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Tips for creating better videos with your drone

Tips for creating better videos with your drone

By David Cardinal


Whereas you might have shied away from capturing video together with your conventional cameras, it is among the strongest methods to make use of your drone. Identical to with drone images which we coated in an earlier article, there are many tips to getting nice outcomes.

Getting and establishing your drone


For max flexibility in capturing video, you’ll need to have a drone that may shoot in a LOG colorspace. That is primarily the video equal of RAW for nonetheless pictures. It provides you extra latitude for post-processing on the expense of requiring no less than some publish processing for the picture to look good. There are numerous totally different variations of LOG colorspaces, identical to with RAW codecs. DJI calls theirs D-Log, whereas Parrot’s is P-Log for instance.


When you’re prepared to let DJI do the onerous be just right for you, then their D-Cinelike colorspace is a wonderful selection that gives a pleasant end result out of the field. It additionally permits you to get an excellent sense of what the video will appear to be when you’re flying, whereas in case you are capturing in a Log colorspace your preview picture will look washed out. Whichever you select, you’ll additionally need to experiment together with your drone’s picture changes — sometimes saturation, distinction, and sharpness. Normally, setting them to -1, might present extra flexibility in post-processing, though there’s a quirk with Mavic Professional noise discount that makes +1 for sharpness a superb choice on the unique Mavic Professional.


You’ll additionally have to determine whether or not to go for the comfort of Auto White Stability, or decide a guide worth for every clip to maintain issues constant for the size of the clip. Until you want a excessive body fee for some cause, recording in 4K will present probably the most element in your video. Simply be sure to use a fast-enough microSD card so that you don’t drop any frames.

Discover ways to use ND filters

PolarPro’s drone filters are properly made and straightforward to make use of.
Their Cinema set consists of each ND and ND Polarizing variations in various strengths.


Like virtually all smartphones, most shopper drones have a hard and fast aperture, often a large one. That limits your capacity to control your shutter velocity. For clean video, ideally you need your shutter velocity to be twice your body price. So, for 4K / 30fps, you need a shutter velocity of 1/60s. To get that in vibrant daylight, you’ll want so as to add a impartial density filter. For my Mavic Professional in full daylight it may require as a lot as an ND16 (a Four-stop impartial density filter that cuts the sunshine by 15/16ths). You may as well get filters that embrace a polarizer, for serving to scale back glare. DJI sells a number of filters, however I’m an enormous fan of PolarPro, who makes a very-full vary of filters which might be mild sufficient to not upset your drone’s motors or gimbal.

Flying your drone for a profitable video


It’s potential to get wonderful drone footage when flying by hand, however it takes apply. Should you’re restricted in how a lot time it’s a must to fly outdoors, a simulator like Zephyr from Little Arms Studios might be very useful. Most drones additionally function a lot of clever flight modes that can help you execute pre-planned maneuvers. They’re often designed to imitate a few of the common photographs utilized by Hollywood, or to facilitate following a shifting topic. TIP: Attempt flight modes out in a big empty area the primary time, as some function fairly a little bit of motion. For hand-flying, most drones supply a precision navigation mode like DJI’s Tripod mode that slows the drone down and makes it react far more slowly to actions of the sticks.

Should you don’t have the endurance to turn out to be a wizard together with your controller, pre-programmed “Waypoint” flying is a wonderful various. Parrot gives it as an add-on to its flight app, whereas for DJI many people use Litchi. It lets you plan waypoints, flight patterns, and digital camera angles through the use of a mashup of Google Earth knowledge. The ensuing routes might be created and shared utilizing an internet interface or the cellular app. Certainly one of my favourite issues about pre-programmed routes is you can tweak and re-run them as wanted. For instance, there’s a giant development challenge close to us, and I’ve a route that flies a loop round it that I can run each few days to create a report of progress.


Grant Park overflight. Inset exhibits the unique footage /essential display is after post-processing

Noise Discount can also be an necessary a part of submit processing


Relying in your video editor you’ll have some choices for noise discount, starting with its built-in functionality. For my use, the additional time and expense of the Neat Video plug-in for Premiere Professional is well worth the problem. You’ll be able to even discover some pre-made noise profiles for some drones just like the Mavic Professional that work with Neat Video out of the field.


Even the small digital camera just like the one on the Mavic Professional can create high-quality video
when rigorously shot and processed – like this video from Inle Lake in Myanmar


Professional-quality shade correction utilizing LUTs

Capturing in a LOG colorspace, just like capturing nonetheless pictures in RAW, requires post-processing of tonal vary and colours. Most video modifying packages could make use of LookUp Tables (LUTs) to carry out the wanted correction for a specific digital camera and LOG profile. Pre-packaged LUTs can be found for quite a lot of drone fashions, each without spending a dime and at low value. Nevertheless, in case you can’t discover one on your drone, or need one thing totally different, you can also make your personal.


Making use of a LUT to drone footage in Adobe Premiere Professional



Utilizing a SpyderCHECKR to assist with shade correction


Your SpyderCHECKR is beneficial for video in addition to nonetheless images

Relying on the drone you’re utilizing, there could also be some wonderful LUTs out there both free of charge or for a small quantity. For the Mavic Professional, I’ve used those from Icarus and from the Movie Poets with good success. However for my Parrot, for instance, there don’t appear to be any pre-made LUTs for its P-Log colorspace. Even when there are LUTs out there, you may need to create your personal look. Luckily you are able to do that utilizing a Datacolor SpyderCHECKR, both by hand or the identical means you should use it to construct a Lightroom Preset.


To create a search for your self, and probably flip it right into a LUT, open a video clip of the SpyderCHECKR captured together with your drone’s digital camera arrange the best way you prefer it. Then regulate the white and black factors to make use of the complete dynamic vary, the best way you’d when processing a picture. After you can improve saturation or manipulate particular person colours till the picture of the SpyderCHECKR appears like one that you simply’ve captured utilizing a profiled digital camera. In fact, you’ll want to ensure the monitor you’re utilizing is correctly calibrated and profiled, ideally utilizing a Datacolor SpyderX.


Upon getting these settings in Premiere Professional, for instance, you possibly can merely open up the Lumetri Panel and select to export them to a “.dice” file (LUT). In Photoshop the method is analogous. Use Adjustment Layers to get a nonetheless body of your video (hopefully one that features a picture of your SpyderCHECKR for straightforward reference) wanting the best way you need after which use File->Export->Colour Lookup Tables to generate a LUT in your use.

Utilizing the SpyderCHECKR software program to automate shade correction


Utilizing a SpyderCHECKR together with your drone is rather like utilizing it with a standard digital camera.
(No, your drone doesn’t need to be flying to report video, it simply appeared applicable)


It’s also potential to make use of the SpyderCHECKR software program to mechanically assist you to get correct shade. Merely run the SpyderCHECKR software program on a single body of video captured together with your drone arrange the best way you want. As when utilizing the software program with nonetheless pictures, modify the white and black level, after which open the picture in SpyderCHECKR. The software program will create a Lightroom preset with slider values which you can apply in your video editor. Or there are plugins that may let you export the Lightroom Preset you’ve created as a LUT that you need to use in your video editor. SpyderCHECKR also can generate an Adobe Digital camera Uncooked profile, however I haven’t discovered a method to instantly take an Adobe Digital camera Uncooked profile and switch it right into a LUT but.


Fast Recap:

  • Make sure that your system is color-managed
    (SpyderX is ideal for this)
  • Shoot video in a Log colorspace and post-process
    • Noise Discount
    • Colour LUT
  • Or shoot in D-Cinelike or comparable
  • SpyderCHECKR may help


Assets talked about:
PolarPro Filters
Movie Poet’s Mavic Professional D-Log LUT
Movie Poet’s De-Flicker and Noise Discount Profiles
Icarus LUTs for D-Log and D-Cinelike
Neat Video Noise Discount Software program
Mavic Professional Noise Discount Profiles for Neat Video
Datacolor SpyderCHECKR
Datacolor SpyderX



Concerning the Writer – David Cardinal:


David is an award-winning skilled journey and nature photographer, in addition to a prolific author on images and different technical subjects. He’s a frequent contributor to, and has been revealed in Outside Photographer, Photoshop Consumer, PC Journal, London Day by day Mail, and lots of different magazines and web sites. He has spoken on digital imaging and on the web at Stanford, Dartmouth, Google, Digital Imaging, and at B&H’s OPTIC convention. His shoppers embrace the BBC, Asia Improvement Financial institution, US Fish and Wildlife, California Fish and Recreation, Nationwide Wildlife Federation, American Prairie Basis, DxO Labs, Datacolor, Photodex, and Lexar. David can also be a Datacolor Professional. Along with main photograph excursions worldwide, he has shot highschool sports activities professionally for CBS Interactive. He co-authored one of many first books on digital images with colleague Moose Peterson and has taught workshops for North American Nature Images Affiliation and Digital Panorama Workshop Collection.

David’s journey and nature photograph excursions and safaris embrace locations in Africa, Southeast Asia, and all through North America. His pictures of creatures within the wild assist talk the significance of our pure heritage and our duty to protect it, whereas his journalistic efforts span each images and know-how.


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