My Ongoing learning process with Video and the Olympus OMD EM5.2. Caution: Video programming included.

EM5.2 Video Test 2 from Kirk Tuck on Vimeo.
This video is about Untitled Project

Click through to Vimeo using the links above if you want to see the test video at full res. The embedded version is limited to 800 pixels wide.

I bought the Olympus EM5.2 cameras because I am convinced that the image stabilization in those cameras will really work well with the way I like to shoot video. While some people may be able to sit down, read a review on the web or watch a YouTube video and hit the ground running, getting perfect video every time, I am not so lucky. I seem to have to work through a camera and try it in every setting before I really understand how the camera will give up its best images for me.

The EM5.2 is a classic case in point. It's a great still cameras that is both blessed and cursed with ultimately flexible configuration possibilities. But for everyone who likes to shoot video there might be a combination that makes their work look better than any other collage of settings. For me it's all about rejecting what doesn't work and focusing on what does.

My first experiments with the camera weren't bad, they just weren't as good as what I was getting out other cameras, like the Panasonic GH4 and the Nikon D810, and I had an inkling that I could do better.

The video above is my attempt to tune in my camera and make it work of the primary task I envisioned; walking around with the camera and getting wonderfully smooth, handheld footage with good sharpness and detail.

I am happy now to say that I am finally very happy with the video in the EM5.2. In the experiment above I can see lots and lots of detail in my face and hair and the overall appearance of sharpness is just right. That's a good thing. But how did I get there?

I set up the camera to record in the All-I setting. This means every frame contains the full image file and this makes editing easier even though it increases the size of the in-camera video files. It's the highest quality in-camera setting but you can get even more serious and buy an external recorder and take a clean, uncompressed video file from the HDMI port if you really need more quality and control.

My camera was set up to do 1080p video at its highest quality ISO, which is 200. The frame rate was set at 24 fps and the shutter speed was 1/50th of a second. Finally, the aperture on the 45mm f1.8 lens was set to f3.2 which should be in the optimum range of apertures for that lens. I metered myself with a Sekonic light meter which has a cine scale and used the meter's recommended settings.

Here's where I changed direction (happily) and where I think I was able get footage I liked today. I had the feeling that the noise reduction in the camera was just too strong and was killing fine detail so I set it to "off." That was one step too far and I could see noise in the mid-tones when I played test footage back on my desktop monitor. I stepped back one step and set the noise reduction to "low" and that seemed