focussed on filmmaking olympus

The latest generation of Olympus E-M1 series cameras feature excellent hybrid qualities, making them perfect to use if you’re providing clients with both high end stills and pro-quality video.

THE MODERN PROFESSIONAL photographer has to be more adaptable than ever these days, which increasingly means looking at multimedia content rather than just assuming a job will consist exclusively of stills. As always clients will be the ones in control of the agenda, and as they increasingly request video content as part of the overall mix you’ll need to be able to deliver if you want to keep the work.

Fortunately manufacturers such as Olympus have responded to increasing demand and the latest generation of E-M1 series cameras are fully fledged hybrid products that can deliver both stunning high quality stills alongside professional quality video, so you’re well equipped to address both genres without the need to make a big additional investment.

Olympus also brings something extra to the table, namely its excellent LS recorder duo – the LS-P1 and LS-P4 – which are pocket sized and specifically designed as the ideal audio partner for your E-M1 series camera. The higher spec LS-P4, for example, features three microphones for expanded frequency response in stereo sound and better than CD quality and, with an adaptor, it can sit neatly in the hot shoe of a compatible Olympus camera and be connected directly via a cable.

Marry an E-M1 series camera with an LS recorder and it’s a case of 4K video meeting head on with Hi-Res sound and, with audio being such a crucial part of the overall mix of a production, you’re all set to go in one incredibly compact package.

Gearing up for Motion

Increasingly those searching for a one-stopshop solution for their stills and motion work are looking at the E-M1 system since the MFT nature of these cameras ensures they’re ultra-compact and lightweight, while lenses are fast and affordable compared to full frame alternatives.

E-M1 system cameras also come with features filmmakers love, such as outstanding 5-axis in-body image stabilisation that’s so good it’s often viable to do away with traditional stabilisation accessories, such as a gimbal, and to work entirely hand held. This opens the door to a faster way of working and ensures you can respond at a moment’s notice should a situation arise that you need to be filming.

It’s also the case that autofocus, in the form of reliable C-AF in the flagship E-M1 models, is both lightning fast and reliable these days, making it possible for the filmmaker to move away from the need to manually focus that was once considered the only way to work on a motion production. The MFT system also offers outstanding depth-of-field and so there is even less chance of a scene being out of focus or for shot-ruining ‘popping’ to occur as a lens snaps into focus halfway through a take.

Run ‘n Gun filmmakers as well as vloggers and those looking to add just a little  video content to a still shoot – perhaps a wedding photographer aiming to capture some atmosphere during the big day that can then be edited into a multimedia production alongside stills for an extra fee – really appreciate the ease with which high quality motion can be achieved. It’s easy to work even as a single operator while still achieving great results and it’s a crucial extra string to your bow that can give you extra professional services to sell.

ABOVE: The newly launched E-M1 Mark III includes many of the high end video functions of the flagship E-M1X but in a more compact body, with a red button for filmmaking.

All of the E-M1 series cameras (apart from the original E-M1) also support OM400-log shooting, which records without loss of detail in shadows or highlight blowouts. Plus, you can take even more creative control with colour grading for optimal gradation and details in the shadows, without cutting the highlights. There’s also a range of different video formats offered, from hi-speed/ slow motion over HD through to (Cinema) 4K, dependant on the camera and lens model.

Models to Consider

The Olympus O-MD E-M5 Mark III, launched last year, is an excellent filmmaking camera and a significant upgrade on the Mark II, featuring high quality DCI 4K/24p and UHD 4K/30p footage, excellent digital + sensor shift image stabilisation and a microphone socket. This is an excellent choice for vlogging and it happens to be the camera that’s at the heart of Olympus’ new Movie Kit, which also includes the 12mm f/2 (24mm equivalent) and the Olympus LS-P4 recorder, for a killer kit price of £1799.99.

Meanwhile the Olympus O-MD E-M1 Mark III, freshly launched this year, upgrades the onboard video features from the Mark II model, which were already excellent, and brings the level up close to that of the flagship E-M1X. So there’s now three levels of handheld IS on board, AF speed and sensitivity is adjustable in O-MD Movie AF, there’s a 120fps high speed movie option and improved sound quality, thanks to a new pre-amp, all in a far more compact body and at a lower price point as well.

Separately there are also two new videographer audio kits being offered, featuring a choice of either the LS-P1 or LSP4. Priced at £139.99 and £199 respectively, the kit includes the recorder plus a hot shoe adaptor, 3.5mm cable and a windshield. There’s also a Lavalier Kit that pairs one of these discreet little mics with the LS-P1 for a highly affordable kit price of just £129.99. It’s a formidable line-up and the E-M1 system is fast becoming a range that professionals looking for a hybrid option need to be taking a closer look at.

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