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Settings for filming white sails on dark water

Tim

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Hi all,

I've been trying to get a good video image with the X3 while filming boats at my local sailing club. I'm attempting to get a nice colour and exposure range throughout. Either the white sails are blown-out or the water too dark. The clouds are blown-out too or the green hills are turned to mush.

I've CPL, ND8 and ND16 filters and tried each with various shutter speeds and ISO settings but can never quite get the balance right of white sails and dark water.

E.g.


Any hints and tips would be most gratefully received.
 
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@Tim the automatic exposure will try to give you a balanced exposure for the whole scene unless you tap on a specific area to get selective exposure. Your white sails are only small areas of the scene so that the default auto exposure will not cope with them and you will have problems keeping the selective exposure on target. The best way it to use the right thumb wheel to increase the overall exposure by 0.3 to 1.0 stop. You will need to experiment and you may find you lose the rich colours of the water and vegetation.
 
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Hi all,

I've been trying to get a good video image with the X3 while filming boats at my local sailing club. I'm attempting to get a nice colour and exposure range throughout. Either the white sails are blown-out or the water too dark. The clouds are blown-out too or the green hills are turned to mush.

I've CPL, ND8 and ND16 filters and tried each with various shutter speeds and ISO settings but can never quite get the balance right of white sails and dark water.

E.g.


Any hints and tips would be most gratefully received.
The ND filters don't provide a solution. They are only to influence the shutter speed.
I would use LOG mode, set color to Flat, Style to Custom with -1 to -2 for contrast, saturation and sharpness (try out these for yourself). Don't panic when you see a very dull and flat image on your screen. In post processing (with a Pro application) you can use LUTs to optimise the color, sharpness and saturation. You will have a lot of control over the whites and blacks and be able to dial in detail.
You can use dedicated Inspire1 LUTs in Premiere Pro, Davinci Resolve or Final Cut Pro.

I got my Inspire1 LUTs here: The DJI Inspire 1 LUTs - Neumann Films

Edit: Actually, the recommended settings (by Neumann) are:

4K/30p
SHUTTER SPEED: 60/ISO 100
FORMAT: MP4
LOG PROFILE
SHARPNESS: -1, CONTRAST: -3, SATURATION: -3 COLOR: FLAT
 
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Shoot log and expose (ideally manual, but just exposure compensation should get you there too) so as not to blow out the whites (zebra helps if you're using an iOS device).
Then color-correct to get something as good as you can in the darker areas, but don't expect miracles from the X3's pretty limited dynamic range.

EDIT: just saw the video, what's with that dark brown water? No wonder it appears pitch black... because it just is!
 
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Tim

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Got the plugin working fine on Final Cut Pro X but as you can guess, the Inspire LUTs are not much use on rubbish footage.

I'm trying to setup the camera as per lake_flyer/Neumann suggestions but I'm not finding the DJI GO app settings obvious, perhaps you chaps could help a little more:

4k does not have a 30fps setting, only 24 and 25:

Recording LOG profile, is that Color: D-Log ?

Sharpness/Contrast/Saturation are in the Style menu?

What is the Manual M.M setting and why can it not be changed?

Sorry for all the extra questions but hopefully it will help more that just me.
 

Tim

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Shoot log and expose (ideally manual, but just exposure compensation should get you there too) so as not to blow out the whites (zebra helps if you're using an iOS device).
Then color-correct to get something as good as you can in the darker areas, but don't expect miracles from the X3's pretty limited dynamic range.

EDIT: just saw the video, what's with that dark brown water? No wonder it appears pitch black... because it just is!
With my camera work and the brown water, I need miracles! ;-)
 
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Unfortunately, it would appear the Plug-in needed to run these LUTs is only available for Final Cut Pro X and not for Adobe Premiere Pro.
Plug In?

I just unpacked them to a folder and can use them in Adobe Premiere Pro CC (choose 'Custom LUT or from file'), and Resolve, which I use primarily (LUTs need to be copied in the Resolve LUTs folder. They also work for FC Pro X. No plug in needed.
 
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Plug In?
I just unpacked them to a folder and can use them in Adobe Premiere Pro CC (choose 'Custom LUT or from file'), and Resolve, which I use primarily (LUTs need to be copied in the Resolve LUTs folder. They also work for FC Pro X. No plug in needed.
Thank you. It is just that the list of useable apps lists a required plugin. I contacted Luke Neumann directly and got the advice you give. He also mentioned that X5 LUTs were coming soon.
 
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I'm trying to setup the camera as per lake_flyer/Neumann suggestions but I'm not finding the DJI GO app settings obvious, perhaps you chaps could help a little more:

4k does not have a 30fps setting, only 24 and 25:
That's because you have selected PAL. With NTSC you get the higher frame rate.

Recording LOG profile, is that Color: D-Log ?
Yes, DJI decided to call it D-LOG.

Sharpness/Contrast/Saturation are in the Style menu?
Yes, exactly.

What is the Manual M.M setting and why can it not be changed?
That's the over and under exposure. Neumann recommends:
MANUAL EXPOSURE IN ADVANCED MODE
EXPOSING AT -0.3 EV FOR THE BEST RESULTS

You will need to use ED filters to get your settings in the sweet spot.

Sorry for all the extra questions but hopefully it will help more that just me.
No problem, some, if not, many people are helped by questions only others dare to ask.

My answers are in your post I quoted by the way.
 
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Thank you. It is just that the list of useable apps lists a required plugin. I contacted Luke Neumann directly and got the advice you give. He also mentioned that X5 LUTs were coming soon.
That's good to hear. His LUT's are amazing, as long as you have the settings like he recommends, they are spot on. But in Resolve I normally use an extra panel with the LOG in it and blend that with the original until I'm satisfied.
They are also a great starting point for if you want to develop your own LUTs in Resolve.
Resolve 12 is downloadable for Mac/Win for free (for those who don't know that already) and comes with a load of features, not only for grading but also for editing. You need a pretty beefy machine though.
 
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Got the plugin working fine on Final Cut Pro X but as you can guess, the Inspire LUTs are not much use on rubbish footage.
If the whites are overexposed during the shoot there's nothing left to do, your whites are just white, nothing else.
That's why you have to shoot in (D-)LOG and Manual (so the exposure stays consistent over the entire clip). That will preserve the nuances in the bright areas, like the white sails on dark water.
 

Tim

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No problem, some, if not, many people are helped by questions only others dare to ask.

My answers are in your post I quoted by the way.
Great! Thanks lake_flyer. I'll switch to NTSC.

Did you mean ND filters instead of ED? I've been doing camera work for > 10 years and not come across ED filters. Worried now that I've missed something important...
 
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Great! Thanks lake_flyer. I'll switch to NTSC.

Did you mean ND filters instead of ED? I've been doing camera work for > 10 years and not come across ED filters. Worried now that I've missed something important...
Sorry, yes I meant ND....stupid. Extra Dispersion (ED) has nothing to do with this ....although it shines with my Nikon 80-200 2.8ED :). Got them mixed up.
 

Tim

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So, thanks to all your help, I've definitely improved my video skills in just a day! Looking forward to testing and refining this weekend on the sailing boats.

Here's a quick test I did last night, youtube seems to have made the video much darker and the colours flatter though. :-/

Post-processing using FCPX with Clear Skies LUT.

 
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So, thanks to all your help, I've definitely improved my video skills in just a day! Looking forward to testing and refining this weekend on the sailing boats.

Here's a quick test I did last night, youtube seems to have made the video much darker and the colours flatter though. :-/

Post-processing using FCPX with Clear Skies LUT.

Nice video. I hope you spoke to Edinburgh Airport ATC beforehand.
 

Tim

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Nice video. I hope you spoke to Edinburgh Airport ATC beforehand.
Thanks Scot.

Last time I flew there, February I think, ATC said no need to call again unless there's a current NOTAM for other craft. The current bridge area NOTAMs are just for cranes. Should I have called anyway? Microlights etc should have been down by then because it was 30 minutes before sunset, not much time for them to find somewhere to land. I1 launch site and flight plan was >5km from airport and circuit. Kept >150m from bridge structure. BNUC-S exam in a few weeks so any hints, tips and blatant infringements, please point them out.

500m limit only get's half way across the bridge, frustrating.
 
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@Tim nice to hear that Edinburgh ATC as so relaxed. I get your point about microlights in the area. If you haven't found it, check out the iOS app Sky Demon Light which has all the latest NOTAM and airspace restrictions. Good luck with your exam.
 

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