Talent Feature – “Wild Namibia” on GH5, By Romain Sarret
Hi, my name is Romain Sarret, and I’m a French filmmaker working as a freelancer under the name ROMSPROD. I’m also Ambassador for Panasonic France. I make videos in the music & dance genre, as well as landscapes.
I got started in photography 20 years ago and was introduced to video when the Canon 5D Mark II came out. Then, 3 years ago, I bought a Panasonic GH4, which I loved because it finally gave me all the video functions that I missed and needed, plus a great image in 4K! But I had to learn a lot about Micro Four-Thirds, and I realised that there was very little information in French. That’s why I decided to create a French blog called BLOG GH4 FRANCE which is quite relevant as I also talk about the Panasonic GH5, which I now own. I also created a GH4/5 Facebook group for the French community, PANASONIC GH4/5 FRANCE, which is quite successful with over 2600 members.
Name and age: Romain Sarret, 40 years old.
Currently based in: Grenoble, France.
Language(s) spoken: French, English.
Occupation: Employee & Filmmaker (Freelance) & Editor.
How did you get started in our industry? 6 years ago, by myself, after buying a Canon 5D Mark II which I originally bought just for only taking photos.
Current assignments: Dance and Music videos, and Landscapes.
What types of productions do you shoot mostly? Personal landscape projects, music videos for artists and musicians.
What is your dream assignment/job in our industry, and what are you really passionate about? I would love to work as a Film Director in Hollywood and make the kind of blockbusters that always impress me. I’d say that my passion is to make great images and to transmit my vision through them, but I also love shooting video tests, and that’s why I’m happy to do it for my blog. The good thing is that it actually helps a lot of people, as they send me tons of messages of gratitude.
In the work that you are presenting us, now that it is done, what would you have done differently throughout the production? Honestly, I’m quite satisfied with the result because it really shows my experience in this area. However, I would have liked to have featured more aerial shots, which isn’t easy with the Panasonic GH5 as you need a big drone. The ones that you see in the video were made from an airplane.
What current camera, lenses and sound equipment do you use? I use a Panasonic GH5 and several lenses : Panasonic/Leica 12-60mm f/2,8-4, Panasonic/Leica 100-400mm f/4-6,3, Panasonic 12-35mm f/2,8, SLR 12mm T1,6, Sigma 18-35mm f/1,8, Canon 70-200mm f/2,8. Audio is taken with a Zoom H6 and Rode NTG2.
The Panasonic GH5 is a great camera because it offers a LOT of functions. However, it can be annoying at the beginning if you don’t know what to setup and how. In fact, the best way to use the GH5 is to choose great lenses like 2 good zooms (the Panasonic 12-35mm and 35-100mm f/2.8 will cover almost every situation), but also several primes with a large maximum aperture in order to be able to shoot in wide open. This is very important with a smaller sensor such as this in order to get more light as well as get a shallower depth of field for a more cinematic look. The good thing about the Micro Four-Thirds format, though, is that lenses are cheaper.
You chose to shoot your project with the Panasonic GH5 in Cinelike-D mode. Why did you choose it over V-Log, what was your workflow, and were you happy with the results? I love Cinelike-D and I know how to color grade it quickly, so I chose it for safety reasons. When I bought the GH4, I spent a lot of time testing it in order to decide which profile I would choose, and my findings are still valid with the GH5. I chose Cinelike-D for my outside shots, a profile I really like because when I set it all at -5 (except Hue), it gives me great possibilities in color grading as it’s very flat and it gives me warm colors. But it’s important to understand that Cinelike-D is made for daylight shooting and not really for low light, for which Cinelike-V or Natural are more adequate. I have to add that 90% of Wild Namibia was shot in 422 10-bit, and 10% in 4K60p for slow-motion. This is an awesome new feature on the Panasonic GH5 and I found the result, after color grading, to be really incredible. I’ll probably use V-Log for my next projects because the result is also great in 422 10-bit.
What’s your favorite lighting equipment and why did you choose that kit over other solutions? I use a kit of 3 daylight softboxes as it’s very important for me to get a very natural-looking light. I also use a redhead as a back light when shooting inside, and a reflector for outside shots.
Do you use drones or gimbals in your productions? If so, what is the most effective way you’ve found of deploying them? I have a DJI Phantom 3 Pro that I bought to be able to shoot in 4K and to match with my GH4, but now I find it hard with the Panasonic GH5 as I shoot mainly in 422 10-bit. I think that I’ll have to find a new tool, maybe like the DJI Phantom 4 Pro with its new sensor. As I love shooting landscapes, it’s really important for me to add aerial shots with a drone. It really gives another dimension to the film.
What editing systems do you use, and did you have any problems editing the GH5 footage? I use FCPX on a MacPro 2013 D300, and I’m really happy with it. I bought this software at its beginning, and it’s really improved with time! I like being able to edit AND color grade at the same time, and that it’s fast and easy overall. I had to transcode my GH5 footage as it was in 422 10-bit, but after that, I could play and edit smoothly in FCPX.
How much of your work do you shoot in Log and what is your preferred way of colour correcting? As I wrote before, I often shoot in one of the Cinelike modes, and I think I’ve only ever shot one or two projects in V-Log with the GH4. I was happy with the result, but it’s more for the kind of projects on which you’ll spend some more time on the grade. For color grading, I use a plugin called Color Finale, which I’m really happy with. It’s fast and easy to apply several LUTs, mix them, and then correct what you want with curves. The most important thing is that it’s inside FCPX, which is a time-saver for me.
How frequently do you travel, and do you have any tips when it comes to packing your gear? I’d say at least twice a year to other countries for vacation, but I think I’ll have to travel more in the future as I’ve started receiving requests from all over the world. Regarding gear, it depends on the project, but the thing that I love about the GH4/5 is that you can leave with only a little stuff and come back with great results. A good and basic gear list to travel light with would be: battery, tripod, memory cards and two good lenses. Believe me, you can get stunning results even handheld thanks to the stabilized sensor on the Panasonic GH5.