Aerial Shoot for Panasonic & the New GH4K

by Dan Coplan

I recently did an aerial shoot for Panasonic and the new GH4K in time for a demo at NAB. I’ve been using a Canon DSLR on my midrange octocopter (I also fly a heavy lift octocopter) but was very excited to be able to swap it out for a camera that is very close in size and weight yet shoots the higher resolution. I am most likely going to replace the Canon with the Panasonic as my default camera for that particular setup and I’m hoping that will make it very attractive to producers who want cost effective aerials to cut in with their main cameras on the ground.

* What were a few features that Panasonic’s GH4K had that you liked better than the Canon DSLR?
The biggest draw for us at Aerial Cine Pro ( was being able to shoot 4K directly to the camera which has a form factor similar to the Canon. This made setup and adaptability to our mid-lift octocopter very easy which is key because tuning cameras to gimbals can be tricky and there’s always a balance between weight and flight time. To be able to get 4 times the resolution in a package that is more or less the same size and weight as what I was using to shoot 1080 is simply great. I get a lot of calls to fly cameras like the Epic, but often the budgets aren’t there to support those requests so how best to accommodate clients within their budget limitations? We’ve had very good success with the Canon but I’m expecting that being able to now offer 4K will be a big leap forward in quality, giving our lower budget clients confidence in being able to better utilize this higher resolution footage with their higher end digital cinema cameras on the ground. I’m also excited about the idea of shooting up to 96 fps at 1080, though I haven’t tested it yet. Shooting slowmo aerials can provide truly amazing and graceful aerial footage.

* Were there any cons to Panasonic’s GH4K?
To be honest, I wasn’t given the chance to fully test it so I can’t comment. Personally, I’ve never been a fan of Micro 4/3’s and I’ll be happy to see that format go away forever. At this moment I would say the one thing I would change on the camera would be to make it a S35mm sensor.
* Where do you see the future of 4K headed?
I’m hearing the same talk about 4K as I heard about the move from SD to HD. People are excited about it but the infrastructure isn’t there yet. Obviously it’ll come. I don’t see 4K taking over the mainstream any time real soon but I do think there’s value in pushing the quality of moving images forward, future-proofing content for eventual 4K release, and serving as a tool to improve and assist current HD production.

* What other 4K products on the market are you excited to get your hands on?
I’m excited to see what comes out in terms of monitoring. After all, that’s what it’s all about.