How To Nail Exposure – for Drone Photos and Drone Video
I still get many questions from that video and it is time to adapt it to the new generation of drones. In this video, i will show you how to expose correctly in all different light conditions, bot for video and photos, taking advantage of the advanced technology of recent drones and also how to plan in advance in order to tackle the most difficult light situations. Obviously, when exposing video and photos with a drone most of the technique that we use with traditional cameras still apply, but there are some specific factors to consider. In many cases the point of view is eye in the sky and the lens is generally a wide angle. Therefore, the image often contains, at the same time, the sky, which is generally very bright together with elements on the ground. Much darker with a drone, it is possible to shoot footage with a lot of lateral panning. In this case, the point of view will shift closer or further away from the sun, causing a big change of luminosity. The same applies when shooting a top down view and then tilting the camera up to reveal new elements contained in the sky, in other words, with drones. We often face two of the most difficult situation for exposure, very high, dynamic range and drastic changes in light conditions. We also need to consider the capabilities of the cameras because of the need to reduce weight in drones. The sensor is much smaller than the one found in ground base, dslr or mirrorless cameras, and the build of the lenses is much simpler, also drones from the previous generation of the mavic line at a much lower video bitrate.
Although things have improved a lot in the last couple of years, a lower bitrate means more compression on the video files and therefore less information and less room for post processing. The footage. This is why editing video is much harder compared to raw photos. As with raw files. There is practically no compression and therefore they contain a lot more information. The majority of dji consumer drones have fixed aperture, with the exception of the mavic 2 pro and the phantom 4 pro. The lack of variable aperture makes finding the correct exposure a bit trickier. There is often a misconception about nd filters. Some users are under the impression that they make it possible to expose in very bright light conditions, but this is not true. It is always possible to find the correct exposure, in any light condition by adjusting three parameters: shutter speed, iso and aperture. If we have a drone with variable aperture, any filters serve other purposes, mostly to use a specific value of shutter speed in different light conditions. Please let me know in a comment, if youre interested in a video about how and when to use the nd filters. Finally, drones tend to develop more noise in the shadows, especially in low light conditions and at high iso values. Therefore, for serious users, it is crucial to have good noise reduction software. You can click on this link for my video about the excellent neat video. The only tool i use for exposing is the histogram.
There is also a zebra highlight warning, which shows the overexposed area of the image, but i find it a bit confusing. The histogram shows, on the left, part the shadows with the first point being pure black and on the right. The highlights with the last point pure white. The parts show the luminosity value of each portion of the image. If some bars touch the left part of the instagram, the shadows will be too dark, but that is acceptable up to a certain point as they can be recovered while editing. But it is very important to avoid having bars touching the right edge, as that means burnt. Highlights there are only two things that cannot be fixed in post production out of focus, images and burn highlights the metal i use is called exposing to the right. It consists in always leaving a small gap between the brightest bar and the right edge of the instagram. This way we make sure that the highlights are preserved. In the case of high dynamic range situations, the shadows will be quite dark, but in most cases they can be recovered in post production in case of extreme dynamic range. When the shadows are too dark, it is still possible to obtain interesting footage or photos by having the darker part of the image as silhouette and the brightest part correctly exposed when planning a move involving a big change in luminosity exposed to the right for the brightest Portion of the entire clip as an example in the case of a revealing shoot, starting with the camera, pointed towards the ground and then progressively tilting up to reveal elements containing the sky.
It is better to expose for the final part of the move. The brightest one, beginners or users who dont have access to a computer for editing, might prefer to use automatic exposure. Although for best results, i strongly encourage to shoot manually and adjust it on the computer. The change of luminosity will be smoother when using auto exposure. It is still important to expose to the right to avoid over exposing frame on the brightest part of the move and make sure that the histogram has some empty space to the right by adjusting the ev value. It is also important for beginners to learn how to control the three element of exposure, shutter, speed, aperture and iso, as in many cases you want to use a specific value for one or two of these elements. In all cases, i strongly advise avoiding the use of auto white balance as when the luminosity changes it causes horrible shifts of colors. It is very important to avoid shooting in the middle of the day, especially on bright sunny days. After all, this is the time where professional, videographer and photographer are supposed to sleep. Under this condition, the dynamic range is too high and the shadows too harsh, which leads to poor footage and photo other factors to take into account, are specific to drones, such as the smaller sensor and the weaker lenses. I remember a few years ago i used to say that with drones i would only shoot with the sun behind my back and i would never increase the iso above the base level as it used to be real noise machines.
Again, things have improved a lot recently, but according to the model you own, there are still certain things to consider to avoid bad exposure. In most cases, it is better to avoid shooting in the direction of the sun, especially if it is not covered by clouds. Not only the small sensor and the compression of the file cannot handle the extreme dynamic range, but in general the poor quality of the lenses leads to very bad flares. From my experience, the only drone of the mavic line able to handle flare decently is the r2s. Even when compared to the mavic 2, pro probably due to some coating of the lens, when shooting in low light condition, it is better to experiment to check how your drone performs at different iso values. Some models can handle decently relatively high iso values, while others fall completely apart, in which case it is better to use a lower iso value and try to recover the shadows while editing in any case, dont expect to get the same result that can be achieved with The full frame camera in difficult light conditions, the size of the sensors in drone, is still very small. Even the one inch sensor of the latest models are tiny compared to a full frame. One also have a look at the difference in size between the lenses of a drone and an equivalent wide angle lens for a full frame camera. If professional, videographers and photographers carry such big and heavy lenses, there is probably a reason, so it makes sense to give your beloved drone a better chance to produce great results by planning in advance and avoiding the most difficult situations, although they both apply both to video And photography, although with raw photo files, better results can be obtained in high dynamic range situations, as the file contains more info in the shadows, with some models, even better results can be achieved by using bracketed hdr shot.
Click on this link to watch all sort of drone moves correctly exposed dont forget to hit the like button.