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Frustrated with video - What to record and post-editing

Discussion in 'Editing (Photo and Video)' started by DesignFlaw06, Apr 1, 2016.

  1. DesignFlaw06

    Jan 8, 2016
    Likes Received:
    Muskegon, MI
    Love flying my Phantom, but I have not completed one video yet and I've had it for 3 months. Granted, the weather is still cold so it isn't like I'm flying every day. This likely going to be long, but I need help.

    Problem #1 - What and how do I shoot?
    Finding things to film is difficult enough. There are a couple of landmarks I've been to. But when I get in the air, I don't know what I'm doing. I feel rushed and under-prepared almost every time. I can't visualize a shot very well and I'm not sure how to get better at that. And with trying to find places, am I just blind to the interesting things in my town because I've lived here my entire life?

    Problem #2 - Software
    Currently I'm using DaVinci Resolve. The price is right. I'm not sure how anyone justifies Adobe CC software, without needing it for work. I'm not opposed to buying software if I think it will help. But subscription based software is not justifiable in my book. Is Adobe Elements 14 good enough? A one time fee I can deal with.

    Problem #2 - Post editing
    So I'm running the -2 -3 -2 in the log profile. I've recently acquired the 6 pack of Polar Pro ND filters. Footage comes out bland like it is supposed to. It is the un-blanding that I have real trouble with. I've watched hours of YouTube videos on color grading in Davinci Resolve. I feel like I've learned nothing. Starting to understand the tracking thing a little more. But my colors tend to be over-saturated and noisy when I get my hands in them. And if I back it off, it goes back to bland and ugly. I can't find a happy medium. But perhaps even with those settings, my footage is bad. You can't create what isn't there.

    Problem #3 - LUTs
    OK I've seen these things. I downloaded one that was supposed to be for the DJI Log profile from Ground Control. All I can say is meh. I mean it looks better than it did before I apply it, but nothing more than the basics I have been able to use. Then I see these videos of people using LUTs that completely transform footage. Or at least the videos try to make me think they do. I'm not expecting a shortcut to great footage. Obviously tweaks are always going to be required. But are they a good thing to purchase? Any particular bundle or kind I should have?

    What I'd like to see is my footage color graded so I can see that it is simply operator error. But my fear is that I'll never know how to get the shots or look I want. I lack the creative eye.
    Utopian likes this.
  2. Air Ontario

    Jan 11, 2016
    Likes Received:
    U.S./ Canada
    It's good that you have flight skills. Now consider practicing/mastering video skills like the Reveal, Slide, Flythrough etc.
    Picture those in your mind's eye when thinking about the shot and what YOU want to convey or show the viewer.

    Heck I practiced on duck blinds, flying along game trails, sliding along the lake shore filming houses, orbiting ice huts, etc. just to gain some skills with those effects.

    Then consider a waypoint app to help you set up the shots you imagine. Maybe even storyboard it on a piece of paper. Mainly have a plan of what you want to show, then fly and film that plan. It will get better.

    Post is always what you make of it and we all strive to get better with the fundamentals. I like a good sky but not so good I lose foreground detail.
    Seems everything is some type of compromise whether it be shutter/fps, or contrast, saturation and detail.

    I have even done the auto thing once or twice just to make sure it was my talents that sucked and not the camera. lol
  3. Utopian

    Feb 2, 2016
    Likes Received:
    Rockvill, Maryland
    I am having a similar issue like Problem 2 - post editing. As soon as I get my hands on saturation, exposure, color correction...things go south

    Sent from my iPhone using PhantomPilots mobile app
  4. herein2014

    Dec 6, 2014
    Likes Received:
    I do this professionally for a living so I may be able to help out. It's actually very easy to first of all put together a good series of clips, color grade the clips, then arrange them in an order that will keep viewers interested which is really all there is to making any video.

    Step 1 - Film good clips

    The best way to start getting an eye for what looks good is to learn from the best; the best of course being Hollywood. I know this next statement is going to ruin every movie you watch in the future but if you want to get better here is what you need to do; every movie you watch focus on their composition, lighting, depth of field, camera movement, etc. Of course this does not exactly translate into flying the P3 but it helps you develop an eye for what looks good.

    For the P3 itself, practice basic moves like: trucking left/right, dolly in/out, tilt up/down, arc left/right. I spend a good 20s before every clip aligning the drone perfectly along the path I want to follow, visualize the composition for the shot, then press record when it's all perfect. I then film the clip and press stop. Remember, the typical clips/scenes in videos these days is less than 5 seconds long before you must transition to something else. I see many boring 10min long videos on YouTube of a drone flying around filming something. The only viewers who can appreciate a video like that is other drone pilots. If you want to make a really good video, you will need a lot of well composed, properly color graded, and interesting content. I shoot no more than 30s at a time for clips and I edit them down to 3-8s clips in post.

    My own personal style is I like to start with the smallest details, reveal a scene in bits and pieces, then bring in the aerial footage last. I also never use just aerial footage, I use stabilized traditional footage (DSLR) for my opening clips then transition to aerial, then switch between aerial and traditional.

    Step 2 - Color Grading

    For me I use DaVinci Resolve for color grading and Corel VideoStudio X9 for the rest. In DaVinci Resolve its actually very easy for color grading. Just use the scopes as your starting point to get perfect even exposure. One day I'll make a YouTube tutorial but the quick run down of my workflow is:
    -Import the clips into DaVinci
    -Create 4 nodes
    -Node 1 - Source Clip
    -Node 2 - Fix Lift/Gain
    -Node 3 - Adjust Sharpness / Contrast
    -Node 4 - Add a style (if you are going for a specific look)

    The nice thing about adding your style to a separate node is that it makes it easy to apply that style to the other clips without affecting the exposure you set using the scopes.

    Export to individual source clips

    Step 3 - Create Video

    Import the clips into Corel VideoStudio. From there I add titles, audio track, arrange the clips in the order I want, edit them for length, etc. For me the hardest part is finding the perfect (royalty free for commercial use) audio track and synching the transitions to the audio track. YouTube's audio library is a great source. I downloaded about 500 tracks from there and while I am editing the video I'm going through those tracks looking for one that matches the mood I am trying to portray in the video.


    Personally I have not seen many aerial videos that looked good without more than just aerial footage. Aerial footage is great for showing the size of something or showing the big picture, but without the small details aerial videos are always just "ok" not "exceptional". Of course if you are not getting paid for your footage then it's probably not worth the effort, but if you truly want to make good videos consider getting a traditional camera as well. Even if it's just a GoPro, when you can show the big picture and the small details you are on your way to making better videos. Another thing that is great about multiple cameras is the multiple perspectives. Many times I will show the same scene but from multiple angles one being the air and a couple from the ground, it just really adds professional looks to any video.
    #4 herein2014, May 6, 2016
    Last edited: May 6, 2016
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