[00:00:00] In my last video on the LUMIX BS1H, I mentioned that I have five LUMIX BGH1s in my studio and I promise to do a video explaining why and how they’re being used — and the truth is it’s actually six in here. I OWN five of them. I have one that is on loan to me from Panasonic as a LUMIX Ambassador, so I have the one that they gave me but then I bought five more and in this video, I’m gonna explain why.
[00:00:28] First, I’ll explain well five cameras, then I’ll explain why they’re all the same although that’s probably pretty obvious, and then I’ll explain why the BGH1 specifically. Let’s get into it.
[00:00:40] Five cameras of course means MultiCam. Why MultiCam? Well, let’s start with that. The way that I like to shoot, I like to shoot with multiple cameras running at once and I suppose at the end of the day, you say, well, “who doesn’t”? But a lot of videos you see on YouTube are A-roll of a person talking to the camera and then B-roll inserts of whatever product or thing they’re talking about. And that’s a great way to work, absolutely but the way that I personally prefer to work is to be able to record everything at once because I never know if I’m gonna pick something up and do something with it and I — you know, I’d rather just have everything recording at one time.
[00:01:12] This is obviously a luxury and it’s not something that every YouTuber needs to go out and start doing but this is a great way to work if you can do it. It also kinda hearkens back to my days of doing things live. For those of you who’ve been around on the channel for a long time, you know that I used to do everything live and to do something live, you obviously had to have multiple camera angles. There’s no B-roll insert for that and so, I just got used to working that way and I really like to work that way for all of my productions. And that means it’s not just YouTube. YouTube is not the only thing that I do in here by a long shot. Just look at my subscriber account! Obviously, this isn’t all supported by this YouTube channel.
[00:01:48] I do a lot of commercial work in here as well and the five cameras allow me to do specific things for some of my clients that just works out that way. So, that’s five. So, what are the five? Well, right here there’s two camera angles; there’s the wide shot and the tight shot. So, let’s talk first about those. Why two camera angles here?
[00:02:06] This comes down to one simple thing; I personally, for my channel — not criticizing anybody else’s channel — for my channel, I despise jump cuts. I don’t like having jump cuts at my footage. So, if I’m shooting something and I wanna cut something out of it — so if I’m shooting something and I wanna cut something out of it — so if I’m shooting something and I wanna cut something out of it — I can’t do that without a jump cut unless there’s a second camera angle. That second angle allows me to cut that much more cleanly.
[00:02:36] Now, not to say that it’s always perfect, not to say that sometimes you can’t tell something’s been cut out but it allows for a much cleaner transition and that again, is just the way that I like to edit. I even have clients who will refuse anything I give them that has a jump cut in it. So, it’s part of that. It’s just the way that I like to work and it’s the way that I like to edit. So, that’s why these two angles.
[00:02:56] Then, there’s the top down. That’s pretty obvious if you’re doing any kind of product shot. It’s very handy to have a top down for that and then there’s a close-up over here and this is a roaming close-up. It’s on a tripod with wheels that allows me to put it wherever I like and of course, that allows me to focus on whatever I need that’s on my desk.
[00:03:11] The fifth one is an over-the-shoulder. It’s normally over there but it’s actually here in my hand right now and this one I use a lot less but when I’m doing something where I need to see this side of something — let’s say I’m doing a camera demo and I’ve got a Atomos recorder on here and I wanna be able to show the front of the camera and the back where the display is at the same time — then that’s the kind of thing I would use that for.
[00:03:33] Now, this front moving camera is dual purpose. For, again, those who’ve watched the channel before, you know that I have multiple sets in here. This is my primary set but just over there, just about 30 degrees off of camera facing the opposite direction, is another set. That’s one that I use for most of my ATEM videos. And the camera that’s over here, I can simply spin around, roll into place, and that becomes the primary camera for that shot.
[00:03:56] Then, this camera, the over-the-shoulder one, is normally mounted on a quick release plate and I can pop that off of there and put it on as an overhead on that set. So, that set is usually Just a two-camera setup whereas this one is typically a five-camera setup. But ultimately, if I need to, of course, I can take any camera down and move it around wherever I like but for the most part, I try to keep them all in place.
[00:04:16] So, that’s why five cameras. That’s why I have five cameras here and… could I use another one? Well, sure. I mean, obviously, why not? But the five definitely does it. Now, I said there’s actually six; there is one more and that is in my office. That is the one that works as a webcam for Zoom calls and things like that but it’s also where I do all of my live shows and where I do any software-based demos. So, if you’ve watched the video on this channel where I’m demoing software, odds are it was recorded in that room and then that BGH1 that’s on there is recording that. So, that’s how the whole thing works together.
[00:04:48] Okay, now why five of the same? I think that one’s pretty obvious. If you have five of the same camera, it’s easier for setup because every camera has the same menu system but also they all look the same. You have the same look coming out of each camera. If I had a Canon and a Nikon and a Sony and a LUMIX in here, making them all match would be pretty difficult. This way, they’re all the same.
[00:05:09] Now, they could all just be LUMIX cameras and they would all look very similar but by having the exact same camera, they have the same look. Now, granted, with different lenses on each camera, there is potential for a slight change in looks between the different shots. But for the most part, it’s the same. It looks consistent enough that it all works out great. And before I had these five cameras in here, it was a mishmash. I had a couple of GH5s and a couple of G9s and then I’d bring in maybe a GH4 for fifth angle when I needed that.
[00:05:36] So, having the five exact same cameras certainly does make things a bit cleaner and easier, And next, let’s get into why the BGH1 specifically. The most important part of this. There’s a lot of reasons, but the number one reason by far, above all, the number one reason is network connectivity. It is this right here. This little port. See that? The LAN port? This allows me to connect the cameras and control them over the network and this is phenomenal. Let me show you this.
[00:06:08] This is LUMIX Tether from MultiCam and this is where I control all of the cameras. Now, before your head explodes and you say, “Wait a second, that is a Mac. Why am I looking at a Windows interface here?” Allow me to explain. When the LUMIX Teather from MultiCam app was first out, it wasn’t that reliable on a Mac. I was having troubles connecting to all the cameras simultaneously and so, I ended up investing in just a cheap PC, a little NUC that sits in my rack over here and accessing the cameras over that, and that was just a much more reliable interface.
[00:06:38] Now the software works great on a Mac, so there’s really no need for it. However, I do still really like having a dedicated computer to control the cameras and here’s why — I can connect to the cameras from any computer but I can only connect to them from one computer at a time. So, if I have, let’s say my laptop here connected to the cameras and then I’m in my office and I wanna control them from there, I would have to come out here and disconnect the laptop and go in there and reconnect to that. Plus, it takes time to establish the connection each time you wanna do that.
[00:07:06] So, by having a computer that is running that software connected to the cameras full time, whenever I want to access the cameras, I simply launch a screen sharing app. I’m using something called Jump Desktop. Jump works phenomenal. It’s cross platform, obviously, and it allows me to access that PC from my Mac or even from my iPad which is pretty slick. So, I can be on my iPad accessing the cameras as well. It just adds to that level of flexibility. Obviously, not required but it’s how I’m doing it. So, that’s why we’re looking at a PC right now.
[00:07:34] Okay, up here on the top left, you’ll see a list of all the cameras that are online. If I select one here — the BGH1 in the office — you will see my office setup. You see it takes a couple of moments to switch over to it but once it’s switched over, I’m now controlling that camera. Let’s go back to the main wide camera; the one we’re looking at here… and there. Now, we’re looking at this main wide camera.
[00:07:54] So, you’ll see over here that we’ve got a bunch of controls over the camera itself. I can obviously see a live view of what the camera is seeing and then I have some additional controls that are unique from the software. So, let’s just start with a quick tour of this panel. This is the Camera panel where I can access all the different cameras. I can sleep individual cameras, and then there’s this check box down here “All Cameras”.
[00:08:14] If I enable that and then click Record, it will start recording in all cameras simultaneously. So right there, that is a huge feature. That is absolutely awesome. I’m not actually using that feature though. I will explain later on how I’m doing the recording but I’m not recording internally on these cameras. I’ll explain that in a bit.
[00:08:33] Back to here, let’s take a look at this panel where I have control over everything like your custom mode settings, your aperture, shutter speed, ISO, white balance, and so-on as you would expect from the back, or the top, of any camera. So, this is basically those direct on-camera controls; but here they are in software. Over on the right, I can access the full menu system of the camera… and this. Is. SWEET. To be able to access everything that the camera can do as if I was standing at the camera from the system is phenomenal.
[00:09:01] This whole thing here is what makes these cameras so great. This is why I love using them in the studio because I have complete control from here. Now, I can do anything I would normally do in the camera from here but from this panel itself, I have a couple of specific controls. The two that I’m most concerned with are “White Set” and “One Shot Auto Focus”. Let’s start with White Set.
[00:09:20] This allows me to do a custom white balance from here by holding up a white card here and setting it in software. When you multiply this by five cameras, you see how quickly this becomes awesome. Let me show you how this works. I’m actually gonna set the white balance first off of my blue shirt so that it’s wrong and now you can see that incorrect white balance. Now, I pick up my white card here and go back White Set and click — by the way, you should be seeing an eye dropper but because of the screen sharing software, it comes through as just the mouse. Anyway, I click on there and now it’s set the white balance based off of this. I can repeat that for each camera angle; the top down, the close-ups and so on and that makes getting my white balance really easy.
[00:10:01] What I used to have to do before doing this was… I would take clamps, clamp, get another one, clamp this here, maybe put it up on a box to get it in the middle of the frame, and run to that side of the camera, do the white balance, come back and, you know, real tedious, but this is a much better way to do it. So, that’s one of the big things.
[00:10:19] Then there’s this 1 Shot AF. Now, before any of you start giggling about auto focus in the LUMIX cameras, let me explain what I’m doing here. I don’t like auto focus on the main cameras. I don’t care how good the auto focus is, I won’t use it. I don’t want the camera to decide to change focus because I, even, just do this kind of movement. I don’t want the whole set going in and out of focus as I move. It’s unnecessary. I’m, for the most part, in a locked position. I want a single plane of focus.
[00:10:47] Now, the other cameras, the overhead and the close-up, those are auto focus and so you can see here, if we look at the overhead camera, this is set to auto focus. If I bring it up closer here, it’s gonna lock into focus on that. If we look at the close-up, you can see the close-up is auto focus there as I move that a little bit closer, spin that around, whatever; that is auto focus.
[00:11:06] It may not be the best auto focus on the market but it is getting better with every iteration and the BGH1s are doing a great job for this particular use case. So, back to this one-touch auto focus. You can see down here that the camera is set to manual focus and my focus box is in the middle. Let me step out of the way and hit one shot auto focus and it’s going to focus on that background there and you can see the focus peaking on screen that shows that the background’s in focus but I am not.
[00:11:32] Now, with me back in position, I click that again and it focuses on me and I’m gonna do that before I start every production just in case maybe the table moved, or I’m sitting a little bit closer or farther — I always do that before every shot. That’s how I set that up. So, that’s the other thing in there. There’s some other controls within the software but those are the primary things. But there’s another feature of the BGH1 that is extremely important to me and that is Synchro Scan.
[00:11:57] Synchro Scan is the ability to set your shutter angle in 1 degree increments. Normally, if we look at the shutter angle settings for a camera, it is gonna default to something like jumping from 180 to 216 to 240 and so on. If I wanted a shutter angle of 195, I couldn’t do it in here. Why would that matter? Well, let me show you. Let me switch over to the top down camera and I’m gonna get out a product that I do a lot of demos of; the ATEM.
[00:12:26] As you can now see, both in the preview and in the overhead shot, we’re getting a lot of flickering. That’s because the light LED system is used in here is not in sync with a 29.97 180° shutter angle. So, I need to change that. The shutter angle that happens to work — and this is after a lot of trial and error — the shutter angle that happens to work with the ATEM Minis when you’re shooting at 29.97 is 221°. So, what I need to do is go into the menu system, and I’ll enable Synchro Scan, and by default, it’s at 180° and I’ll go ahead and change that to 221°.
[00:13:07] You can see the wave getting less and less and then at 221°, it stops moving. So at this point, I would actually need to adjust my exposure a little bit to make it perfectly balanced but if I’m doing a shot of the ATEM, then this is what I do. I gotta set my shutter angle to 221° and by having all the cameras being able to do that, I can set them all to the same shutter angle. It used to be that I had two GH5s which I could set custom shutter angle on but also two G9s, which I couldn’t, and so I was always trying to arrange one camera so that it couldn’t see the flickering buttons and you might see the some of my earlier videos where you do see some of the flicker on there.
[00:13:46] That to me is just unacceptable. So, that’s why I love that about that. So, that’s just one of the other features that is fantastic on the BGH1. Alright, let me explain a little bit about the actual recording setup, ‘cause I mentioned that I’m not shooting in-camera. Now, this does go back to the larger live setup that is what this studio is but I’m using some hardware that I’ve had for a long time to integrate everything together in a way that’s a little bit unique and I think really really cool and allows me some immense flexibility.
[00:14:14] So first of all, this ATEM — this ATEM Extreme ISO — while it’s the newest ATEM on the market, I’m actually using a much older one called the ATEM 2 M/E, which is a 4K capable and I think it’s like 20 input ATEM switcher. It’s big. And I have all the cameras in the studio routing into that ATEM switcher. Then I have a bank of six HyperDeck Mini recorders. These are ProRes Ultra HD 29.97 recorders and I’ve got a bank of six of them in the rack and I can take any of the video input going into the ATEM and route those into the HyperDecks so I can choose which camera gets fed into which HyperDeck.
[00:14:49] So what I do is instead of recording in-cameras, is I do all the recording to ProRes in the HyperDecks. I can then access the HyperDecks over the network so I can copy files over the network from the decks straight to my computer instead of popping SD cards. Now, truth be told, it’s slow because the HyperDecks are only 100 megabit. The new ones are gigabit, so I’m very seriously considering upgrading all of those. If I have a big long shot, then I will probably pop the cards out anyway but for a lot of shorter pieces, I just copy them over the network or if time is not an issue, then I’ll do that.
[00:15:18] So, that’s the setup. That’s the “why I have five” and again, why they’re all the same, (pretty obvious), but why specifically five BGH1s. The network accessibility, the ability to control the thing over the network is absolutely huge. The convenience of doing things like white balance and focus setting from the computer instead of having to run back and forth to the camera; absolutely huge. Shutter angle, for me, a necessity and then that’s just in the studio work.
[00:15:44] Honestly, since I’ve had these, I’ve been using them more and more in the field. You know, this is the BGH1. We just launched the LUMIX BS1H. So, putting this thing up in a cage, rigging it with a lens, it’s just — I love this setup. I really like the way this works. You know, I did the SIRUI videos recently and this is the SIRUI lenses for the Micro Four Thirds. I shot a bunch of this footage when I was in Europe. I took four or five of these in a flight case with the lenses and the Atomos recorders and everything fit in a Pelican that fit in the overhead compartment. It was — it was a fantastic setup. I just — I’m really really digging the box cameras.
[00:16:20] I’m pretty new to that whole concept but I’m absolutely in love with it now. But let me just show you the studio setup. I’ll use that front roaming camera. Spin this around… and there’s the ATEM 2 M/E. Underneath that, you’ll see a Multi View and then there’s the bank of six recorders. And if I zoom into these, you can see they’re actively recording, there’s camera A, there’s camera B, camera C, and so on. And then the two cameras themselves are… hiding over here in the shadows. There we go.
[00:16:53] Let me open up the aperture on this a little bit and you can see there’s the two primary BGH1s. One of them’s got a 42.5 millimeter Nocticron and the other’s got the 35-70/2.8 and you can see how these things are mounted. It’s actually on a super strut system that is bolted To the floor and then has the cameras and everything else attached to it.
[00:17:16] The configuration is each of the cameras has an HDMI-out running into an HDMI to SDI 4K converter, and running that SDI into the ATEM 2 M/E and if you’re wondering why not just run the SDI out of the camera — because the camera of course has HDMI and SDI — this is one of the unfortunate shortcomings of the BGH1. The SDI output is only 1080p. It doesn’t do full 4K over SDI. So that means that to get 4K into the switcher, I have to convert it.
[00:17:42] It’s unfortunate and obviously that’s something I would love to see in a future edition of this; to be able to get full 4K, 30p, or 60p over the SDI port, out of the camera. That would be great. The other shortcoming on the camera that I would love to see addressed is network access of the files. While I can control the camera over the network, I can’t actually access the files recorded to the internal SD cards over the network. That would be fantastic.
[00:18:06] As I understand it, the network port on here is actually gigabit. And so if I could access the files on the SD cards, then that might remove the need to shoot to ProRes. I mean, “the need”, but it would certainly add to the convenience level. I could simply shoot using the internal codec which is arguably extremely good and I might not even need to have ProRes — especially for what I’m doing in here in this very controlled environment — but it would certainly give me an all users that added convenience of accessing the files over the network. So, there you go.
[00:18:33] There’s all the reasons. Is it excessive? Sure, but at the end of the day, I use this for way more than YouTube. I use it for all my client production and it just makes everything easier, cleaner, faster, better, and to me, that’s worth the money that I put into it. Thanks for watching, everybody. As always, don’t forget to like, subscribe, share the video if you haven’t yet done that and I hope that you learn something from this video. I hope you enjoyed, it and I’ll see you in the next video.