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Mavic 2 Pro preferred settings roundup
11242 10 2018-9-18
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Ariel Foto
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My roundup of preferred settings, still evolving.  I have Adobe Lightroom, Adobe Photoshop and Final Cut Pro X, so my settings are geared toward my workflow — certainly not a one-size-fits-all proposition.  Settings below are not exhaustive, and there is much experimentation still needed.  Errors likely, changes and adjustments certain to follow.  Comments and other preferences welcomed!

General Starting Settings:
  • Gimbal > Advanced Settings > Adjust Gimbal > ~10–14 max speed / ~20–24 smoothness
  • Main Controller > Advanced Settings > Gain & Expo ("P" Positioning Mode) > EXP throttle (altitude/z-axis) 0.22, EXP rudder (yaw/θ) 0.18, EXP planar (x-/y-axes) 0.21 / Sensitivity attitude 80, Sensitivity brake 85*, Sensitivity yaw movement limit 60 / Gain pitch 100, Gain roll 100, Gain yaw 100, Gain vertical 100 / Cinematic Mode brake gain 10.0, yaw sensitivity 50.0 [factory defaults are 0.25/0.20/0.25, 100/100/75, 100/100/100/100, 10.0/50.0]
    * changes to sensitivity are geared for more cinematic movement, but may affect maneuverability and stopping time/distance: please understand your settings and ability to maneuver safely before adjusting
  • Main Controller > Advanced Settings > Gain & Expo ("S" Sport Mode) > EXP throttle (altitude/z-axis) 0.25, EXP rudder (yaw/θ) 0.35, EXP planar (x-/y-axes) 0.35 / Sensitivity attitude 100, Sensitivity brake 100, Sensitivity yaw movement limit 75 / Gain pitch 100, Gain roll 100, Gain yaw 100, Gain vertical 100 [factory defaults are 0.25/0.35/0.35, 100/100/75, 100/100/100/100]
  • Camera > Shutter/Exposure > manual* / locked ISO <=800 (prefer 400 or lower) for given light+filters / aperture best f/4–f/5.6, okay f/2.8–f/8, mushy at f/11+ / shutter best at 2X frame rate (1/50 for 24/25fps, 1/60 for 30fps, 1/100 for 48/50fps, 1/120 for 60fps, 1/240 for 120fps), but can go 1X or 4X for different looks
    * if not using manual mode, at least lock in the auto exposure (AE) for each shot, and the ISO if possible, to prevent jarring changes
  • Camera > Still Shooting Mode > Photo mode of choice (single, HDR, hyperlight, multiple, exposure bracketed, timed, pano, etc) / 3:2 or 16:9 per preference / JPEG+RAW / manual white balance (sunny, cloudy) / standard style (needs more experimentation) / color seems only to have Normal option (RAW will not be affected)
  • Camera > Video Shooting Mode > 4K full FOV or 4K HQ (cropped for zoom tele like) per distance (HQ has less lens distortion but maybe more noise?) / manual white balance (sunny, cloudy) / standard style (needs more experimentation) / color Dlog-M (HLG = HDR-like)
    – Potentially revisit style for sharpness (per other users, Mavic Pro 1 needed +1 sharpness, especially during golden hour, to prevent in-camera noise reduction softening contrast parts of image, but this usually requires some noise reduction in post to smooth out rough edges)
  • Camera > General Settings > +histogram, +lock gimbal, -AFC (continuous autofocus), +overexposed, +auto sync photo, -caption, +grid, +center point, high peaking threshold
  • Remote > C1/C2: Toggle Map/Live or Bottom Auxiliary Lighting, Camera Forward/Down; 5D: UP Metering/Focusing, DOWN AE Lock/Unlock, LEFT Decrease EV, RIGHT Increase EV
  • HD > Dual, Auto, HD Mode

Anti-Collision Strobe Light Orientation: red port, green starboard, white top aft (but orientation doesn’t really matter for omnidirectional quadcopters, except to aid pilot)

In General: Cinematic Mode or Tripod Mode (when videoing); Tripod Mode for photos, static videos, and anything needing extreme stability; Locked Exposure (AE), Manual Focus (MF) dialed to infinity or within top 3 focus lines for most situations [tap to focus on background, continuous autofocus (AFC) disabled]

Day Shooting (Video): Manual, check white balance, locked ISO 100 (<=400), f/4–f/5.6 (higher if no ND filters, but mushy past f/11), shutter double frame rate preferred (can shorten if no ND filters, or split difference with aperture), lock MF/AE; Cinematic or Tripod mode

Day Shooting (Still): Manual, JPEG+RAW, check white balance, locked ISO 100 (<=400), f/4–f/5.6 (higher if no ND filters, mushy past f/11), shutter to desired effect (1/8000 sec – 8 sec), depending on filter and aperture; longer exposures (>=1/60) introduce more motion blur, Tripod mode might help

Day Shooting (Hyperlapse): Manual, check white balance, locked ISO 100 (<=400), f/4–f/5.6 (higher if no ND filters, mushy past f/11), shutter to desired effect (1/8000 sec – 2 sec), depending on filter and aperture, lock MF/AE; longer exposures (>=1/60) introduce more motion blur, Tripod mode might help; Hyperlapse 2–3 second interval tends to be good rate; Circle, Course Lock and Waypoint are nice capture modes; consider saving original RAW photos and creating alternate hyperlapse manually in post

Day Shooting (Panorama): Manual, check white balance, locked ISO 100 (<=400), f/4–f/5.6 (higher if no ND filters, mushy past f/11), shutter to desired effect (1/8000 sec – 2 sec), depending on filter and aperture, lock MF/AE; longer exposures (>=1/60) introduce more motion blur, Tripod mode might help; consider saving original RAW photos and stitching alternate panorama manually in post

Night Shooting* (Video): Manual, check white balance, f/2.8–f/4, shutter double frame rate preferred (can also try to equal frame rate or split the difference), set ISO accordingly (may need 800+, even 3200, applying NR in post), lock MF/AE; 4K full FOV may introduce less noise than 4K HQ cropped; Cinematic or Tripod mode

Night Shooting* (Still): Manual, JPEG+RAW, check white balance, f/2.8–f/5.6, shutter to on desired effect (1/120 sec – 8 sec), locked ISO <=800 (prefer 400 or lower), depending on aperture and shutter speed; longer exposures introduce more motion blur, Tripod mode might help

Night Shooting* (Hyperlapse): Manual, check white balance, locked ISO <=800 (prefer 400 or lower), f/2.8–f/4, 1/4 shutter speed (or faster for less blur, slower for more blur), lock MF/AE; 4K full FOV may introduce less noise than 4K HQ cropped; longer exposures introduce more motion blur, Tripod mode might help; Hyperlapse 2–3 second interval tends to be good rate; Circle, Course Lock and Waypoint are nice capture modes; consider saving original RAW photos and creating alternate hyperlapse manually in post

*  Do not attempt commercial night shooting in the United States without 14 CFR Part 107 certification, aftermarket LED strobes with 3SM visibility, and a §107.29 waiver.  This waiver is realistically attainable with a bit of homework, and good for four years at a time.  Do not attempt recreational night shooting in the United States without aftermarket LED strobes with 3SM visibility, in accordance with 14 CFR Part 101 Subpart E Section 336 rules and with strict adherence to AMA safety guidelines.  People that fly illegally just make it harder—and more dangerous—for the rest of us.

Hyperlapse from RAW in Post: for more control over final quality, shoot hyperlapse as above, but enable save original RAW photos for hyperlapse in advanced settings; in post, adjust one raw for shadow, highlight, exposure, color, etc; copy and paste to rest of raws; export PNGs, TIFFs or JPEGs to folder; import into NLE (1080p or 4K project at 12fps or as desired) by dragging onto timeline (FCPX); select all clips; change Duration to 1 frame; change Spatial Conform to “Fit” (in FCPX, letterboxed if mismatched); export to lossless video; reimport to NLE and apply Stabilization (love CoreMelt Lock & Load), speed ramps, additional color grading, lens distortion correction and effects as desired

Hyperlapse “Linear Boomerang” Effect: shoot Hyperlapse of choice; prepare and import raw or video as needed; grade and stabilize as needed; in timeline, experiment with alternating forward and reversed video (200% and/or 400% speed enhances effect) – tip courtesy karlo_m

Fake Dolly Zoom for Fixed Lenses: shoot in 4K for 1080p project (requires digital scaling in post); choose distinct foreground/distant background, generally keep foreground centered (can fall off bottom if needed), fly toward or away; import into 1080p project; apply lens distortion correction and color scaling as needed; keyframe Scale from 50% to 100% (or reverse), with ease in/ease out – tip courtesy karlo_m

2018-9-18
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A CW
Captain
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Excellent info!   
2018-9-18
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DanielVieira
First Officer
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"Tripod Mode for photos, static videos, and anything needing extreme stability"

Tripod doesnt add more stability to the aircraft....it only moves slow, but if you are shotting a photo normaly you are hovering.

Thanks for the info!
2018-9-18
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Ariel Foto
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United States
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DanielVieira Posted at 2018-9-18 08:48
"Tripod Mode for photos, static videos, and anything needing extreme stability"

Tripod doesnt add more stability to the aircraft....it only moves slow, but if you are shotting a photo normaly you are hovering.

Normally hovering, yes, but in my case, not always.  Tripod Mode is slow, but it is smooth and forgiving.  Honestly, I haven't yet verified that special shooting modes like Hyperlapse even work in Tripod Mode, anyway, so there may be some corrections and amendments after I next get out to shoot.
2018-9-18
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DJI Natalia
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Hello. Thanks for sharing this information with us.  This will help our co-pilots regarding on Mavic 2 Pro settings. Thanks for your support.
2018-9-18
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Gateway
Second Officer
Flight distance : 1503071 ft
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I think these are great starter settings, one thing though thats not really mentioned is the gain and expo settings for the drone itself and this is how agressive the drone reacts to your stick movements.  Also understanding the frame rate / shutter speeds is important since ideally you need double the shutter speed based upon the frame rate you choose as stated above.  If you dont get this right your video might have a flickering effect since your not really introduction the natural motion blur that you need.  ND filters can help reduce the F-stops by 1, 2, 4, 8 thus allowing you to achieve the shutter speed you need.  Best to google info about that since its quite detailed.

I just got my mavic 2 pro , I usually fly I2, P4P 4 or my old mavic so Ill be playing around with still photos in both day and night and trying to find that sweet spot for shutter speed exposure.

Also I believe if your a hobbiest you can fly at night, its not recommended for those who have a part 107 like me, we can only really fly 30 minutes before sunrise and 30 minutes after sunrise, unless of course we have the proper lighting and waiver from the FAA.

Thanks for taking the time to post this, maybe we should start a google doc/spreadsheet.  
2018-9-18
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Ariel Foto
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Gateway Posted at 2018-9-18 11:01
I think these are great starter settings, one thing though thats not really mentioned is the gain and expo settings for the drone itself and this is how agressive the drone reacts to your stick movements.  Also understanding the frame rate / shutter speeds is important since ideally you need double the shutter speed based upon the frame rate you choose as stated above.  If you dont get this right your video might have a flickering effect since your not really introduction the natural motion blur that you need.  ND filters can help reduce the F-stops by 1, 2, 4, 8 thus allowing you to achieve the shutter speed you need.  Best to google info about that since its quite detailed.

I just got my mavic 2 pro , I usually fly I2, P4P 4 or my old mavic so Ill be playing around with still photos in both day and night and trying to find that sweet spot for shutter speed exposure.

Yes, haven't even fiddled with the Mavic's Gain and Expo settings (honestly, I've been a little scared of them).  The documentation doesn't go very deep there.  I would love to hear how you and others prefer to set those, and learn more about how individually they affect the response of the craft.

You may be right about flying at night under Section 336.  Sadly, most people flying sUAS under Section 336 have never even looked at AMA rules, and frankly the rules don't say much about night flying except for lighting.  The rest of AMA "safe operation" at night is kind of a grey area.  This is worrying to me, as there is a lot that can go wrong at night, and it invites a few bad apples or careless operators to ruin flying for the rest of us.  Some crazy with a drone nearly decapitated my mother the other evening (or so she says).

Note, however, that even in US civil twilight (outside of Alaska's latitudinal weirdness, the 30 minutes pre-sunrise/post-sunset), Part 107 still requires the use of anti-collision lights.  The 107.29 waiver only comes into play for the darkness in between.
2018-9-18
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Ariel Foto
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(duplicate post deleted)
2018-9-18
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Gateway
Second Officer
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Exp, Breaking and Gain settings sorta explained

https://video.ultra-zone.net/watch?v=kR-_FhXzihA

I have to look what i set my original mavic to, I usually set these on my Inspire or P4P and making small tweaks can really help out with flying, ever had that feeling you hit the stick to hard and you can see the drone jerk that direction quickly, want to break less abrupt, dont want your sticks to sensitive so you can fly and create nice cinematic shots (similar to tripod or cinematic modes) ? Well making adjustments to those settings help out.

I would google around more, a lot of people have a hard time really properly explaining this and well always remember your default settings
2018-9-18
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Gateway
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I thought I would also add to this thread some visual display of when you adjust ISO, Shutter, and Aperture (the triangle) .  These tend to work across drone photography as well but hopefully this helps people understand the various settings and how to introduce motion blur, deal with sharp images, avoid grain etc.



Another thing I see a lot is blurry pictures due to improper focus or not locking the focus down esp when doing a hyperlapse, as stated above its best to lock the focus , of course set the focus at first, some set it to infinity, but you will have to play with it.

again @Ariel Foto thanks for sharing and starting this thread I hope it helps others!
2018-9-20
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Arial Foto
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Gateway Posted at 2018-9-20 11:12
I thought I would also add to this thread some visual display of when you adjust ISO, Shutter, and Aperture (the triangle) .  These tend to work across drone photography as well but hopefully this helps people understand the various settings and how to introduce motion blur, deal with sharp images, avoid grain etc.

[view_image]

Thanks, Gateway!  I also edited the original post with some updated settings (incuding Expo and sensitivity).  My background is in photography, and the aeromechanical aspects of a quadcopter (like Expo, sensitivity and gain) are the newest areas for me.  Even though I am Part 107 certified, I feel there is still a lot to learn about the mechanics of a quadcopter aircraft.
2018-9-24
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