Panasonic GH4 4K vs Blackmagic Cinema Camera Green Screen / Chroma Key Comparision

Panasonic GH4 4K vs Blackmagic Cinema Camera Green Screen / Chroma Key Comparision

Two cameras, one green screen Panasonic
GH4 and The Blackmagic Cinema Camera but which one of these two is going to be the best when it comes to
chroma key / Green screen work. Now if you know anything about chroma key or green screen work you know that once you get your green screen sorted out
the next thing is your camera. We’ve got the compressed
version output 4K Panasonic GH4 which records H.264 and chroma subsampling of 4:2:0 not normally the best combination for
producing green screen work and then we’ve got the Blackmagic Cinema Camera 2.5K cinemaDNG RAW with no compression
no artifacting no sub sampling or ProRes 4:2:2 sub sampling but still no compression so a lower
resolution but no compression camera and a
high-resolution compressed camera Now to help me i have my erstwhile assistant who as we can see is having a really bad hair day at the moment but seriously hair is one of the more
difficult things to actually do a good chroma key / green screen on and even if you get a bad background badly lit or your camera cannot handle the actual quality what the actual
image is then you can end up losing a lot of detail in the actual
chroma keyed output. So what we’ll do is we’ll
actually film this on a rotating stand to have a full 360
degree view will do it in 4K compressed from the Panasonic GH4 and we do in 2.5K cinemaDNG RAW and also ProRes 4:2:2 in 1920 x 1080 from the Blackmagic
Cinema Camera We’ll put this into after affects and
we’ll see what the difference is are between the
two cameras and effectively the three types a format
okay we now in Aftereffect and we got our three piece’s
a footage we’ve got the ProRes the RAW and the 4k from the GH4 in respective comp’s here and as we can see we got this equivalent to probably a mid body or a long body shot
here if this was up here the head will be a bit further up but this is a sort of the distance
which we are working at for normal sort of person to be green screen onto a background
first thing we need to do is to mask of this background here go do
that by cropping off using be pen tool, a mask area so we can just
work on this and get rid of that background
at the moment now then, all you need to do now pick
background in key light, here we are we’ll just click
on that and their way up straight away we’ve got
a pretty good key and we haven’t really done anything yet what we need to do is actually to refine this a bit now and look at this with the screen matte and see and see what we’ve actually got and we can thats it is not totally back and white should be completely
white here completely back around the edge here so what we need to do is to tweak this
although actually don’t need to worry about anything outside but this box here so we dont need to worry about what’s going on in here so if we clip
this back we only need push it back so its black here We are about 13 at the moment the fact if we go to status it’ll give us an enhanced version
of this so we can actually see it a little bit
better will push out so it completely black
here and now we want to make this completely white and in the gray but he’s gonna be
transparent semi-transparent area around the edges of the hair so we’ll pull
this in, this is clipping white we don’t do this the face will become
semi-transparent and you’ll see things partially showing through it so we’ll pull this back to about there, these obviously the more
we pull this back more which pushes it down I’ll show you
in a minute what happens now if we combine result me go back to here
and that looks quite good now if we put it on a white background
we can see now if we turn this on and off we can see where where losing our detail in fact
hair looks thicker if anything on the keyed out version than it does on the original and that is down to this: if you watch this if I look at this this is affecting the the white
clip which you can see she’s getting lighter here it’s getting lighter because we are letting in more transparency through obviously we need this to block that out and the more we block this back the
thicker hair becomes and this is where it starts sort of not look quite so realistic when
you have got this thin hair here and you loosing the detail but it’s just
something you’ve just got to put up with really you gonna be around about there that’s
what we were looking on our status something about there we go any further back miss why we’re gonna start getting the transparent face again so
we are back to that and that’s come out quite well by some
ProRes so now will do the same on the RAW again we’ll mask this off there, there, there and there turn off the background pick our color, zap there we go and now notice we got a bit of a frizz around the edge, it look s highlighted it looks a bit of the odd looking there and that is really
down to this pre- multiplied output and what he’s doing is, where there is
semi transparent part is now is multiplying the color of the
brightness of the pixels right on the edge with the alpha so they are now darker as the alpha gets more transparent in fact this is left on by default there are left
at full brightness and that this adds this highlighted
edge on things which you might want, you might not want, I find that if I’m going to put this on this background and when it actually turning it’ll look more distracting than if it’s
taken off, it looks a bit better there with that detail and as you can see
that’s looking quite good I fact on here I’ve also got a simple
choker and what that’s doing is you see that it’s pulling it in slightly more as well so it’s getting rid of that little freezy effect It can start to look at bit sizzly
easily as if things turn around and you don’t see it until you actually looking at it in motion and you cant really see it here it you get this sizzling effect right on the edges there so too reduce that I’ve got a simple choker and pulling it in just over half pixel nice actually looking quite good on that
one and only white Now thats RAW now obviously we got more detail here because this is 2400 pixels and so we’ve got more pixels to build
it up see the actual hair now if we come onto the Panasonic GH4 4K version will say that we’ve got more details
still and even with the the compressed output we not losing
really a lot of detail if we pull in here
and look at this edge i’m looking individual hairs now and bear in mind we are still pulled out here so she’s any making up a small area of the
screen but we can pull into literally see individual hairs so lets see how this is goning to key out so again we’ll mask this area of and will go there there apply the background color and we are a little bit light on there so we’ll take that off the edge there, now we’ll look at our screen matte yes again we need to pull this in and make that the blacks blacker we need to make the whites as white as
possible quick look at the status how that
looking and pull black in little bit more there we are and there we are and as you can see we
got more detail in the actual hair you see the
highlighting on this artificial hair as well showing up quite well and if we put it on the background again we’ve got quite a good there is
looking nice near the edge looks a little bit artificial the edges there but it’s not
too bad and have we got a choker on here yea, we go to choker on here which is pulling it in very slightly see that difference there you can just see it appearing In and Out
as I’m pulling in by half pixel and that’s what it needs to do to make
that so now we’ve got that we put it on white again we can see and that’s come out
quite good so let’s now render these off into some different comps and I will put
them in to Adobe Premiere and then we can see the things running
in real time and compare the three altogether so we’ve rendered off each of out respective comps into an individual files, there are three files here we’ve got the Pro is HD which is on the
left which is at 1920 by 1080 Full HD
resolution then the cinema DNG RAW version
which was two-and-a-half K or 2.4 K and in the center and then we got the Panasonic GH4 4K which is the fully compressed version which is the H.264 output and chroma sub sampling of 4:2:0 so this is actually
the worst sort of compression version and these the one in the center will be the best
because there is no compression at all and then there’s just the sub
sampling on the ProRes HD but actually if we look at this instantly
straight away we can see that the ProRes has
actually come out really rather well actually the some nice detail in in the hair here and in the edges it’s not quite as detailed in the face
and in hair as it is in the 2.5K but when we
look at the Panasonic GH4 4K you can see there’s a lot more detail in
the face, the eyes look clearer, the mouth and then you’ve got the hairs here and
if we actually move it around which we can do here if we look at this curl of hair here, this one and you
watch it turns and then look at the same in the other one here this is the center it doesn’t so shine as much and then in the ProRes again it looks quite sort of dull in
comparison this one has definatly more of a shine to it and it’s on with the rest to the hair it
picked up these little shining details more now this is because we we’ve got more
pixels at work in here over obviously these are all
scaled-down from their respective sizes to full HD but the source material was higher
resolution so the end result gonna look slightly
better even if they are still the same resolution so we can see that the ProRes is
lowest resolution of all of them but its
actually got still quite that good edge detail and the edge detail and this is what we are interested in when we are doing Chroma Key so thats done very well there the cinemaDNG RAW again has done it but I know it’s on this if we run it
and let it go it does have have this sizzly effect
around the edges which I was talking about before you can see there it’s i think it where the key is keying and then losing the key and in and
out slightly so it gives it this sort of sizzling effect as if it there and not there and then on the actual 4K around the edge it’s really well smooth finish there isn’t a lot of sizzling going on its nice and semi-transparent it’s not
quite as defined as the ProRes version but the very fine
details here have got a little bit so mushy in there not and i dont know if thats the compression working on that very fine detail but we are scaled down here and as i say we have a choker on here on the actual alpha here which pulls
in the Alpha all the way around and takes off
some of the fine detail on all of them so we could
actually of brought back out and left in there but I think then we end up with a small sizzling effect in getting the very fine edge as we do
with here so I think probably best to pull this in a little bit if you
don’t know what the original would look like you you would say, yes they look very good but because we know what the original look like we say yes well I can see
where it’s been pulled in a little bit it’s not quite as he should be there but so if we now look at it on a
different background and we look at this on a studio
background now because you have a darker
background it looks very well integrated into
this background so i would say we’ve got pretty good Key on all of these and really then it’s down to the
detail that we are carrying over in the actual image itself and really the 4K does
show this up this up as the best so
really we’ve got the lowest in theory quality image but because it’s the highest
resolution it’s giving us the best image here in the 4k it also the smallest file size: so really I think we can say that the winner this as far as overall usability and the quality of the look goes is the 4K Panasonic GH4 so the cinemaDNG and the ProRes which both come from the Blackmagic camera are almost redundant now compared to what we’ve got coming out 4k Panasonic GH4 can I this is exceedingly good and also be
color grading if you look at the color grading on it
it’s pretty damn good as well these very nice and don’t forget that its
actually half its size this could be scaled up to 100 percent
and twice as big as this and you’ve still
got all detail in we can scale this one up by 20 percent
and this one if we scale it up anymore will start losing detail so the conclusion I can draw from this
is that the Panasonic GH4 4K standout output will make a very good
consumer grade camera for chroma Key or green screen work the
compressed high-resolution output of this camera trumps
the uncompression lower resolution of the Blackmagic cameras and with the added benefit a much
smaller file sizes will have a bigger impact on your
computer and your long-term storage the only reason I can say for using the
Blackmagic RAW output is if you gonna be doing a lot of color grading. There is also the option a
Blackmagic 4K camera the Panasonic GH4 has a lot more
usability options and you can also get a ProRess 4:2:2
output from it if you use a separate recorder but as we’ve
seen standard 4k compressed output will do a
very good job for most situations I hope that you found this video useful
and if you did them please give it a thumbs up and subscribe to our video alchemy
channel and share it with someone who you think might benefit from it don’t forget to hop on over to and join our newsletter my name’s Paul Shillito and this has been
a Video Alchemy production so until next time by

57 thoughts on “Panasonic GH4 4K vs Blackmagic Cinema Camera Green Screen / Chroma Key Comparision”

  1. Nice comparison.
    Do you think that you can put for a download the final 3 images for a better view of the result?
    Using google could you take a look at:
    Discovery: 4K 8bit 4:2:0 on the Panasonic GH4 converts to 1080p 10bit 4:4:4
    Exclusive: here is the first app to resample Panasonic GH4 4K 8bit to 10bit 4:4:4
    on eoshd and make another comparison between the GH4 and the Blackmagick?

  2. hi guys thank you very much for the video. my name is Marco. I am from Brazil. What lens would be better for green screen with GH4? Can you help me with that?

  3. Excellent test with excellent news!! Very useful alse as a chroma key tutorial, isn't it? Did you try it out on the Production 4K Camera?

  4. Lovely work fella – good video, nicely put together. GH4 is doing good things at the moment! Very good point about the resolution vs. grading potential – 4K is great, but H264 is a grading nightmare…

  5. The problem with the GH4 is it still has that video look, which is great if that's what your after. Also the crop on the sensor, yes I know you can use Metabones but for the price of that add on you're approaching the 4K blackmagic which has global shutter and 4K RAW. Yeah it's having problems but for film making it's the better camera. 

  6. Interesting and valuable.  Always more fun to do a practical test rather than theorise.  Sometimes the why is irrelevant, and the "We know this works best because we've tested it" trumps charts and theory.

  7. First, thanks for your time making this video.  First-rate!  My only quibble is that benefit of RAW is dynamic range.  Putting aside your chroma-key/matte findings (which again, are very helpful!) each technology has a trade-ff when looking at the source image. Even with the plastic model, you can see more contrast with the 4K/2.64 vs the RAW source, shadows on face and the lips that move towards primary red on the H.264.  With real models, the difference would be even more pronounced.  However, unless you're shooting RAW for your background, and you're equally as fussy with DR there, then I doubt it would be an issue.  So again, not disagreeing with your findings, just the last 30 seconds of your video when you point out a reason for choosing the more difficult RAW workflow/camera.  You can add contrast to RAW (at the cost of huge file sizes), but you can't reduce contrast with H.264 without crushing blacks or blowing highlights (trade-off for small file sizes).

    Another thing you might have pointed out is that 1080 in most cameras is not really 1080 in effective resolution.  So if you shoot 4K and downsample to 1080 you should probably do the same with your background.  That problem is apparent in your video where the model stands out artificially from the background because she is sharper than it.

    Again, thanks for a meticulous and well-done analysis!

  8. i didn't liked it….. you should compare the BMCC4K so that it would be a fare match, obviously the 4k res has cleaner key…. i dont understand what's all the fuzz on the GH4…. all tests of the GH4 are against lesser cameras

  9. The difference is due to resolution, I bet the Blackmagic production camera 4k is better than the 4k gh4 for greenscreen

  10. Great review! I got a bit freaked out by a review which said the GH4 had crashed a few times. Has your GH4 crashed and how much have you used it?

  11. I've worked with both and the only problem I see with the GH4 is that the color only goes so-far. Colors in the BMCC are simply stunning once you color grade them, the GH4 is not going to make you win any Cinematography prizes any time soon. 

  12. Nice comparison. I think it really demonstrates how resolution can help improve the keying experience of 8bit 4:2:0 video! I see that you were working in 16 bpc, which color space were you working in? Also, have you tried working in linear? Past experience has shown me that 8bit 4:2:0 doesn't mix well with a linearized workspace. Lastly, did you turn up the saturation in ACR for the BMCC? That might explain some of the chatter you were getting in the edges. FWIW I prefer to de-bayer raw footage in Resolve and then export to 16bit DPX sequences, I don't think ACR does as well with image sequences (just my opinion). Anyway, nicely done. This should put people's minds at ease when considering using the GH4 for chromakey work.



  13. Truly excellent work!

    It does seem that we're back in the world of HDV – chromakey from the PD150 (4:2:0 Standard Definition DVcam) was laughable – cut out from a cheese grater. When the Z1 came out (HDV, 1440×1080 4:2:0 at 8 bit) we could shrink that to SD and get a sort of de-facto 4:2:2 and actually get good chromakey. From HDV! Seems like Panasonic's 4K solution is the HDV of 4K. But hey, it works.

  14. This was well done. I own 3 4K cameras, the BMD, the Sony AX100 and the GH4 and the BMD is not worth the money or the hype. I haven't tried keying, but will be soon and this completely set my mind at ease. Did you by chance try the 200mbs 1080 output of the GH4? I believe that's a 4:2:2 file.

    Keep working. Great stuff.

  15. Why don't you compare similar cameras ? BM 4K ProRes and GH4 ? 

    If you use 4K Raw from the BM, GH4 isn't even a comparison

  16. I don't get it, why not compare it with the 4K Blackmagic? This comparison makes no sense considering that Blackmagic makes a camera with the same resolution as the GH4 (and a larger sensor to boot).

  17. I haven't tried any chroma-key with my GH4, but it's nice to know it may be easier than I thought it would. Cheers.

  18. Raw footage isn't about detail. Raw files are about exposure and grading. In the world of narrative filmmaking, Raw and Exposure > detail and resolution

  19. I have so noisy footage even at 200 iso so that I can't use it for green screen. The artefacts compression make it impossible to have a clean result. Some people talk about bad sensor series. Do you heard about it. What are your spec ? I've made a lot of test with different parameters and whatever I do, it's ugly , noisy even at 200 iso. Impossible to get the same clean result has shown. Any idea ?

  20. Nice test, but ProRes is compressed footage – calling it "uncompressed" is pretty silly. It's less compressed than H264, but something can't be 4-2-0 or 4-2-2 and not be compressed. Sizzly hair would have benefitted from a properly lit screen – your status view shows you didn't even try. Not a definitive test, but informative, I'd be curious to see with the screen lit evenly.

  21. Why are so many people complaining about this mans comparison. He made an interesting instructional video. The test was to show a camera that shoots a better colour space (4:2:2 10 bit ) can be beaten by by a (4:2:0 8 bit) camera with a much higher compression, if it has a higher resolution (4K vs 2.5K). Of course the 4K BMCC with Raw  or Apple Pro Res 10 or 12 bit uncompressed 4:4:4 and 4:2:2 4K will beat a highly compressed H264 8 bit 4:2:0. with a fraction of the bit rate. Most people who shoot video can gauge that. What's the point of this man making a video of the obvious. He did a video comparison on something most people honestly don't know or would believe.
    Do another comparison professor of Alchemy. 4K GH4 with a Atomos Shogun and a BMCC 4K or Ursa. That would be something most people would like to see and might be surprised with the results. Thumbs up from me. I like the whole green screen tutorial with programs and tips as well as the comparisons between cameras.

  22. what in camera settings are best with the GH4, I usually shoot a flat image to color grade but I presume that might not be best when green screening

  23. Its called chatter, not sizzling. Bit depth is not going to help you unless you run into a horribly or sub par (ly) lit green screen

  24. Am i the only one that noticed he did not adjust the clip white, clip black and transparency of the keylight for the 2k Raw. thats why you get the sizzling effect on the hair of the 2k Raw. regardless i still prefer to shoot music videos on the GH4, its 4k resolution and sharpness is breath taking. no offence to Red cameras, they are more for high-end productions. and for short film i use the blackmagic camera for its amazing Raw format and dynamic range. 

  25. Hey now that we have the LX100 as well for less than half the price of the GH4, I would be interested to see how well the LX100 would work in a green screen situation.

  26. Great comparison. Shame you only compared image resolution and not the other features of both cams. But still an invaluable session! Thank you!

  27. I currently use a Nikon D3200 for my chroma key videos and I have an issue with the "sizzling" as you call it. I was wondering if you were familiar with Nikons and had any tips to help get rid of it.

    My green screen isn't a real green screen. It's just a piece of green fabric I purchased from a crafts store. I have it lit pretty evenly and am able to keep the subject about 5' or about 1.5 meters from the screen. I use powerdirector 12 as my editor. I do have back-lighting but I don't have downward facing lighting over the subject.

  28. besides the huge (compared to the others – none) colorspill of the gh4 – yeah, its looks nice… but the spill kills all the good looks

  29. Good comparison, resolution is definitely important. As I learned when I keyed with Red footage. Being a BMCC user, I often struggle with the keying. The BMCC seems to suffer from huge gaps in the matte, which isn't spill.

    After hours of trying to fix a key with hair, I figured it out. Originally I used Resolve output for ProRes444 and Neatvideo denoising. But the hair detail is noisey. So I tried using the Adobe raw grader in AE, which at first produced the same results. However I cranked up the contrast and white, then lowered black and exposure. Suddenly my hair detail is razor sharp without noise! A duplicate Raw grade was used with an alpha track matte to create the perfect key.

  30. Using keylight in this way you will never get the best result because you add suppression. You are better of (as your comment said to have several mattes) and use what AE calls a luma matte. (mask over the original).
    Glad to see that my suspicion is proven that more pixels despite compression gives generally more information for a good key when scaled down.

  31. Looked to me like the edges were much better on the two non-4k cameras. The edges on the hair key from the Panasonic looked blurred and poorly preserved. The hair detail inside the edges of the matte seems irrelevant to this comparison, and seemed like it factored into your conclusions. All we care about are the edges.

  32. Sir just subscribed… been sifting thru your vids…you have a lot of useful information here …ty much for your posts! Please, let me put a question to you. Do you think the Lumix G7 would be an exceptable camera if you were going to be color grading the footage? It's 4k UHD 8bit 4:2:2. I would buy a GH4 but it's so expensive, without even a lens being included in the price it's $1,497.00 US currency. That's a lot. I can get a Lumix G7 with 2 lenses for $895 US. So I was thinking that would be a better option financially speaking. The lack of weather sealing concerns me a bit, after all it is just plastic. But after watching your video now I'm worrying about my footage looking like crap even tho it would be down sampled 4k. I was planning on using a Black Magic Video Assist to auto down sample the 8 bit 4:2:2 HDMI output from the Lumix G7. It would be 1080p yes, but I have better codecs to choose from: Apple ProRes 422 HQ
    ProRes 422
    ProRes LT
    ProRes Proxy
    Avid DNxHD
    and of course the significantly higher bit rates some of those options provide. However, now I worry that won't help at all because my HDMI output is only 8bit. Am I worrying over nothing? O.o…. any comments would be greatly appreciated sir.

  33. Thank you Paul for sharing this with us. Surprising results of this test.I would indeed think that the 10bit:4:2:2 would give us much more better results for keying, but no. Panasonic and GH4, you should ask Panasonic for a credit note, because I will buy one.

  34. Now we have the G7 with the same sensor and everything as the GH4, and a mic input, can be had used for $500 on the grey market. Pretty amazing.

  35. Is 25fps or 50fps or 60 fps? whats is betther? becaus normaly I am using 25fps 1080p and 1/50 but for dancing people i have many blur images, because is so fast! please help. thank you!

  36. For green screening I would render several passes, rather than trying to chroma key in one attempt. It's better to key out most of the green, then render out an uncompressed AVI file, then do a second pass, this way you won't lose detail because with multi passes you can target specific greens.

  37. Thanks for doing this video …! One must wonder where filmmaking will go in the next decade. Once upon a time 'VIDEO' was frowned upon. Now, it's the bright, shining castle on the hill. BRAVO-!


  38. What happens if they were all post sharpened and contrast? Would the cinema dng still be so far behind the 4k?

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