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Making-of 01: Shooting Chemical Reactions in 4K with Panasonic GH4

Shooting chemical reactions with a new perspective is the essential part of Beautiful Chemistry. Right at the beginning, we wanted to shoot in 4K UltraHD resolution (3840×2160) to capture the amazing details of chemical reactions like never before. Selecting Panasonic GH4 was a no-brainer for us for 3 reasons. First, very positive GH4 reviews just came out before we made the purchase. Second, because we shot at close distance with macro lenses, we wanted the depth of field to be as large as possible. The micro 4/3 format is perfect for our task. Third, the cost of GH4 was very reasonable compared to other alternatives.

The lens we used most was a Tokina 100mm f/2.8 macro. The lens is optically excellent and comes with a handy aperture ring. For most of our footages, we shot at f/16 to maximize the DOF. In addition, the reproduction ratio was typically between 1:1 to 1:1.5.

We used an 8-core Mac Pro and Final Cut Pro X to edit the 4K footages shot with GH4. The footage file size out of GH4 is quite reasonable. However, for smooth editing in FCP X, we transcoded all footages to ProRes 422 and the file size became about 6 times larger. To solve this problem, we bought an external RAID system to store the transcoded media for efficient editing.

Finally, as mentioned by many GH4 users, still frames from 4K video footages can be used as 8-megapixel photos. Many still images below were taken from our 4K footages.