Color Correcting and Grading GH4 Video

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There are a lot of things to consider when choosing a video DSLR/Mirrorless camera these days. A lot of people are going back and forth between the idea of owning a GH4, C100, 5D Mark III or Sony A7s. 4K vs 1080p, frame rates, low light, sensor size and many other features need to be thought through, but in this post, I’m putting all that aside to talk about something that easily gets overlooked.

Back Story

DSLRs enticed us amazing shallow DOF and low light sensitivity but then bitch slapped us in the face with their horrific compression. Since the DSLR revolution (or whatever the heck you want to call it) started, we’ve come to accept the fact that we can only massage our footage in post. We do our best to expose correctly and if we messed up, we were screwed. This is what I thought the case would be with the GH4. I knew the GH4 had a higher data rate, but at the end of the day she was still an 8 bit 4:2:0 camera.

My Mistake

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Shooting on the GH4. Image credit: ccphotography.cc

With this in mind I set out with my new GH4 to film a short engagement doc for a friend who had recently gotten engaged. We did a couple interviews and I shot some b-roll around the city. I had not shot much with the GH4 so I was still getting used to the camera and ended up overexposing a lot of my footage. The next day I sat down at my computer, launched FCP X, and prepared to pay for my exposure sins… I started correcting and grading… And thats when my brain exploded…

How the GH4 Blew My Mind

I started by trying to correct the exposure by reseting my whites, blacks and mid tones. This is usually where DSLR footage turns into mush and things go south, but the GH4 footage was correcting fabulously!

Crazy exposure correction that actually worked without looking like mush.

Crazy exposure correction that actually worked without looking like mush.

Not only the 4K footage, but most of the 96FPS stuff I shot was playing nice too. All this is to say substantial grading of GH4 video can be done, even with the 8 bit 4:2:0 specs. This is something to think about if you are on the fence about this little 4K camera

GH4 Grades: Before and After (Mouse over to see difference)

I’m not a colorist so bearing that in mind, here is what I was able to accomplish with my over exposed GH4 footage. I’ve noted what resolution each shot was captured at.

1080p, 96FPS, 100M

UHD, 24FPS, 100M

UHD, 24FPS, 100M

1080p, 96FPS, 100M

UHD, 24FPS, 100M