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Mini footage almost unusable with snow
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869 44 1-13 12:24
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Ice_2k
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So i know this has been discussed over and over again, but I really feel this needs reiterating on until DJI does something about it. I just took a skiing vacation with my family and used the Mini to film some of the scenery and also my son (6yo) taking his first skiing lessons. Which, based on DJI's marketing of the Mini, seems like the *exact* scenario the Mini was made for. And yet, over half of the footage I took that involves snow is totally unusable (unless you have a very low standard when it comes to video) because the white balance keeps changing over and over again. And it's not a subtle change. It goes from blueish to ridiculously yellow and then back to blue. I understand the lack of more advanced features in order to protect the more expensive drones but seriously, not being able to lock the WB?!... I'm sorry but that's just lame.
1-13 12:24
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Francoisd
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Thank you for your feedback.
As I go skying in the next few weeks and wanter to taker my mini with me, I begin to thing I would stay at home for this time.
I was wondering if using a ND filter would not help with this issue.
1-13 12:30
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Ice_2k
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You should take it. I don't regret bring it along as I did get some nice shots but so many others were ruined by this ridiculous and unnecessary issue....
1-13 12:31
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Francoisd
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You're right, I will take it.
Hopefully, the filters I ordered would arrived in the mean time and I could bring some info about flying above the snow.
When I first saw the title of your post, I thought you had problems with flying because of the snow :S
1-13 12:38
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Geebax
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Francoisd Posted at 1-13 12:38
You're right, I will take it.
Hopefully, the filters I ordered would arrived in the mean time and I could bring some info about flying above the snow.
When I first saw the title of your post, I thought you had problems with flying because of the snow :S

ND filters will not help the problem in any way. The problem is that the Mini does not have any ability to set a manual colour temperature setting.
1-13 13:13
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Ice_2k
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Geebax Posted at 1-13 13:13
ND filters will not help the problem in any way. The problem is that the Mini does not have any ability to set a manual colour temperature setting.

... or at least lock the automatic one.
1-13 13:16
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ARTPiranha
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Thats exactly what I found! Also maybe mine mini is wrong but color balance seems different not only from shot to shot when change direction but in one shot itself! I can see different colors IN ONE scene! or maybe I have big spot of different color in the center of image! It reminds me Mavic 1 pro with its yellowish spot in the center of Image! HEY, DJI, Make something! Mini is great Little drone, but give us more camera control and make something with colors and balance!!!
1-13 13:19
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Geebax
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Ice_2k Posted at 1-13 13:16
... or at least lock the automatic one.

Which would be pointless unless you could set it to a different value.
1-13 13:47
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Ice_2k
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Geebax Posted at 1-13 13:47
Which would be pointless unless you could set it to a different value.

I don't think that's right. First off, a shot with an "incorrect" WB value is infinitely better than one with an ever-changing WB value. Second, changing the color temperature afterwards to one that you're happy with is trivial in any video editing software as long as the WB is constant in your footage.
1-13 13:49
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hallmark007
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You don’t really have a choice right now, maybe extra features will come, but changes in the light are going to be there particularly in conditions like snow, filiming in snow you really need to underexpose, I have seen others manage it obviously through editing until things change if they do .
1-13 13:53
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ARTPiranha
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Geebax Posted at 1-13 13:47
Which would be pointless unless you could set it to a different value.

You are wrong, better to have constant wb trough one clip than ever-changing
1-13 13:54
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Ice_2k
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hallmark007 Posted at 1-13 13:53
You don’t really have a choice right now, maybe extra features will come, but changes in the light are going to be there particularly in conditions like snow, filiming in snow you really need to underexpose, I have seen others manage it obviously through editing until things change if they do .

i'm not talking about changes in the light. I'm talking about an almost stationary shot where the snow goes from blue to yellow

1-13 13:58
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hallmark007
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Ice_2k Posted at 1-13 13:58
i'm not talking about changes in the light. I'm talking about an almost stationary shot where the snow goes from blue to yellow
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uimIGzN3NAc

That’s what happens when clouds move light changes, you can see this in the best of dji drones if you video in harsh changing light, control in manual won’t completely stop this, you probably have a camera that costs about €100 it’s not going to be perfect , there are SW corrections that can help .
1-13 14:19
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Geebax
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ARTPiranha Posted at 1-13 13:54
You are wrong, better to have constant wb trough one clip than ever-changing

Wrong eh? OK, how many people here have the knowledge to correct colour balance on some p*ssy little phone app? Better to be able to set it closely to correct in the first place. Oh, by the way, the answer is b*gger all.
1-13 14:45
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Ice_2k
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you're being stubborn for no reason... correcting the color balance is trivial in any video editing app if the WB is locked. You can even do it in the standard DJI Fly app, it's just a freakin' slider...
1-13 14:52
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pnwflier
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I'm amazed they let you use a drone in a ski area with a bunch of people around.
1-13 15:29
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Sigmo
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I'd rather be hit by a falling mini than by an out of control skier or snowboarder.  ;)
1-13 15:43
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BobWinNV
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Geebax Posted at 1-13 13:13
ND filters will not help the problem in any way. The problem is that the Mini does not have any ability to set a manual colour temperature setting.

Even if they let us lock the auto setting it would help but full manual white balance is what I would like to see.
1-13 17:25
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Ice_2k
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pnwflier Posted at 1-13 15:29
I'm amazed they let you use a drone in a ski area with a bunch of people around.

I guess that’s the advantage of the mini. I asked people and literally nobody cared about it. Also, it was mostly hovering at 3m, not much damage it can do from that height even if it drops like a brick.
1-13 22:27
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Bigplumbs
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That video looked ok to me you are being far too picky
1-13 22:32
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Ice_2k
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Bigplumbs Posted at 1-13 22:32
That video looked ok to me you are being far too picky

This amount of color shift within just a few seconds looks reasonable to you?

1-13 23:57
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DAFlys
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This is a perfect example where you need to lock the white balance, and I don't think that's an unreasonable option to have even for an entry level product.   You should start a poll to get some attention to it.
1-14 01:35
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Montfrooij
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True.
This is the reason I'm holding back on MM.
You need to be able to fix WB because of the auto WB can be fooled. No matter how good the camera system is.
In those circumstances you do need manual mode (for video)
1-14 01:49
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Udo13
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And what does DJI support say?
Is there already a statement about this?
1-14 02:04
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Ice_2k
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Udo13 Posted at 1-14 02:04
And what does DJI support say?
Is there already a statement about this?

well, as you can see from the numerous replies from DJI moderators on this topic.....
1-14 02:10
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InspektorGadjet
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Francoisd Posted at 1-13 12:30
Thank you for your feedback.
As I go skying in the next few weeks and wanter to taker my mini with me, I begin to thing I would stay at home for this time.
I was wondering if using a ND filter would not help with this issue.

ND filters basically make the light that reach the sensor less strong, like sun glasses, but they do not affect color temperature at all.

White balance changes depending on how much direct light from the sun you get, what time of day, position of the sun, clouds or not, and this some times changes a lot, specially noticeable in shadow areas, is very noticeable in the snow, since is white, and being cloudy it will  change a lot.

The only solution is either a flat video profile to fine tune in post, or WB lock.
1-14 02:13
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Sigmo
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Count me in.  WB Lock, some of the typical WB Presets, and the usual color temperature setting for times when you really want to dial it in.  That's not too much to ask.
1-14 02:38
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Bigplumbs
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Ice_2k Posted at 1-13 23:57
This amount of color shift within just a few seconds looks reasonable to you?

[view_image]

Why would that worry you, you need to look less at detail and more at the memories you are recording.

Have you never looked back at a very poor photo or Black and White film with fondness.

Some things are simply not important.....

As I said far too critical
1-15 14:38
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Sigmo
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It's not necessarily that the resulting videos are hideous.  It's just that it seems like it may be relatively easy for DJI to give us white balance lock and the usual camera-style WB controls with a firmware update.  So if it's possible, it really would be nice.

I've had quite noticable WB shift happen in videos that I shot flying indoors due to various lighting.  Some difficulty is inevitable with mixed light like that.  But being able to lock the WB makes the videos more natural-looking because the colors don't shift.  It's more critical for video than stills because you see the shift happen right before your eyes.

If DJI can add these features, I'd love to see them.  It would be a nice treat for the Mini owners.
1-15 17:07
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deathsquad
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Firstly, lock the exposure so it doesn't change. Choose one a bit darker so you don't have all the snow without any detail. You can adjust brightness post production to fix that but you can't fill in overexposed areas if they are shot that way. Secondly, click on the subject you want to shoot on the screen of your device. A focus square appears and changes the light to suit the subject. Most people don't use or know about this function. The light and colour shouldn't change if you lock the exposure with your subject as the focus.
1-15 17:15
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Sigmo
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deathsquad Posted at 1-15 17:15
Firstly, lock the exposure so it doesn't change. Choose one a bit darker so you don't have all the snow without any detail. You can adjust brightness post production to fix that but you can't fill in overexposed areas if they are shot that way. Secondly, click on the subject you want to shoot on the screen of your device. A focus square appears and changes the light to suit the subject. Most people don't use or know about this function. The light and colour shouldn't change if you lock the exposure with your subject as the focus.

Those are good tips!

But the White Balance issue is a different problem.  What people are asking for is a way to lock the WB so that colors don't shift as the automatic WB tries to adjust to different color temperatures.

Snow is often problematic because as your angle to the sun changes, the polarizing effect of sunlight striking the snow can shift.  Also, as you change your angle to the sun, the same sort of effect happens due to scattering in the earth's atmosphere, also causing a shift in the average color temperature that's "seen" and adjusted for by the auto white balance.  Water also polarizes light that reflects off of its surface, and this, too, can cause an apparent WB shift depending on how the camera's sensors are affected.

And flying indoors, you often have different light sources as you move around.  One room might have LED lighting, another might have fluorescents or incandescents, etc.

I've noticed that as I fly from room to room where I work, the shifting of WB as the Mini attempts to adjust automatically, can be somewhat disturbing.

Any auto white balance will attempt to make the overall average scene appear as if it was photographed in daylight.  But this isn't possible with "mixed lighting" as still photographers know.  Fortunately, you can correct a still image (especially if you shoot in RAW).  But the issue with video is that the WB setting that the camera is using can change as the aim of the camera changes and it tries to adapt.  Seeing the colors in one part of the scene change as a differently-illuminated area comes into view and begins to dominate the WB setting is odd, and attracts the attention of the viewer.

While no one WB setting will allow every part of a scene that suffers from mixed lighting to look as if it was shot in daylight, at least the colors won't change.  People understand that different light sources yield different color balance.  That's hidden from us to some extent by the amazing way our brains compensates for these things.  But we're still aware of it from our everyday experience.

As an example:  Everyone knows that the light from a campfire renders things with a reddish hue while light from the sun is more "white".  I often think people go too far when color-correcting still photos to try to make such scenes appear to have been shot in daylight.  Often, it's best to leave at least some of a scene's tint alone so that it conveys more of the feel of the actual situation.

Being able to at least lock the WB, and ideally be able to manually adjust it is a handy feature, and shouldn't be difficult for DJI to implement with a firmware update.

I think the Mini does a great job.  But having more control over WB would be a nice upgrade.
1-15 19:55
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Ice_2k
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Bigplumbs Posted at 1-15 14:38
Why would that worry you, you need to look less at detail and more at the memories you are recording.

Have you never looked back at a very poor photo or Black and White film with fondness.

I’m obviously not questioning the importance of the memories, but by using that logic you could dismiss literally every camera feature. Why do we need a gimbal? Why do we need EV setting? Why do we need multiple framerates and resolutions? Shaky phone videos still hold good value as nice memories. It’s just about being able to get nice, cinematic shots. It is such problems with the image that will just distract the viewer from focusing on the actual stuff being filmed. Image artifacts, shakiness, color shift. I’m not really sure why you’re contesting it as the advantage it would provide is obvious while still being an extremely simple fix for DJI.
1-15 22:57
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Ice_2k
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deathsquad Posted at 1-15 17:15
Firstly, lock the exposure so it doesn't change. Choose one a bit darker so you don't have all the snow without any detail. You can adjust brightness post production to fix that but you can't fill in overexposed areas if they are shot that way. Secondly, click on the subject you want to shoot on the screen of your device. A focus square appears and changes the light to suit the subject. Most people don't use or know about this function. The light and colour shouldn't change if you lock the exposure with your subject as the focus.

There was actually quite a lot of detail in the snow, I just finished editing that part. Youtube probably messed it up a bit with the encoding but the actual footage was fine once I lowered the highlights a bit. I didn't want to get any lower in the EV because of the ski instructor being dressed in all black.
1-16 00:11
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TDZHDTV
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Ice_2k Posted at 1-13 13:58
i'm not talking about changes in the light. I'm talking about an almost stationary shot where the snow goes from blue to yellow
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uimIGzN3NAc

That’s horrible, and I was looking forward to shooting some snowy landscapes
1-16 00:36
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deathsquad
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Sigmo Posted at 1-15 19:55
Those are good tips!

But the White Balance issue is a different problem.  What people are asking for is a way to lock the WB so that colors don't shift as the automatic WB tries to adjust to different color temperatures.

Yes I understand. We only have exposure they really need to add a few more options like white balance etc. I’m hoping they will soon in an app update.
1-16 01:34
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deathsquad
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Ice_2k Posted at 1-16 00:11
There was actually quite a lot of detail in the snow, I just finished editing that part. Youtube probably messed it up a bit with the encoding but the actual footage was fine once I lowered the highlights a bit. I didn't want to get any lower in the EV because of the ski instructor being dressed in all black.

Try clicking the subjects, once it lightens up maybe touch the exposure down one notch then lock it. See if that helps with the snow footage not varying for you.
1-16 01:35
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Sigmo
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deathsquad Posted at 1-16 01:35
Try clicking the subjects, once it lightens up maybe touch the exposure down one notch then lock it. See if that helps with the snow footage not varying for you.

Yes!

Snow scenes always require some manual adjustment or use of exposure compensation because you want the snow to come out white, not have the averaging auto exposure metering adjust the snow to come out a neutral gray, which is what it will try to do.  That always underexposes everything because all of the white fools the exposure meter.

And as you say, just doing that may make the WB work a bit better, too.  White snow should look bright white, not gray, and if it's close to blown out (as it really should be), slight color shifts in the snow won't be as noticeable.

For me, it's going to be hard to concentrate on proper exposure and photo techniques for a while as I'm mostly concentrating on flying and just not crashing or losing the Mini!  Hopefully I'll get to where I can be more thoughtful about the cinematography and photography as I gain more confidence and experience flying.

1-17 02:37
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MBender
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Geebax Posted at 1-13 14:45
Wrong eh? OK, how many people here have the knowledge to correct colour balance on some p*ssy little phone app? Better to be able to set it closely to correct in the first place. Oh, by the way, the answer is b*gger all.

Obviously being able to manually set the WB is preferable to NOT being able to do that at all. BUT even an incorrect WB looks a lot better than one that's shifting in a single scene.

So even if someone's doing video editing on their phone it's still better to have an incorrect, but fixed WB over an ever-shifting WB. And then IF someone has some better video-editing software available, then fixing a static, but incorrect WB is a LOT easier than fixing an incorrect and shifting WB.
1-17 02:53
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MBender
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Ice_2k Posted at 1-13 23:57
This amount of color shift within just a few seconds looks reasonable to you?

[view_image]

The shift is obvious when comparing the initial frame to the final one, but it's not that apparent when it happens in the footage itself as it's fairly slow and gradual.

I've recently made some footage where the shift was much more sudden (yellowish -> blueish -> back to yellowish)... now THAT was noticeable.

That said, while I wouldn't call that particular example shot a huge issue, I can see it becoming a problem when you start mixing shots to make a larger clip as then you are likely to get WB changes between cuts.
1-17 02:58
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Ice_2k
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I usually like to get really smooth shots (I almost never change the direction or speed the drone is moving at during a shot) so that amount of color shift within 3s really bugs me Locking the EV doesn't have a significant effect on WB changes unfortunately.
1-17 06:22
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