4K With No Budget?


The challenge for young filmmakers is always the same. Create dazzling, spectacular, compelling content with little to no budget. It was hard enough with HD; then 3D jumped out at us, and now we face a 4K reality. The eternal conundrum just grows bigger in size.


People like to tell me that I think outside the box. I tell those guys that that’s wrong, because I simply refuse to believe that there is a box. I believe I proven my point over the last seven years creating 3-D content. With my distributor, Torsten Hoffmann of 3-D Content Hub, I created my own niche market. I did it by not listening to what everyone else told me that I couldn’t do. I just went out and did it — I pulled together money from wherever I could and created the best content that I could. They weren’t blockbusters — they never even played in a theater — but my 3D projects have been licensed in over 20 territories around the world, and viewed by millions of people.
When 4K came on the scene, I jumped in with both feet. I had moderate success with my first three productions, then something came along that changed the game: Panasonic released the DMC – GH4. This amazing little camera not only recorded 4K, but recorded it so well that in test after test, I found beating cameras that cost much more.

With that, I decided to really put the new Panasonic to the ultimate test myself.


The World Heritage Site of Angkor, Cambodia, features some of the most magnificent temples on the planet. The challenge at hand was to reveal the full extent of how big the Ancient Megacity of Angkor really was. Recently, archaeologist Damien Evans used a new type of laser radar called LiDAR. This amazing technology has now become portable enough to be attached to a helicopter in pier under the surface of the dense foliage of the jungle.


At its full glory, Angkor was home to over one million inhabitants and spanned a larger area than Los Angeles. Comparatively, London at that same time was home to 50,000 people. Truly, Angkor was the largest pre-industrial city in the world.

For many, capturing this would be a daunting task. After all, the BBC, the History Channel and National Geographic have done recent stories on this fantastic site in HD — not to mention a Hollywood Blockbuster based on a hugely popular two-gun toting female video game character. I would be comparing my footage to some of the best in the world. What would set it apart?

So when Torsten Hoffmann approached me about coproducing a one-hour documentary, I thought, what better subject matter than this to run our Panasonic GH4 through the gauntlet. 

The budget we agreed upon was an amount that anyone in Hollywood would fall apart in laughter and tears if you told him this is what they had to work with. To me, it was sauce for the goose!

But to meet the challenge, I needed more than just a camera. There were lenses to be chosen, plus an array of accessories.

I chose the Panasonic Lumix lenses, fantastic quality for great value. The 7-12mm was amazing for revealing the scope of the temple structures. My mainstay was the standard 12-35mm with a Tiffen adjustable ND filter. Throw in a 100-300mm for long shots or to compress distance when needed, and my lens kit was complete.

The Angkor site houses over 100 temples, so the kit needed to be lightweight and easy to carry. I chose a Manfrotto 190CXPRO3 carbon fiber tripod with a Manfrotto 561BHDV head, because of the light weight.


Creative Cow

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