We recently caught up with with director of photography Matthias Bolliger and his colorist Louise Temmesfeld to discuss the Panasonic LUMIX S1H ProRes RAW external recording capabilities on the Atomos Ninja V. In this in-depth interview, we talked about internal vs. external recording, dynamic range, ProRes RAW post-production and so on. Let’s take a closer look at it!
Note: this interview and Matthias Bolliger’s tests were done using pre-production firmware on the S1H and Atomos Ninja V so that results may be different on the actual production versions.
Panasonic LUMIX S1H ProRes RAW Recording on the Atomos Ninja V
Recently, Atomos released a free firmware update for its Atomos Ninja V monitor/recorder that enables ProRes RAW recording out of the Panasonic LUMIX S1H’s HDMI port. It allows you to record 5.9K resolution (5888 x 3312) 16:9 mode in 23.98p and 29.97p in NTSC and 25p in PAL using the entire full-frame sensor of the S1H. For more information about this update, you can read our full article here.
During the cineD Virtual Show, we talked with swiss director of photography and long-time Panasonic user Matthias Bolliger. Indeed, he had a chance to challenge and test the S1H ProRes RAW external recording capabilities with the Atomos Ninja V.
During his tests, Matthias Bolliger tried to challenge the camera and the sensor in a low-light situation to evaluate noise, with hard lighting conditions for a camera. The scene he created is very contrasty, which is the perfect setup to compare the internal vs. external recording of the camera.
His side by side test compares the 5.9K 12-bit external ProRes RAW recording on the Ninja V and the 4K 4:2:2 10-bit internal recording on the S1H. As Matthias Bolliger said, it is hard to notice a big difference between the two by eye in a situation like this with only natural lighting and big contrast.
ProRes RAW Post-Production – Linear Signal, no V-Log
Colorist Louise Temmesfeld did the post-production. As ProRes RAW is kind of new for post-production artists, this was the first time the experienced colorist put her hands on ProRes RAW footage. Also, as this format is relatively new, Louise tried color managed and un-managed workflows, both in SDR and HDR.
As Louise Temmesfeld said, the ProRes RAW signal recorded by the Atomos Ninja V and coming out of the S1H is a linear RGB signal. In short, it means that you can capture footage in V-Log picture profile internally, but not externally.
Looking at the footage, Louise Temmesfeld found out that the ProRes RAW recording was crispier, while internal V-Log recording was slightly softer.
Is ProRes RAW Worth It?
As Matthias Bolliger mentioned, it depends on what you’re doing and where you want to end. If your final product is in HD or 4K for the web, the potent internal recording capabilities of the Panasonic LUMIX S1H makes a lot of sense. Otherwise, the Atomos Ninja V and ProRes RAW capabilities unleash the full 6K potential of the S1H. You get access to more details, but there is a price to pay: a higher noise level.
Also, the S1H 4K 4:2:2 10-bit internal recording data rate is six to eight times lighter than the ProRes RAW 12-bit external recording. It means that file sizes are smaller, it takes less storage space, and files are much easier to process. In ProRes RAW, a 1TB SSD will get you around 45 minutes of recording time.
Also, as Matthias and Louise said, the dynamic range is given by the sensor of the S1H. So, even if you record in ProRes RAW, it doesn’t expand your dynamic range, and you’re limited by what the actual sensor of the Panasonic S1H can capture. In short, it means that when the sensor clips, information is gone forever.
Did you already try the Panasonic LUMIX S1H external ProRes RAW recording on the Atomos Ninja V? Do you think it would be useful to you? Don’t hesitate to let us know in the comments below!