4K In The Real World



Dan Brockett’s first project with his Panasonic GH4 was for Dell, who were introducing a new renewable, green packaging called "Air Carbon" to package their laptops.

Just a couple of days after receiving the Panasonic GH4, I was still learning the ins and outs of the camera when a production company that I often work for contacted me about a project. They wanted to shoot material the next day for a new client, Dell. The video was to introduce a new kind of renewable, green packaging called Air Carbon that Dell was utilizing to package their laptops. The technology was developed by a small startup in Orange County, Calif., called Newlight Technologies. The assignment was to quickly shoot an interview and some B-roll footage at the home of the founder of Newlight, then to pack up and drive over to Newlight’s production facility about 20 miles away to shoot some footage of the facility and interviews with some of Dell’s people who were managing the project.

The schedule was very tight. The turnaround for the production company was to deliver the finished video in less than 24 hours, so the director requested that the video footage be ready to go from the shoot directly into editing with bright, contrasty color since there would be little or no time for a proper color-correction session. I had been experimenting with the GH4’s camera profiles enough to know that either the Natural or Vivid settings, with some shadow and highlight tweaks, would probably give the client what they were looking to achieve.

The director wanted to use the camera sound from the GH4 to save time in not having to sync dual-system sound from the sound mixer’s recorder. No DSLR-type cameras have what I consider high-quality sound capability, and the GH4 seems no different; for this shoot, we utilized the Tascam DR-60D, a standalone audio recorder specifically designed for interfacing with DSLR cameras. While the DR-60D is itself a surprisingly capable recorder, my main function for it on this project was to have a way to be able to feed the balanced XLR line-level audio outputs from the sound mixer’s Sound Devices recorder into the 3.5mm unbalanced audio input of the GH4.

At the end of the shoot, I gave my client the SD cards from the GH4 with the request to let me know how Dell liked the look, colors, sound and any other details or feedback they received. The video, which was used at the press conference, was a success for Dell in introducing the world to the Air Carbon technology. The feedback was that the images were "gorgeous, very sharp with lots of detail."