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Redrocks and More.... | DJI Phantom Drone Forum

Most of the above shot with 3 frames at 2 EV intervals, exposures changed manually which takes a bit less than ten seconds. Camera in Truecolor, aperture priority, 200 iso, auto white balance, neutral sharpening/contrast/brightness.

DNG files are converted to TIFFs (16-bit, ProPhoto RGB, 300 dpi) with Photoshop Camera Raw, with slight adjustments of exposure, saturation, contrast as necessary, but nothing extensive. TIFs are composited with Photomatix Pro, using handheld alignment mode with standard or maximum movement (perspective modification). Now the most extensive editing begins, choosing an appropriate Photomatix template and making further template customizations as needed, saving the composite in the same format.

TIFF from Photomatix is now edited with PhotoShop CC, with typical adjustments being crop, levels, white point and black point, color balance, saturation, color replacement, haze reduction,Topaz 6 DeNoise (selective), On1 Resize to at least 4800 x 3600 px if necessary, Shake reduction sharpening (selective). Perhaps some selective dodging and burning in Photoshop, selective pixel-level cloning for little defects, etc.

From TIFF masters, JPEGs are made in sRBG color space, in full size, medium (2400 px) small (1200 px) and watermarked versions of medium and supersmall (800 px). Only the supersmall watermarked version is shared or posted, in most cases.
 
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Pretty **** good workflow. I'm a little different in that make initial adjustments in Lightroom then export as TIFF to Aurora 2017. Make some adjustments. Then back to Lightroom. Fine tuning more or topaz denoize if need be. Although LR Denoise isn't half bad. Photoshop if heavier lifting needed.

One thing I'm not too happy with is the stop levels on AEB. I get that the dynamic range isn't that awesome to begin with but only having 0.7 stop bracketing isn't that much latitude.
 
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Pretty **** good workflow. I'm a little different in that make initial adjustments in Lightroom then export as TIFF to Aurora 2017. Make some adjustments. Then back to Lightroom. Fine tuning more or topaz denoize if need be. Although LR Denoise isn't half bad. Photoshop if heavier lifting needed.

One thing I'm not too happy with is the stop levels on AEB. I get that the dynamic range isn't that awesome to begin with but only having 0.7 stop bracketing isn't that much latitude.

That's why I do exposure adjustments manually. -2 > 0 > +2. Takes a few seconds but the P4P is steady enough that Photomatix can handle the alignment.
 
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I have no idea why I didn't think of that. I overthink things sometime. Thanks!
 
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Hi

Seems like an interesting workflow. Just a question, how come you are using this Photomatix software that I haven't heard of, and not just Photoshop? Thanks
 
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Redrocks and More.... | DJI Phantom Drone Forum

Most of the above shot with 3 frames at 2 EV intervals, exposures changed manually which takes a bit less than ten seconds. Camera in Truecolor, aperture priority, 200 iso, auto white balance, neutral sharpening/contrast/brightness.

DNG files are converted to TIFFs (16-bit, ProPhoto RGB, 300 dpi) with Photoshop Camera Raw, with slight adjustments of exposure, saturation, contrast as necessary, but nothing extensive. TIFs are composited with Photomatix Pro, using handheld alignment mode with standard or maximum movement (perspective modification). Now the most extensive editing begins, choosing an appropriate Photomatix template and making further template customizations as needed, saving the composite in the same format.

TIFF from Photomatix is now edited with PhotoShop CC, with typical adjustments being crop, levels, white point and black point, color balance, saturation, color replacement, haze reduction,Topaz 6 DeNoise (selective), On1 Resize to at least 4800 x 3600 px if necessary, Shake reduction sharpening (selective). Perhaps some selective dodging and burning in Photoshop, selective pixel-level cloning for little defects, etc.

From TIFF masters, JPEGs are made in sRBG color space, in full size, medium (2400 px) small (1200 px) and watermarked versions of medium and supersmall (800 px). Only the supersmall watermarked version is shared or posted, in most cases.

Sounds way too complicated plus you mentioned Aperture Priority and manual mode at the same time; which is it? Aperture Priority, while not fully Auto, is definitely not manual mode and will result in footage that is simply properly exposed for the chosen aperture; not under/proper/over which is needed for true HDR. If you are actually controlling exposure using the Aperture, with a wide angle lens from a drone you can get away with that, but not with a DSLR and a zoom lens on the ground. Typically exposure is controlled via shutter speed for a HDR bracket or in some rare cases when flash is involved, it can be controlled via ISO, but almost never via Aperture. Also, I do not understand the ISO200 setting, is this to bring shutter speed up? ISO should always start at the native ISO for the camera then go up only if the desired F stop or shutter speed cannot be obtained any other way.

I rarely shoot HDR brackets from the air but when I do, below is my workflow:

1) Camera flat color profile
2) Manual mode, ISO set based on keeping shutter speed above 1/80 (typically can get away with 100), Aperture set above 7.1 if possible (depends on shutter speed and exposure), shutter set at whatever will get me two stops under exposed.
3) Shutter starting at 2 stops under exposed, 1 stop under exposed, properly exposed, 1 stop over exposed, 2 stops over exposed.
4) Import the RAW footage into Lightroom as an HDR bracket
5) Post process for color in Lightroom.
6) Make minor fixes in Photoshop if needed
7) Export resolutions as needed to export format as needed from Lightroom

I have Photomatix but to me the HDR outputs from it are too unrealistic, sure you can click around until you get a realistic output, but why bother? Within Lightroom I can get a realistic output within seconds vs. clicking around in Photomatix.

The reason why I rarely shoot HDR brackets is because I use a different method to perfectly capture an HDR scene where only the sky is what makes the range so wide. I simply take two shots; one properly exposed for the ground (use spot metering mode) and one properly exposed for the sky, then do a sky replacement in Photoshop using the properly exposed sky after processing both shots in Lightroom; this is sometimes referred to as DRI (Dynamic Range Increase). This trick will result in better footage vs. HDR every time, no ghosting issues, no muddy lows or highs, and less work.

With this method you can typically just leave everything in Auto, and takes less than a second. This method does not work if the scene includes HDR elements on the ground, but from a drone 300' up 95% of the time the exposure delta between the ground and the sky is what the camera cannot handle.
 
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Hi

Seems like an interesting workflow. Just a question, how come you are using this Photomatix software that I haven't heard of, and not just Photoshop? Thanks
I find it is better than Photoshop in many respects -- more templates, more user controls for subtle variations, more powerful alignment tools for handheld. It has been around a long time and was the pro standard back when Photoshop HDR was super lame. For Mac, a new HDR package called Aurora is getting great reviews.
 
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HDR Photography Software - Photo Editing Programs & Plugins - Photomatix

You can everything from a realistic looking photomerge to radioactive cat vomit. It is a feature packed reasonably priced peice of software. If your into HDR it's almost a must have.

Radioactive Cat Vomit, LOL. Slide that HDR Structure slider all the way to the max!

An alternative to Photomatix for the OSX users is Aurora HDR by Macphun. That's what I'm using. I shoot AEB on the flying thing, suck it into Lightroom for initial correction and cropping, then export to Aurora. After that, if the image needs further work I send it to Luminar and / or a NR app.

If you're manually shooting brackets, you might want to set the white balance. I have had the WB change between shots, which complicates the post processing a bit.

Yeah, people can go overboard with the HDR stuff. I'm trying to control myself, but sometimes I get the radioactive cat barf thing going despite myself.

Edit: the first picture wasn't HDR. apologies to the internet.

View attachment 83053
 

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Sounds way too complicated plus you mentioned Aperture Priority and manual mode at the same time; which is it? Aperture Priority, while not fully Auto, is definitely not manual mode and will result in footage that is simply properly exposed for the chosen aperture; not under/proper/over which is needed for true HDR. If you are actually controlling exposure using the Aperture, with a wide angle lens from a drone you can get away with that, but not with a DSLR and a zoom lens on the ground. Typically exposure is controlled via shutter speed for a HDR bracket or in some rare cases when flash is involved, it can be controlled via ISO, but almost never via Aperture. Also, I do not understand the ISO200 setting, is this to bring shutter speed up? ISO should always start at the native ISO for the camera then go up only if the desired F stop or shutter speed cannot be obtained any other way.

I rarely shoot HDR brackets from the air but when I do, below is my workflow:

1) Camera flat color profile
2) Manual mode, ISO set based on keeping shutter speed above 1/80 (typically can get away with 100), Aperture set above 7.1 if possible (depends on shutter speed and exposure), shutter set at whatever will get me two stops under exposed.
3) Shutter starting at 2 stops under exposed, 1 stop under exposed, properly exposed, 1 stop over exposed, 2 stops over exposed.
4) Import the RAW footage into Lightroom as an HDR bracket
5) Post process for color in Lightroom.
6) Make minor fixes in Photoshop if needed
7) Export resolutions as needed to export format as needed from Lightroom

I have Photomatix but to me the HDR outputs from it are too unrealistic, sure you can click around until you get a realistic output, but why bother? Within Lightroom I can get a realistic output within seconds vs. clicking around in Photomatix.

The reason why I rarely shoot HDR brackets is because I use a different method to perfectly capture an HDR scene where only the sky is what makes the range so wide. I simply take two shots; one properly exposed for the ground (use spot metering mode) and one properly exposed for the sky, then do a sky replacement in Photoshop using the properly exposed sky after processing both shots in Lightroom; this is sometimes referred to as DRI (Dynamic Range Increase). This trick will result in better footage vs. HDR every time, no ghosting issues, no muddy lows or highs, and less work.

With this method you can typically just leave everything in Auto, and takes less than a second. This method does not work if the scene includes HDR elements on the ground, but from a drone 300' up 95% of the time the exposure delta between the ground and the sky is what the camera cannot handle.
Sounds way too complicated plus you mentioned Aperture Priority and manual mode at the same time; which is it? Aperture Priority, while not fully Auto, is definitely not manual mode and will result in footage that is simply properly exposed for the chosen aperture; not under/proper/over which is needed for true HDR. If you are actually controlling exposure using the Aperture, with a wide angle lens from a drone you can get away with that, but not with a DSLR and a zoom lens on the ground. Typically exposure is controlled via shutter speed for a HDR bracket or in some rare cases when flash is involved, it can be controlled via ISO, but almost never via Aperture. Also, I do not understand the ISO200 setting, is this to bring shutter speed up? ISO should always start at the native ISO for the camera then go up only if the desired F stop or shutter speed cannot be obtained any other way.

I rarely shoot HDR brackets from the air but when I do, below is my workflow:

1) Camera flat color profile
2) Manual mode, ISO set based on keeping shutter speed above 1/80 (typically can get away with 100), Aperture set above 7.1 if possible (depends on shutter speed and exposure), shutter set at whatever will get me two stops under exposed.
3) Shutter starting at 2 stops under exposed, 1 stop under exposed, properly exposed, 1 stop over exposed, 2 stops over exposed.
4) Import the RAW footage into Lightroom as an HDR bracket
5) Post process for color in Lightroom.
6) Make minor fixes in Photoshop if needed
7) Export resolutions as needed to export format as needed from Lightroom

I have Photomatix but to me the HDR outputs from it are too unrealistic, sure you can click around until you get a realistic output, but why bother? Within Lightroom I can get a realistic output within seconds vs. clicking around in Photomatix.

The reason why I rarely shoot HDR brackets is because I use a different method to perfectly capture an HDR scene where only the sky is what makes the range so wide. I simply take two shots; one properly exposed for the ground (use spot metering mode) and one properly exposed for the sky, then do a sky replacement in Photoshop using the properly exposed sky after processing both shots in Lightroom; this is sometimes referred to as DRI (Dynamic Range Increase). This trick will result in better footage vs. HDR every time, no ghosting issues, no muddy lows or highs, and less work.

With this method you can typically just leave everything in Auto, and takes less than a second. This method does not work if the scene includes HDR elements on the ground, but from a drone 300' up 95% of the time the exposure delta between the ground and the sky is what the camera cannot handle.

What I mean re: Aperture Priority and Manual is -- I change the exposure manually, in the air, to achieve a -2EV > 0 > +2EV sequence BUT I set the camera on Aperture Priority mode to force the camera to change exposure with shutter speed only and keep aperture constant. This is to ensure that depth of field (which is controlled by aperture) does not change during the sequence. If it did, it would soften details in front and back of the focal plane. Setting the camera on Manual mode and changing shutter speed while keeping aperture constant achieves the same thing, but requires you to get the base exposure right without relying on auto exposure. Guess I'm lazy in that regard.

And the reason I change exposure manually in the first place is that the P4P camera's Exposure Bracketing 3 & 5 modes are lame. They only change 0.7EV between shots, and that's not enough for effective HDR IMHO -- 2.0EV intervals gives much more shadow and highlight detail to work with.

I use ISO 200 generally because that gives me one more stop's worth of shutter speeds to play with. I like that because while it's pretty stable in hover, the aircraft is still moving a bit, especially in wind, and I want all the extra sharpness I can get. I've compared ISO 100 and 200 images and don't see any discernable noise penalty there. Certainly I would expect to see noise problems if I went up to 800 or 1600, yeah.

Photomatix is my HDR processor of choice because I began using it years ago when Lightroom and Photoshop HDR were really crude and Photomatix was the pro standard. Now Adobe has caught up quite a bit and offers good user control. In the Mac world, Aurora is quickly becoming the HDR processor of choice. HDR in general has developed a reputation for overcooked, unnatural-looking results, but as you say it's only a tool and the results depend on the artist's choices. When you see ugly HDR, it's because the artist chose ugly rather than beautiful.
 
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Radioactive Cat Vomit, LOL. Slide that HDR Structure slider all the way to the max!

An alternative to Photomatix for the OSX users is Aurora HDR by Macphun. That's what I'm using. I shoot AEB on the flying thing, suck it into Lightroom for initial correction and cropping, then export to Aurora. After that, if the image needs further work I send it to Luminar and / or a NR app.

If you're manually shooting brackets, you might want to set the white balance. I have had the WB change between shots, which complicates the post processing a bit.

Yeah, people can go overboard with the HDR stuff. I'm trying to control myself, but sometimes I get the radioactive cat barf thing going despite myself.

View attachment 83053
I shoot my brackets manually, -2 > 0 > +2 EV, because the P4P camera AEB does only 0.7 EV intervals and this narrow range sacrifices a lot of shadow and highlight detail, IMHO. Sometimes I do different takes with different white balances to experiment a bit. Memory is cheap and electrons are free, so might as well shoot up a storm and throw out what doesn't work.
 
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I shoot my brackets manually, -2 > 0 > +2 EV, because the P4P camera AEB does only 0.7 EV intervals and this narrow range sacrifices a lot of shadow and highlight detail, IMHO. Sometimes I do different takes with different white balances to experiment a bit. Memory is cheap and electrons are free, so might as well shoot up a storm and throw out what doesn't work.

Yes, I noticed that. I'm still getting used to the camera and am planning on testing it when the sunsets start getting interesting around here. I'll see what 0.7 gets me, and possibly adjust in Lightroom if I have to. But that sounds a bit too much of a workflow. I may do like you and manually bracket 2 EV. The camera does seem remarkably stable. We'll see.
 
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Make that another vote for Aurora 2017. It works top down very much like Lightroom. I rarely use presets other than what it tries when it first loads the images. Adjust from there. THEN back into Lightroom for final adjustments. The only problem with just using shutter speed to adjust things is that the EV value in the EXIF data is always recorded as 0. It's backend metadata only. The images are correct. I chose to "bracket" by opening up the photo settings and raise and lower the exposure compensation manually. Ironically this cannot be changed with the wheel so it's more a PIA. Personally I like having that EV compensation value available... it's even an overlay value on my images in Lightroom.
 
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Make that another vote for Aurora 2017. It works top down very much like Lightroom. I rarely use presets other than what it tries when it first loads the images. Adjust from there. THEN back into Lightroom for final adjustments. The only problem with just using shutter speed to adjust things is that the EV value in the EXIF data is always recorded as 0. It's backend metadata only. The images are correct. I chose to "bracket" by opening up the photo settings and raise and lower the exposure compensation manually. Ironically this cannot be changed with the wheel so it's more a PIA. Personally I like having that EV compensation value available... it's even an overlay value on my images in Lightroom.
I'm hoping that DJI will eventually employ some still photo expertise and get those quirks like AEB bracketing straightened out. I bracket manually as you do and I hate to take my attention away from flying while I mess with the camera.

I'd love to try Aurora but I'm on Windows. Does anyone know if their promised Windows version is available yet?
 
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For brackets I take it one step further, since as stated, pixels are cheap. I shoot a 5 shot aeb at the native .7 then shift it five ticks (1 2/3 stops) and shoot another 5 shot AEB. They all overlap nicely. For shooting into the sun or over super contrasty shots I'll shoot it a third time. All on full manual, manual wb, dng raw, etc. This is on my Mavic, but my P4P will be here tomorrow so I'll be doing them same in 24 hours. :)

EDIT: See my post below for an update on the shooting pattern for multiple HDR brackets

Photomatix is great. Yes you can make ugly terrible **** but you can make fantastic images too. I'd hazard to guess that you wouldn't be able to pick out most of my HdR images in a lineup without resorting to figuring out which had to be based on lighting conditions. :) I'm a Lightroom evangelist since 1.0 and Lightroom merge to hdr is nice for simpler jobs and quick comps. But it has nowhere near the flexibility and power of the good dedicated HDR tools. Try out some of the new presets and v6 has a new Tone Balancer toption which has the best results yet for realistic output.
 
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Redrocks and More.... | DJI Phantom Drone Forum

Most of the above shot with 3 frames at 2 EV intervals, exposures changed manually which takes a bit less than ten seconds. Camera in Truecolor, aperture priority, 200 iso, auto white balance, neutral sharpening/contrast/brightness.

DNG files are converted to TIFFs (16-bit, ProPhoto RGB, 300 dpi) with Photoshop Camera Raw, with slight adjustments of exposure, saturation, contrast as necessary, but nothing extensive. TIFs are composited with Photomatix Pro, using handheld alignment mode with standard or maximum movement (perspective modification). Now the most extensive editing begins, choosing an appropriate Photomatix template and making further template customizations as needed, saving the composite in the same format.

TIFF from Photomatix is now edited with PhotoShop CC, with typical adjustments being crop, levels, white point and black point, color balance, saturation, color replacement, haze reduction,Topaz 6 DeNoise (selective), On1 Resize to at least 4800 x 3600 px if necessary, Shake reduction sharpening (selective). Perhaps some selective dodging and burning in Photoshop, selective pixel-level cloning for little defects, etc.

From TIFF masters, JPEGs are made in sRBG color space, in full size, medium (2400 px) small (1200 px) and watermarked versions of medium and supersmall (800 px). Only the supersmall watermarked version is shared or posted, in most cases.

If you're shooting in DNG then your "truecolor" setting has zero effect on the image. The whole point of shooting raw is that you get the raw, unprocessed data from the sensor.
 
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If you're shooting in DNG then your "truecolor" setting has zero effect on the image. The whole point of shooting raw is that you get the raw, unprocessed data from the sensor.
Right. I'm shooting in DNG + JPEG. The Truecolor is for the JPEGs, but they are backups that I seldom use/edit, so not much need for it.
 
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Just a quick update re: the shooting pattern I outlined above. I did the math I my head a couple months ago and never triple checked it. It does indeed properly interlock but it's only half as far as you should shift. It results in most of the shots being only 1/3 stop apart which is unnecessary and adds a lot of extra time.

So, the updated pattern is to shoot then move 10 ticks, not five. This results in a 2/3 stop spacing across the entire bracketed range.

Bonus on this is that if you are doing an HDR Pano it is easy to remember your spacing because 10x 1/3 steps results in a roughly 10x base shutter speed. E.g. If you're first bracket is 1/25 10x 1/3 steps results in 1/250 and another 10x results in 1/2500. Much easier than trying to remember 1/25 and 1/320, say, when shooting across a large pano.

Couple of other recent results from testing--

1. I tried to shoot some hdr panos as JPG. Since I export to jpg before ptgui anyways I figured I'd give it a shot. Maybe if I had tried TrueColor it would have worked better but I've switched back. I'm a RAW bigot usually so to even try JPG tells you how much I was concerned about trying g to speed up my workflow. :)

2. I've tried a few more times to make Autopilot and Litchi shoot these HDR panos but in the end it is faster and more reliable to do them by hand. AP has actually missed a few shots which I noticed is on their 5.2 release notes. AP also has the exposure banding but it does not work with the P4P.

3. I've stopped trying to use shortcuts with shooting bc they just end up confusing the tools. By that I mean I always go the same direction for every row and the same bracket order. I tried going left to right on the top row, the right to left on the next, and low to high shutter speed on first frame the. High to low on the next, all in an effort to shave a little time off the shot. And it does shave time but at the expense of risking the whole image. Considering it can take me 5-8 mins to shoot the largest of the hdr panos and 2-4 hours to post process the really good ones, a few seconds or even a minute off the whole shot isn't worth it.

More probably to come. :)
 

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