First ever music video shot completely on GH2 compact system camera showcases strength as superb all-rounder for both photographers and filmmakers
You’re an up and coming band who have just signed a major label deal for the release of your new single – the kind of potential exposure all artists dream of.
To do the band, up-and-coming power pop trio Twenty Twenty (www.myspace.com/twentytwentyband) , and their first major label track ‘Love to Life’ justice, the Micro Four Thirds Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH2 compact system camera was chosen as a perfect fit for filming.
“The footage looks stunning and is head and shoulders above footage from semi professional DSLRs I’ve used before” says video Director Keith Mottram of Feel Films Ltd, “Features such as focus assist proved essential.”
To catch the fun, action, and inevitable rock ‘n’ roll mayhem, up to five GH2 cameras were used by the production crew. These were equipped with a variety of lenses: the 14mm Pancake lens (H014), 20mm Pancake lens (H020), 45mm macro lens (ES045), and OIS Zoom lens (FS014045).
Furthermore, to highlight the complete flexibility of the GH2 as a viable ‘pro’ camera, professional 35mm Cooke lenses which retail for £15,000 to £20,000 each were also fitted via PL mount adaptors from British firm MTF for a “smooth and creamy” look.
“The GH2 hung on admirably to any lens attached to it,” raves the shoot’s Director of Photography Marcus Domleo. “We quickly found a way to support the lens and let the GH2 hang off the back.”
On track with the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH2
To heighten the visual drama on the Twenty Twenty shoot, the GH2's were even mounted directly onto go-carts as they sped around the track, the camera’s compactness proving essential in such circumstances. Also, with hardly any suspension on the karts themselves, the cameras handled vibration remarkably well.
More used to rigging 35mm cameras, the production crew really appreciated how small and light the GH2 is by comparison.
“For the karts the GH2 proved easy to mount and the adjustable LCD was manna from heaven,” beams Director of Photography Domleo. “Their small size, weight – along with the tiny and very light Lumix primes – makes the GH2 a realistic option when doing car and bike-type work. The lack of ‘jellocam’ rolling shutter type problems compared to some semi pro digital SLRs is obvious, and was a welcome and essential highlight.
“There is no other camera that could provide the combination of a good looking picture without the previously mentioned rolling shutter problems, and through quality glass with a choice of focal lengths and a small lightweight form factor.”
And, even though lighting levels on the kart track were low, the Panasonic GH2 and pancake lenses delivered a beautiful end result. “The ability to shoot clean at higher ISOs [with the GH2] allows me to shoot available light in places that would be prohibitively expensive to light from scratch,” says the Director of Photography. Night shots were at ISO640 and lit with Kinoflo.
“The Panasonic lenses were pin sharp with nice fall off,” enthuses director Keith Mottram. “Everyone was really impressed with them.”
DOP Domleo adds that he also found the optics “pretty damn sharp, with not much chromatic aberration or distortion. They passed the acid test of a professional colourist’s beady eye without derogatory comments. The bokeh was surprisingly pleasant – even when compared to the Cookes.”
Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH2: the choice of professionals
The Twenty Twenty shoot’s camera assistant David Litchfield, is also a newly converted GH2 fan. He adds: “We were all really impressed with what the GH2 was capable of. It only took a few minutes before there were mutterings of ‘I already prefer this to the DSLRs we’ve used before”.
Marcus Domleo was one such convert. “All I know is that the colours are true, skin tones faithful, latitude well handled, and resolution fine. And this from a camera with lens costing under £1000. The GH2 is not only practical, it produces conventionally beautiful images too,”
When it came to monitoring footage as it was being shot, the ability to have simultaneous display from both the camera’s LCD and external monitors was a big plus over certain rivals.
“Both electronic viewfinder and LCD on the GH2 are very good,” camera assistant Litchfield adds. “I found it easier to use the EVF for operating due to the higher 1.5m dot resolution, and the 3-inch, 460k dot, free angle LCD for the menus. I’d happily shoot with a GH2 again.”
Behind-the-scenes footage (watch the video above) was also shot on a Panasonic – this time the Micro Four Thirds AF101 movie camera utilising the 14-140mm zoom lens (see the picture on the right).
For now though the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH2 is proving a remarkably capable camera for amateurs and professionals alike who want beautiful images from a lightweight and versatile body. And like the band Twenty Twenty, the GH2 is gathering new fans by the day.
Twenty Twenty’s single ‘Love to Life’ is available now. Watch the video shot entirely on the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH2 here