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Phantom 4 - Poor Image Quality

Discussion in 'Photos and Video' started by hamama3, Aug 7, 2016.

  1. hamama3

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    Hi everyone, my first time posting on here. Hoping to both learn a lot from you guys and to contribute meaningfully.

    I'm finding that whenever I shoot with my phantom 4, I'm getting grainy low quality footage. I just had my phantom 4 swapped out at BestBuy for a brand new one and I updated it to the newest firmware. My Lexar Micro SD is 1800x and read write test showed 170 mbps, so that can't be the problem. I changed my settings to D-Log, set everything to -3, put on the ND8 filter, and went out to fly. I then transferred the files to my computer and converted them to ProRes 422 HQ.

    Attached are two short sample videos in different lighting. Both look blurry to me. The sunset canyon footage has a LUT filter added and the ocean footage is untouched. Videos were uploaded in ProRes 422 HQ.





    Does this footage look blurry to you guys and how can I improve the image quality? Thank you in advance!

    Edit: added still footage from my backyard for comparison

    See attached backyard footage in normal color settings and d-log. The still image looks pretty good to me, but the 4k video still looks a bit worse IMO. What do you think?





    Edit: took new footage today with DLOG at 0/-2/-2, DLOG at 0/0/0 and Normal mode. For some reason I think its still not that high of quality. To those of you that film regularly with Phantom 4s, are you getting results better than I have?

     
    #1 hamama3, Aug 7, 2016
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2016
  2. Fife-Flying

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    My bet in on your converting process or the exporting the video when you finished
     
  3. hamama3

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    I used Compressor to convert from the original MOV file to ProRes 422 HQ, make my edits in FinalCut Pro X (ocean video above has no edits), then export back to ProRes 422 HQ

    Unconverted video off the drone looks like this as well
     
  4. Fife-Flying

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    Very strange is, I'm just going over settings and I have output mp4 but I cant see that making a massive difference.
     
  5. GMack

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    Image looks too flat and distant to get any idea as to the sharpness. Try some still shots in your backyard of something with more contrast and closer, then switch to video and compare. Also put it back on the default camera setting, not the D-Log and compare. I'd also move the -3 back to zero. Just do some more testing and tuning in your yard.

    Could be the filter fogged up a bit too as I've had that happen at the beach on a DSLR lens once when it was cold. Even in the viewfinder it looked hazy, and then I saw the lens fogging up coming out of the car to the cold beach weather.
     
  6. hamama3

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    See attached backyard footage in normal color settings and d-log. The still image looks pretty good to me, but the 4k video still looks a bit worse IMO. What do you think?





    DJI_0029.JPG
     
  7. GMack

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    Wow! The still looks nice - and better than mine too. Good camera there!

    I saw some other guy's D-Log presentation and it looked flat and dull too. I suspect a lot of the D-Log is to account for the narrow dynamic range of the camera in default (My Sekonic meter only got about 5.3 stops range out of my Phantom 4 in testing.) and they use the D-Log as a means to stretch it out, but at some degrading by doing so until enhanced in post work.

    Curious too if moving it out of 4K down to 2.7K might help too? Looks like you are desaturating it and lowering the contrast too far in your settings with the -3 stuff. Probably not your camera (Other than your settings and why you want the negative numbers applied there?). Looks like you were better off in the default with the Normal Mode video.

    Could be something in your post processing that isn't right too. RAW files out of DSLR cameras look pretty bad too like the D-Log (flat and dull) until some serious post work was done to them.

    Good luck.
     
  8. whoreable

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    I would not use a conversion software, dump the Mp4 or MOV right into Go Pro Studio and convert to Cineform h264, no loss of quality.
     
  9. hamama3

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    When I convert to ProRes I'm increasing its quality. File size goes from 6gb let's say to 100gb and there's a noticeable increase in quality when I play them side by side
     
  10. hamama3

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    I'll try messing around with the settings and will shoot aerial footage in normal mode then report back. Thanks for the tips

    Not really sure the reason for -3s to be honest. Watched a few videos and read some blog posts about how doing so improves the image but it never really made sense to me and the image wasn't improved

    I'll also try d log keeping the other settings at 0 and will add a LUT filter to it to see what it looks like
     
  11. blaster81

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    Why do you film in D-log and with the settings all at -3 if you do not know what you have too do
    to get the footage right with color grading and stuff.

    Just use color mode none/normal or vivid if you want it too pop out with the colors.
    I do film in D-log but spent time on it when color correct/grading, or a LUT that works with the DJI D-log footage.
    When I use the -3 settings my footage looks terrible also I try keeping them at around zero which works the
    best for my camera.

    If you want the easy way with D-log use the DJI transcoding tool, this will correct the colors for you before editing.

    Do not fucus to much on the whole ProRes 422 HQ I use final cut myself and only use ProRes Proxy when importing
    my files for editing and export just in H264 I do not see a big enough difference when using a better/bigger codec.

    The footage of the Phantom isn't good enough / high bitrate for it too have a real effect sure it can do 4K
    but it is nothing compared to a real/expensive videocamera that can do bitrates of a few honderd or even >1000
    which can hold a great deal of detail.
     
  12. jason

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    There are enough videos on youtube that will explain how to setup D-Log color, color grade and sharpen the footage.
     
  13. hamama3

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    I've watched a few and it seems the "easy" way is converting to ProRes, adding the DJI supplied Phantom 4 LUT via final cut with LUT utility, adding some sharpening filters, exporting in H264 high quality mode and calling it a day. However doing all this yields the results I posted in my second video "quality test 2" which I would say is still poor quality. Sure I could have color graded more accurately rather than just adding the LUT but that won't improve the quality. I know my settings are off, I'm just trying to figure out why and what I can do to improve the footage.

    I tried the DJI encoding tool and the result is the same as using Compressor...file ends up as ProRes 422. Using their encoding tool adds the LUT automatically, whereas the previous workflow required using Final Cut or Resolve or something else to add the LUT
     
    #13 hamama3, Aug 7, 2016
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2016
  14. whoreable

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    Sorry but my understanding is that increasing the resolution is going to cause you pixelation and less detail. Its like blowing up a CCTV video still, nothing is different you cannot improve a RAW Image or Video, you can edit and enhance, but you cannot add details the camera never captured in the first place. Common editing knowledge....
     
    blaster81 likes this.
  15. hamama3

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    The video captured on the Phantom 4 is heavily compressed, since the drone doesn't shoot in RAW or a lossless format. Converting to ProRes doesn't increase the resolution or blow it up, it turns the compressed footage into a virtually lossless version that preserves more detail when editing. Editing and color grading in ProRes results in modifying the the lossless video at its highest quality, which preserves detail, etc when its finally exported in H264 or whatever the final output format is. By editing the compressed footage off the camera, you're editing a file that has less detail so the end result is a video that has less detail. However whether this is visible to the naked eye or not is a separate topic...

    About Apple ProRes - Apple Support

    How & WHY to convert Canon 70D MOV to PRORES???
     
  16. GMack

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    I had to try that LOG mode transcoding tool mentioned above on Windows 10. It actually made my MOV file more dreary and dull than the original. It doesn't show the Phantom 4 so maybe just made for the Inspire. There is some back and forth about it on the DJI Forum here: D-log and LOG mode Transcoding Tool When I tried it, Windows 10 saw and could play the original MOV in their Photos viewer/player, but the transcoded file would not open and play in the same viewer. I used VLC Media Player to play both the MOV files since Windows would only play the undoctored original.

    I found running the original MOV file in Corel VideoStudio X9 Ultimate with their included "New Blue" Color Fixer Plus filter and Customizing it (i.e. Set White balance with dropper tool, Contrast, Brightness, Saturation, and Film gamma to 100%) made it look a whole lot better. The MP4 versions looked better in the original format too against the MOV.

    I need to also consider setting the shutter speed manually and not automatic. Mine hunts too much on exposure so locking it down might help. When it gets any sun flare, it drops contrast quick and dulls the overall image to a haze. I might need a sunshade if the ND16 doesn't help any.

    Mack
     
    #16 GMack, Aug 7, 2016
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2016
  17. hamama3

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    Updated original thread with side by side comparison of 3 different modes