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Best way to improve photography/videography understanding/skills?
13918 25 2015-5-26
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foreseason
lvl.2

United States
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I recently purchased a P3P which is my first quadcopter and first attempt at aerial photography/videography.  I grew up building and flying model airplanes so the flying part of this has come pretty easily.  I seem to have pretty good natural instincts when it comes to photography and am a tech nerd so I've picked up some decent photoshop/video editing skills over they years.  

What I lack is a true understanding of photography and videography.  I want some freedom beyond "auto mode" and want to know which settings to use in which lighting/situations.  I would like to learn about post production as well.  

Anyone have any suggestions how to approach this?   Any good web sites that offer this kind of instruction?  Paid or free.  





2015-5-26
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KaosImagery
lvl.4
Flight distance : 495463 ft
United States
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There are tons of free videos on YouTube and the web, but you do have to go looking for them.

Lynda.com and Kelbyone.com are subscription based sites but offer good classes, especially for those starting out in photography / video.  Lynda.com has a free trial option, not sure about Kelby.  But even for the price of one month, either would be worth joining to explore.
2015-5-26
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Paniza
First Officer
Flight distance : 1411801 ft
Canada
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Start understanding basics of Photography.
Ton of good videos on Youtube, try searching for "photography basics for beginners" and then "aerial cinematography basics for beginners".

There some members here that can give you valuable details of the DJI Pilot settings. I'm sure they will post here. If they don't I will point some of their posts for you later.

2015-5-26
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Robharris07
lvl.3

United States
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Someone posted this on my comment. Really good stuff:

I have written some longer comments with tips in this community. You can probably find them yourselves (I don't have time to find the links right now). Also, look up Jim Hare's Inspire 1 YouTube (or Vimeo?) videos explaining about videography with the DJI quadcopters. But let me give you a few quick pointers (in no particular order):

Tips for flying and shooting video

SMOOTH: As you noticed, it looks best, when movements are really really really smooth and slow. This is difficult to achieve with default settings.

EXPO & GAIN: In MC Settings -> Gain & Expo Tuning, changes the graphs so they are 0.30, which will mean that when you first touch the stick a little, it will almost not do anything (for slow fine movement). When you move the stick further, it will 'accelerate' how much stick is used, if that makes sense? Also, below in "Gain", consider lowering them a bit, especially "Yaw" (rotating) for those smoother and slower yaw movements.

MAKE STICKS LONGER: On the Remote Control itself, you can make the sticks longer, for further precision. You can in fact screw the little tops of the sticks off/loose and make the sticks short or longer. If they are longer (if you have long enough fingers to be comfortable) it will be easier to make fine adjustments for that buttery smooth movement we love in aerial videography

GIMBAL: Change the Gimbal speed! (Lower it). By default it is quite fast - which is fine to "look around". But it does not look good in video. I put mine about 50 or 60. But I also change the EXPO of the Gimbal so it moves really really slowly if I put in a little imput in the dial (front left) and increase speed if I move more. That makes it possible to make smooth gimbal movements that ease-in and ease-out. Takes some training - but these settings really help.

FLYING: Try to be as smooth as possible (did I mention this already?  ). It helps to "follow thru" if you want to do a move, and try to plan it in advance. This (also) takes training - but thats part of the fun


Tips for videography

LOG-mode, DYNAMIC RANGE: To get the maximum dynamic range (detail in dark and light areas of the image) I shoot in LOG-mode. This is a more "flat" profile that looks dull and unsaturated and without contrast. This is then - with greater freedom - added (colorgrading) in post-production in your editing software. I also tweak the Custom Style to 0 sharpness (default) -2 saturation, -2 contrast to get an even more flat looking image. There are some problems with this; it looks boring straight out of the camera, and also on the monitor/iPad when you film. I live with this in order to get the maximum quality in the end-product.

SHOOT IN MANUAL: in order for the camera not to do a lot of 'ugly' switching of the light (up and down) when the light changes, you can turn on Manual mode (the button with 3 sliders under the Shutter Button). Use ISO 100 (best) when there is enough light (almost always unless after sunset) and set the shutter-speed to where the light looks good. Make sure you have turned on "Exposure Warning" which then makes "zebra stripes" on the areas of the image that is blown out (100% white meaning no detail that can never be returned in postproduction). Some zebras are okay and unvoidable. You just want to avoid the (whole) sky being fully blown out etc.

SHUTTER SPEED: This brings me to the mystery of shutter speed in video. In photography fast shutter speed is generall good. Less shaking, sharp images. But in video it is our enemy because high shutterspeed makes us lose motion-blur which helps the brain think the video is very fluid at 24-30 fps (less of a problem if shooting in 60fps).  If the shutterspeed is up around 400 or maybe 1200, the 30 frames per second each becomes very sharp. that might sound good (and is if you want to grab stills out of your video). But when there is movement in the video, it will appear stuttery/choppy/staccato. Thats not what we want. We want smooth, remember?  In fact, a rule of thumb is, that the shutterspeed in video should be about 2x the framerate. So if you film at 30 fps, shutterspeed at 60 will be good for some natural looking motionblur. This is impossible in daylight or sunlight without a filter. And that is why people (myself included) experiment with ND-filters. ND-filters (Neutral Density) are grey filters that cut out an even amount of all wavelenghts of light so the shutter has to stay open longer in order to get enough light to expose each frame correctly. With an ND-filter we can get shutter-speed down. This is a third-party thing for now for the P3. ND-filters (lowering shutterspeed) can also help alleviate the dreaded "jello"-effect that some people (with unbalanced props etc.) suffer from. Thankfully the P3 is so well built that this is rarely a problem. But it can be. And an ND-filter is part of the solution. Personally, my motivation for experimenting with ND-filters is to get motionblur. However, you can work around this problem - again by being really smooth  If you don't move the camera around a lot or move fast, you won't notice the problem form the high shutterspeed so much (the lack of motion blur).

COMPRESSION and GRASS: The video we get from our Phantoms is compressed (with the h.264 codec). So we should be aware that certain things can cause some ugly artifacts. Again, fast movement or panning og tilting the gimbal up and down (fast) can cause blockyness and artifacts in the videostream. Our 4K records in 60 bit which is good, but in the world of professional digital video, it is a bit low. So we have to work with that. In fact, you show some of the really difficult "problem-scenes" in your video. Filming grass, tall grass, large areas of similar color but with a bunch of tiny detail, is worst case for the P3-camera. So we should be aware of this, and plan accordingly. If we film that sort of thing, again being slow and smooth helps a lot. Don't pan (only very very slowly) or you risk the image 'collapsing' into a green mushy mess of blockyness. We would like to avoid this  So be careful if that sort of thing fills up a large part of the frame.

SMOOTH MOVES: In general what looks good is smooth moves. Like you already do in your video. A flyby (also try going backwards where in fact you can have the camera pointing more up and flying faster without getting the props in the frame) where you don't correct your directly or only do it very smoothly, almost always works well. Mix in a little smooth gimbal movement, and it looks like a million dollars


Guess I could not help myself and ended up writing a small book for you. Hope you can glean some useful information from it
2015-5-26
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gregg1r
First Officer

United States
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Robharris07, Thank you for posting this. I don't know what's wrong with a lot of the folks that post  here. They appear to require being spoon feed information ASAP, yet don't bother thanking the  poster that answered their question.

Just like the multiple threads on updating the firmware. Unless you download the day that a new version comes out, it's been discussed before. A quick look at either the discussion or Help pages yields what you are looking for. It's not just this forum, but forums in general that are making people lazy. They ask their question and move on to the next time instead of reading the supplied manuals or searching the Wiki videos linked on the this page.  http://wiki.dji.com/en/index.php/Main_Page

Again, thank you for taking the time for the post.
2015-5-26
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lightpanther
lvl.4

United States
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Robharris07 Posted at 2015-5-27 02:01
Someone posted this on my comment. Really good stuff:

I have written some longer comments with tips ...

Robharris...best post ever!
2015-5-26
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FantomDK
Second Officer

Denmark
Offline

Wonder who that "someone" was
I believe it is customary to give credit to who wrote the original guide.
2015-5-26
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steven.sdharris
lvl.4
Flight distance : 384967 ft
United Kingdom
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One of the best posts i have seen in a long time Robharris07. Found the description of the Gain and Expo settings to be very useful.
2015-5-26
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Robharris07
lvl.3

United States
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steven.sdharris Posted at 2015-5-27 03:33
One of the best posts i have seen in a long time Robharris07. Found the description of the Gain and  ...

I thought the same thing
2015-5-26
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Robharris07
lvl.3

United States
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FantomDK Posted at 2015-5-27 03:21
Wonder who that "someone" was  
I believe it is customary to give credit to who wrote the  ...

@FantomDK my apologies I seriously had your name in my reply. I copy and pasted so I'm not sure what happened. I really was giving you credit....I promise Thanks again!
2015-5-26
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lightpanther
lvl.4

United States
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I'm sorry, whoever was the original author of that advice, full thanks for it. Also, full thanks for anyone relinking / reposting it. I didn't absorb that first sentence...
2015-5-26
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gregg1r
First Officer

United States
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FantomDK Posted at 2015-5-27 03:21
Wonder who that "someone" was  
I believe it is customary to give credit to who wrote the  ...

Here's you pat on the head FantomDK.

Again, too many hit and run folks on this forum for me. They want information, yet don't wish to say Thank You for saving them countless hours finding answers to their issues.
2015-5-26
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aburkefl
First Officer
Flight distance : 78612 ft
United States
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A lot of people with a lot of good ideas/comments/suggestions. Some pretty extensive posts have been done here (on the forum) so far - it's hard to keep up with what's new and what's already been written.

For my own personal use, I'm cutting and pasting as much as I can, trying to create a hints and tips document that will be meaningful to me.

In addition to what you might have found here so far, one of the posters (Jim Hare) also has a 4-part series of shooting/processing with the Inspire. A lot of what he describes are directly applicable for use with your Phantom 3. Just search in YouTube for Jim Hare and you should find them fairly easily.
2015-5-26
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worldcrafter
lvl.1
United States
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awesome info, thanks
2015-5-26
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FantomDK
Second Officer

Denmark
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Robharris07 Posted at 2015-5-27 03:39
@FantomDK my apologies  I seriously had your name in my reply. I copy and pasted so I'm not sure ...

No hard feelings

You could have linked to your own thread where I wrote the guide/tips (you could in fact still do that by editing your comment (it is fine with me to leave the copy here in this thread as well even though even though I noticed it lost some formatting in the copy/paste, which is why I'll just repost it here with formatting)).
2015-5-26
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FantomDK
Second Officer

Denmark
Offline

I have written some longer comments with tips in this community. You can probably find them yourselves seaching my name or clicking my name to see my posts. Also, look up Jim Hare's Inspire 1 YouTube (or Vimeo?) videos explaining about videography with the DJI quadcopters. But let me give you a few quick pointers (in no particular order):

Tips for flying and shooting video

  • SMOOTH: As you noticed, it looks best, when movements are really really really smooth and slow. This is difficult to achieve with default settings.

  • EXPO & GAIN: In MC Settings -> Gain & Expo Tuning, changes the graphs so they are 0.30, which will mean that when you first touch the stick a little, it will almost not do anything (for slow fine movement). When you move the stick further, it will 'accelerate' how much stick is used, if that makes sense? Also, below in "Gain", consider lowering them a bit, especially "Yaw" (rotating) for those smoother and slower yaw movements.

  • MAKE STICKS LONGER: On the Remote Control itself, you can make the sticks longer, for further precision. You can in fact screw the little tops of the sticks off/loose and make the sticks short or longer. If they are longer (if you have long enough fingers to be comfortable) it will be easier to make fine adjustments for that buttery smooth movement we love in aerial videography

  • GIMBAL: Change the Gimbal speed! (Lower it). By default it is quite fast - which is fine to "look around". But it does not look good in video. I put mine about 50 or 60. But I also change the EXPO of the Gimbal so it moves really really slowly if I put in a little imput in the dial (front left) and increase speed if I move more. That makes it possible to make smooth gimbal movements that ease-in and ease-out. Takes some training - but these settings really help.

  • FLYING: Try to be as smooth as possible (did I mention this already? ). It helps to "follow thru" if you want to do a move, and try to plan it in advance. This (also) takes training - but thats part of the fun


Tips for videography

  • LOG-mode, DYNAMIC RANGE: To get the maximum dynamic range (detail in dark and light areas of the image) I shoot in LOG-mode. This is a more "flat" profile that looks dull and unsaturated and without contrast. This is then - with greater freedom - added (colorgrading) in post-production in your editing software. I also tweak the Custom Style to 0 sharpness (default) -2 saturation, -2 contrast to get an even more flat looking image. There are some problems with this; it looks boring straight out of the camera, and also on the monitor/iPad when you film. I live with this in order to get the maximum quality in the end-product.

  • SHOOT IN MANUAL: in order for the camera not to do a lot of 'ugly' switching of the light (up and down) when the light changes, you can turn on Manual mode (the button with 3 sliders under the Shutter Button). Use ISO 100 (best) when there is enough light (almost always unless after sunset) and set the shutter-speed to where the light looks good. Make sure you have turned on "Exposure Warning" which then makes "zebra stripes" on the areas of the image that is blown out (100% white meaning no detail that can never be returned in postproduction). Some zebras are okay and unvoidable. You just want to avoid the (whole) sky being fully blown out etc.

  • SHUTTER SPEED: This brings me to the mystery of shutter speed in video. In photography fast shutter speed is generall good. Less shaking, sharp images. But in video it is our enemy because high shutterspeed makes us lose motion-blur which helps the brain think the video is very fluid at 24-30 fps (less of a problem if shooting in 60fps).  If the shutterspeed is up around 400 or maybe 1200, the 30 frames per second each becomes very sharp. that might sound good (and is if you want to grab stills out of your video). But when there is movement in the video, it will appear stuttery/choppy/staccato. Thats not what we want. We want smooth, remember? In fact, a rule of thumb is, that the shutterspeed in video should be about 2x the framerate. So if you film at 30 fps, shutterspeed at 60 will be good for some natural looking motionblur. This is impossible in daylight or sunlight without a filter. And that is why people (myself included) experiment with ND-filters. ND-filters (Neutral Density) are grey filters that cut out an even amount of all wavelenghts of light so the shutter has to stay open longer in order to get enough light to expose each frame correctly. With an ND-filter we can get shutter-speed down. This is a third-party thing for now for the P3. ND-filters (lowering shutterspeed) can also help alleviate the dreaded "jello"-effect that some people (with unbalanced props etc.) suffer from. Thankfully the P3 is so well built that this is rarely a problem. But it can be. And an ND-filter is part of the solution. Personally, my motivation for experimenting with ND-filters is to get motionblur. However, you can work around this problem - again by being really smooth If you don't move the camera around a lot or move fast, you won't notice the problem form the high shutterspeed so much (the lack of motion blur).

  • COMPRESSION and GRASS: The video we get from our Phantoms is compressed (with the h.264 codec). So we should be aware that certain things can cause some ugly artifacts. Again, fast movement or panning og tilting the gimbal up and down (fast) can cause blockyness and artifacts in the videostream. Our 4K records in 60 bit which is good, but in the world of professional digital video, it is a bit low. So we have to work with that. In fact, you show some of the really difficult "problem-scenes" in your video. Filming grass, tall grass, large areas of similar color but with a bunch of tiny detail, is worst case for the P3-camera. So we should be aware of this, and plan accordingly. If we film that sort of thing, again being slow and smooth helps a lot. Don't pan (only very very slowly) or you risk the image 'collapsing' into a green mushy mess of blockyness. We would like to avoid this So be careful if that sort of thing fills up a large part of the frame.

  • SMOOTH MOVES: In general what looks good is smooth moves. Like you already do in your video. A flyby (also try going backwards where in fact you can have the camera pointing more up and flying faster without getting the props in the frame) where you don't correct your directly or only do it very smoothly, almost always works well. Mix in a little smooth gimbal movement, and it looks like a million dollars


Guess I could not help myself and ended up writing a small book for you. Hope you can glean some useful information from it
2015-5-26
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FantomDK
Second Officer

Denmark
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gregg1r@mindspr Posted at 2015-5-27 05:19
Here's you pat on the head FantomDK.

Again, too many hit and run folks on this forum for me. T ...

Thank you gregg   
2015-5-26
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DJI-Autumn
First Officer

Hong Kong
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FantomDK Posted at 2015-5-27 07:18
I have written some longer comments with tips in this community. You can probably find them yourselv ...

Thank you Fantom!
2015-5-26
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jacribb.gmail
lvl.2

United States
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FantomDK Posted at 2015-5-27 07:18
I have written some longer comments with tips in this community. You can probably find them yourselv ...

You mention that you can control the gimble expo. I can't find this setting in the DJI App. Where is this?  I can see where you can adjust gimble wheel speed but not its expo.
2015-5-26
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foreseason
lvl.2

United States
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Wow great information.  Thanks Fantom and everyone else
2015-5-27
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Sjoerd
lvl.1
Flight distance : 97060 ft
Netherlands
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Robharris07 Posted at 2015-5-27 02:01
Someone posted this on my comment. Really good stuff:

I have written some longer comments with tips ...

Whoow best tip "package" on this forum!
2015-5-27
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RobertK
lvl.1

United States
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FantomDK Posted at 2015-5-27 07:18
I have written some longer comments with tips in this community. You can probably find them yourselv ...

What  video editing software do you use that permits the color enhancement postproduction you talk about?
2015-7-8
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020667
lvl.4
Flight distance : 14495 ft
Denmark
Offline

In short
- manual mode
- don´t use ISO above 200 (produces noise due to the tiny sensor)
-  Set your exposure for the direction you want to film in so it´s +/-0 with shutter speed (and keep that direction othervise you need to change shutterspeed)

- that will be a easy start
2015-7-8
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przemek
lvl.2
Poland
Offline

Sony Movie Studio / Sony Vegas Pro are capable of such image manipulation.

I believe that all current versions of popular  nonlinear video editing software are capable for at least basic color correction.
2015-7-8
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harvey
lvl.2

United States
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FantomDK Posted at 2015-5-27 07:18
I have written some longer comments with tips in this community. You can probably find them yourselv ...

Thanks for this info
2015-11-15
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lesrkent
lvl.2
Flight distance : 83307 ft
  • >>>
United Kingdom
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Excellent post, most of this I have become aware of through youtube etc, but I have always
had an issue with the "Over-saturated" look of grass.

Even though I use an ND filter and shoot at 24 fps ISO 100 shutter speed 50, I always fly smoothly and slowly
but Grass really ruins the look of my video's I cant even seem to get a decent look even in post
in fact I would go as far as to say the whole image tends to lean towards the green side of the spectrum??

Lez....
2016-3-16
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