GH4: ClaudeTone | Supertone

Scroll Down for the 2017 Update!

I first tried ‘Supertone‘ on my endless search for better noise handling on the GH4 and loved it, but thought at first that the skin tones were a bit too ghostly. So I built my own version of this stunning GH4 film setting. After experimenting with it, I made a happy mistake. I forgot to change Highlight / Shadow settings back to ‘0’ from -5 and did some shooting in Cinelike V and Cinelike D. What I found was that my footage looked great with Highlight set to -5 in these profiles too! Noise was reduced to a point that made me fall in love with this camera all over again. So I began to play with these and other profiles with fervor, and have discovered I quite like Cinelike V & D with the Highlight set to -5 now. So much so that this is my default Highlight / Shadow setting for all my profiles. Sorry if this pisses off the purists and fad chasers, but I love the results. Period.

Another experiment was to alter the Natural Profile to make a vintage looking tone based on my experiments with Supertone and white balance. I also experimented with the Vivid Profile and WB to create a hybrid modern / retro type of look (as a basis for applying LUTs with Lumetri in Premiere). All the profiles exhibit the same type of cleanliness I got from dialing down highlight to -5. The looks I was able to achieve made me extremely happy. I love the newfound power of this camera to create stunning images. I feel on top of things. Does this make sense?

Here’s a few extra tips (or notes to self) before I get into the profiles…

Highlight / Shadow: This was the setting that created a stir. People played with this for ages. When the Supertone settings came about, I found this to be the most reluctant change I made on the GH4. My previous attempts with H/S settings I found on the net were atrocious. But then I thought, there would not be such variations if they were not warranted. It’s a taste thing, like heavy bass vs heavy treble. However, if you play with too much bass, you are certain to get into great treble (had to make that joke, sorry). But seriously, in my own experiences it is the shadow settings which you must be very careful of. For me, it seems that the setting of -5 on highlight and 0 on shadows eliminates the noise in the shadows and gives me warmer whites. Gives a nice non-DSLR look to the GH4. All I can say is experiment! You will note that I have not posted footage yet. I will. I am planning a little film to document my settings in detail.

White Balance & Sharpness: In normal shooting, set WB to 5600K for daylight and 3200K for Tungsten. If there’s a mix, split the difference to about 4200K. For the Natural and Vivid profiles, I use a custom setting for WB at A:2 / G:2. For vintage style lenses, the sharpness setting is +1. The contrary to this is AF (auto-focus) lenses, for which I keep the sharpness setting at ‘0’.

ISO: Use an ISO range of 320-1250 when possible. ISO 320 with a fast lens is pretty amazing, even indoors in low light! I am sticking to nothing higher than 640 or 1250 for indoors and night shooting (with a fast lens) as this has worked the best for me, and ISO 320 for everything else. I am still experimenting with ISO 640 as well, since that is simply doubling 320 (whenever I find a sweet spot in digital systems, I tend to experiment with the simple math of doubling or dividing by half). Anything higher than 1250 though is rather pointless, as the GH4 tends to get noisy. You get to ISO 320 by enabling 1/3 EV. And yes, it does work in film mode.

Noise Reduction: I read (and on a whim) set noise reduction to -3. A comment had been made that this “G Sharp” was Panasonic’s true setting for the sensor to NOT correct noise. I don’t know if this is true or not, but I love all profiles at this setting thus far. It just works. I used a 35mm 1.7 CCTV lens for my shooting tests indoors, which really lets in quite a bit of light. Even my night shots were clean. I will have to try it with my manual 28mm JC Penny 2.8 (or another vintage lens) just to see the noise results with slower glass. I will report my findings when I get there.. But this next part is important…

Master Pedestal: This is like the voodoo magic. I was vehemently opposed to this before because it always yielded terrible results, and was intended, according to Panasonic, to match footage from other cameras. Well, what I did in my ClaudeTone was experiment with this setting based on mathematics. That is.. IF noise reduction, sharpness correction and saturation seemed to work great at settings of -3 / +3 .. Could it be that a divisible of three in the master pedestal could result in a cleaner image? All I can say is that I did not expect it to work. But it did, and it is amazing. It blew me away, especially in low light indoors. In normal sunlight, I would dial this back to +3 or leave it alone. I have shot with MP at +9 in daylight and it looks great, I am just a bit conservative with this before I do more testing. But so far, so good.

Shutter Angle vs Speed: I have set my shutter to function using shutter angle in film mode. This means that if I set the shutter angle to 180d … Most times, the exposure is spot on (and I use manual control over aperture). I can then shoot 30fps, 60fps or a variable frame rate for slow-motion without having to remember to change shutter speed to correspond to your frame rate. The software on the GH4 has been programmed to automatically do the right thing as long as you have the shutter angle set to 180d. Love the results. Here’s a nice video that explains it quite well: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c4vUrrTX8NY

MOV @ 100mbps: Another setting I found great was to shoot at 100mbps (MOV) and avoid 200 and 50. All of this has led to great cinematic profiles / film looks for my footage from the GH4. Hardly any noise at all, even at night thus far! By the way, I have yet to shoot 4k!

 

My GH4 2017 Updated Profiles:

These are my default cinematic profiles, based on the Portrait setting on the GH4 and the Supertone settings by Michael Medgyesi. Note that my Cinelike V and Cinelike D are both using the same settings for Highlight / Shadow.

 

ClaudeTone (my favorite)
 Profile: Portrait

Contrast: +3

Sharpness: 0 / +1

NR: -3

Saturation: -3

Hue: +1

Luminance: 0-255

Highlight / Shadow: -3/0

ISO 320

Master Pedestal: +3

Claude Cinelike V
 Profile: Cinelike V

Contrast: -3 / 0

Sharpness: -3

NR: -3 / 0

Saturation: -3

Hue +1

Luminance: 0-255

Highlight / Shadow: -3/0

ISO 320 (ISO 640, 1250 for low light)

Master Pedestal: +3

 

Cinelike D
 Profile: Cinelike D

Contrast: 0

Sharpness: -3

NR: -3

Saturation: -3

Hue: 0

Luminance: 0-255

Highlight / Shadow: -3/0

ISO 320

Master Pedestal: +3

Natural Profile
 Profile: Standard

Contrast: 0

Sharpness: -3 / +1

NR: -3 / 0

Saturation: 0

Hue +1

Luminance: 0-255

Highlight / Shadow: -3/0

ISO 640 / 800 / 1250

Master Pedestal: +3

 

Vintager I
 Profile: Natural

Contrast: +3

Sharpness: -3 / +1

NR: -3

Saturation: 0

Hue +3

Luminance: 0-255

Highlight / Shadow: -3/0

ISO 320

Master Pedestal: +3

Vintager II
 Profile: Vivid

Contrast: 0

Sharpness: +1

NR: -3

Saturation: -3

Hue +3

Luminance: 0-255

Highlight / Shadow: -3/0

ISO 320

Master Pedestal: +3

 

 2017 Update Notes:

What I have noticed is that there is no appreciable difference in having having Master Pedestal at above +3.  The other change I made was to not tone down highlights too much. So I set that to -3 as opposed to -5.There is a nice test on Youtube that used my settings, and that was REALLY cool.

One final note: I have an additional tip.. shoot at 288 instead of 180d. It seems to minimize judder artifacts AND it looks more filmic overall. But I suppose that having a little more motion blur is a personal taste thing.

~ Claude