April Fools and other Madmen, Part III: Sound and Fury

Based upon an excerpt from "Macbeth" by William Shakespeare.

Performed by Theodore Hoelter.

Produced, Directed, Filmed and Edited by Benjamin Karl

Copyright © 2011 American Firelight

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Settings:

DMC-GH1: ISO 200, 1080i AVCHD, Shutter 1/50

DMC-GH2: ISO 200, 1080i AVCHD, Shutter 1/50

Lenses: Panasonic 14 mm f2.5, Voigtländer 35 mm f1.4 , Voigtländer 50mm f1.5

Memory: RAW Class 10 SDHC 16GB

Lighting: 3 100-watt open-face reflectors, 1 bounce board.

Audio: AT815b Shotgun Microphone connected to an H4N digital audio recorder.

Conclusions:

3oo watts was more than enough light to easily shoot the scene at a low ISO (200 is the lowest that both cameras go) in order to reduce grain and maximize bokeh. I was even able to stop the lenses down just a touch to open the depth-of-field enough to give the actor room to move.

Both cameras resolved the dark and/or black areas of the image with little-to-no noise, which was great. Even when the 1:1 crop mode was enabled on the GH2 (this nearly doubles the focal length of the lens), there was no notable increase in noise as there had been in the candle light test, previously. It would seem to be a valuable feature so long as you have reasonable lighting. In poor lighting it is unacceptable.

Both cameras produced surprisingly saturated images. I found that I had to reduce the overall saturation by about 20% and another 15% was pulled out of the red hues in particular.

It should be noted that the GH1 imports natively to FCP7 at 1080i / 29.97fps ProRes 422 whereas the GH2 imports natively at 1080i / 23.98fps ProRes 422. While they can be edited in the same timeline with no noticeable issues, they need to be transcoded to the same fps before you can make them into multiclips. Both cameras maintain high data rates sustained over 18Mb/s which means that transcoding takes a substantial amount of time.

Some conclusions, some observations.

Big takeaways were that I'll have to watch saturation closely in post, 1:1 crop isn't a total loss as long as there's a lot of light and a lot more time needs to be allocated per project for transcoding.

Benjamin Karl
President, American Firelight
americanfirelight.com

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