Thursday, March 20, 2014

Panasonic GH4 versus Arri Alexa - How Does 8-bit 4K compare to 12-bit 2K?

Sittipong Kongtong, a DP in Bangkok, Thailand has his hands on a preproduction Panasonic GH4 and has posted a few interesting clips. The latest is this side-by-side comparison (below) between the GH4 and the Arri Alexa.

Sittipong is a working DP and seems to be shooting these clips on the margins of his day job, so they're not as scientific as many of us would like. This test, for example, is not really a color space test - the Alexa is shooting a flat LOG 12-bit ProRes 4444 in 2K, while the GH4 is shooting a normal color profile and h.264 8 bit 4:2:0 in 4K (downscaled to 2K in post). This is more a resolution, 24 fps motion, moire and dynamic range comparison than anything else - and, in my view, the GH4 intercuts pretty well with the Arri in every one of those categories (at least on my small screen):

Panasonic GH4 4096x2160 vs Alexa 2048x1152 24P from Sittipong Kongtong on Vimeo.

I just booked my flight to Vegas for NAB - I am really pumped to see this camera in person. I have to make sure to order a Kingston UHS-I Speed Class 3 card before I go so I can record the usual shaky, dark trade show footage.

Seriously, I hope I can bring back something that is steady, in focus and decently lit so that people can make real judgments about what the camera can do. Hopefully, my familiarity with the GH3 will allow me to at least turn the camera on and record something useful.

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