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Satans-MIlkman

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Does anyone have a good video that explains the camera settings on the EVO2 Pro and how to use them properly?
I am not a camera pro just a electrical engineer, attempting to learn a new skill.
 

herein2021

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Does anyone have a good video that explains the camera settings on the EVO2 Pro and how to use them properly?
I am not a camera pro just a electrical engineer, attempting to learn a new skill.

Unfortunately there is no single place where you can learn all of the nuances of getting the best photography and video settings out of a camera. Each scenario you will encounter will involve different challenges that will at some point simply take experience to know how to handle them.

Most people that can truly push a drone camera to its highest potential have already been shooting with traditional cameras for years; the drone's camera is just an elevated and gimbal stabilized version of that. There really isn't anything special about a drone's camera except that it is elevated, stabilized, and is a 1" sensor; so if you know photography and/or videography already those concepts will easily transfer to any drone platform with a camera. With that said I can provide a few tips:

  • Learn the exposure triangle - this is the most important step to getting the most out of any camera. ISO, Aperture, and Shutter speed are the three elements of the exposure triangle and it is important to know how they all work together and when to change which element of the triangle to get the best results. I teach personalized 1:1 photography classes and my foundations course is all about the exposure triangle as the first step to learning photography.
  • Learn Automatic Modes - If you want to get up and running quickly, then at a minimum learn the automatic modes and when to use them for a given scenario. For drone cameras you would probably be fine sticking with Aperture Priority mode and Auto ISO with an upper ISO limit set to ISO800 and the Aperture set at F5.6. That would cover 90% of the scenarios you would encounter.
  • Learn Color - White balance is very important especially if you are shooting JPG images or video. For nearly any scenario with a drone, daylight WB will be sufficient.
  • Learn Composition - You can be the best in the world at exposing a scene and developing the footage; but if you do not learn what is pleasing to the human eye from a composition standpoint (colors, contrast, leading lines, foreground / background, etc.) then you aren't creating something that anyone but yourself will consider a good image.
  • Learn Diffraction / Lens Distortion - This starts getting into really refining the footage and technique after learning the basics. Knowing how lens diffraction and lens distortion works will help you make better composition decisions and is especially important if you start shooting and stitching panoramas. One trick that I use to minimize barrel distortion (even when I'm not shooting a pano) is to minimize camera tilt to the greatest extent possible. With video it is less important, but with photography even with the 35mm FF equiv lens on the EVO II 6K, barrel distortion can affect an otherwise perfect image.
  • Learn How To Process RAW Footage - If you truly want to keep improving your footage, at some point you will need to switch from JPG to RAW and learn how to post process the raw footage. This is a whole new topic but one that is just as important as how to actually create the image.
With all of that being said, below are some very generic settings that will get you pretty good footage in most scenarios, but as I mentioned these are just a starting point. Depending on if you are trying to protect the highlights, reveal the shadows, or something in between, the actual settings you need could be far different:

Daylight
Aperture: F5.6
ISO: 100
WB: Daylight
Shutter Speed: 1/200s | 1/400s | 1/600s (depending on how bright or cloudy the day is. If you pick Aperture priority mode this will be handled automatically for you)

Sunset
Shooting a sunset or sunrise is one of the most challenging compositions you will probably encounter since sunsets by their nature will always exceed the dynamic range (DR) of the camera. So with a sunset or sunrise you must protect the highlights (sky) and underexpose the ground while using the histogram to ensure you are not crushing the blacks. The following settings could work for a sunset:
Aperture: F11
ISO: 100
WB: Daylight
Shutter Speed: 1/1000s

For the following two lowlight / night settings they are the only two I use and it has to be a windless night. Also, you will need plenty of city lights to take a night time picture; many beginners do not realize cameras need light; no exceptions. You can't simply crank the ISO to get quality footage in complete darkness.

Night Time (Least Noise but will only work on a perfectly calm night with a little color still in the sky)
Aperture: F2.8
ISO: 100
WB: Daylight
Shutter Speed: 1/5s

Night Time (After civil twilight - complete darkness)
Aperture: F2.8
ISO: 800
WB: Daylight
Shutter Speed: 1/20s

Below is a sample image shot with these exact settings:

Tampa-Skyline-Night.jpg
 
Last edited:

Satans-MIlkman

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Unfortunately there is no single place where you can learn all of the nuances of getting the best photography and video settings out of a camera. Each scenario you will encounter will involve different challenges that will at some point simply take experience to know how to handle them.

Most people that can truly push a drone camera to its highest potential have already been shooting with traditional cameras for years; the drone's camera is just an elevated and gimbal stabilized version of that. There really isn't anything special about a drone's camera except that it is elevated, stabilized, and is a 1" sensor; so if you know photography and/or videography already those concepts will easily transfer to any drone platform with a camera. With that said I can provide a few tips:

  • Learn the exposure triangle - this is the most important step to getting the most out of any camera. ISO, Aperture, and Shutter speed are the three elements of the exposure triangle and it is important to know how they all work together and when to change which element of the triangle to get the best results. I teach personalized 1:1 photography classes and my foundations course is all about the exposure triangle as the first step to learning photography.
  • Learn Automatic Modes - If you want to get up and running quickly, then at a minimum learn the automatic modes and when to use them for a given scenario. For drone cameras you would probably be fine sticking with Aperture Priority mode and Auto ISO with an upper ISO limit set to ISO800 and the Aperture set at F5.6. That would cover 90% of the scenarios you would encounter.
  • Learn Color - White balance is very important especially if you are shooting JPG images or video. For nearly any scenario with a drone, daylight WB will be sufficient.
  • Learn Composition - You can be the best in the world at exposing a scene and developing the footage; but if you do not learn what is pleasing to the human eye from a composition standpoint (colors, contrast, leading lines, foreground / background, etc.) then you aren't creating something that anyone but yourself will consider a good image.
  • Learn Diffraction / Lens Distortion - This starts getting into really refining the footage and technique after learning the basics. Knowing how lens diffraction and lens distortion works will help you make better composition decisions and is especially important if you start shooting and stitching panoramas. One trick that I use to minimize barrel distortion (even when I'm not shooting a pano) is to minimize camera tilt to the greatest extent possible. With video it is less important, but with photography even with the 35mm FF equiv lens on the EVO II 6K, barrel distortion can affect an otherwise perfect image.
  • Learn How To Process RAW Footage - If you truly want to keep improving your footage, at some point you will need to switch from JPG to RAW and learn how to post process the raw footage. This is a whole new topic but one that is just as important as how to actually create the image.
With all of that being said, below are some very generic settings that will get you pretty good footage in most scenarios, but as I mentioned these are just a starting point. Depending on if you are trying to protect the highlights, reveal the shadows, or something in between, the actual settings you need could be far different:

Daylight
Aperture: F5.6
ISO: 100
WB: Daylight
Shutter Speed: 1/200s | 1/400s | 1/600s (depending on how bright or cloudy the day is. If you pick Aperture priority mode this will be handled automatically for you)

Sunset
Shooting a sunset or sunrise is one of the most challenging compositions you will probably encounter since sunsets by their nature will always exceed the dynamic range (DR) of the camera. So with a sunset or sunrise you must protect the highlights (sky) and underexpose the ground while using the histogram to ensure you are not crushing the blacks. The following settings could work for a sunset:
Aperture: F11
ISO: 100
WB: Daylight
Shutter Speed: 1/1000s

For the following two lowlight / night settings they are the only two I use and it has to be a windless night. Also, you will need plenty of city lights to take a night time picture; many beginners do not realize cameras need light; no exceptions. You can't simply crank the ISO to get quality footage in complete darkness.

Night Time (Least Noise but will only work on a perfectly calm night with a little color still in the sky)
Aperture: F2.8
ISO: 100
WB: Daylight
Shutter Speed: 1/5s

Night Time (After civil twilight - complete darkness)
Aperture: F2.8
ISO: 800
WB: Daylight
Shutter Speed: 1/20s

Below is a sample image shot with these exact settings:

View attachment 10539
Thank you for the advice.
 

Quad808

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Unfortunately there is no single place where you can learn all of the nuances of getting the best photography and video settings out of a camera. Each scenario you will encounter will involve different challenges that will at some point simply take experience to know how to handle them.

Most people that can truly push a drone camera to its highest potential have already been shooting with traditional cameras for years; the drone's camera is just an elevated and gimbal stabilized version of that. There really isn't anything special about a drone's camera except that it is elevated, stabilized, and is a 1" sensor; so if you know photography and/or videography already those concepts will easily transfer to any drone platform with a camera. With that said I can provide a few tips:

  • Learn the exposure triangle - this is the most important step to getting the most out of any camera. ISO, Aperture, and Shutter speed are the three elements of the exposure triangle and it is important to know how they all work together and when to change which element of the triangle to get the best results. I teach personalized 1:1 photography classes and my foundations course is all about the exposure triangle as the first step to learning photography.
  • Learn Automatic Modes - If you want to get up and running quickly, then at a minimum learn the automatic modes and when to use them for a given scenario. For drone cameras you would probably be fine sticking with Aperture Priority mode and Auto ISO with an upper ISO limit set to ISO800 and the Aperture set at F5.6. That would cover 90% of the scenarios you would encounter.
  • Learn Color - White balance is very important especially if you are shooting JPG images or video. For nearly any scenario with a drone, daylight WB will be sufficient.
  • Learn Composition - You can be the best in the world at exposing a scene and developing the footage; but if you do not learn what is pleasing to the human eye from a composition standpoint (colors, contrast, leading lines, foreground / background, etc.) then you aren't creating something that anyone but yourself will consider a good image.
  • Learn Diffraction / Lens Distortion - This starts getting into really refining the footage and technique after learning the basics. Knowing how lens diffraction and lens distortion works will help you make better composition decisions and is especially important if you start shooting and stitching panoramas. One trick that I use to minimize barrel distortion (even when I'm not shooting a pano) is to minimize camera tilt to the greatest extent possible. With video it is less important, but with photography even with the 35mm FF equiv lens on the EVO II 6K, barrel distortion can affect an otherwise perfect image.
  • Learn How To Process RAW Footage - If you truly want to keep improving your footage, at some point you will need to switch from JPG to RAW and learn how to post process the raw footage. This is a whole new topic but one that is just as important as how to actually create the image.
With all of that being said, below are some very generic settings that will get you pretty good footage in most scenarios, but as I mentioned these are just a starting point. Depending on if you are trying to protect the highlights, reveal the shadows, or something in between, the actual settings you need could be far different:

Daylight
Aperture: F5.6
ISO: 100
WB: Daylight
Shutter Speed: 1/200s | 1/400s | 1/600s (depending on how bright or cloudy the day is. If you pick Aperture priority mode this will be handled automatically for you)

Sunset
Shooting a sunset or sunrise is one of the most challenging compositions you will probably encounter since sunsets by their nature will always exceed the dynamic range (DR) of the camera. So with a sunset or sunrise you must protect the highlights (sky) and underexpose the ground while using the histogram to ensure you are not crushing the blacks. The following settings could work for a sunset:
Aperture: F11
ISO: 100
WB: Daylight
Shutter Speed: 1/1000s

For the following two lowlight / night settings they are the only two I use and it has to be a windless night. Also, you will need plenty of city lights to take a night time picture; many beginners do not realize cameras need light; no exceptions. You can't simply crank the ISO to get quality footage in complete darkness.

Night Time (Least Noise but will only work on a perfectly calm night with a little color still in the sky)
Aperture: F2.8
ISO: 100
WB: Daylight
Shutter Speed: 1/5s

Night Time (After civil twilight - complete darkness)
Aperture: F2.8
ISO: 800
WB: Daylight
Shutter Speed: 1/20s

Below is a sample image shot with these exact settings:

View attachment 10539
You are a legend in the way that you provide examples and suggested settings for shooting.
If you are going to set a manual WB, what do you suggest besides leaving it at daylight....just to have a specific over all WB setting? Do you even set manual or just leave it on daylight? (yes, I fully realize that daylight is just a name for a preset, but curious what you recommend as a manual setting) Thanks!!
 

herein2021

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You are a legend in the way that you provide examples and suggested settings for shooting.
If you are going to set a manual WB, what do you suggest besides leaving it at daylight....just to have a specific over all WB setting? Do you even set manual or just leave it on daylight? (yes, I fully realize that daylight is just a name for a preset, but curious what you recommend as a manual setting) Thanks!!

With drones I honestly almost never change the WB from daylight even at night. Daylight WB is typically 5500K which is a good starting point for pretty much any daylight footage even if it is cloudy. If you are shooting RAW footage the WB is almost insignificant since you can set it to whatever you want in post. Yes there are some true pixel peepers who will say if you have the exact WB dialed in and shoot RAW the image will look ever so slightly better.....but unless you are competing in a fine photography art competition I see no reason to bother with one more setting that adds almost no significant value.

Since video is compressed, an inaccurate WB becomes more of a problem. The footage starts to fall apart if you need to make extreme WB changes. The good news is that the EVO II 6K shoots 10bit footage which gives you some WB latitude but not much. The other good news is that with drones you do not have to worry about mixed lighting like you do when working inside a venue for example where you could have fluorescent, daylight, and tungsten all in the same composition. The final bit of good news is that during daylight hours the key light (primary light source) is the sun.....which ranges from direct sunlight (~5500K) to cloudy (~6250K). To my eye, those ranges are close enough that they can be fixed in post with 10bit footage and definitely with RAW photography footage; so once again daylight WB is good enough for me. Yes I have tried the "Cloudy" WB when it is cloudy, but I always feel like that WB makes the video footage or photography image too "warm" meaning it adds too much of an orange tint for my liking. To fix the WB in post for photography or video I simply look for something in the footage that is properly exposed and is white then I use the eye dropper to sample the object which sets the WB.

If you want to set a manual WB with a drone the question becomes...set it based on what? How will you possibly set the right tint value (impossible to do by eye) or the exact Kelvin value without a white reference point? With regular cameras you use a white card (not a grey card btw that's for exposure.....this is another thing that nearly everyone gets wrong but I digress), or something like an expo disc (my preferred method) to set the WB...with a drone neither one will work; even if you tried to do so on the ground, once you get in the air the WB will be different.

So yes, I stick to daylight WB for 99% of the time with drone cameras. There is one specific situation though where I do switch to 3600K and that is if I am filming fireworks at night or I am filming video at night and there are a lot of tungsten, or incandescent city lights. In both of those scenarios 5500K is too far away from 3600K to be able to properly fix when shooting with a compressed video codec. For fireworks specifically, even with photography I always set the WB to 3600K...it is the best way to keep the original fireworks colors "true" and with fireworks, since it is night, there is nothing white that will help you set your WB.

Three quick tips:
  • Creatively WB - treat WB like another creative tool. The white reference point does not actually have to be white balanced to white. What I mean is that you should always start with the proper WB so use something that is white to set the proper WB, but from there you can deliberately make the WB warmer or cooler to match other footage for example or just to make the image more pleasing. I use WB just like every other color grading tool to match other footage or to add a specific mood to the footage.
  • Aerial White Cards - If you want to at least know the exact WB for a scene, then get the drone in the air and try to find something white on the ground like the roof of a building. Take a picture of that before you start filming the original subject material (even if you are shooting video). In post use that reference image to find out the proper WB then apply that WB to the rest of the footage that may not have had anything white to select from. TBH I don't even waste battery life doing this either, but if I needed the perfect WB for a shoot that's how I would do it.
  • Use AWB - Yes I actually said it...use automatic white balance in certain scenarios. I have found when filming video with drones that sometimes it is just really ugly and grey and cloudy and the "Cloudy" WB is not helping. For some reason AWB does a better job in these situations than selecting the "Cloudy WB", probably because AWB also adjusts the tint value vs "Cloudy WB" which only adjusts the Kelvin value. Be very careful though when filming with AWB and video....the WB could change mid clip and this is very difficult to fix in post. So if you use AWB use it for a very short amount of time and don't change the camera's tilt angle (showing more of the sky or ground in a single clip is guaranteed to change the WB when using AWB).
 
Last edited:

Eagle928

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All good advice so far. I have found DroneXFactor's Youtube videos on the E2P to be quite good and to the point. 808-State on Youtube also has a lot of info on these drones.

 
D

Deleted member 6303

Guest
Unfortunately there is no single place where you can learn all of the nuances of getting the best photography and video settings out of a camera. Each scenario you will encounter will involve different challenges that will at some point simply take experience to know how to handle them.

Most people that can truly push a drone camera to its highest potential have already been shooting with traditional cameras for years; the drone's camera is just an elevated and gimbal stabilized version of that. There really isn't anything special about a drone's camera except that it is elevated, stabilized, and is a 1" sensor; so if you know photography and/or videography already those concepts will easily transfer to any drone platform with a camera. With that said I can provide a few tips:

  • Learn the exposure triangle - this is the most important step to getting the most out of any camera. ISO, Aperture, and Shutter speed are the three elements of the exposure triangle and it is important to know how they all work together and when to change which element of the triangle to get the best results. I teach personalized 1:1 photography classes and my foundations course is all about the exposure triangle as the first step to learning photography.
  • Learn Automatic Modes - If you want to get up and running quickly, then at a minimum learn the automatic modes and when to use them for a given scenario. For drone cameras you would probably be fine sticking with Aperture Priority mode and Auto ISO with an upper ISO limit set to ISO800 and the Aperture set at F5.6. That would cover 90% of the scenarios you would encounter.
  • Learn Color - White balance is very important especially if you are shooting JPG images or video. For nearly any scenario with a drone, daylight WB will be sufficient.
  • Learn Composition - You can be the best in the world at exposing a scene and developing the footage; but if you do not learn what is pleasing to the human eye from a composition standpoint (colors, contrast, leading lines, foreground / background, etc.) then you aren't creating something that anyone but yourself will consider a good image.
  • Learn Diffraction / Lens Distortion - This starts getting into really refining the footage and technique after learning the basics. Knowing how lens diffraction and lens distortion works will help you make better composition decisions and is especially important if you start shooting and stitching panoramas. One trick that I use to minimize barrel distortion (even when I'm not shooting a pano) is to minimize camera tilt to the greatest extent possible. With video it is less important, but with photography even with the 35mm FF equiv lens on the EVO II 6K, barrel distortion can affect an otherwise perfect image.
  • Learn How To Process RAW Footage - If you truly want to keep improving your footage, at some point you will need to switch from JPG to RAW and learn how to post process the raw footage. This is a whole new topic but one that is just as important as how to actually create the image.
With all of that being said, below are some very generic settings that will get you pretty good footage in most scenarios, but as I mentioned these are just a starting point. Depending on if you are trying to protect the highlights, reveal the shadows, or something in between, the actual settings you need could be far different:

Daylight
Aperture: F5.6
ISO: 100
WB: Daylight
Shutter Speed: 1/200s | 1/400s | 1/600s (depending on how bright or cloudy the day is. If you pick Aperture priority mode this will be handled automatically for you)

Sunset
Shooting a sunset or sunrise is one of the most challenging compositions you will probably encounter since sunsets by their nature will always exceed the dynamic range (DR) of the camera. So with a sunset or sunrise you must protect the highlights (sky) and underexpose the ground while using the histogram to ensure you are not crushing the blacks. The following settings could work for a sunset:
Aperture: F11
ISO: 100
WB: Daylight
Shutter Speed: 1/1000s

For the following two lowlight / night settings they are the only two I use and it has to be a windless night. Also, you will need plenty of city lights to take a night time picture; many beginners do not realize cameras need light; no exceptions. You can't simply crank the ISO to get quality footage in complete darkness.

Night Time (Least Noise but will only work on a perfectly calm night with a little color still in the sky)
Aperture: F2.8
ISO: 100
WB: Daylight
Shutter Speed: 1/5s

Night Time (After civil twilight - complete darkness)
Aperture: F2.8
ISO: 800
WB: Daylight
Shutter Speed: 1/20s

Below is a sample image shot with these exact settings:

View attachment 10539
Your photos never stop amazing me. Perfection bro.
 

Quad808

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With drones I honestly almost never change the WB from daylight even at night. Daylight WB is typically 5500K which is a good starting point for pretty much any daylight footage even if it is cloudy. If you are shooting RAW footage the WB is almost insignificant since you can set it to whatever you want in post. Yes there are some true pixel peepers who will say if you have the exact WB dialed in and shoot RAW the image will look ever so slightly better.....but unless you are competing in a fine photography art competition I see no reason to bother with one more setting that adds almost no significant value.

Since video is compressed, an inaccurate WB becomes more of a problem. The footage starts to fall apart if you need to make extreme WB changes. The good news is that the EVO II 6K shoots 10bit footage which gives you some WB latitude but not much. The other good news is that with drones you do not have to worry about mixed lighting like you do when working inside a venue for example where you could have fluorescent, daylight, and tungsten all in the same composition. The final bit of good news is that during daylight hours the key light (primary light source) is the sun.....which ranges from direct sunlight (~5500K) to cloudy (~6250K). To my eye, those ranges are close enough that they can be fixed in post with 10bit footage and definitely with RAW photography footage; so once again daylight WB is good enough for me. Yes I have tried the "Cloudy" WB when it is cloudy, but I always feel like that WB makes the video footage or photography image too "warm" meaning it adds too much of an orange tint for my liking. To fix the WB in post for photography or video I simply look for something in the footage that is properly exposed and is white then I use the eye dropper to sample the object which sets the WB.

If you want to set a manual WB with a drone the question becomes...set it based on what? How will you possibly set the right tint value (impossible to do by eye) or the exact Kelvin value without a white reference point? With regular cameras you use a white card (not a grey card btw that's for exposure.....this is another thing that nearly everyone gets wrong but I digress), or something like an expo disc (my preferred method) to set the WB...with a drone neither one will work; even if you tried to do so on the ground, once you get in the air the WB will be different.

So yes, I stick to daylight WB for 99% of the time with drone cameras. There is one specific situation though where I do switch to 3600K and that is if I am filming fireworks at night or I am filming video at night and there are a lot of tungsten, or incandescent city lights. In both of those scenarios 5500K is too far away from 3600K to be able to properly fix when shooting with a compressed video codec. For fireworks specifically, even with photography I always set the WB to 3600K...it is the best way to keep the original fireworks colors "true" and with fireworks, since it is night, there is nothing white that will help you set your WB.

Three quick tips:
  • Creatively WB - treat WB like another creative tool. The white reference point does not actually have to be white balanced to white. What I mean is that you should always start with the proper WB so use something that is white to set the proper WB, but from there you can deliberately make the WB warmer or cooler to match other footage for example or just to make the image more pleasing. I use WB just like every other color grading tool to match other footage or to add a specific mood to the footage.
  • Aerial White Cards - If you want to at least know the exact WB for a scene, then get the drone in the air and try to find something white on the ground like the roof of a building. Take a picture of that before you start filming the original subject material (even if you are shooting video). In post use that reference image to find out the proper WB then apply that WB to the rest of the footage that may not have had anything white to select from. TBH I don't even waste battery life doing this either, but if I needed the perfect WB for a shoot that's how I would do it.
  • Use AWB - Yes I actually said it...use automatic white balance in certain scenarios. I have found when filming video with drones that sometimes it is just really ugly and grey and cloudy and the "Cloudy" WB is not helping. For some reason AWB does a better job in these situations than selecting the "Cloudy WB", probably because AWB also adjusts the tint value vs "Cloudy WB" which only adjusts the Kelvin value. Be very careful though when filming with AWB and video....the WB could change mid clip and this is very difficult to fix in post. So if you use AWB use it for a very short amount of time and don't change the camera's tilt angle (showing more of the sky or ground in a single clip is guaranteed to change the WB when using AWB).
Perfect. And great tips. I have shot video professionally, mostly theatre venues, where WB has always been a "trick" being that lighting is constantly changing, and using a white card is the only way to go. For photography shoots I always took a shot of a grey card on site and fixed everything in post, of course shooting raw. I don't do any droning for work purposes, and am not too particular with video I take with my drones, so usually just set WB at 5600 and leave it at that. Totally agree about cloudy WB settings....I would rather have a cooler image rather than a too warm one, but thats my preference. Your tip on fireworks is great, and I will be sure to use that. Thank you!
Anything else you care to enlighten us with would be much appreciated. Your work products you have posted speak for themselves on your expertise and knowledge!
 

Rubik3x

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When shooting photos, choose RAW or RAW+JPG. For the equivalent when shooting video, choose LOG. These all require color correction in post but, with practice, the results are worth it.

As herein2021 said, be very careful with Auto white balance when shooting video with a drone. It will automatically change within a moving shot which is real annoying to the viewer and is very difficult to correct in post.

Also, Auto Exposure will change the exposure during your video shots. That can be good or bad, depending upon your venue. I prefer to use Manual Exposure and do any necessary corrections in post. Auto Exposure tends to overexpose a bit, so if you use it, I set EV to -0.5 to -1.0.

Finally, to minimize post color correction when shooting in LOG, I set Style to -2, +2, +2. This reduces the sharpness (which by default is excessive) and increases the contrast and saturation at bit.

If you are absorbing the advice on this post, you will extract more from this excellent camera.
 

jmason702

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Unfortunately there is no single place where you can learn all of the nuances of getting the best photography and video settings out of a camera. Each scenario you will encounter will involve different challenges that will at some point simply take experience to know how to handle them.

Most people that can truly push a drone camera to its highest potential have already been shooting with traditional cameras for years; the drone's camera is just an elevated and gimbal stabilized version of that. There really isn't anything special about a drone's camera except that it is elevated, stabilized, and is a 1" sensor; so if you know photography and/or videography already those concepts will easily transfer to any drone platform with a camera. With that said I can provide a few tips:

  • Learn the exposure triangle - this is the most important step to getting the most out of any camera. ISO, Aperture, and Shutter speed are the three elements of the exposure triangle and it is important to know how they all work together and when to change which element of the triangle to get the best results. I teach personalized 1:1 photography classes and my foundations course is all about the exposure triangle as the first step to learning photography.
  • Learn Automatic Modes - If you want to get up and running quickly, then at a minimum learn the automatic modes and when to use them for a given scenario. For drone cameras you would probably be fine sticking with Aperture Priority mode and Auto ISO with an upper ISO limit set to ISO800 and the Aperture set at F5.6. That would cover 90% of the scenarios you would encounter.
  • Learn Color - White balance is very important especially if you are shooting JPG images or video. For nearly any scenario with a drone, daylight WB will be sufficient.
  • Learn Composition - You can be the best in the world at exposing a scene and developing the footage; but if you do not learn what is pleasing to the human eye from a composition standpoint (colors, contrast, leading lines, foreground / background, etc.) then you aren't creating something that anyone but yourself will consider a good image.
  • Learn Diffraction / Lens Distortion - This starts getting into really refining the footage and technique after learning the basics. Knowing how lens diffraction and lens distortion works will help you make better composition decisions and is especially important if you start shooting and stitching panoramas. One trick that I use to minimize barrel distortion (even when I'm not shooting a pano) is to minimize camera tilt to the greatest extent possible. With video it is less important, but with photography even with the 35mm FF equiv lens on the EVO II 6K, barrel distortion can affect an otherwise perfect image.
  • Learn How To Process RAW Footage - If you truly want to keep improving your footage, at some point you will need to switch from JPG to RAW and learn how to post process the raw footage. This is a whole new topic but one that is just as important as how to actually create the image.
With all of that being said, below are some very generic settings that will get you pretty good footage in most scenarios, but as I mentioned these are just a starting point. Depending on if you are trying to protect the highlights, reveal the shadows, or something in between, the actual settings you need could be far different:

Daylight
Aperture: F5.6
ISO: 100
WB: Daylight
Shutter Speed: 1/200s | 1/400s | 1/600s (depending on how bright or cloudy the day is. If you pick Aperture priority mode this will be handled automatically for you)

Sunset
Shooting a sunset or sunrise is one of the most challenging compositions you will probably encounter since sunsets by their nature will always exceed the dynamic range (DR) of the camera. So with a sunset or sunrise you must protect the highlights (sky) and underexpose the ground while using the histogram to ensure you are not crushing the blacks. The following settings could work for a sunset:
Aperture: F11
ISO: 100
WB: Daylight
Shutter Speed: 1/1000s

For the following two lowlight / night settings they are the only two I use and it has to be a windless night. Also, you will need plenty of city lights to take a night time picture; many beginners do not realize cameras need light; no exceptions. You can't simply crank the ISO to get quality footage in complete darkness.

Night Time (Least Noise but will only work on a perfectly calm night with a little color still in the sky)
Aperture: F2.8
ISO: 100
WB: Daylight
Shutter Speed: 1/5s

Night Time (After civil twilight - complete darkness)
Aperture: F2.8
ISO: 800
WB: Daylight
Shutter Speed: 1/20s

Below is a sample image shot with these exact settings:

View attachment 10539
AWESOME!
 

Gshots

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With drones I honestly almost never change the WB from daylight even at night. Daylight WB is typically 5500K which is a good starting point for pretty much any daylight footage even if it is cloudy. If you are shooting RAW footage the WB is almost insignificant since you can set it to whatever you want in post. Yes there are some true pixel peepers who will say if you have the exact WB dialed in and shoot RAW the image will look ever so slightly better.....but unless you are competing in a fine photography art competition I see no reason to bother with one more setting that adds almost no significant value.

Since video is compressed, an inaccurate WB becomes more of a problem. The footage starts to fall apart if you need to make extreme WB changes. The good news is that the EVO II 6K shoots 10bit footage which gives you some WB latitude but not much. The other good news is that with drones you do not have to worry about mixed lighting like you do when working inside a venue for example where you could have fluorescent, daylight, and tungsten all in the same composition. The final bit of good news is that during daylight hours the key light (primary light source) is the sun.....which ranges from direct sunlight (~5500K) to cloudy (~6250K). To my eye, those ranges are close enough that they can be fixed in post with 10bit footage and definitely with RAW photography footage; so once again daylight WB is good enough for me. Yes I have tried the "Cloudy" WB when it is cloudy, but I always feel like that WB makes the video footage or photography image too "warm" meaning it adds too much of an orange tint for my liking. To fix the WB in post for photography or video I simply look for something in the footage that is properly exposed and is white then I use the eye dropper to sample the object which sets the WB.

If you want to set a manual WB with a drone the question becomes...set it based on what? How will you possibly set the right tint value (impossible to do by eye) or the exact Kelvin value without a white reference point? With regular cameras you use a white card (not a grey card btw that's for exposure.....this is another thing that nearly everyone gets wrong but I digress), or something like an expo disc (my preferred method) to set the WB...with a drone neither one will work; even if you tried to do so on the ground, once you get in the air the WB will be different.

So yes, I stick to daylight WB for 99% of the time with drone cameras. There is one specific situation though where I do switch to 3600K and that is if I am filming fireworks at night or I am filming video at night and there are a lot of tungsten, or incandescent city lights. In both of those scenarios 5500K is too far away from 3600K to be able to properly fix when shooting with a compressed video codec. For fireworks specifically, even with photography I always set the WB to 3600K...it is the best way to keep the original fireworks colors "true" and with fireworks, since it is night, there is nothing white that will help you set your WB.

Three quick tips:
  • Creatively WB - treat WB like another creative tool. The white reference point does not actually have to be white balanced to white. What I mean is that you should always start with the proper WB so use something that is white to set the proper WB, but from there you can deliberately make the WB warmer or cooler to match other footage for example or just to make the image more pleasing. I use WB just like every other color grading tool to match other footage or to add a specific mood to the footage.
  • Aerial White Cards - If you want to at least know the exact WB for a scene, then get the drone in the air and try to find something white on the ground like the roof of a building. Take a picture of that before you start filming the original subject material (even if you are shooting video). In post use that reference image to find out the proper WB then apply that WB to the rest of the footage that may not have had anything white to select from. TBH I don't even waste battery life doing this either, but if I needed the perfect WB for a shoot that's how I would do it.
  • Use AWB - Yes I actually said it...use automatic white balance in certain scenarios. I have found when filming video with drones that sometimes it is just really ugly and grey and cloudy and the "Cloudy" WB is not helping. For some reason AWB does a better job in these situations than selecting the "Cloudy WB", probably because AWB also adjusts the tint value vs "Cloudy WB" which only adjusts the Kelvin value. Be very careful though when filming with AWB and video....the WB could change mid clip and this is very difficult to fix in post. So if you use AWB use it for a very short amount of time and don't change the camera's tilt angle (showing more of the sky or ground in a single clip is guaranteed to change the WB when using AWB).
This is great information. Thanks for expertise and contribution. ???
 

GeoDrone SRL

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When shooting photos, choose RAW or RAW+JPG. For the equivalent when shooting video, choose LOG. These all require color correction in post but, with practice, the results are worth it.

As herein2021 said, be very careful with Auto white balance when shooting video with a drone. It will automatically change within a moving shot which is real annoying to the viewer and is very difficult to correct in post.

Also, Auto Exposure will change the exposure during your video shots. That can be good or bad, depending upon your venue. I prefer to use Manual Exposure and do any necessary corrections in post. Auto Exposure tends to overexpose a bit, so if you use it, I set EV to -0.5 to -1.0.

Finally, to minimize post color correction when shooting in LOG, I set Style to -2, +2, +2. This reduces the sharpness (which by default is excessive) and increases the contrast and saturation at bit.

If you are absorbing the advice on this post, you will extract more from this excellent camera.

+2 at contrast? is huge...try -2 then recontrast in editor, will save a lot of details...
 
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Rubik3x

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+2 at contrast? is huge...try -2 then recontrast in editor, will save a lot of details...
Remember, I'm shooting in LOG which produces very low contrast video. By setting contrast and saturation to +2, I minimize the corrections required in post. Still better than shooting in Auto.
 

herein2021

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Remember, I'm shooting in LOG which produces very low contrast video. By setting contrast and saturation to +2, I minimize the corrections required in post. Still better than shooting in Auto.

I actually shoot with Contrast at -2 and Sharpness at -2 and use LOG as well just like @GeoDrone SRL . The whole point of LOG is to compress the image to fit within the DR of the sensor and to make it easier to match other footage later so it should be very flat. Any contrast or saturation you add to the source footage has to then be destructively removed later if you are trying to match other footage or perform heavy post grading for a specific look; on the contrary, adding saturation and contrast in post is not a destructive process as long as the LOG curve is optimal for the sensor (like the ALOG curve).

Also, saturation in particular, if you add it to the LOG footage then need to change your white balance later in post, the saturation will make the footage look far worse than starting with less saturation and adding it later after changing the WB. Within Davinci Resolve for the primaries grading you typically use Node 1 to fix the exposure and WB, then Node 2 for the curves which fine tunes the contrast, then Node 3 for saturation, this ensures the process is easily reversible and non-destructive.
 

Rubik3x

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I actually shoot with Contrast at -2 and Sharpness at -2 and use LOG as well just like @GeoDrone SRL . The whole point of LOG is to compress the image to fit within the DR of the sensor and to make it easier to match other footage later so it should be very flat. Any contrast or saturation you add to the source footage has to then be destructively removed later if you are trying to match other footage or perform heavy post grading for a specific look; on the contrary, adding saturation and contrast in post is not a destructive process as long as the LOG curve is optimal for the sensor (like the ALOG curve).

Also, saturation in particular, if you add it to the LOG footage then need to change your white balance later in post, the saturation will make the footage look far worse than starting with less saturation and adding it later after changing the WB. Within Davinci Resolve for the primaries grading you typically use Node 1 to fix the exposure and WB, then Node 2 for the curves which fine tunes the contrast, then Node 3 for saturation, this ensures the process is easily reversible and non-destructive.
Interesting. Actually, after shooting with +2 for contrast and saturation, I never have to remove contrast or saturation in post to get excellent looking results (in my opinion). I also use DaVinci Resolve Studio but have not mastered the nodes yet. I invite your opinion of two of my recent videos at:
I welcome your constructive criticism.
 

GeoDrone SRL

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Interesting. Actually, after shooting with +2 for contrast and saturation, I never have to remove contrast or saturation in post to get excellent looking results (in my opinion). I also use DaVinci Resolve Studio but have not mastered the nodes yet. I invite your opinion of two of my recent videos at:
I welcome your constructive criticism.
Yes, this setting is working in daylight, as you have little noise on ISO 100 and sharpness is allowed....Same, the contrast +2 is taking your LOG close to Normal profile, so little to no edit is needed...
But try this in night scenes and you will see that will be a total mess... :)
On night you go with Contrast -2 so recover details, also to remain in ISO 800...Is used also HDR normal profile for boosting low light also, or LOG profile but this will induce a lot of jitter that cannot be corrected easy...
Cheers.
 

Rubik3x

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Yes, this setting is working in daylight, as you have little noise on ISO 100 and sharpness is allowed....Same, the contrast +2 is taking your LOG close to Normal profile, so little to no edit is needed...
But try this in night scenes and you will see that will be a total mess... :)
On night you go with Contrast -2 so recover details, also to remain in ISO 800...Is used also HDR normal profile for boosting low light also, or LOG profile but this will induce a lot of jitter that cannot be corrected easy...
Cheers.
Thank you for your comments. I have not flown after dark yet, only around sunset. I'll give your suggestions a try.
What do you mean by "jitter" when recording in low light with LOG profile? Is that a color/exposure problem, bit-rate problem or frame rate problem?
 

GeoDrone SRL

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Thank you for your comments. I have not flown after dark yet, only around sunset. I'll give your suggestions a try.
What do you mean by "jitter" when recording in low light with LOG profile? Is that a color/exposure problem, bit-rate problem or frame rate problem?
Jitter is like you have a vertical wall but in video you see like the line of wall is having parts that are not aligned.
In night you will use 25fps for Europe and 30fps for places where you have lights and current is on 60hz like USA.
Keep ISO close to 400 for HDR+LOG, up to 800 for Log only, or will be heavy noise.
For night use WB at 4000k, will give natural look.
Also careful at Auto Focus, if light is low it will refocus and you need Manual Light or Lock Focus.
No need to say that all moves in night should be half speed from day, in order to have a clear view.
 
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