One of the fun things about producing low-budget live video is you get to use lots of different types of cameras. One of the nicer mirrorless camera’s I’ve used is the Pansonic Lumix DMC-GH4. Like many cameras in this mirrorless/DSLR category, it’s not designed for live video – but can be made to function well with a bit of coercion.

Whenever we switch live video for church events, it’s in 1080i50:

  • 1920 x 1080
  • 50Hz
  • Interlaced
  • 25 frames per second

This format is good because it’s a common broadcast standard, and supported by all models of the Blackmagic Design ATEM – including the early TVS which didn’t support progressive resolutions.

Like many of these cameras, the HDMI output format is coupled to the internal recording settings.

The GH4 needs to be in ‘AVCHD’ recording mode, and it needs to be configured to “1920×1080 50.00i”. Strangely, the Image Sensor Output should still be “50.00p”.

The GH4 also has a weak HDMI output, on a Micro HDMI connector. I have had to use a very short cable, and connect it directly into a Blackmagic Design HDMI to SDI Micro Converter. This allows us to get much longer cable runs via SDI. If you have the ATEM right next to the camera, you may be able to connect directly – although I have had trouble with HDMI Cables longer than 1m connected to this camera.

Unfortunately, you cannot leave the camera charging while it is running.

Here’s some photos of the settings we have used:

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I'm Anthony Eden, and I'm a broadcast technician / software developer / technology solutions engineer. I've been working in broadcast media since 2008 (getting my start in Community Radio while still at school), and developing software and websites for just as long. Right now, I work full time for Hope Media, and provide some freelance services through Media Realm.

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