[00:00:00] What is Open Gate and why should you care? Imagine a shot like, well, this one — standard 16:9 footage. Now, imagine that you have to cut a vertical version of this for Instagram or TikTok. That means you have to crop off the sides — over two thirds of your original image. This is getting a little bit cramped. But what if you didn’t have to crop quite as much off the sides? And what if you could UN-crop the top and the bottom of the shot; wouldn’t that be a bit better? Of course it would.
[00:00:33] So, what are we looking at here? Well, this is the original shot, captured in Open Gate mode on the LUMIX GH6. So again, what exactly is Open Gate? Let’s get in to it.
[00:00:44] The idea here is pretty simple and I really have to thank YouTuber Tyler Stalman for bringing awareness back to this concept. In his LUMIX GH6 review, he said:
[00:00:54] “What I’ve really fallen in love with is having an almost square sensor. I don’t want to go back to my 16:9 video ratios of my Canon cameras when I could have Open Gate 4:3 video. It is superior in every way and I’ll explain why if it’s not totally obvious.”
[00:01:13] This feature was actually available in the LUMIX GH5 but it just wasn’t talked about that much. As you’re probably aware, the sensors in your digital cameras are either a 4:3 or a 3:2 aspect ratio. 4:3 for Micro Four Thirds and 3:2 for most full frame or APS-C sensors.
[00:01:29] However, when you’re shooting video, most cameras will crop off the top and the bottom of that sensor, giving you just a 16:9 or 17:9 view. However, what the LUMIX GH6 can do is record the ENTIRE sensor — the full 4:3 aspect ratio, allowing you to crop into that sensor in post, cropping into your 16:9 or 17:9 or even 9:16 or square aspect ratio. In fact, the GH6 captures 5,760 pixels wide by 4,320 pixels tall in a 5.8K mode. Check out how that crops.
[00:02:03] This box represents the full 5.8K image, and here is a 16:9 Ultra HD, 3840 by 2160 crop. You have a ton of reframing and punching in options without scaling up. And of course, you can scale down meaning that this is what your maximum crop would look like.
[00:02:19] Now let’s go vertical. Most vertical deliverables are 1080 by 1920. So the reframing options are practically obscene. But even if you wanted to deliver a 4K vertical, here’s a 2160 by 3840 crop. But if you use the full vertical height in 9:16, then here’s what you get. There is full width, 16:9 and full height, 9:16. Check out the overlap.
[00:02:41] When shooting Open Gate for 16:9 and 9:16 deliverables, this much of your scene can be common between framings. Compare that to a 16:9 starting point where the only common footage is this tiny little strip with no room to grow vertically.
[00:02:55] If you’re looking at your GH6 and can’t find the Open Gate mode, that’s because it’s not actually called that. It’s actually called Anamorphic Mode and let me show you how to find it.
[00:03:05] I’ll go ahead and put my camera into the Movie Mode and then jump into the menu. Navigate to the Camera menu and then under Record Quality; you’re looking for the ones labeled “Anamorphic”. As far as the industry is concerned, this is called Open Gate.
[00:03:19] To easily find them, go into the filtering, Filter by Resolution and choose a 4:3 aspect ratio. You’ll notice there’s both 5.8K and 4.4K. We’ll leave it at 5.8. You can see that there’s two results. Press Display for OK and now you have the two options — 5.8K, 5760×4320 and a 4:3 aspect ratio at either 29.97 or 23.98.
[00:03:44] You can also set guides on screen to help you frame your shot. Go into the Frame Markers. Go to Set and then choose a frame aspect ratio. I’ll set this to 16:9. Choose a frame color. I quite like the blue, and you can also choose to mask the footage outside of the guides, but I’ll leave that off. With that set, I’ll go ahead and enable it and this is what you see — a 16:9 frame guide within my 4:3 crop. I can change that of course.
[00:04:13] Let’s go and go back to Set and change the ratio to a 9:16 and here’s what that would look like. Of course, you can set this to any aspect ratio you want including square, but even to custom, where you can set any width, or height, and even position, that you like.
[00:04:33] Incidentally, the GH6 isn’t the only LUMIX camera that can do this. You can also shoot Open Gate, as I said earlier, on the GH5 but it’s also supported on the new GH5 Mark II, and if you want to shoot Open Gate in full frame, you can do that on the LUMIX S1H. Now, the S1H is a 3:2 aspect ratio, so it’s not quite as ideally suited for the 9:16 crop but you’d be shooting in full frame.
[00:04:57] Also, there’s only one other camera that I know of on the market and anywhere near this price point that has these features. If you want to see all the different formats that these cameras can shoot at in Open Gate mode, then pause the video on the chart that’s coming up right here.
[00:05:16] Now that we know what Open Gate is, let’s see it in action. I want to tell you about a project that I shot. I’ll show you the camera rig that I shot it with, some of the original footage, and then I’ll show you how I edited this in DaVinci Resolve.
[00:05:28] Blue Toba is a local Indonesian restaurant and one of my favorites in town. I offered to shoot something for their social media so I could put this system to the test. My goal was to deliver to them both 16:9 and 9:16 video and of course to have something to show you guys. So let’s start with the camera setup.
[00:05:47] The rigging was pretty cool here. I shot with the LUMIX GH6, of course, in the new SmallRig GH6 cage. The lenses I used are from this MEIKE collection. I probably used half of these throughout the day. I love working with these lenses and want to shoot more of them. What would you like to see film with these? Let me know in the comments and be sure to subscribe so you don’t miss the next video I make with these.
[00:06:07] Focusing the geared MEIKE lenses was controlled with the Tilta Nucleus Nano, and audio was captured to four channels internally on the GH6. I used the XLR1 and put a pair of Sennheiser AVX receivers on it capturing to channels one and two, putting a mic on each the chef and his assistant. I also had a shotgun mic mounted on the camera to record ambient audio which went to channels three and four in the camera.
[00:06:32] I maintained time code sync between the GH6 and the three b-roll BGH1 cameras that I had rolling with Atomos UltraSync ONE time code devices and monitored while shooting on this Desview high NIT monitor.
[00:06:44] For the one tripod interview scene, I used this cool SmallRig head that features an Arca-Swiss mount that matches the bottom of the GH6 cage. The interview was lit with a single light; this FJ Westcott Flex LED, and I had a couple of Nanlite PavoTubes that are rigged with magnets to quickly attach to metal surfaces in the kitchen for fill lights on many of the shots.
[00:07:04] Finally, this was all captured to a ProGrade CFexpress Type B card. Just one card — because it’s a terabyte! We shot for a couple of hours mainly focusing on a single dish called Rendang. I captured a lengthy monologue from Chef Birong and we ended up editing that down to just few minutes talking primarily about that famous Rendang dish.
“Everybody grew up eating Rendang”.
[00:07:26] Now, let’s talk about editing: What is the right way to edit a project like this? Well, okay, maybe there’s no “right” way but there’s a couple different options and I’ll show you the way that I like to do it, but let’s go through the different choices.
[00:07:37] You could start editing in 16:9 just like any other normal project and then when you’re done, replicate that and change the settings to 9:16 and reframe everything. And that would certainly work, but I think the problem with doing that is every time you drop your 4:3 shots onto a 16:9 timeline, you’re looking at it from the perspective of a 16:9 crop and so you may not necessarily be thinking about its future as 9:16.
[00:08:02] Whereas if you edit it in its 4:3 native aspect ratio, then every single shot that you drop on the timeline, you’re seeing the whole thing – not cropped to 16:9, but the whole shot – and you can visualize for every shot you add in whether this is going to work in both a wide and a vertical crop, or not. So, I think that’s a better way to work. Again, it’s up to you but that’s how I’m doing it.
[00:08:21] So, let me show you how I’ve got this project set up in DaVinci Resolve. You can do the same thing in Final Cut or Premiere; I’m using Resolve. First of all, here is the finished or nearly finished project. I’ll go into the timeline settings and here we’ll see the different options that are set up. First of all, the Timeline Resolution is set to 5760 by 4320. That is the native resolution of the clips.
[00:08:42] Under the Monitor tab, I have it set to Ultra HD because I’m using an Atomos Neon Ultra HD reference monitor. And then under Output, things get a little bit tricky here. You’ll notice I’ve disabled this Use Timeline Settings for Output Scaling. If I leave that on, then what we’re going to see on my reference monitor is a cropped version of the image. You’re not going to see the full 4:3 aspect ratio and I do want to see the full 4:3. But the native resolution of this clip is much too big for this monitor to display. It’s bigger than 4K.
[00:09:11] So, what I need to do is tell the Output tab – and yes, the “Output tab” – to scale it down. Now, I realize this makes no sense and I’ve talked to Resolve experts about this and they assure me this is the way it works and then it’s kind of a weird thing in Resolve but it’s the way you have to do it.
[00:09:26] You have to set the Output tab to reflect what you want to see on your reference monitor. Now, this would mess up your actual output because it would render it at the settings that I’m about to punch in but that doesn’t actually matter because I’m never going to render this clip out at its full resolution. This stage is just for editing.
[00:09:43] So, for me, it’s important to be able to see it in the full native aspect ratio on my reference monitor. If you’re not using a reference monitor, then stage doesn’t matter but let me show you what you have to do. Under Output, I change the timeline resolution to Custom and then I need to set this no bigger than my external reference monitor. So, the vertical height is 2160. Okay, so that’s 2160, what is this number supposed to be? Well, it’s just math.
[00:10:06] Remember, the native aspect ratio is 5760 by 4320. Well, 4320 divided by 2160 is 2. So, we’re literally at half of the resolution. Okay, 5760 divided by 2. 5760 divided by 2 is 2880. So, that is the number I need to punch in here — 2880 by 2160 and that’s what I have set up and now if we look at this project on the timeline, we’ll actually see it in its native 4:3 aspect ratio both in the canvas and on the external reference monitor.
[00:10:37] So, this stage is just editing. Just edit like you normally would and what I would say is probably don’t punch into any of the shots. You could certainly crop into shots and scale them at this stage but you probably shouldn’t because you are going to be doing that later and why punch into something now that you may not realize you punched into when you’re doing your final actual crop at 16:9 or 9:16. So, just leave ‘em alone, edit as you normally would, and then once you’re done, duplicate this project.
[00:11:01] I’m going to go ahead and duplicate that timeline and then rename it. We’ll call it “16:9” and then go into the timeline settings again. Now, I can set this up like a regular project. Timeline resolution is in my case Ultra HD. Of course, if you’re just working in a HD, you can set that there as well. Our monitor setting is still Ultra HD and under Output, I can go ahead and re-enable this setting everything back to the default Ultra HD.
[00:11:27] There’s one more thing I need to change though and that’s under Format. At the bottom, it says, Mismatched Resolution; “what do you want to do with it?”. The default is probably going to be “Scale entire image to fit” and what that means is the entire 4:3 image will be scaled down to fit into this 16:9 timeline. Meaning, you’re going to have pillar boxes on the side.
[00:11:45] Now, the advantage of this is that will still see the entire shot and so you know exactly what you’re working with for each shot but I think at this point, you know it’s going to have to scale up to fill that frame. At least you know that you’re cropping stuff off the top and bottom, so why not just let the software do that and then if you want to, you can punch in farther and of course you know that you have room on the top and the bottom to slide the shot up and down if needed.
[00:12:07] So, to do that, instead of setting it to “Scale entire image”, I’ll set it to “scale full frame with crop”. So again, it will scale to fill the frame and crop it. Click OK, open this up and now we have our 16:9 aspect ratio filling the frame and of course, also filling the frame on the reference monitor. Any shot that might need to be changed, let’s say this one here where I’m a little bit low, I can go to the position settings under Transform, grab the Y axis and move that up or down as needed. In this case, just slide that up a little bit.
[00:12:39] I go through each shot, one at a time and repeat that to get my framing right for every shot in the project. And that’s all there is to it really. For the 16:9 version, just go shot by shot, slide it up and down as needed and if you want to, you can even crop into it. Remember, our resolution is so high that we can go in up to 150% and still not lose any resolution, still not actually scale that footage up. But now let’s talk about the 9:16 version — how are we going to set that up?
[00:13:04] Well, the first choice you have to make is do you start, once again, from the 4:3 aspect ratio or do you start from the 16:9 that you just edited? You could go either way but I think if you start with the 16:9, remember you’ve now slip shots up and down, maybe even cropped in a little bit, so you’re not starting with kind of the “raw source”, if you will. So, I would say it’s probably best to start with the 4:3.
[00:13:25] So, let’s replicate this project again and then of course, change the aspect ratio to 9:16. Right click, Duplicate, rename this one 9:16, right click and once again, into the timeline settings. For this one, we’re going to have to set this to be custom. So, go ahead and put in 1080 by 1920. I want the mismatch resolution, once again, to be “scale full frame with crop”, my monitor setting can be left alone and the output setting can also be reset to use timeline settings for your output scaling.
[00:13:58] Now, this is a nice advantage of using Resolve. What I will see on my reference monitor will actually be the 9:16 crop. If you look at this Final Cut, unfortunately on the external monitor it’s going to distort it — at least if you’re using a Blackmagic card. I don’t know why, they just don’t talk to each other properly but with Resolve, when you set it up this way you’re actually going to see the proper image on the reference monitor. I’ve no idea what happens in Premier, I’m sorry.
[00:14:22] Click OK, open her up and there we have our project and its 9:16 crop. We’re seeing the crop in the canvas and of course you’re seeing it on the reference monitor as well. So once again, we now go in shot by shot and reframe it but there’s a tool in here that can automate this process that works really well for this vertical crop. You can do it in wide crop as well but it’s probably not as necessary.
[00:14:46] Resolve, along with other editors, has an automatic reframing option and the automatic reframing in Resolve works remarkably well. Of course, if you don’t like what it does, you can just reset it but it’s worth a try because it works pretty good. Let’s take a look.
[00:15:00] I’m going to jump to these two shots here. So, if we look at the shot right now, you’ll see that we have this clip of the chef dropping some meat into the pan. He’s pulling out of a bag or something. We can’t really quite see it and then here, it’s a continuation of that, a little bit wider and he steps out of frame.
[00:15:14] If we look at the entire shots — let’s just go ahead and scale this down a little bit — you’ll see, if I scrub through this, that we’ve got again his hand off to the side, you can see that he’s pulling the meat out of the bag and the bag is pretty much on the left side of the frame and then if we go to this shot and do the same thing (let me just scale that down so we can see the whole clip in here), you’ll see that chef is on the — kind of left center of the frame, and then he walks and he goes a little bit more towards the left there. Okay. So, those are the two shots we’re dealing with.
[00:15:44] Let me just select those two and reset them and with those two selected, I’m going to go here to the Smart Reframe option and with it set to Auto, just click Reframe. That’s it. It’s going to analyze those two clips and reframe them. Now, here’s the cool thing about this… it’s not just choosing a point that it thinks is interesting and cropping into that, it’s actually going to track and move the frame to follow the point of interest. It’s wild. Watch.
[00:16:11] Let’s go back to this first shot here and first of all just play through as it is. So, now we can see that we’re following his hand. Going back here, we see his hand come out of the bag and drop the meat into the pan. If I enable the transform outlines so we can see what’s actually happening, you can see that box moving side to side and in fact — let’s go ahead and zoom into this little bit and open up the keyframe editor, you’ll see that there’s multiple keyframes that Resolve is automatically added in to follow the shot along.
[00:16:37] This shot over here did the exact same thing. We’ll open this up and you can see even more keyframes here and if I just play it, you’ll see the chef is always kept in the center of the frame and if I scrub through it, you’ll see how much movement is actually happening to that clip.
[00:16:52] Now, this shot’s a little bit on the shaky side. Of course, it is handheld but I can combine this with the stabilization. So, I’ll go ahead and click on Stabilize on that shot, and play it back again and now the shot is even smoother. It’s pretty remarkable as that happened automatically.
[00:17:09] Now, at this stage, if you decide you don’t like what it’s done and you want to reset it, there’s no reset option under the Smart Reframe because all this has done is added changes to the Transform tab. So, from here, you just click on reset on Transform and now, that shot is completely reset and it’s gone back to its center crop and it’s ready to go for you to do it manually.
[00:17:27] At this point, you just do this over and over again for each shot. Again, that Smart Reframe does work remarkably well. So, I encourage you to try it out but obviously, if it doesn’t work, then, just do it by hand. That works too. So, at this point we’re done. You would output this at the 16:9 and 9:16 ratios for whatever social media platforms you’re putting these on and you’re good to go.
[00:17:46] So let’s check out what these projects look like side by side. I’ll just play a minute or so of this and you’ll see the two of them side by side so you can see how the 9:16 and the 16:9 compare to each other.
“Most of the spices that I need for Randang, I have to get them from Indonesia. It’s very basic spices that you can find in America nowadays for instance like Galangal, which is one of the roots that are very common in Indonesian cooking. Of course, ginger’s been in America for decades. The rest I have to get it from Indonesia.”
[00:18:24] If you’re shooting for your company or your clients and you need to deliver both 16:9 and 9:16 footage, then shooting in Open Gate is the obvious solution. Even if you don’t intend to deliver a vertical cut, you know that we all have a client who’s one day going to come to you and say “Hey, could you give me an Instagram edit of that?” and if you had shot Open Gate then you’d be able to deliver that without compromise.
[00:18:45] Now, yes, these larger files may be a bit more taxing on your editing system but if that’s the case, then, Proxy Files to the rescue. In fact, I edited part of this on my M1 MacBook Air using the Proxy File Workflow from DaVinci Resolve. My assistant editor is based in Europe and was able to access the same project using DaVinci Resolve 18 beta’s new cloud database.
[00:19:05] It works really, really well and if you’d like to see a video on that, let me know in the comments. Although, I do feel that there’s plenty of really, really good Resolve content on YouTube already. I really don’t need to dip my toe into that water but if you’d like to see something on that specific workflow, let me know and maybe I’ll do it.
[00:19:21] Next up, I’m going to run some of this beautiful food footage so that you can enjoy that while you’re looking for that Like and Share button. Thanks as always for watching and I’ll see you in the next video.