FUJIFILM X-T4 Sample Footage – Mini Documentary, “Arisa”

February 27th, 2020

The FUJIFILM X-T4 has been officially introduced and you can find our full hands-on review article and video by clicking here. Within this short article, I’ll try and summarize my experience of working with the camera on “Arisa”, a short documentary I’ve produced/filmed and edited under the umbrella of cinema5D reviews. 

FUJIFILM X-T4 (Image: cinema5D)

Arisa

I first wanted to shoot a music video with the FUJIFILM X-T4, but struggled with finding a proper candidate here in Japan, in a relatively short time. Social media proved to work fine for this and after approaching the community, Conor MacLeod Keenan came to my assistant and introduced me to Arisa, a Japanese/Korean singer, originally from Yokohama who is currently living in Amsterdam (thank you Conor)!

I “fell” on Arisa unexpectedly and immediately admired her willingness to cooperate. Every good documentary story has to stand on two solid legs – the “subject” and his/her ability to carry the story on his/her shoulders, and of course, the engaging visuals. Well, not so sure how well I did with visuals, but Arisa proved to be a real asset to the story. More about Arisa Safu and her artistic work can be found here.

Arisa Safu (Image: cinema5D)

Equipment Used in This Mini Documentary

In all of my short documentaries, the ones I’m doing also to review cameras, I’m trying to stay fateful to real shooting scenarios, at least ones that I know I’d meet in the field. I always try challenging myself and be extremely mobile with having the minimum of necessary equipment with me, yet produce the highest possible “value for money” results. Maybe I also want to prove that equipment/a camera is only a tool, and the center should always be the story! (It’s not what you use, it is more how you use it). 

BTW, one thing to clarify when writing “minimum necessary equipment”: For a real production, I will always have “backups” with me, meaning an additional camera and on top a mobile phone (Sony Xperia 1. Read my review by clicking here). I will also have  2-3 different sound equipment solutions (more on what’s in my bag coming soon). So if worse comes to worse, I always have something to film and record audio with. 

But, during the filming of camera reviews, of course I have to be limited to working with the camera I’m reviewing, so backup equipment is not relevant here.

For the work on this review, here is the list of equipment I brought with me:

Camera and Lens

  • FUJIFILM X-T4
  • Charger and 3 batteries (lasted all day long)
  • One lens (FUJIFILM XF 16-55mm 2.8) – Opted for this one as I wanted best optical performance combined with a relatively fast lens.
  • Vari ND (Syrp 82mm)
  • An assortment of SD cards (64-128gb from Sony/Panasonic and Lexar). BTW, if possible, stay away from Lexar. They have a terrible customer service. 
  • NO tripod! (As one of my aims was to test how well the new In Body Image Stabilisation system works)
  • NO lights (I wanted to see how well the camera preforms in lowlights situations)
  • Very small, soft backpack that does not distract me from moving around fast and comfortably

Sound

When it comes to sound (during interviews), I used the Saramonnic blink 500 B2 kit. I like this piece of equipment as it is relatively cost effective, easy to use and produces good quality audio (with external lavaliere microphone). I prefer this device over the Rode Wireless GO, because it is possible to simultaneously use 2 transmitters over the single one found in Rode. The downside of this setup is the obstacle of separating the 2 recorded audio singles. Those will always be mixed. The other thing to be aware of  is the placement of the on/off button. I guarantee that your thumb will press this knob unwontedly at some point. The consequence might be an empty battery when you really need to work with the device…

My non professional yet working solution for the USB-C – 3.5mm cable placement (Image: cinema5D)

Back to the camera: One design decision that might irritate many is the absence of a traditional 3.5mm headphone jack. I must admit that when getting the camera, I was not so thrilled to find out, yet my work-around of using the supplied USB-C to 3.5mm female connector was to “hang” it inside the camera strap “ear”, and this completely non-professional solution did the trick. (It also worked very well during a second production I did with the FUJIFILM X-T4, where I filmed in the sun, sand, rain and a bit of snow).

In the field

My passion is creating documentaries. Jumping into peoples’ lives is always enlightening. Spending a day together with the person I chose to film is rewarding (always something new to learn)!

As there is no time for preproduction, imagination and reality always clash. I love to be challenged and operate in a “multitasking” way. Gone are the days where I could only concentrate on creating beautiful images. Now it is a blend of filming / producing / directing / reporting / taking care of audio and lights. And with this story it was no different. I also try to stress the camera, in order to explore its strengths, weaknesses and general capabilities. 

IBIS

In this particular review, the FUJIFILM X-T4 turned out to be joyful to use. Working handheld with minimum fatigue was great (it has a larger camera hand grip than the one found in the X-T3). The IBIS worked remarkably and allowed me to achieve this balance between smooth(ish) movement and fluidity.

EVF

What really stressed me out was the camera’s EVF. Like with the X-T3, the one found in the X-T4 is simply not good enough for constant, long working periods. If I compare it to the one found inside the Panasonic or Leica line of cameras, it is much behind.

AF-C

Another point of concern was the autofocus functionality. I deliberately used the AF-C mode in many of the interviews (something that I won’t necessary do while working on a paid work). I simply wanted to see how far this camera can go and how well it can preform. As you can see in this documentary, the AF-C functionality when filming in lowlight conditions and in F-log is far from being perfect. Those micro focus adjustment can prove to be a real issue, especially when watching the material on a large 4K screen. 

The result of communicating with FUJIFILM, is their recommendation not to use F-log in lowlight situations especially when AF-C is being deployed.

Lowlight 

When it comes to lowlight performance, the camera performed really well! It has this nice balance between lowlight sensitivity and not destroying the reality, meaning, it does not enhance a lowlight scene to the extent of looking as if it was shot during daytime. It is also not completely noisy. I wouldn’t hesitate to use high ISO values when working with this camera at all.

Cage?

I’m sure some of you are wondering about the cage I’ve used while filming with the camera… Well, no cage. (Actually, no cages for me in general). Somehow, I find myself moving away from using those and now trying to manage with what I have (especially during camera reviews), While being on the subject of cages, expect Tilta and SmallRig to come up with cages for that new camera right after the official presentation of the camera. One other thing to note concerns the camera grip. The one found in the X-T4 is much easier to hold, as the grip “stomach” is deeper. Holding the camera for long periods of time proved to be no problem at all.

During this particular project I did not us the articulated screen too much, but of course it is nice to have.

Same same but very different. X-T3 vs XT4 (Image: cinema5D)

Summary

For its price ($1700), the FUJIFILM X-T4 is a remarkable camera. The X-T3 has been evolved into a “Swiss army knife” filming machine. The camera is extremely capable of producing beautiful images and more importantly, flexible and joyful to use. In an era, where lots of the produced content will find itself in the net, this is a perfect tool for filmmakers and aspiring content creators. Last but not least, don’t forget to try before you buy. What works well for me, might be less good for you. Make sure to test the camera, as after all, $1700 is $1700….

Music courtesy of MusicVine.com – Get 25% off any Pay-Per-Use license with code C5D25 (valid for one use per customer).

What do you think about the FUJIFILM X-T4? Will you consider getting it, or do you prefer to wait and see what comes next from other camera manufacturers?  Please share with us your thoughts in the comment section below. 

20
Leave a Reply

guest
1
1
- 2
Filter:
all
Sort by:
latest
Richard Ramos
Richard Ramos
Guest
June 30th, 2020

Thanks for the review. Congrats for the good video!

After seeing this video for the second time I’ve noticed that the auto focus (face detection) does not work that well on the scene starting at 11 minutes or so. Her face goes out of focus from time to time.

Just a doubt, out of curiosity. Why not hiring a sound person? Is it due saving costs or because you would rather work on your own? I mean, this documentary could do a with more wider atmospheric sound in the mix.

Many thanks for your work.

Frank
Frank
Guest
May 26th, 2020

Hi Johny,
I am late to the party but what a nice way to document a camera review, thx for that. Q: You obviously had to deal with challenging lighting conditions (bars, kitchens, subways etc…) How you did measure exposure/set WB in these situations? To what degree did/could you rely on the camera tools?Thx, Frank

Jonny Cohen
Guest
May 2nd, 2020

Greetings from South Africa. Great review, and I like the way you shoot and work with your subjects. This is an art form on its own. I’m shooting with the XT3. The only reason to upgrade for me would be the IBIS, but I have the DJI Ronin S… Actually i would prefer the IBIS, and just travel lighter, but I think for now the cost factor of upgrading will keep me with the XT3. keep up the good work!

Mitchell Sayers
Guest
March 13th, 2020

The first shot we see after the B&H advertisement is an abrupt camera move (3:36) and then it cuts to the same angle repeated. Surely you did not intend to edit it like this and it’s a mistake? Perhaps you missed this one.

chris
Guest
March 12th, 2020

loved it, as I do all of yours. wonderful to hear her story. did you every get a word out of the dad?! that stabilization on the walking shots is really very impressive. even better than a rock solid gimbal as it feels more natural.

 Kusanagui Batou
Kusanagui Batou
Member
March 3rd, 2020

it’s nice to see tests in different environments and real Conditions “sound and image !”
I am pleasantly surprised By the quality of the sound of the SaramonicBlink, I would like to know if you had any dropouts with it .
the Stabilisation in xt4 is very impressive
you Share very valuable information here
Johnnie Behiri you rock !

René Rainer
René Rainer
Guest
March 3rd, 2020

Great honest and heartwarming doc with capturing story! Well done – thx!

Miltos PAVLOU
Member
February 29th, 2020

Congrats! You did it again… what a great mini doc about Arisa.
It makes you feel a strong human connection with the doc subjects… as if we knew them already for a long time

EduPortas
Guest
February 28th, 2020

Hey guys, is there any way to fix your previous mini-docs embedded in older camera reviews? Some, like the one you did of Canon’s 7D Mark 2, were great! I consider them an important historical document.

 Giovanni Lorini
Member
February 28th, 2020

Johnnie, very interesting as usual for your works.
Seems to me that the Ibis work quite good, especially when you followed Arisa handheld in the trains station, do you feel the same or you cut out parts with strange adjustments of it ?
Is it HLG present in the picture profiles or only Flog ?
Do you think will be possible to add an 4K HDR version of the edit since YouTube now allows it ?
Thank you !

Guy
Guest
February 27th, 2020

Hey Johnnie, what picture profile were you shooting in? I’m curious, because as an XT3 owner – unless I’m using it completely wrong – it’s pretty crap in low light. Over 2000 iso and the noise, even though it’s quite filmic, is too much.

 Szőcs Tamás
Szőcs Tamás
Member
February 27th, 2020

It so heartwarming when you look at a film to check out the gear, but the story takes you and you forgot about the tech. Great work!

1
1
- 2
Filter:
all
Sort by:
latest

Take part in the CineD community experience