Having both the mighty Red Epic cinema camera and the Panasonic GH4 side-by-side for a project might be a dream come true for many independent filmmakers working on a shoestring budget, however intercutting footage from these cameras is a whole different story. While there are a lot of technical differences from skin colour to details levels, codec efficiency, depth of field and everything in between related to those entirely different camera systems, there are still enough chances to make intercutting between these indistinguishable. So, can the GH4 match up against the Red Epic? The guys from Lixi Studios will try to answer this question by yielding a few recommendations for those who want to make their edit seamless and flawless when shooting on both the Red Epic and the GH4.
Due to the sensor size difference between the two cameras, it will be hard to match the depth of field look right off the bat as well as the framing, so using the appropriate lenses accordingly is a mandatory consideration. The best way to compensate the depth of field differences and match the Red Epic look would be to utilise a longer lens on the GH4, or you can just move your subject way from the background to achieve the same bokeh effect in the frame.
Another tip is to use the Red Epic for your wide shots, whereas the GH4 can be the better match for your close-ups respectively. Usually, the light differences in close up shots are a lot more even. That way it will be hard to tell the difference when you cut back and forth between those two cameras.
Further, if you want to have even more control over the lens options, use the Metabones adaptor in conjunction with the GH4. This way you will be not only able to pick from a variety of lenses, such as the excellent Canon lens lineup, but the Metabones Speedbuster will also help you to open up your lens one additional stop.
Regarding the dynamic range, the best way to match footage shot on both cameras is to use the paid V-Log upgrade on the GH4 that will give you around 12 stops of usable dynamic range of the small mirrorless camera. It’s still far from the 16+ stops the Red Epic provides, but it is far more flexible and usable than using the standard picture profiles of the GH4. Utilizing an external recorder to be able to record the 10-bit uncompressed video feed out of the latter should also improve the final results.
Ultimately, each of these cameras provides their unique look, and they also have their usability differences. But the point here isn’t that there is simply no way to take a GH4’s image to the places you can take the footage captured on a camera costing 10x more. If you know their particular specifications and limitations, you can undoubtedly make these cameras work together and intercut seamlessly.
Keep in mind, though, that even for the most experienced colorists matching shots captured on two (or more) totally different camera systems might be intimidating and overwhelming, yet it doesn’t mean it’s impossible. Quite the contrary. Overall, the above tips and tricks might not be the ultimate guide for intercutting footage shot on the GH4 and the Red Epic, but these should make your life in the editing bay a lot easier, hence your workflow more efficient and effective.