Do we know when senses play tricks on us? Is it in our mind, are we dreaming or is it really happening? { loop } is a short narration, a senses circle, the sort of strange experience when thoughts are jumping from here to there and it seems like they don’t belong to you... and you don’t know where you came from, where you are or where to go to...

// about { loop }

Being a small and interesting camera, we thought that this is a sort of “indie-dream-camera” and have decided to make a short film. How else could we figure out if it’s any good? :)

Our main idea was to make something low budget, with a small crew and less light gear, but to focus as much as possible on storytelling.
So this is what we got: one actor, 3 locations, one gh3 and one camera operator, a tripod, a monopod and a slider, 2 assistants, some lights, sound gear, and thick clothes and gloves.
Budget: some gas, 2 bottles of wine, ingredients for fake blood and a big pizza

/ titles:
starring: Bogdan Zaharia
camera & color grading:  Alex Serban
editing & sound design: Alex Serban, Cosmin Serban
sound editing: Cosmin Serban
field assistants: Cosmin Serban, Sergiu Zavragiu
script: Alex Serban, Cosmin Serban, Bogdan Zaharia, Andreea Nedelea
music:  Vaho So - Pinophyta, Bryophyta, Oda;  CC from http://jamendo.com
tech: Panasonic GH3 + Pana 14 2.5 and with a Canon to MFT cheap adapter:  Sigma 20 1.8, Samyang 35 & 85 1.4, Sigma 50 1.4, Canon 100 2.8 L IS macro; for sound: Azden FMX 32 + SGM-2x, Zoom H2n

a srbn.ro film


// GH3 impressions:

The GH3 handled the cold bravely (-2 to -10 degrees C) - we managed to film the whole day with just one battery (partially charged during he lunch break). It did a great job in the 2 square meters shed, it got nice, clear images at low ISO and good light, but quite noisy in the shadows, in the underexposed images and at ISO over 500.  It was very difficult to handle with gloves and we kept on pressing buttons by mistake because some are positioned on the thumb rest. The rec button doesn’t give you any feedback when you press it.

As usual with a camera, what you see on paper it’s different from what you experience in the field. It was a hard test for us and the camera in not so friendly conditions, but we managed to finished the project. Here are the main downsides of the GH3:

  • when you flip the LCD a few degrees up or down it has a green tint - you must look into the display straight, otherwise the white is greenish.
    - brightness of the screen: no matter what mode I choose, A* or 1* or 2*, it's full auto and it's flickering when I move the camera or flip screen; it should have an auto and a manual brightness scale, in steps (like Canon for example!)
  • LCD displays blacks really awkward: for example I was filming a man with a beard, ISO 200, f2, 1/50 - the beard was dead black, then it was dull gray, then green, then gray and then skin color like; on the final file in quicktime it looks ok (dark beard, then shades of gray, then softly into skin tone orange) but on the camera it looks really bad.
  • in low light, although I was shooting at low iSO - 200, 400, on the LCD it looked really noisy (like ISO 6400 or so)... the final file is pretty fine, but on the camera it looks different: this makes manual focusing in low light almost impossible as everything is blurry and fuzzy.
  • also, you set up the white balance and set up exposure until you like what you see; but when you hit REC the color and exposure slightly shift... why is that?
  • and what I see on the EVF and the LCD are 2 completely different stories, on rec and on playback mode... all this brings me the constant frustration on the field that my images look bad. in fact they look good, but I hate the feeling when I'm shooting.
  • and yes, we know you can use an external monitor, but that defies the whole point of being compact and discreet.
  • the microphone volume works... weird... it has no AGC and it seems that the manual is a sort of automatic with compensation... and why can't you change the volume, while filming, without touchscreen? with gloves it was a pain to work with.

In conclusion, I am wondering if these are firmware problems or simply a bad design / production problem, maybe future months will tell...

Over the years Panasonic often made products that left the impression that they have two teams working on a camera: one is smart and brings us beautiful features, while the other takes the fun away with stupid industrial design decisions.

breaking the GH3 in good and bad:

/ GOOD things:
- small and lightweight
- burst at 20 fps (jpeg) and 6 fps (raw)
- great autofocus system
- 16mp sensor with good resolution
-  built-in timelapse and HDR
- magnesium alloy body: dust & splash proof
- swivel touchscreen display
- nice electronic viewfinder
- high capacity long lasting battery
- customizable buttons
- 3.5 jack audio input and output
- nicely placed and protected remote and pc-sync sockets
- video 1080p at 72 mbps in 30 fps and 52 mbps in 50fps (slow mo!)
- highlight area display while recording (a sort of zebra)
-  built in wi-fi, Android and iOS app - although limited functionality
- video tele crop mode - with not so great quality though
- electronic shutter : 100% silent - although with some limitations and rolling shutter

/ BAD things:
- pretty steep price
- poor LCD - too glossy, bad color and gradation rendering
- green tint of the swivel LCD even at slight tilting
- no percentage battery display
- rolling shutter
- hard to press video REC button and other buttons are misplaced, so you touch them while gripping the camera;
- the rubber that protects the connection sockets is too hard and you can’t insert any cable with one hand
- if any cable is inserted in the camera you can’t properly use the flipping LCD!
- the SD card door easily knocks out when you take the hand of the hand grip
- the wireless control is basically useless for video: you can set the camera and hit rec, but after that all you see is a countdown until the recording stops, no control, no monitoring, nothing - defies the logic of a remote app... we are waiting/hoping for firmware update!

Panasonic brought the GHx series a few steps forward, with improved image quality and functionality. With the latest Venus 7 VHD sensor, touchscreen, wi-fi and larger battery, the GH3 is one of the best mirrorless cameras ever and can compete with many DSLR.

Although it fails to provide the trust of a pro camera and it can’t get you out from all difficult situations, the GH3 is a solid camera, with great features and good image quality in a small package.

Do I like it? Well, yes and no!
The GH3 is not a bad camera, but it simply can’t replace my 5D3 for a serious job. In any case, it can sit nice next to the Canon and by knowing its strengths and weaknesses it can be an usefull tool.
During the next months, as I use it in various situations, it will prove its value. Until then, it’s sort of an interesting “guilty pleasure”.

also check an ISO and 2.6 crop mode test: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6HTF_sSKK3E

or a comparison with the 5D Mark III: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8qLJ5Oc5adM


Oare stim cand simturile ne joaca feste? Ne imaginam, visam sau chiar se intampla?
{ loop } - o bucla senzoriala, o experienta ciudata, cand gandurile iti sar dintr-o parte in alta si parca nu-ti apartin... si nu mai stii de unde vii, unde esti si incotro te indrepti...

// despre { loop }

Cu un aparat asa de mic dar cu specificatii asa de interesante, am zis ca este un soi de indie-dream-camera si ne-am hotarat sa facem un scurt-metraj. Cum altfel sa ne dam seama daca e sau nu o unealta buna de facut filme :)
Premizele au fost: buget cat mai mic, echipa si echipament minim, focus maxim pe poveste.

Asadar: un actor, 3 locatii, un GH3 si un operator, un trepied, o sina, un monopied, 2 asistenti, cateva obiective (Pana 14 2.5 si cu un adaptor ieftin de tabla: Sigma 20 1.8, Samyang 35 & 85 1.4, Sigma 50 1.4, Canon 100 2.8 L IS macro), ceva lumina, ceva de sunet si haine groase...

Buget: niste benzina, 2 sticle de vin, ingredientele pentru sangele fals si o pizza mare la pranz.

/ echipa:
in rolul principal: Bogdan Zaharia
camera & color grading: Alex Serban
editare & sound design: Alex Serban, Cosmin Serban
editare sunet: Cosmin Serban
asistenti: Cosmin Serban, Sergiu Zavragiu
scenariu: Alex Serban, Cosmin Serban, Bogdan Zaharia, Andreea Nedelea
muzica: Vaho So - Pinophyta, Bryophyta, Oda; CC from http://jamendo.com

o productie srbn.ro


// despre GH3:

GH3-ul a rezistat eroic frigului (intre -2 si -10 grade), am filmat o zi intreaga cu o singura baterie (incarcata partial in pauza de masa). Am fost foarte multumiti de cum ne-am descurcat cu ea in cei 2 metri patrati din baraca, foarte clare si faine imaginile la iso mic si lumina buna, cam zgomotoase insa zonele de umbra sau subexpuse la iso peste 500. Cam greu de lucrat cu ea cu manusi si am tot apasat din greseala butoanele pe ea, pentru ca unele sunt pozitionate exact pe zonele de prindere a camerei, iar butonul de REC nu “se simte” - e un plastic tare si infundat care nu iti confirma mecanic daca ai apasat sau nu.

Ca de obicei cu o camera, una e sa te bucuri de tabelul tehnic de pe cutie, alta e cand o pui la lucru in conditii reale. Un test greu si pentru noi si pentru camera in conditii nu tocmai favorabile, dar una peste alta am dus la capat proiectul. Cele mai mari neajunsuri ale camerei pe care le-am descoperit la filmarea acestui scurt-metraj:

  • ecranul are un unghi de redare corecta a culorilor foarte ingust; o miscare un pic in sus sau in jos a ecranului aduce o pronuntata tenta de verde;
  • luminozitatea este ciudat de reglat: desi are 3 moduri A* or 1* or 2* pare auto tot timpul si nu se vede mare diferenta intre ele; ar trebui sa aiba un mod automat si un mod full manual, cu trepte - sa spunem similar cu cel canon
  • in lumina slaba, chiar daca iso este scazut (200, 400), totul se vede extrem de zgomotos, gen ca la iso 6400... fisierul arata bine pe calculator dar pe LCD este murdar si neclar si din cauza asta e foarte greu si obositor sa faci focus-ul;
  • setezi balans de alb, expunere pana totul arata bine dar cand apesi rec... aspectul se schimba fara nici un motiv... diferenta nu e majora, dar exista;
  • EVF-ul si LCD-ul arata doua povesti diferite, atat pe inregistrare cat si pe redare;
  • si mai rau este ca in lumina slaba LCD-ul are probleme mari in a afisa negrul - culorile se rup din negru mat in verde si apoi in gri deschis, in loc sa fie doar gradatii de gri. De asemenea sunt probleme si cu redarea tonurilor pielii. Din fericire pe filmarea finala imaginile arata ok, dar problema ramane faptul ca aparatul nu iti da siguranta ca faci bine ce faci.
  • viewfinderul se vede bine, are insa si un defect: spre margini pierde mult din claritate. Mai ales daca nu lipesti foarte bine capul de vizor - ceea ce nu prea poti, daca porti ochelari!
  • si da, stim ca se poate folosi un monitor extern, am folosit si noi, merge foarte bine... dar sfideaza tocmai scopul de a fi compact si discret.

Asa cum o confirma istoria de ani de zile, adesea la Panasonic pare ca lucreaza 2 echipe: una de oameni isteti care aduc niste inovatii sau functii grozave si una de persoane care nu au nici o treaba cu logica si fac niste gafe majore de functionalitate.

de bine si de rau:

/ Bile ALBE
- mica si usoara
- burst foto la 20 fps (jpeg) si 6 fps (raw)
- motor autofocus foarte bun
- sensor 16mp cu rezolutie foarte buna
- functie timelapse si HDR
- corp din magneziu: dust & splash proof
- ecran touchscreen rotativ
- viewfinder electronic de calitate (un pic moale la margini pentru cei cu ochelari)
- baterie de capacitate mare
- butoanele se pot customiza in multe feluri
- intrare 3.5 jack pentru microfon si iesire de casti
- mufe remote si pc-sync foarte bine pozitionate si protejate
- filmare 1080p la 72 mbps in 30 fps si 52 mbps in 50fps (slow mo!)
- afiseaza zonele arse in timpul filmarii (un soi de zebra)
- wi-fi incorporat, control de pe android si iOS, desi cu limitari multiple
- mod video tele crop - desi calitatea este indoielnica
- shutter electronic: 100% silentios - desi cu folosire limitata si rolling shutter

/ Bile NEGRE
- pretul destul de mare
- ecranul afiseaza jalnic iso si gradatii in lumina slaba
- ecranul - vireaza culorile cand nu e privit perpendicular + prea lucios
- nu poti vedea bateria in procente
- rolling shutter destul de deranjant
- butonul de video-rec greu de folosit, iar alte butoane se apasa involuntar
- garnitura care acopera mufele laterala este prea dura si nu se pot introduce cabluri folosind o singura mana.
- daca se introduce orice mufa in aparat, acestea blocheaza miscarea lateral sus-jos sau vizibilitatea LCD-ului
- usita de la card se deschide involuntar la desprinderea mainii de pe grip (dar din fericire nu afecteaza scrierea sau citirea SD-ului).
- wireless control momentan stupid si inutilizabil pe video - asteptam update!

Panasonic a reusit sa duca deja populara serie GHx multi pasi inainte atat din punct de vedere al calitatii imaginii cat si a functionalitatii. Dotata cu senzor si procesor de ultima generatie, touchscreen, wi-fi si baterie mai mare, Panasonic GH3 bate cam toate mirrorless-urile si se poate intrece cu incredere cu multe DSLR-uri...

Desi nu ofera increderea pe care o inspira un aparat pro precum 5D3-ul si nu pare sa te ajute in toate situatiile extreme, GH3-ul este un aparat cu puncte forte, care ofera intr-un corp mic o calitate a imaginii buna. Asteptam asadar firmware nou care sa rezolve din hibe, iar ce sunt probleme de design sau fabricatie, nu avem decat sa gasim solutii “romanesti” sa le rezolvam.

Ne place GH3-ul? Si da si nu!
In perioada urmatoare, pe masura ce ii vom sti punctele slabe si punctele tari va dovedi cat de util si productiv este de fapt. Pana atunci, ramane un soi de “guilty pleasure”.

iso si 2.6 crop mode test:

o comparatie cu 5D Mark III: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8qLJ5Oc5adM

articol extins in curand pe http://f64.ro/blog



© srbn.ro 2013 ; vimeo.com/alexserban/videos