Johnnie Behiri on working with the Nikon D4 on a real world production.

Guest post by Johnnie Behiri:

The University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna-image video from Johnnie Behiri on Vimeo.

When asked by one of the biggest and best universities in the world for music and performing arts to produce/shoot and edit a video for them, it was clear for me that it would be a great opportunity to work with the latest VDLSR gear in the market and see how well it performed.

Nikon was kind enough to co-operate, first with a pre-production model and then with a production D4 camera.

General performance:
During the entire project and over long shooting days the camera performed remarkably. It never overheated or stopped working for any reason.

Video picture quality:
Honestly speaking, the D4 is disappointing. It could have been the best VDSLR on the market if its full-frame picture quality was as sharp as the 2.7x crop mode. Why Nikon chose to release a camera with a very soft picture in the full frame mode is a mystery to me. The 2.7x mode uses a true HD 1920×1080 pixel crop from centre of its large sensor and the picture quality is truly remarkable: sharp and moire- and aliasing-free with pleasant colour texture. 

Audio quality:
For this project my soundman recorded the sound externally and also sent the D4 a wireless feed as an audio guide track. My feeling was that the audio pre amps of the camera are a bit noisy, but the biggest issue is not being able to adjust the audio record levels AFTER pressing the record button.       

General handling when on a shoulder mount:
As with many VDSLRs the locations of the buttons are far from perfect for us video shooters (zooming for precise focusing is always a challenging task)….
I wish Nikon had given us better flexibility, to assign buttons for video mode as needed.

Last words:
Nikon produced a remarkable video camera for the price and should have made sure that the full frame picture coming out of it was as good as the cropped one. The clean feed HDMI output and clean low light performance are great creative features. 

Equipment used:
Nikon D4
Sachtler system 18 S1 ENG 2 CF tripod
Vocas base plate
Cineroid Metal HDSDI EVF
TvLogic VFM-056W monitor
Kata FlyBY 76 bag
Litepanels 1×1 LED light
Viso flo light

Johnnie Behiri is a BBC freelance cameraman operating from Vienna, Austria.
When not working for the BBC, Johnnie films documentaries, commercials, music videos, and testimonial/marketing videos for other broadcasters and clients. You can find more about Johnnie and his work on his website

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