The Lumix Diaries LX100 Colorado Avalanche and Nate MacKinnon

Posted Dec. 30th, 2014 by Daniel J. Cox

The Lumix Diaries LX100 Colorado Avalanche and Nate MacKinnon. This past two weeks of the Christmas season has been a whirlwind of family activity. The gift of being together is better than anything I could ever imagine under the Christmas tree. Along with family comes the opportunity for lots of pictures but more on that in a later post. Today it’s all about taking still images out of video clips.

Nate MacKinnon takes off with the puck heading for the Saint Louis Blues goal tender. 8 megapixel frame pulled from Lumix LX100 in 4K Photo Mode

Nate MacKinnon #29 takes off with the puck heading for the Saint Louis Blues goal tender. 8 megapixel frame pulled from Lumix LX100 in 4K Photo Mode

A few nights ago I had the chance to try the 4K Photo Mode on the new Lumix LX100, my new favorite, carry it everywhere Micro Four Thirds camera.  For those not familiar with 4K Photo Mode, you can read more at Lumix GH4’s 4K Photo Mode – Publishable Stills From Video is Finally Here. That Blog post was about the 4K Photo Mode with the GH4, but we also have the same capability with the Lumix LX100 and that’s what this post is all about.

My dear wife Tanya has a bit of a celebrity on her side of the clan, Nathan MacKinnon, who plays for the Colorado Avalanche hockey team. A “bit of a celebrity” might be understating it since he was voted Rookie of the Year  in 2013 (video below) and broke one of Wayne Gretzky’s records by scoring a point in 13 consecutive games in his rookie season. Nate is the nephew of Tanya’s Uncle Ian and as hard as we’ve tried, we still can’t quite figure out the exact title of the relationship, but I like to refer to Nate as Tanya’s cousin-in-law 🙂 Nate’s not only amazingly gifted handling the puck, but he’s considered one of the fastest skaters in the NHL. See his speed for yourself in the video below where hockey skate company CCM Tacks pits Nathan MacKinnon against three time Olympic gold medal winner, Charles Hamelin, in a speed skating challenge. Keep in mind how much gear Nathan is wearing. This young nineteen-year-old is a rocket on ice.

Back to the photography part of this post. Tanya planned our night with the Avalanche many months out and she scored fabulous seats just three rows behind the plexiglass, a few feet left of the Avalanche team box. I would have loved to be right on the glass, since shooting ten feet back or so picked up marks on the plexiglass. Any time you have to shoot through plexiglass or glass, you should always put the lens as close to the surface as possible to eliminate reflections and other imperfections in the transparent surface.

I shot most of the game capturing normal stills but eventually I thought about the 4K Photo Mode and realized this might be an excellent opportunity to see what it could do. Setting it up is easy by going to the Video tab on the Main Menu and selecting the 4K Photo on the first page.

4K Photo Mode is found in the Video tab second option down on the first page of settings.

4K Photo Mode is found in the Video tab, second option down on the first page of settings.

Select this option and and push the menu button. Up pops another screen that says, “Change the video quality settings used for 4K still images?” with a Yes box and a No box. Select the Yes box by pushing the menu button again. You’re now in 4K Photo Mode. The next item is to set your exposure properly. I set the LX100 to manual exposure and selected 1/1000th of a second with a corresponding aperture for a proper exposure based on my histogram. In 4K Photo Mode you can shoot as fast of shutter speed as needed to stop the action thus the 1/100oth of a second. That’s one of the main benefits of 4K Photo Mode. Typically, video is shot at 1/30th or 1/60th. of a second. A shutter speed that slow, for a rocket man like Nate MacKinnon, would certainly capture nothing but a blur so you have to shoot a fast shutter speed to get more than a vapor trail so to speak.

That’s the capture part. The next step is to pull those individual 8 Megapixel stills from that video. To explain that I produced a semi-short “how to” that gives the details.  You can see it below. Let me know if you have any further questions and once you’ve given it a try, stop by and let us know how it went, what you shot, and your thoughts on this new technology. I think it has phenomenal potential for the world of capturing pictures.

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There are 6 comments on this post…
  1. Peter BerryOn Dec. 31st, 2014

    Daniel, I believe that the only unique thing about the 4K Photo mode is that you can vary the aspect ratio, which is the biggest thing for me for more nature-friendly formats – esp 4:3.

    In conventional 4K video mode you can choose any shutter speed you wish – up to 1/8000 sec in the GH4 – with the only downside being a strobing effect in the video. But each of the 30 frames/sec is exposed at the chosen shutter speed and will stop motion as in a still. And slow shutter speeds, down to 1/2 sec. (only in MF mode with AF selection lever), gives a great gain using low ISO in static night scenes, with smooth playback somehow.

    I’ve noticed that frame grabs using the VLC media player for the OOC video clips, the frames are only about 300kb each in size, but when grabbed viewing them either in-camera or by HDMI>TV recorded directly to the SD card they are 2-3MB each – a huge difference when it comes to PP tolerance.


    • Portrait of Daniel J. Cox

      Daniel J. CoxOn Jan. 1st, 2015


      Interesting info. I just checked a dozen or so images I pulled from a the Nate MacKinnon shoot I did with the Lumix LX100 in 4K Photo Mode and all the jpegs are just short of 9MB each. Much larger than the ones you are getting from the VLC Media Player or directly to the SD card. Not sure why that would be. Maybe it’s the software I’m using to extract the still images from the 4K video which is Apple’s Aperture. Would be interesting to know why there is such as large discrepancy. Thanks for stopping by to add your input.

    • JeffOn Jan. 2nd, 2015

      I just shot some test video with my GH4 in 4k-Photo mode and used the in-camera feature to extract the still images. The JPGs produced by the camera range between 3MB and 3.7MB in size.

      If I try extracting a frame from inside Photoshop CC, it saves at about 2MB with Quality 11 setting.

      I’m guessing you must be using a very high quality mode in Aperture for the JPG images to come out around 9MB.

    • Portrait of Daniel J. Cox

      Daniel J. CoxOn Jan. 2nd, 2015

      Hmmm…. Not sure Jeff. Aperture doesn’t give me an option for the Jpeg quality. Seems strange there is such a difference in sizes between the two programs. Maybe others out there know more about why this might be?

  2. Olga irizarryOn Dec. 31st, 2014

    I just finish a book using still from the gh4. It was a trip to Germany and Roma, I just use video in 4k 90% of the trip.
    Use a free program call grab frame for Mac. It let me get the frame in JPEG, png or tiff . Realllllly gooood it work better than aperture or Lightroom pulling frame.
    The print quality was good, considering the machinery use in the printing house. This is a technology that will revolutionize the art of video, photo and books. In doing this I have to think no only as videographer but also as photographer and what I need for the book or magazine. You are covering 3 arts in one.

    • Portrait of Daniel J. Cox

      Daniel J. CoxOn Dec. 31st, 2014

      Excellent Olga. Thanks for sharing your experience with the 4K Photo Mode and the great tip on the free grab frame software for Mac. Stop by anytime and add your voice on things you’re interested in.

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