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Best lens for video (interviews) with GH3

Discussion in 'Panasonic Cameras' started by Lyvyoo, Apr 11, 2014.

  1. Lyvyoo

    Lyvyoo New to Mu-43

    Apr 11, 2014
    Hello guys,

    I want to make some interviews for my blog (in this style), with a Panasonic GH3 and some studio lights (softboxes or a cheap LED, for a 200$ budget).

    Which lens would you recommend me? Is 20mm 1.7 the best choice, considering the price ?

  2. duke

    duke Mu-43 Veteran

    Dec 4, 2010
    San Francisco Bay Area
    20 1.7 would be good. 25 1.8 would probably be better as it would have the silent af. If you have more space then the 45 can't really be beat either, lot's of options ;) 
  3. John M Flores

    John M Flores Super Moderator

    Jan 7, 2011
    I purchased the 12-35 expressly for this purpose. Primes can be limiting when setting up a shot on location - you can't always put the tripod where the prime wants to be. And with fast apertures it's hard to maintain focus if the subject leans back and forth.
  4. TheRenaissanceMan

    TheRenaissanceMan Mu-43 Regular

    Oct 11, 2013
    That depends entirely how you like to frame your interview shots. Are they medium shots? Medium close-ups? Full close-ups? Long shots? A combination? I've seen all kinds of angles and framing used in documentary work, so some specificity would help.

    Generally, I'd point you toward the 25 for a mix of medium shots and medium close-ups (or if you need a closer working distance), and the 45 for medium and full close-ups (or if you prefer placing the camera further away), but you could use almost anything if it serves the ideas you want to convey.

    It's an artistic choice. I'd prefer to keep my camera further from the subject to draw the most honest, natural interview out of them as I can. Roger Deakins (Skyfall, No Country for Old Men) prefers to put his camera closer to the subject with a wider lens to give a more realistic sense of proximity--a closer feeling to his close-ups. Both are equally valid, but it's down to the artist to decide how to interpret a scene. Give it some thought. :) 

    Sent from my SCH-I535 using Mu-43 mobile app
  5. TheRenaissanceMan

    TheRenaissanceMan Mu-43 Regular

    Oct 11, 2013
  6. speedandstyle

    speedandstyle Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    I would say that zoom would be the best bet. You can always add a prime later if you need a larger aperture or find you always shoot at a specific focal length.

    Is your $200 budget for the lights or the lens? That price would be doable for lights if you improvise or use cheap made-in- China gear. It appears that they used a 2 light set-up of key and fill. $200 for a lens is fairly limiting - kit lens or a very low priced used lens would be your options.

    You are also going to need a good tripod and don't forget mics!

    To do a video like that one would require two cameras. One is set fairly tight and the other is a bit wider. Are you actually wanting to do the reverse angle or just a single?

    I would recommend shooting in manual focus or at least S-AF and set the focus at the front of the clip. The thing I hate the most about a lot of internet videos is the hunting focus.
  7. Lyvyoo

    Lyvyoo New to Mu-43

    Apr 11, 2014
    This is my favorite style of interview - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FvVPvdx90iY but mixed with frames from the interlocutor work (coffee shops in my case)

    For the lights. My first choice was this double softbox - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OS9VCkCgNgU for 190Euro (I live in Europe). The LED technology is still expensive, i know, but if you have some "best value for money" suggestions, I listen to you. Maybe I can use just one LED panel, to save some budget... Let's say that my budget for the interview gear is close to 1900-2000 Euro (GH3 - 1000E, lens - 500E, tripod - 50E, lights - 2-300E?!, 2 lav mics 150E and 2 Zoom H1 recorders 150E)

    Good to know but is too expensive for me, at 1100Euro.

    I'm the only man in this "business", with a single camera (gh3). But, in order to avoid to be boring, I will mix the main camera frame with images from the coffee shop/coffee roastery. Sure, a reverse angle camera would be great, but I don't have budged for a second camera. Maybe my HTC ONE phone or my Asus Transformer tablet for black and white / sepia frames, from reverse angle (my face)? It's a low cost solution to mask the phablets video quality :smile:

    And yes, manual focus is mandatory.

  8. speedandstyle

    speedandstyle Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    I would suggest you start with a single angle and then once you get the hang of it and have a budget, then you can add a second if needed. It can be done with just one camera if you are willing to do multiple takes and edit them however. I just finished doing a video of three ladies promoting a ladies event{I work for a church}. I shot all three together and recorded the whole thing through. Then I shoot each lady doing her part of the same speech in close-up. It works very good for scripted interviews but not as well for a "man-on-the-street" style.

    I would avoid mixing lower quality video with higher. It can be done but may give problems and will be lots of work in edit to make it look right{unless as you suggest you make it obviously different}. Adding "insert" stills or b-roll footage is a great way to cut the monotony of a long interview.

    That light kit would be a good start. Softboxes do make things so much better for interview type shooting. Why do you need 2 audio recorders? If you need dual inputs get a recorder with dual inputs! It is a lot easier to mix it when recording, than in post. I use a Tascam DR100 and Sennheiser mics but this is a little beyond your budget. However the Tascam DR40 has dual inputs - combo 1/4" and XLR inputs to be exact. XLR mics are better than 1/4" jacked mics as they have much better sound{balanced verses non-balanced - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Balanced_audio }. What mics were you looking at?
  9. hit_and_misanthrope

    hit_and_misanthrope Mu-43 Rookie

    Jan 19, 2014
    I highly recommend the Oly 17mm f1.8. It is a nice versatile focal length - 35mm full frame equivalent. The auto focus is excellent. It is fast, quiet, and very sharp. As a 1.8 is is great for those dimmer locations. I got mine for $400 here in Canada.
  10. John M Flores

    John M Flores Super Moderator

    Jan 7, 2011

    Considering your requirements, your budget, and your circumstances, here are some additional things to think about.

    Manual focus?
    Then get older film-era manual focus lenses and buy an adapter. These manual focus lenses will have the longer focus throws needs to really get the focus right. AF lenses have shorter focus throws which makes them fast when using AF but difficult when trying to focus manually. The good thing is that they will be cheaper yet still provide great IQ. This, for example, is a GH2 with a Pentax 28mm F3.5:

    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)
    Screenshot - Panasonic GH2 with Pentax M28mm F3.5 by john m flores, on Flickr

    And this the GH2 with the Super Takumar 50 F1.4:
    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)
    Still from the Panasonic GH2 + Super Takumar 50mm F1.4 by john m flores, on Flickr

    B-Cam/Reverse Angle Cam
    With the money you save on older lenses, maybe you have budget for a GH2. I haven't tried to match footage with a GH3, but I think it should be ok. Better yet, trade in the GH3 for 2 GH2s, which provides the added benefit of matching batteries, chargers, and other accessories. This option also gives you a backup in case something goes wrong with one of the cameras.

    LED Lighting
    A good LED that can run on batteries is a godsend for one person crews. Lighter and less bulky to carry, quicker to set up, and less fragile, all things especially important for one person crews. Anything that plugs in requires A) packing a long extension cord, B) makes access to power a key factor in where to set up, i.e., you'll invariably be in a place where you'd like to set up by a nice shop window but can't because of power needs, and C) And extra 15 minutes setup and tear down because of A and B.

    Sounds like an interesting project. Please let us know how it proceeds....
  11. Lyvyoo

    Lyvyoo New to Mu-43

    Apr 11, 2014
    Because one audio recorder is a pain when the distance between me and my subject is about two meters. Must to hide the wires from camera view and be very careful when I make moves. I think that two Zoom H1 devices will be ok for my purpose. H4 or Tascam are big devices and heavy to carry at the on the belt. The audio quality is the same when you compare a jack input device and a XLR input. But XLR is a more professional and safe solution. For the mics, I look for Audio-Technica MT838 or Shure WL93 (both omnidirectional) or other cardioid mics.

    Can you reccomend me a "cheap" and good LED light, but not made in China?

    Thanks all for sugestions!
  12. speedandstyle

    speedandstyle Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    On the recorder - do what you like but I still think a single one would work better. My Tascam DR100 can easily be carried on a belt{if you add a clip or pouch}.

    XLR inputs have WAY better audio than a jack of any size. The reason is that they are balanced. I run sound as part of my job at a church so trust me I know for a FACT that it does especially if you run a cable longer than a few feet.

    The Shure would work for you if you get an XLR to jack converter{which often add noise BTW} or you use an XLR recorder.

    Lastly on the LED light - no! Either you buy Chinese made and save some bucks or you buy made some place else and pay through the nose.
  13. GFFPhoto

    GFFPhoto Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 24, 2013
    I'm surprised nobody has recommended the 14-42 PZ if you are looking for a budget solution.

    Edit: Just saw manual focus is a must... that lens is hard to focus manually. Maybe not a good option.
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