***** UPDATED WITH NEW INFORMATION. SEE BELOW
Further to some recent camera testing, here are the results for the Olympus E-M5 Mark II using the new flat profile. Late last year Olympus released a significant firmware update to the E-M5 Mark II that among other improvements, added an extra video shooting profile.
Using the flat profile allows you to try and squeeze a little more dynamic range into the eight bit file being recorded by the camera. You should use the flat profile when you know you’re going to be grading later and in doing so you’re going to preserve as much detail for the grade as you can.
Another way we can preserve information is to use a better acquisition codec. The E-M5 Mark II allows us to record the clean feed from the HDMI (unlike the E-M1) so that means I can use an external recorder.
For these tests I dual recorded, both internally to the none-to-shabby All-I codec but at the same time I also recorded 1920 ProRes HQ files with a Blackmagic Video Assist. This is a small low cost monitor / recorder that’s very well suited for this job.
When it came time to compare these files I also learned something. Now, with the FLAT profile loaded, I expected that the internally recorded ALL-I files would look almost the same as the externally recorded ProRes HQ file, but I’d find the ProRes files would be more be even more robust to work with because they have less compression and are 10 bit files instead of 8 bit.
What I didn’t expect was there was a slight difference in colour hues. This was confusing because bit depth and compression shouldn’t affect how the colours are reproduced. So I went back to Olympus and it turns out that they have used two different colour gamut standards. So internally the camera uses the older REC 601 colour gamut standard, but on the HDMI output they use the current HD spec of REC 709.
Now I don’t think that many people will notice or even worry about this difference and the external recording is at least using the more up to date gamut standard.
So to reiterate here again, this is the same lighting setup I used in the recent E-M1 test I posted.
Here’s the lighting plot.
And here’s what you’re looking at on screen.
I also set up a daylight colour temperature version.
And here’s what you’re looking for here…
And then the same candlelight version.
So unlike the E-M1, because we’re now shooting big boy formats like ProRes, these files are much bigger than the internal camera files are normally, so be prepared !
You can find these files, hosted and shared by my good friends at Digital Pidgeon, who offer a very fast and secure file sharing service.
Here’s the edited ProRes and All-I internal comparison original file.
As a little coda to this, I’ve since learned the following….
I’ve confirmed the HDMI output is 4:2:2 @ 8 bit.
I’ve also learned that the frame rate is DIFFERENT on output compared to what’s recorded internally.
This means, you choose 24 FPS in the menu, internally it’s recording 23.976 (the us / japanese version of 24 fs) BUT on the output over HDMI it’s straight 24 FPS.
Same for 30 fps. It’s recording 29.970 internally but outputting 30 FPS over HDMI.