E-M5 – BTS VIDEO
– This post is the Behind The Scenes (BTS) story of how we did the OM-D E-M5 videos with some tech details on the video functions
– This is an enthusiast review, my notes and honest opinion on the video capabilities of the OM-D E-M5
– In this post, I will try to cover every point through my brief filming experience with the E-M5
– I’m not a filmmaker, though it’s part of my interests, which would lead this post as part of my learning experience
– p/s: I love cameras of all sorts and constantly indulge myself in visual arts
Of Numerous Posts…
This section is dedicated as a reply to enquiries received on the E-M5 videos. Firstly, yes, all of the OM-D E-M5 videos including teasers we’re filmed using only the E-M5 and M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 12-50mm F3.5-6.3 EZ. The BTS video was also done solely with the E-M5. This means that we had 3 units which was the only available arsenal in Malaysia. Mystery solved.
… The Concept
We wanted to create a video showing the capabilities of the 5-Axis IS of the E-M5 which is also packed with full HD features. The idea was to film entirely hand-held and I didn’t even put on a camera strap in which it would have worked to my advantage of further stabilizing the camera while filming.
We wanted to keep it as raw as possible to ultimately come up with an unbiased review.
To throw a curveball into the equation, we filmed entirely without any camera support equipment on the ground (Teaser 01). Though a monopod was used in the videos, it was only to give leverage in angles. The other twist was to film entirely with the M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 12-50mm F3.5-6.3 EZ kit lens (kit lens depending on your locality)
Since Robin was going out to test the photo functions, it was the perfect opportunity to film and combine our reviews as a collaborative effort. After all, we’re passionate about photography and still hold on to our daily 9 – 6 jobs.
We only had a weekend of actual filming, with our boots on the ground, we found ourselves running.
The Outlook and Camera Handling…
I must admit that holding onto any bare camera isn’t easy, even more when without a camera strap or the HLD-6 (Power Battery Holder). We transported the E-M5 in a sling bag, holding onto the monopod when mounted and the lens when carrying around. Dropping the E-M5 in any event would have been a disaster and we had to be of extreme alertness at all times.
Though we filmed throughout the entire weekend, starting as early and finishing as late as possible, handling the video mode was a breeze. As easy as compose, focus and hit the red button to record. Holding the E-M5 like any conventional DSLR and even with just one hand like a compact, keeping the IS1 turned on at all times to ensure best results in every shooting condition.
The camera handled well as a hand-held unit with much stability and comfort through long filming hours.
On using a monopod to leverage on angles, depending on how you mount the E-M5 onto the monopod will give you full advantage of view of the flip screen. This is via trial and error. Of course, I discovered this while being limited to flip the screen out entirely.
The E-M5 is packed with HD movie recording with the resolution of 1920(H) x 1080(V) and 30p (29.97fps). We filmed only in this format (.MOV being the output file) with the IS-1 turned on all throughout the filming period.
The 5-Axis IS certainly blew me over the moon. We’ve walked up and down stairs, dodged humans and traffic, trailed Robin while walking, filmed in dark locations, panned, swept, laughed and giggled while filming and still managed to get steady shots.
While recording, I realized that there wasn’t an audio indicator as conventional 3CCD cameras comes with a built-in headphone jack but a quick file preview to check the audio left me confident to continue filming.
… Screen, EVF, Battery Life and AF
Throughout the entire production, I relied entirely on the screen. This is to ensure that we’re getting everything that we wanted framed within the screen. Working through the viewfinder could prove to be hazardous while working on the streets and populated areas. The screen also gave much leverage on low and high angles. This way, I could keep an eye on the rushes while another on oncoming traffic. At one point of filming, the EFV got fogged up and the screen was left entirely blank. But there’s a working option to turn off the EVF sensor to fully being dependent on the screen.
For any filmmaker, battery life would be a concern. From a full charge worked about 7 hours of continuous filming with much breaks in between. Uniquely for our videos, we were going for short clips for the final edit and I conserved battery as much as possible during breaks in between.
The AF style is similar to the photography mode. If you’re used to taking pictures, the AF is an advantage is selecting your style. Though I filmed almost entirely using S-AF, I used the AF-Tracking mode for the insect and trailing / walking shots. Once again, I composed and locked the AF before recording.
At this point, we’re snowed under working up to 4am at almost every night for two weeks because this camera is way too incredible to keep a secret.
All post works we done in my ‘home office’, which is a small room with a relatively powerful computer. Once I’ve selected the shots and music for the rough cut, Robin and I worked together in firming up the script. We then recorded the Voice Over (VO) via connecting the Olympus-ME31 and SEMA1 to the E-M5.
We then placed in transitions, credits, VO and background music, rendered and exported as an .FL4 to be uploaded to YouTube using Adobe Premier Pro (CS4)
Though I’ve had this software bundled quiet sometime ago, I’ve hardly worked on it apart from using it to only convert files from various cameras.
Recap – My Likes & Some Room for Improvements
The idea of working the E-M5 entirely handheld was to challenge the new 5-Axis IS. Honestly… it’s remarkable (and I’m still over the moon). Since we had a very short production window, we worked in locations we’re familiar with to give us the upper hand with time.
A good start for anyone who is interested in videography. The E-M5 could work as your backup unit (depending on your current recording file format) and even as a BTS camera. Even if you’re into family vacation videos, this one unit will give you amazing photo and HD video quality output.
Apart from that, it’s compact doesn’t draw as much attention when using larger cameras to film.
This is certainly a huge improvement from my AVCCAM which is a semi HD and cost 4 times more than the E-M5. The E-M5 is also much less complicated to function and gained more points with me for its new IS.
We’ve got crisp surround audio from the E-M5. Samples are on the CAUGHT sections. In other filming scenarios such as an indoor conference, it would be an advantage to mount a directional microphone on the camera itself. An output headphone jack would also be another plus point and usually in these situations, I would also like to monitor the audio levels on the screen while filming.
To my wife : For assisting us in every way imaginable throughout the entire production and bearing with my crazy schedule all throughout. Thank you for your understanding, support and loving kindness.
Olympus Malaysia: For the opportunity in realizing our passions lived. For all your support in loaning us the gear even at last minute requests. Your time spent with us listening to our ideas. Your trust in us – no cameras was harmed. We did get a couple of units soaked but I guess its all good.
Robin Wong: For your efforts, your secrets and all the blog posts. You’re truly an amazing person to work with the passion and the right attitude in facing new challenges.
Silent scenery: Though we’ve not personally met, you’re an awesome bunch. Thank you for allowing us to use your music voluntarily for it has given our videos a kick and a punch. ROCK ON you guys.
The world: To all photographers/artists that has shared your works online and in magazines. Cheers to you for the inspiration, motivation, your innovation and contribution to the industry.
Friends (my brothers and sisters): For keeping me going.
To everyone that had viewed, read, commented, liked, responded… thank you.
Note to self… “Can you do post production?” Well, I understand the concept & I can learn.