Sunday, October 12, 2014

Pennsylvania Elk Rut 2014 With The Panasonic GH4

I arrived in Pennsylvania Elk Country on Sunday, September 21st to find the rut going full-bore and there were several days of intense activity, but then the rut abruptly crashed on Wednesday night and Thursday was very slow.  Things were a bit better on Friday, but the rut never really took off again during the next week and good filming opportunities were difficult to find.  I went home after the morning shoot on Friday October 3rd and have not heard if there was an upswing after that.

Starting in 2012 I have made a short video each year featuring the most dramatic  video footage from that year's elk rut and today's post features the 2014 video which I just completed yesterday. All of the dramatic footage of the bulls running about and fighting was taken on the first four days of the trip.

Today I have posted the same video on both Vimeo and You Tube to show help analyze the difference between them.

Vimeo Version

You Tube Version

The video was filmed with the Panasonic GH4, with the exception of the sunset scene used in closing which was shot with a Panasonic GH3. I used the14-140mm Lumix for the scenic clips and some of the close encounters with elk, but most of the material was taken with the Canon 100-400mm L lens. The 70-200mm f 2.8 L IS II was used in some cases, most notably the shot of the bulls in velvet in the fog. The  100-300mm Lumix  was used to film the bull following cows and calves into the woods near the end of the video.  Use of the Canon lenses was made possible by the Metabones Canon EF MFT Speed Booster, which enables the GH4 to control the aperture of the Canon lenses and permits image stabilization to be used. An added benefit is that it increases the maximum aperture of the lens making the 70-200mm f2.8 a f2.0 and the 100-400 f4.5-5.6 becomes f 3.2-f4.0, which is a big help in low light. The bad news is that it does not support auto-focus with the Canon lenses.

GH4   fitted with external mike, video cage external monitor.and Canon 70-200mm f2.8L IS II Lens Note Metabones Adapter at rear of lens
This video is the first I have made that was shot in what is commonly referred to as 4K, although it is actually Ultra-HD (UHD)which has a frame size of 3840x2160 versus the 4096x2160 of true 4K and the 1920X1080 of full HD.  As few, including me, have 4K TVs to view this on some might ask what the benefit is of using this technology at present? There are several valid reasons,

4K edited on a 1080P time line supposedly yields a better 1080P finished product than using 1080P original footage.  Another advantage and the one perhaps most important to me is the ability to crop the footage substantially in post production and still maintain a 1080P or more resolution.  Of almost equal importance is that 4K is the immediate future of video and it is likely that the trend will continue through 6K and eventually 8K, etc.  Shooting 4K now means that one's footage will hopefully retain commercial value for a longer period of time.

Unfortunately the advantage is not visible on Vimeo.  I rendered the file to 1080P, but when the upload was complete a message came up that it was advisable to allow Vimeo to convert the clip to 720P so that it would play better for those that have a slow internet connection and I permitted it to do so. The clip was uploaded at full 1080P to You Tube.  Be sure to selected that playback setting for best quality.  If it gives problems with playing back smoothly, allow it to play through once while you are doing something else and then play it again and it should go better. This is a major reason that I hesitate to post a lot of video.

Originally published at Pennsylvania Wildlife Photographer by Willard Hill.