I was happy to silhouette and lost detail in the shadows

GH4: Cinelike V and High Contrast Dilemmas

This is another example of making an in-camera decision on how on want this shot to feel. The choice here was how should I expose here? There were a couple of options. 1) I prioritize the sky and say goodbye to detail in most of the shadows (this is what I chose!) 2) Prioritize the figure in the foreground and other foreground elements. 3) Try to find a middle ground that maintains some of the sky and some of the figure/foreground.

For me, this all comes down to taste. Some photographers/videographers like that HDR look of having detail everywhere. I prefer to use shadows and make darkness part of the shot. I think the dynamic range of the GH4 is about 10 stops. A Black Magic Pocket Camera or a Sony A7s/A7R would probably maintain a lot more detail in the shadows, even when exposing for the sky. Not just detail but clean detail, especially in the Sony. Sure I can push the shadows up a little with the GH4 footage and it will probably be good enough for a still but in motion it will most likely be unusable as it’s going to be super noisy.

One thing I’ve been doing lately is boosting the RGB values of the shadows just a touch so that there’s a hint of detail. It’s very subtle but this, combined with pushing the shadows a little bit towards blues/cyan, can result in a nice looking image. For me, it’s better than just black. Note: to compensate for vimeo and youtube compression I usually employ this effect a little more than I think is tasteful!

Here’s another example where I didn’t push the shadows as much.