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Advice & critique on first customer video

pedals2paddles

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Looking for some critique and advice on this, my first video produced for a customer. I went to this job at the request or a real estate agent on behalf of the farm owner who wanted some drone shots of their recently expanded property. I was expecting it to be my typical photography package. The agent said to go ahead with any other custom work the owner wanted as well when I get there. So the owner wanted a full video tour of the property, which caught me by surprise. I am not very experienced in videography, and done never anything lengthy or for a customer. Any videos I've made in the past have been purely for hobby purposes, only a few minutes, and had a defined target, like combine harvesting wheat or something.

Drone is an Autel Evo 2 Pro. All of this was shot in 4K 30fps, onboard color, using precision flight mode. Used all 4 of my batteries down to failsafe getting all this. Edited in Premiere. I have never done color grading on video before, so I wasn't about to make this my learning experience. I shoot photos exposure bracketed in raw log color and use lightroom to grade. But video is another animal. My major accomplishment was editing the cuts with beats in the music. Beyond that, a little over and/or underwhelmed.

Edit: This video is not for real estate purposes. The owner of the property isn't moving or selling. She just wanted a video tour of her whole property for her own use and to share with people. So this is longer and shows more than what would be good for a listing.

 
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Great flying and beautiful shots! I like how you started with the intimate views before showing the overall views. Very engaging.
As far as suggestions, the greens seem to be overwhelming and many scenes could use a little more contrast.
My computer and/or internet connection struggled a bit with some of your pans. Any one else have that problem? Maybe it's just my system.
Good luck with you business!
 
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There's a few spots where moving two quickly past a nearby object seems not very smooth. Like the video is jittering rather than smoothly planning. I believe that's on the raw video too. Not sure why.
 
Looking for some critique and advice on this, my first video produced for a customer. I went to this job at the request or a real estate agent on behalf of the farm owner who wanted some drone shots of their recently expanded property. I was expecting it to be my typical photography package. The agent said to go ahead with any other custom work the owner wanted as well when I get there. So the owner wanted a full video tour of the property, which caught me by surprise. I am not very experienced in videography, and done never anything lengthy or for a customer. Any videos I've made in the past have been purely for hobby purposes, only a few minutes, and had a defined target, like combine harvesting wheat or something.

Drone is an Autel Evo 2 Pro. All of this was shot in 4K 30fps, onboard color, using precision flight mode. Used all 4 of my batteries down to failsafe getting all this. Edited in Premiere. I have never done color grading on video before, so I wasn't about to make this my learning experience. I shoot photos exposure bracketed in raw log color and use lightroom to grade. But video is another animal. My major accomplishment was editing the cuts with beats in the music. Beyond that, a little over and/or underwhelmed.


First off, great first effort, the only reason I am commenting at all is because you asked on ways to improve and I always enjoy helping others improve. I have shot literally hundreds of properties both video and photos and commercial as well as residential so below is what I would recommend for the future:

1 - Length - RE videos should not be over 2:30s max unless it is a multi-million dollar property and shot with a full production team (models, cars, boats, etc.). In this day and age no one will watch 7 minutes of anything. For this video, since there was no interior or ground video I would not have gone over 60 seconds. Intro dolly in clip down the driveway, a few orbits around the main structures on the property, a few closeups of the water features, and a closing crane up dolly out shot with a cross fade to the property address would have been it. 1 battery, 8 - 10 min in the air...done.

2 - Interior - Sometimes people find the video without it being accompanied by the interior photos, since there was no interior video, after 30-45s of showing the exterior, I would have dollied in to the front door then cross faded to a slideshow showing the interior and used the Ken Burns effect to give it a video feel. For the slideshow I would have stuck to no more than 5 slides (Kitchen, Master Bedroom, Master Bathroom, Living Room, maybe the barn), then cross faded to the crane up dolly out shot into the address cross fade. 5s per slide 5 slides, would have put the total video length around 1m30s.

3 - Jello - Not sure why but the video had quite a bit of jello in it. Something is going on with your gimbal bushings or maybe one of the props is nicked. Jello is the wavy look in the footage caused by micro vibrations from the drone making their way past the gimbal's bushings combined with a rolling shutter sensor. I haven't seen jello like that in years, back in the DJI P1 days it was really bad. There is not much you can do in post to remove it, but while filming you can try filming in 60FPS then slowing it down to 30FPS in post but that's still just a bandaid to try to fix the real problem which is something is wrong with your gimbal bushings or props.

4 - Macro blocking - Something was wrong with your export settings, I saw a lot of stuttering and macro blocking in the footage, usually that is caused by a bitrate that is too low. For YouTube I use AV1, 16MB/s bitrate, 4K30FPS resolution. If you do not have an AV1 capable GPU then you should use H.265, 16MB/s bitrate, and 4K30FPS.

5 - Color - It could obviously be improved but color grading is a whole discussion in and of itself. The very short answer is shoot in LOG, edit using the parade, add saturation, contrast, fine tune with curves, add a creative LUT...done.

6 - NLE - If you are getting into video editing my #1 advice for you is to ditch PremierPro and its endless subscription as fast as possible and buy Davinci Resolve. There is no comparison in cost, features, stability, etc. etc, you get the point.

7 - Audio License - make sure that you use properly licensed audio. YouTube has a free library and there are subscription sites out there. You do not want to deliver a video to a client and it gets muted or taken down when they try to post it somewhere. More and more sites perform content ID checks and immediately mute or strike down any content that is copyright protected.

8 - Motion Graphics - simple motion graphics can make a huge difference in the production quality of a video with little additional effort. At a minimum you should add the property address for the opening and closing. For Davinci Resolve, here is one of the best motion graphics packs that I have found. I would add a few showing total acreage, freeze frame to show a few key features, and close out with a call to action. For the video portion on site you would have spent about 20min total, in post around an hour and had a polished product.
 
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Thank you for all the Intel!

So this isn't actually for real estate purposes. The owner isn't going anywhere. She wanted a video tour of the property just to have and show people because she loves her farm. Otherwise if agree, ungodly too long for real estate listings. This is also why there is no interior. And why some things that seem boring are are part of the video... because she wanted it there.

I noticed the jello as well. I recently swapped cameras (removed the FLIR and put the pro back on). Something must be whacked in there. Props are old too. Maintenance time I guess. I haven't seen Jello in years since the old days of a GoPro glued to a crappy gimbal.

I've never heard of the term macro blocking until now. But I'm pretty sure you just taught me the word I was looking for. I was seeing that as well but didn't know what to call it. Where the panning is a little fast and it looks choppy and digitized instead of smooth? I exported using the "adaptive high bit rate" settings. I will play around with that a little more. I'm also concerned that might actually be in the raw video? On the drone I was recording in h.265 If that matters? Compatibility doesn't seem to be the greatest. It is so much more efficient, smaller files, and doesn't even need the proxy files in editing. But if it's causing that, I'll go back h264.

The music is from YouTube's attribution free library. For some reason it sounds like crap in premiere compared to playing it on the web before downloading. I need to tinker with that a bit also I guess.

Will check out resolve. I need to do some practice and test color grading to get the hang of it in video.
 
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Just a short comment for brevity sake.
Too many cuts of the road.
Confused sweeps&pans of buildings just didnt work for me.
Way to long and slow overall, lost interest halfway through.
 
Just a short comment for brevity sake.
Too many cuts of the road.
Confused sweeps&pans of buildings just didnt work for me.
Way to long and slow overall, lost interest halfway through.
Noted. Again, this isn't for a real estate sale. It's for the owner's personal use. So lots of content in longer form is what the customer wanted. So in this case, it actually wasn't intended to keep your interest. That said, if I can make it flow a little quicker, I will try.
 
Thank you for all the Intel!

So this isn't actually for real estate purposes. The owner isn't going anywhere. She wanted a video tour of the property just to have and show people because she loves her farm. Otherwise if agree, ungodly too long for real estate listings. This is also why there is no interior. And why some things that seem boring are are part of the video... because she wanted it there.

I noticed the jello as well. I recently swapped cameras (removed the FLIR and put the pro back on). Something must be whacked in there. Props are old too. Maintenance time I guess. I haven't seen Jello in years since the old days of a GoPro glued to a crappy gimbal.

I've never heard of the term macro blocking until now. But I'm pretty sure you just taught me the word I was looking for. I was seeing that as well but didn't know what to call it. Where the panning is a little fast and it looks choppy and digitized instead of smooth? I exported using the "adaptive high bit rate" settings. I will play around with that a little more. I'm also concerned that might actually be in the raw video? On the drone I was recording in h.265 If that matters? Compatibility doesn't seem to be the greatest. It is so much more efficient, smaller files, and doesn't even need the proxy files in editing. But if it's causing that, I'll go back h264.

The music is from YouTube's attribution free library. For some reason it sounds like crap in premiere compared to playing it on the web before downloading. I need to tinker with that a bit also I guess.

Will check out resolve. I need to do some practice and test color grading to get the hang of it in video.

That makes sense, I thought it was an MLS video. For a property owner video I probably would have stuck with 3min with the intent being to show each key feature from about 3 different angles/camera movements. So, 1 battery and about 20min in the air. I also would have stated up front in the services proposal that the video length would be approximately 3 min and I would have listed out what I was going to include in the video. As an upsell, I also would have offered the addition of ground video and listed out what that cost would look like and provided a shot list for that as well with the final video duration still being 3 min.

Video editing is a slippery slope, the client always thinks you can read their mind and they think 20-30min videos are trivial when in reality they only have enough content for about 2min and you have no idea what they want in the video unless they provide you a critical shot list. So, for this client I would have been very clear about the duration, I would have asked for a shot list or at least a listing of what they like most about the property, and I would have informed them that if they wanted a longer video the price would increase.

Swapping cameras in and out could definitely affect the gimbal bushings which would lead to jello. Back in the old days you use to get a pack of bushings with the drone and had to try different setups until you had one with the least amount of jello. The props being old might be contributing to it as well.

I will admit that I did not watch the whole video and don't remember panning, but I saw it quite a bit in the places I played it. Macro blocking is when the bitrate is too low to update the pixels fast enough to provide the perception of smoothness so the codec just throws in blocks and stutter because it is trying to guess what the next frame should look like.....resulting in the choppy digital blocks look. I haven't used PP in so long that I don't remember my export settings but in DR below is what works for me.

The macro blocking would not be in the source footage, only the jello. The source footage data rate goes as high as 100Mb/s which is in the Blu-Ray data rate territory so it definitely is not the source footage. H.265 is the best codec the EVO II offers for video so you made the right decision there. Your audio settings may be off as well, the final audio should sound just like it does on YouTube. I use AAC, 192Kb/s data rate and 48K for the sample rate for my audio tracks.

DR_ExportSettings.jpg
 
Thank you for all that advice on the planning. This being a 3rd party call, I didn't know it was going to be video until I got there. And then it became my very first video job so I basically just winged it best I could keeping up with what she wanted on the video. Having done this now, and reading your advice, makes me more prepared for next time.

Just did some testing.
  • Flew around the 'hood using 4K 30fps, log color, 5000k white balance, and the LUT from Autel. Wow that is so much better. Probably never using onboard color ever again for video. I will need to do some YouTube training on how to further tweak the color. Way more controls than there are in Lightroom that I do not understand.

  • Recording in H264 produced stable quality video. Recording in H265 produced stuttery video during movement, similar to what is on my farm video. Unsure if this is the drone producing crappy H265 encoding, or if it's my computer being grumpy about H265, which is not out of the question at all. For now I'll stick to H264 for that reason.

  • I've had the onboard HDR video enabled. Haven't compared with and without. What's your take on that?

  • What's your take on frame rate? I know that's like asking what motor oil is best in a car forum, so will take opinions and suggestions.
 
Thank you for all that advice on the planning. This being a 3rd party call, I didn't know it was going to be video until I got there. And then it became my very first video job so I basically just winged it best I could keeping up with what she wanted on the video. Having done this now, and reading your advice, makes me more prepared for next time.

Just did some testing.
  • Flew around the 'hood using 4K 30fps, log color, 5000k white balance, and the LUT from Autel. Wow that is so much better. Probably never using onboard color ever again for video. I will need to do some YouTube training on how to further tweak the color. Way more controls than there are in Lightroom that I do not understand.

  • Recording in H264 produced stable quality video. Recording in H265 produced stuttery video during movement, similar to what is on my farm video. Unsure if this is the drone producing crappy H265 encoding, or if it's my computer being grumpy about H265, which is not out of the question at all. For now I'll stick to H264 for that reason.

  • I've had the onboard HDR video enabled. Haven't compared with and without. What's your take on that?

  • What's your take on frame rate? I know that's like asking what motor oil is best in a car forum, so will take opinions and suggestions.

If you go to YouTube to learn color grading you will probably get completely buried in BS by people who fancy themselves as Hollywood colorists. The reality is we are not making the next Hollywood blockbuster so my approach is to get commercially viable results as quickly as possible with the least amount of effort.

Here is the method that I use and why I would never recommend LUTS even Autel's own LUT for primaries color grading.

I do not recommend H.264 encoding, you will end up with larger file sizes and up to 40-50% lower quality for the same file size. You always want your source footage to start out as high in quality as possible because you can never increase the quality later. If the footage is stuttering it means your CPU is too slow, your GPU is too slow, or your NLE is not GPU accelerating H.265 for some reason. In all cases, I would just create proxy files to fix it if you do not want to upgrade your hardware.

I do not touch HDR at all, it is a completely different workflow and color space yet the DR of the EVO II is not high enough to take advantage of it so basically a lot of extra work with no visible image quality improvement. In my opinion it's just a buzzword that drone vendors use to sell more product; the only prosumer grade drone that I am aware of that might be able to actually take advantage of HDR is the DJI Inspire 2 or 3 with the Apple ProRes capable camera option.

I go into detail on my chosen framerate here. With my EVO I do not use 60FPS at all because it drops down from 10bit color to 8bit color, but on my other cameras I tend to favor 60FPS so that I can easily slow down the footage in post if needed.
 
I was reading all of your informational threads this morning actually. Since I know literally about using the color grading controls in Premiere, the LUT actually got it really close to perfect. I only tweaked a few basic settings after that. I know your recommend Resolve so I'll be trying out the free version this weekend before I try to lean the color grading in Premiere.

I'm talking about the HDR mode in the Evo for video. The little HDR button that is next to the record button. It seems to make for much more evenly exposed video that doesn't look weird in the process. The only other HDR anything I use is exposure bracketed HDR photos in lightroom. Never tried to use HDR controls in Premiere for video.

Looks a lot of the H265 problem was my 5yr old computer. It's an i5 with a GTX1060 and just can't deal with it. I just picked up a new laptop with an i7 and RTX4060 GPU. Handled the playback, editing, and exporting of H265 perfectly. The same video that looked like crap on the desktop looks smooth as glass on this. I fixed the jello as well.
 
Great flying and beautiful shots! I like how you started with the intimate views before showing the overall views. Very engaging.
As far as suggestions, the greens seem to be overwhelming and many scenes could use a little more contrast.
My computer and/or internet connection struggled a bit with some of your pans. Any one else have that problem? Maybe it's just my system.
Good luck with you business!
My internet connection was spotty for some reason with this video. Definitely need to raise the bitrate. Auto is 80K. In DR I don't like to go below 20K but 30k is a good number for Youtube stuff. If you don't care about the size of the file, go with Auto at 80k.

What a beautiful place. A true slice of heaven. What state is this in?
 
I was reading all of your informational threads this morning actually. Since I know literally about using the color grading controls in Premiere, the LUT actually got it really close to perfect. I only tweaked a few basic settings after that. I know your recommend Resolve so I'll be trying out the free version this weekend before I try to lean the color grading in Premiere.

I'm talking about the HDR mode in the Evo for video. The little HDR button that is next to the record button. It seems to make for much more evenly exposed video that doesn't look weird in the process. The only other HDR anything I use is exposure bracketed HDR photos in lightroom. Never tried to use HDR controls in Premiere for video.

Looks a lot of the H265 problem was my 5yr old computer. It's an i5 with a GTX1060 and just can't deal with it. I just picked up a new laptop with an i7 and RTX4060 GPU. Handled the playback, editing, and exporting of H265 perfectly. The same video that looked like crap on the desktop looks smooth as glass on this. I fixed the jello as well.

I was referring to the HDR video mode as well, it is just a buzzword that does not mean anything when the sensor cannot produce true HDR video. More evenly exposed is not a good thing, it means something is being lost in the highs and lows that may not be recoverable at the expense of contrast and detail. HDR video out of the EVO that I've seen is soft, mushy, and lacking both contrast and detail.

For photos 3, 5, or 7 bracket photos could produce an improvement in DR for photos but I never bother with that either. I mainly work in FL where we don't have mountains or valleys so in midday there's not enough DR to require it. If I lived in the mountains I would consider a 3 shot HDR bracket but for better results I would just shoot two exposures; one for the sky and one for the ground then do a sky replacement of the ground shot using the sky shot which would be a much better result than an HDR image.

HDR photos in general are inferior to single images due to ghosting, inaccurate color reproduction and other problems. When I am shooting something that exceeds the DR of the sensor then I prefer to use exposure blending, for real estate I used to use a mixture of flambient and the Scott Hargis technique; in all cases I avoid HDR unless the job is not paying me enough to go the extra mile. Real estate is the worst which is why I don't shoot residential real estate photography anymore, only video and only higher paying commercial jobs.

Keep in mind that the free version of Resolve does not allow you do edit 10bit footage, so you will need to use 8bit footage to test it.
 
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Keep in mind that the free version of Resolve does not allow you do edit 10bit footage, so you will need to use 8bit footage to test it.
Since there is no option to select that on the Evo, what combination of settings produce 8bit vs 10bit?
 
Since there is no option to select that on the Evo, what combination of settings produce 8bit vs 10bit?

60FPS drops down to 8bit, so does 1080P, also with my FW version so does shooting in MP4 vs MOV, some users have reported that MP4 is still 10bit for them. There's pretty much no documentation from Autel on this. Some users have even reported their EVO doesn't shoot 10bit in any framerates or resolutions, this seems to mainly affect the V2.
 
As mentioned above, beautiful farm and nice flying. Reducing some of the duplicate shots might be an improvement.
 
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Numerous updates.
  • Shortened up some of the early clips along the lane.
  • A bit of a additional color grading but nothing fancy.
  • Fixed the sound. Audio source and timeline sample rates were different so it was getting crushed. This was driving me completely crazy until I remembered what over modulated two-way radio looks like on a scope. Then I knew what the problem was.
  • Used the new laptop to export H265 4K 30FPS 16Mbps adaptive bitrate. I think it all looks much better.
 

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