sure whether that's helpful or not, so any input on that would be great.

I'd be greatly thankful for any advice on how to get this right, since I'm in the uncomfortable situation of having little time to test the camera before shooting starts. So getting this right the first time is my only option :)

kind regards
Frímann Kjerúlf

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