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A Question for the Pros
1519 11 2015-3-12
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markaguille
Captain
Flight distance : 2031818 ft
Guernsey
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I'm planning on doing some nightime shot of my local area.


What camera settings would you recommend?

No moon, pitch black just street lights cars and light from houses etc. probably about 100m up.

Shooting in 4k and grabbing stills or shooting stills?

Thanks in advance.
2015-3-12
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eaglecook
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United States
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Well, you'll have to crank up your ISO and slow down your shutter speed. This will make your images possibly be noisy (due to the high ISO) or suffer from motion blur (due to the slower shutter speed). Shooting at 4K means you will be at 24 or 30 FPS so to get a clean image you will need to have your shutter at 60 minimum, I would even recommend higher, 80 or 100, then adjust your ISO until the image is as good as it can be. This will be a personal choice and will be a compromise between exposure and noise. No matter what you do, I doubt you'll get a "good" image with that little light. You will definitely need to do some heavy editing in post production. Also if you are planning on taking stills from video, be sure to keep the bird and camera as still as you can for the time you see the shot you want. Even a little movement will cause motion blur unless you crank up that shutter speed, and you won't have enough light for that.. .(unless you are in a really bright city).

Overall suggestion: experiment with it using these suggestions as a starting point. shoot a little, change settings, shoot some more, tweak setting etc.

Also, why not just capture an image? Why do a video grab? Why not try both?

Best of luck and would love to see what you come up with. If you post, maybe the group can help based on what you get.
2015-3-12
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Abe
Second Officer
Flight distance : 524032 ft
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United States
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I've found that nighttime shooting in very dark places with few lights does not yield good results. The shadows are going to be either completely black, or very noisy if you try to crank them up via ISO adjustment or editing in post. Also, of course, video or photos that are mostly black with just a few lights here and there up tend to be somewhat boring since there's not much to see.

The Phantom 2V+ is pretty terrible at night. The Inspire is better but yields best results in well-lit places at night. This is a good example from Air Vision of the Inspire in a well-lit nighttime shoot:

Nevertheless, it's easy enough to try it out so give it a shot. Post the video for us!
2015-3-12
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eaglecook
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United States
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Yes Abe, that's the best example I've seen as well. They are using the darkness to their advantage to increase contrast and make those lights pop! Nicely done.

I just went outside to try it as it's pretty much pitch black out now and the results are pretty much useless. I didn't bother posting because you can get the same effect by just closing your eyes. I had to crank the ISO all the way to 3200 and the image was of course unusable. The light around my house is typical for an American neighborhood.
2015-3-12
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Dangair
Second Officer

Canada
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There was a post on here a while back with a led torch that would be helpful
2015-3-12
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giero
lvl.4
Flight distance : 5372031 ft
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Poland
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Shooting at 4K means you will be at 24 or 30 FPS so to get a clean image you will need to have your shutter at 60 minimum,


Why you think the higher shutter is the best? Higher shutter - less light. My opinion is to have shutter 2x frames eq. 24p = 1/48 or 1/50.
2015-3-12
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giero
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Poland
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This photo was shot at 8pm and no wind.
ISO 100
Shutter 1sec.

Night shot

Night shot
2015-3-12
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markaguille
Captain
Flight distance : 2031818 ft
Guernsey
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I guess slowing down shutter speed is going to rely quite heavily on wind speed. So dead calm night slow shutter and higher iso like Giero above. Awesome pic Giero, i'm guessing with those flood lights you didnt need a very high iso?

Well thanks guys you've given me a good starting point to experiment with. If / when I get some good shots i will post them for you.

Happy flying
2015-3-13
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giero
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Poland
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When shoting video my max ISO is 800 and LOG color profile.

Another example (photo):

shutter: 3.2 sec
ISO 200

test2

test2
2015-3-13
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markaguille
Captain
Flight distance : 2031818 ft
Guernsey
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That slow shutter gives some nice effect on the lights. Nice photo.
2015-3-13
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eaglecook
lvl.3
United States
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Ok, confession time.. I got 100% useless photos last night,... because; like a knuckle-head, I left the ND filter on... I think I'll try it again tonight if it's not raining.

Giero: our birds don't allow for 48 or 50 on the shutter speed. (or do they?). I just went with 60 as it's close, but a bit faster to help stop the motion. Nice pics as well.
2015-3-13
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Marktho1
Second Officer
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United States
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I have found in the correct setting the inspire yields some useful footage... Obviously you need light so if you pick a somewhat well lit area you can get good footage... The stabilizer is good on this thing.. lower your shutter and let in the light. start at 1600 ISO and see what you get.. even if you go to 3200 ISO you can still get some good clean footage... Remember white balance is very important to a good exposure. For incandescent lighting, start with a 3200Kelvin and adjust down for desired white point... be careful tho if you go to low you will start seeing blue banding in the shadows... 2800-3200 work best in most cases. on a side note, take a lens cloth to your lens and filter before night flight especially... to avoid the streaks from the light....
2015-3-13
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