In 2011 I had to use this camera for a documentary project in haiti. I did some battle testing. Here are my notes. Use at your own risk.
Panasonic HPX-370 Camera Guide
The button on the front left side of the camera accesses the menu. Use the scroll wheel to navigate and select options.
When in doubt… Underexpose the image. This camera has no dynamic range. Overexposed shots will clip badly and bleed. Be especially careful shooting warm color temps. This causes a weird oversaturated clipping effect. You can dial down the auto exposure in the menu.
I use a lot of ND and always manually operate the iris.
The closeup focus sucks. I use the macro to keep shot in focus. If there isn’t room for error make sure subjects are far enough away
Both use h.264 type compression. AVC-I 100 is better but twice the file size of 50. If you really need long record times use 50
File Size: 50 mb/s
Pixel Aspect: ¾ Horz Scale
Chroma Sample: 4:2:0
Encoding: CABAC (more compression, requires more computer)
File Size 100 mb/s
Pixel Aspect Square
Chroma Sample: 4:2:2
Encoding: CAVLC (less compress, requires less computer power)
Pixel Aspect Ratios
AVC-I 100 is square. AVC-I 50 are horizontally scaled by ¾.
1920x1080 is scaled to 1440x1080
1280x720 is scaled to 960x720 (this is vital when creating graphics).
You may need special software to properly transfer the footage. I used the FCP7 “log and transfer” to transcode AVC-Intra files to ProRes.
SYSTEM SETTINGS (MENU)
Style — System — Rec Format — Cam Mode— Rec Frame
Film Look— 1080 59.94i —AVC-I 100 (or 50) 24 PN —24 P —24fps
Video Look— 1080 59.94i —AVC-I 100 (or 50) 30 PN— 30 P— 30fps
NOTE: The camera can only play back clips that were recorded with the camera’s current settings. To play clips with the camera you must change the camera settings to match the clips and do a restart.
That rotating dial with the numbers on it. This is how the image is processed or how it will look.
Default Scene Files
F1 “Scene” Normal
F2 “Fluo” Fluorescent shoot
F3 “Spark” SD Shooting
F4 “B-Str” Increase Shadow Contrast (sunsets)
F5 “Cine-V” Movie Gamma with contrast
F6 “Cine-D” Movie Gamma with Dynamic Range
Scene Files I use
F1 “Scene” — This is the standard shooting mode.
F5 “Cine-V” — Good cinema look for a quick project that won’t have heavy post effects
F6 “Cine-D” — Great baseline “Cinema Gamma” look but leaves dynamic range for color-grading in post.
ADDITIONAL FEATURES & NOTES
For long shoots video can span between cards. The cards are hot swappable so in theory you have and unlimited recording time but in pratics this is bullshit. I find this feature adds complexity to my work-flow and can fuck everything up. I only shoot with one card in the camera at a time.
Use the menu to turn Pre-Record “ON”. You can assign this feature to one of the free “user” buttons. It only work in certain video modes including 24p
Hold the “RET” button on lens to review 10sec. Tap “RET” for 10sec I think???
In “SW Mode” assign “Shot Mark” to a user button. Push again to undo.
The included mic is garbage. Throw it away.