Just a moment...

4K footage takes up a lot more space than full HD - up to four times more, in fact. A single minute of video on some prosumer 4K-capable video cameras can weigh in at more than one gigabyte.

All those extra pixels can also come in handy for stabilizing your footage. Most non-linear editors, such as Adobe Premiere Pro and Apple Final Cut Pro X, include image stabilization algorithms that do a remarkably good job of artificially stabilizing handheld footage and making it look like you shot with a Steadicam. Unfortunately, this process decreases the resolution of the footage by strategically scaling, rotating and cropping your footage frame-by-frame to counteract camera shake. If you're starting with HD source material this means that the resulting video may be noticeably less sharp, as you're cropping out pixels. If you're working from 4K, however, you have a significant amount of extra pixels to play with. Stabilize away!

Have you ever shot a video for a client, only to have them come back later and tell you they need a still image for an advertisement or marketing campaign? 4K to the rescue. Although it only has twice as many horizontal lines as HD video, 4K footage has four times the total resolution of HD. While you can seek out a 2MP still image from standard HD video, that's not enough to be useful for anything much beyond online use. 4K, however, gives you the ability to extract an ~8MP image from your video. That's enough for a nice sized print or even an ad in a magazine.

Acquisition, post-production and delivery is now fully HD (1920 x 1080) but modern technology now delivers even greater resolutions and 4K has become a practical production format.

There are a number of advantages of adopting 4K acquisition now:

  • Enhanced details and better overall image quality
  • Creative flexibility to zoom and crop in post-production
  • Recording in higher-resolution formats will help content retain its value in the longer term
  • Keying tools deliver better results due to more well-defined edges

No. All Lumix Digital Cameras have a built-in feature to conserve battery power. After a certain amount of inactivity, the LCD will power down to preserve the battery. Simply hit the SHTR button, and the LCD will turn ON.

Unlike 35mm cameras that store images on film, Lumix? Digital Cameras store images on SD Memory Cards, which make sharing and storing your pictures easy and convenient. You simply insert an SD Memory Card into the camera, take pictures until the card is full, and then you can transfer the pictures onto a compatible PC. Once you saved all your pictures, you can erase the card and start all over again.

This functionality allows unlimited consecutive shooting up to the capacity of the SD Memory Card in the camera - ideal for capturing fast-moving objects in high resolution. The number of shots may vary depending on memory card size, picture size, and compression.

Even if the camera is in manual iris mode, sometimes changing the iris won't result in the actual exposure changing. Why? Because the camera has other methods of maintaining or setting automatic exposure, and if those are active, they may cancel out your iris changing. Watch out for automatic gain control, and automatic shutter control. Typically the shutter is the culprit; if you don't see the shutter speed actively displayed (i.e., "1/60" in the lower right of the screen) then there's a very good chance the shutter is in automatic mode! When the shutter is in auto, it will change on its own, without your guidance and perhaps without your approval.

To get the shutter back in manual mode, press the SHUTTER button.

To get the gain back in manual mode, ensure that the AUTO/MANU switch is in "manual", and check the settings for the Gain Switch: if any of the gain switch's positions are set to AGC, and the gain switch is set to that position, then the camera will be operating in automatic gain mode. Either change the gain switch's settings, or change the values assigned to the gain switch to eliminate the possibility of automatic gain.

For true manual exposure, you have to ensure that automatic gain and automatic shutter and automatic iris are all disabled, and that all of those functions are instead operating in manual mode.

If you record one long continuous clip, you may find that on the memory card there are actually multiple clips. Generally this happens most often when using SD or SDHC cards (instead of SDXC cards). The reason for this is because SDHC memory cards use the FAT32 file system, and the maximum file size on an SDHC memory card is 4 gigabytes. One way to minimize this issue is to always use SDXC memory cards; they use the exFAT file system, and can record files up to 48 gigabytes in length. On the SDHC card, FAT32 has a maximum file size of 4 gigabytes, and 4 gigabytes can accomodate about 20 minutes of AVCHD PH footage, or around 2 to 4 minutes of 4K or UHD footage. So if you're shooting UHD 24P and recording on an SDHC card for 6 minutes, what happens? Well, the camera knows to automatically split the recording into two files, close off the first file at the 4gb file limit and continue recording into the second file.

(When recording AVCHD, the camera will also create "pointers" for the two clips, so that each section of the clip "knows" that it is only part of a larger master clip and it will know what clip follows it, and what clip precedes it.)

For AVCHD, all of this is done automatically and seamlessly behind the scenes. When you view the AVCHD clip in-camera it will look as if there's only one clip on the card, because, essentially, there is only one clip (it just happens to be made up of several pieces, but inherently it's all intended to be treated as one continuous clip). If you use an NLE that is properly AVCHD-aware, it will know how to properly reassemble all the pieces into one contiguous clip, seamlessly and effortlessly. If your software doesn't recognize the attached nature of the clips, then you'll have to manually copy over all the pieces, and string them together end-to-end on your timeline. Note that some earlier versions of NLE software didn't know how to do this seamlessly, and would introduce small gaps between the pieces of a clip. That is a software error, not a footage problem! The camera records all the footage seamlessly. If your NLE software can't display it seamlessly, look into upgrades or fixes for your software; as of the time of this writing most if not all major NLEs can now seamlessly handle spanned AVCHD clips.

If you're recording UHD or FHD footage in MP4 or MOV file formats onto an SDHC card, you can expect that the camera will also make individual files at the 4gb limit (on SDHC cards) or at the 48gb limit (on SDXC cards). However, unlike AVCHD recordings, the camera will display each and every one of those MOV or MP4 clips with individual thumbnails, and they will import into your NLE as individual clips; you'll have to manually align them end-to-end on your NLE timeline. As a best practice, when recording MOV or MP4, it's best to stick to SDXC cards (capacity of 64 gigabytes or larger) instead of SDHC cards. SDXC cards have the much larger 48gb maximum file size and, accordingly, you'll be able to accomodate many reasonably long recordings without the camera needing to split long recordings up into multiple files. And even when it does need to split into multiple files, it should be comparatively few files, versus the many files that may be created when using an SDHC card. When recording (for example) 90 gigabytes of data, an SDXC card will do so while creating just two files (one 48GB, the other about 42GB). An SDHC card, on the other hand, will make about 23 files, all of them (except the last one) being 4GB in size.

As you can see, you'll have a much easier time dealing with long recordings if you use SDXC cards instead of SDHC for recording MOV or MP4 files. For AVCHD, it doesn't matter what type of card you use, it will always split files at 4GB file sizes. But, it's less of an issue for AVCHD because the bitrate is so much smaller, so you can record longer per gigabyte, and AVCHD includes file pointers that let you treat even a very long, many part recording as one clip.

Occasionally you'll find menu items that are grayed out - usually menu items like VFR, or PRE-REC, or VIDEO OUT OSD. And it can be frustrating to see those disabled menu items and not know why they're disabled, or how you can re-enable them. I put a section in the book specifically addressing why menu items get disabled, which ones get disabled, and what you'd have to change to re-enable them. Look up the Disabled Menu Items article.

Also, there are some functions that are only possible when the camera is in HD mode, and are disabled when in UHD or 4K (examples include the 5-axis image stabilizer, or variable frame rates). Again, see the "Disabled Menu Items" article for more information.

You cannot just plug the camera into a computer via USB and expect it to stream video. These cameras aren't webcams, by themselves. However, if you want to stream video to your computer or to the internet, it can still be done, but you'll need to buy a separate video capture device to allow that. There are many of these types of devices on the market, what you're looking for is something that will input video (either composite video, or HD-SDI or 3G-SDI digital video, HDMI) and convert it to digital video on your computer. Example products may include an internal capture board such as the BlackMagic Intensity Pro, or a USB-connected external device such as the Pinnacle Studio USB MovieBox. You'll also need web-streaming software, such as BroadCam Live Video Streaming Software. It's not a one-step solution like a webcam, you'll have to research the software and hardware combination to find something that does what you want, and works on the computer platform you have.

That's the Rec Lamp or "Tally Lamp" which lets you know if the camera is currently recording. You can turn it on or off, whichever you prefer.

The camera is capable of many different bitrates, depending on the recording mode you select. Memory cards come in a variety of specifications and speeds that they can support. If your memory card is too slow — then the camera just won't be able to record your chosen recording format onto that card. To use that memory card, you may have to drop your recording format down to a lower-bitrate mode. In general, you can use a Class 6 SD card only for recording AVCHD. You can use a Class 10 card to record AVCHD and 50-megabit FHD only. If you want to record the higher-bitrate modes (FHD 100M, FHD ALL-I 200M, or any version of UHD or 4K) you're going to need a UHS-3 memory card. Don't be fooled by advertising of how many kbits or megabits a card can write (such as "45MB/s" or "300x"); those specifications are not what matters to the camera. The only thing that matters is the minimum sustained write speed, which is specified by either a Class 6 or Class 10 designation, or by the Ultra High Speed designation. UHS-1 cards won't work for the highestbitrate recording modes, you need UHS-3 or MicroP2 cards for those.

Finally, if you've met the other criteria listed above, verify that your memory card works. Sometimes memory cards go bad, so you'll want to test to see if your memory card is working properly. Try putting it in another camera, or in a computer, to see if the card is recognized. On that note, always buy and use the best brand-name cards you can get; it's true that you can usually use cheaper memory cards, but the old adage "you get what you pay for" still applies, so always use the very best memory cards you can afford. And don't be ripped off by counterfeit memory cards! If you're shopping on auction sites or through less-than-reputable resellers, there is a very real prospect of receiving counterfeit ("knockoff") cards. Stick with reputable resellers who are factory-authorized dealers for the memory cards you're shopping for.

Generally, a multi-purpose file playing program should be able to handle playing back the footage; for .MOV files you may want to use Apple's Quicktime Player; for MP4 files you may want to use something like VLC Player.

Playing 4K or UHD footage can be extremely processor-intensive, and may benefit greatly from a modern graphics card. Which means — it's possible that your computer just may not be powerful enough to properly play 4K or UHD footage. Furthermore, unless you have a very modern monitor that's capable of 4K (or UHD) resolution, you may not be able to see the full detail and quality of the footage on your computer. There's no solution for that other than to try to play the footage back on a system that's fast enough to properly display it, and on a monitor that's large-enough and high-enough resolution to properly display the footage. On smaller or lower-resolution monitors, your video playback software can be configured to "full-screen" mode, in which it will automatically re-size (or "scale") the footage to fit the resolution of your screen. That will enable you to watch the footage, but not at 100% quality.

Some version of Macintosh software really will only want to work with files that have been recorded in the .MOV format. If you've recorded in AVCHD or .MP4 formats, you may have to Log & Transfer the footage, converting it into Apple's ProRes codec (or Apple Intermediate Codec) before your Mac will let you work with the footage.

Additionally, be aware that at least some versions of Apple's iMovie software simply won't work with 24P footage at all, of any type. There's no easy answer for that, other than to use different software to edit your 24P footage.

Regarding 4K or UHD footage, most modern Non-Linear Editing (NLE) programs should be able to work with the footage. If you're having issues, check with the manufacturer of your software — it's possible that you may need to upgrade to the latest version to be able to work with 4K or UHD footage.

The camera includes a USB 3.0 DEVICE port, and can be connected to any computer that has USB 3.0 (or USB 2.0) ports. The reasons for computer connectivity problems usually come down to one of these simple issues:

A) Trying to connect to a USB 1.1 port – don't do that, make sure your computer's port is USB 2.0 or USB 3.0.

B) Trying to connect through a USB hub. Don't do that, connect directly into your computer's port.

C) Trying to connect to the camera's USB HOST port. Don't do that, that's for connecting a hard drive directly. Use the USB Device port.

D) Trying to use a USB 2.0 cable instead of the necessary USB 3.0 cable. A USB 2.0 cable won't fit in the camera, you need to use USB 3.0. However, a USB 3.0 cable from the camera will fit and will work in a computer's USB 2.0 port. When you have the camera connected to the computer, it will automatically detect the attached computer and offer a menu choice of connecting to a PC or a RECORDER. Choose "PC" and you should now be able to read the camera's SD cards on your computer. Alternatively, you don't really need to use the camera connected to the computer, you can just remove the memory card and plug it directly into an SDXC-compatible card reader. These are available at computer stores for very little money; just try to get one that is compatible with the new SDXC cards. Older readers would work only with SD cards, but not with the newer SDHC or SDXC cards. You want to make sure any reader you buy is compatible with SDXC cards in addition to SDHC cards. There's no functional difference between reading the memory card via the camera through USB, or putting the card in a USB 3.0-compatible card reader (except that the camera treats all the memory cards as read-only; you cannot copy files to a memory card or delete files off a memory card when you're using the camera as the card reader.) Also, many modern laptop computers now include SDXC-compatible card slots, so you could put the card directly in the computer, but, again, be sure the card slot is compatible with your card (SDHC or SDXC) and not just the older SD-only card slot. Do be aware, however, that 64GB SDXC cards use the exFAT file system, and older versions of computer operating systems may not support exFAT. Make sure your operating system is up to date and can support exFAT, or stick to using cards that are 32GB or smaller (those use FAT32, which is widely supported by computer operating systems).

After shooting some clips and experimenting with the various recording modes, new shooters frequently toggle over to playback mode and find that many of their clips aren't shown. Where did they go? Are they lost? Did they fail to record? Is there something wrong with your SD cards?

No, none of the above, and there's no reason to panic. What's happening is a by product of the camera having multiple different recording modes available. In playback mode, the camera doesn't automatically switch modes, so it will only play back clips that were shot in the same mode as it's currently set in. What this means is, if you shoot some clips in MOV format, and some more clips in MP4 mode, and another couple of clips in AVCHD, and then you go to the thumbnail screen to play them back, the only clips you'll be able to play back will be the AVCHD clips you just shot! The MOV and MP4 clips won't even show up. Now, there's nothing wrong with the other clips, but the camera was last set in AVCHD mode, so that's the only mode of clip that's available for playback.

Resolving this is really very simple; just change the playback format to match the clips you want to play. Press the movie camera icon in the upper left of the thumbnail screen and choose MOV or MP4; then you also have to choose what frame rate and resolution you shot in. If you shot some clips in UHD and some others in FHD, you can't view them all together, you have to pick which ones you want to see and change the playback mode for each recording mode. (And no, before you get your hopes dashed, the "VIEW ALL" doesn't mean it will view all the modes, it means that you're viewing all dates that clips were shot on. You still have to individually choose the different recording modes.)

Furthermore, if you shot some clips in 60Hz, and other clips in 50Hz, you'll have to go back to camera mode to change the SYSTEM FREQ to the compatible setting for the clips you want to view. Sounds like a hassle, but in reality it's not a big deal. Usually you only change recording modes when you're experimenting, but once you settle down to shoot a particular project, you'll usually pick one recording mode for the entire project, so the mode-changing issue becomes largely irrelevant in actual practice. Just remember that if you can't see a clip's thumbnail, that just means you need to change the playback format before being able to play the clip back.

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