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Advice on getting quality exposure in videos

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Ataribravo, Oct 18, 2015.

  1. Ataribravo

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    First to note, my new P3P has old firmware. I have not updated yet and currently have RC-1.1.8, Quad-1.1.9+ and using DJI Go v2.3.0. Will updating the firmware introduce better auto exposure? I have read so many horror stories on FW updates, I have to admit I'm nervous. I know I'll have to for benefits like Follow Me and POI, but... Just asking what improvements to expect in the upgrade path and it is now advisable to use the latest release? And thoughts on filters (e.g. polarity, neutral density, etc.)?

    Thanks!!
    Jeff
     
  2. Meta4

    Meta4 Moderator
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    Again .. forget those "horror stories".
    Auto exposure has been pretty good from the start and I'm not aware of any changes to it in firmware versions.
     
    JBG likes this.
  3. trevormacdonald

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    Don't use auto exposure. Just use your histogram and all will be well. This is just my personal opinion. I shoot log on my P3P and then color my footage in Resolve and it looks great. I just make sure to never clip my highlights.
     
  4. Ataribravo

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    Thanks Trevor!
    I watched a video about using LOG and color grading after the fact. I like that approach for the increased dynamic range you get. For stills, I get using the histogram, even going full manual (at least ISO and Tv since the P3P has no Av control), but with video I find it hard to adjust exposure manually "on the fly" while still controlling the P3P. I think the addition of an ND2 or ND4 filter will help. Any hints on handling video manual exposure while flying? I could use the help!
    Thanks,
    Jeff
     
  5. trevormacdonald

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    Using ND will definitely help. I use the polar pro ND4 and ND8 (which, as a side note, makes no **** sense. Typically, ND comes in ND3, ND6, ND9, ND1.2, ND1.5, ND 1.8, etc... never in ND4 or ND8. Whatever)

    Normally, if I am flying during the daytime (excluding sunrise and sunset), I am always wearing the ND8 filter, and use my shutter to adjust accordingly. I always have my histogram up when I am flying, and just make sure to set my exposure before I record the move. I'll usually just go to my first position and point the drone in the right direction and let it hover there while I find my exposure. I always look to save the highlights as much as possible. Obviously if the sun is in your shot, you can count on that being gone, and probably some of the sky or clouds around it in your frame, but the log curve on the P3P does surprisingly well at preserving a good portion of your dynamic range. Something that I have found to be helpful when adjusting exposure is to set your ISO and just leave it, if you can. I normally will set it at 100 to get the cleanest image possible. I will adjust my shutter speed to then get my proper exposure. My shutter speed is mapped to the right hand camera settings dial on my controller, so I will just use that to change the shutter speed instead of using my finger to bring up the camera settings menu on the DJI GO app and changing it that way.

    Unfortunately the compression and chroma sub-sampling schemes used by DJI on the phantom to record video aren't the greatest (8-bit 4:2:0 in H.264), so there isn't a ton of forgiveness in color correction. This is why nailing your exposure is so crucial. You can bring up the darker portions of the image by 2 stops without seeing too much noise or artifacting, but if your highlights are blown out, that's it... there's no fixing that. If it's white, it's gone. Because of that, I will always err on the side of slightly underexposing if I can't get it just right. You can always de-noise the footage if you have to bring the exposure up a bit (I use a plugin called Neat Video...It does a great job), but, again, if the highlights are clipped, you're out of luck with fixing that.

    Again, shooting log will help to preserve as much dynamic range as possible in your shots. If you shoot with a standard picture profile or something similar to that, the contrast and color is baked in, and there really isn't much room for changing anything at all when you go to color your footage.

    Hopefully this helps. Just be sure to set your exposure before your shot, shoot in log, and don't clip your highlights too badly. Do those things and give the footage a little love in color and you'll be golden.
     
  6. Ataribravo

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    That's a lot of great info! Thank you!! I believe the DJIGo app has a zebra stripe capability to assist in preventing the clipping of highlights, and... I use the Neat Video plugin as well (for Premiere Pro CS6)! I shot my first night video tonight and, as one would expect, it was pretty grainy. Neat Video did an admirable job of cleaning it up. Thanks again for your time and talent!