How to get the best video quality from your Panasonic G6 or any Mirrorless Camera.

hionhifi

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I recently picked up a G6 and I'd like to know what accessories people are using to get the best video quality from there mirrorless cameras?

I started off with a tripod and good quality fluid video head and a Panasonic 12-35mm F/2.8 Lens. What about variable ND filters, other lens, etc?
 

brunerww

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Hi hionhifi - welcome to the forum and congratulations on the new G6 and the 12-35!

This is a tough question, and the answer really depends on your budget and what kind of videos you're making.

That said, you have the best still/video hybrid camera in its class, and a great starter lens. In my view, you've got it covered in the video department, and the next thing to work on is the quality of your sound. The in-camera sound from your camera will be decent, but is not very directional and will pick up a lot of extraneous noise (to include noise from the camera's preamps).

I recommend you get a shock mount, a good microphone (e.g., the $168 phantom-only Audio Technica 875R or the battery and phantom powered $269 Rode NTG-2); an external recorder (e.g., the Tascam DR-60D), and a $27 Sescom cable to connect the recorder output to your camera (for a high quality backup track). If you're shooting with a crew, a quality boom would also be a good investment.

Dollies, shoulder rigs, longer lenses, variable ND filters - yes, you should get all of them eventually, but improving your cinematography won't matter much if the viewer is distracted by hiss or background noise on your soundtrack.

Hope this is helpful,

Bill
 
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hionhifi

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Hi hionhifi - welcome to the forum and congratulations on the new G6 and the 12-35!

This is a tough question, and the answer really depends on your budget and what kind of videos you're making.

That said, you have the best still/video hybrid camera in its class, and a great starter lens. In my view, you've got it covered in the video department, and the next thing to work on is the quality of your sound. The in-camera sound from your camera will be decent, but is not very directional and will pick up a lot of extraneous noise (to include noise from the camera's preamps).

I recommend you get a shock mount, a good microphone (e.g., the $168 phantom-only Audio Technica 875R or the battery and phantom powered $269 Rode NTG-2); an external recorder (e.g., the Tascam DR-60D), and a $27 Sescom cable to connect the recorder output to your camera (for a high quality backup track). If you're shooting with a crew, a quality boom would also be a good investment.

Dollies, shoulder rigs, longer lenses, variable ND filters - yes, you should get all of them eventually, but improving your cinematography won't matter much if the viewer is distracted by hiss or background noise on your soundtrack.

Hope this is helpful,

Bill
Hi Bill,
I'll be assisting a friend with wedding videos. I'll be the static wide cam, I believe it's called the b-roll. Occasionally I may get the ability to do some handheld work if I'm lucky. This is my first gig so it's kinda of a test run for me to see how much I like it. I don't want to go super crazy buying a bunch of gear. The G6 will serve as my new general purpose family camera as well.

My sound won't be used primarily so in the beginning do you think something like the Rode Video Mic Pro, Azden or Sennheiser mke-400 would work well to record general sound better than the G6's built mics?

When and why would I use a variable ND filter?

Another question I have is about color grading. I've seen some impressive results from grading your video even with free grading tools. I have Adobe Premiere Pro CS6. Does the video output of the G6 in Avchd hold up to grading?

So far I picked up 2 class 10, uhs-1 cards, and 2 batteries and the aforementioned accessories.
 

brunerww

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Congratulations on your first wedding gig and thanks for the detailed questions! If you don't mind, I'll take them one-by-one:

My sound won't be used primarily so in the beginning do you think something like the Rode Video Mic Pro, Azden or Sennheiser mke-400 would work well to record general sound better than the G6's built mics?

Yes, any of these consumer external mics would be better than the built-in mics, but they are not a very good investment. I bought the Azden SMX-10 for my GH2, but now, it's on a closet shelf somewhere.

I understand that your camera won't need the perfect sound solution, but if you want an upgrade path to better sound in the future, I would not buy a $229 Videomic Pro. Although the name of the mic includes the word "Pro", it has a high impedance, unbalanced consumer output.

If, at some point in the future, you want to use it with a boom and a long cable run, the unbalanced output of the mic will introduce noise. I recommend a battery powered pro mic with a balanced XLR output that costs a little less than the Videomic Pro, the $214 Audio Technica AT897.

Of course, you'll still need a $30 Campro Deluxe hotshoe mounted shock mount and a $17 Hosa MIT-156 XLR to 3.5mm line matching transformer, but for a total cost of about $261, you will have a robust professional mic, with better frequency response, more sensitivity, and output suitable for long cable runs when you need it.

What I did when I got sick of the noise from my consumer-grade Azden was buy a used Audio Technica AT835b on eBay, then I added the Campro Deluxe, the Hosa, and a $31.95 WindTech MM-21 mic muff. As a result, I get better sound straight into the camera and have an upgrade path to booms, longer cable runs, external preamps, etc - for less than I would have paid for a Videomic Pro.

Here is how this setup looks on the GH3 mounted on a tripod (I use a $24.50 Rainbow Imaging Pistol Grip instead of a $260 shoulder rig for handheld shooting):






When and why would I use a variable ND filter?

ND filters are used in bright lighting conditions (usually outdoors) to reduce the amount of light coming into the camera, opening the iris and "shallowing out" the depth of field. DSLR/DSLT/DSLM shooters who don't have matte boxes buy variable ND filters so they don't have to screw filters on and off when lighting conditions change. If you think you'll be outdoors a lot, and like the "shallow depth of field look", the best value-for-money variable ND for your lens is the $110 Tiffen 58mm.

Another question I have is about color grading. I've seen some impressive results from grading your video even with free grading tools. I have Adobe Premiere Pro CS6. Does the video output of the G6 in Avchd hold up to grading?

28mps 8 bit AVCHD should hold up fine to a mild grade, if the shot is well lit and there aren't a lot of shadows to recover. For weddings, your codec will be just fine.

Here is an example wedding video from the G6 - fabulous camera for the price:


[video=vimeo;72010967]http://vimeo.com/72010967[/video]​


Hope this is helpful and good luck with your first gig!

Bill
 
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