setting up and correct settings

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Hello everyone,

Yesterday I received my Phantom 4 pro Drone and have not flown yet as I find the most important part right now to have everything set correctly. I watched some videos from experienced users from whom I loved the quality in their video's and took over strongly recommended settings. Important to note is that my goal is having 4k footage in the highest possible quality coming out of this drone.

From them so far I have things like:
Video Settings
Compression: MP4 compression (Windows based)
White balance: Custom 5700k (auto = not ideal. It changes constantly)
Style: Best is Custom with settings -2, 0, -2 or -1, 0, -1.
Color: Best recommended setting is D-Cinelike.
Encoding format: H.265 is slightly better but needs fairly strong PC. Which I have. And H.265 does a better compression, thus less taking up space while retaining the same quality. So H.265 is generally recommended

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Photo settings
Image ratio either 4:3 or 16:9. But 16:9 is perhaps best because it matches the video format
Image format: RAW
White balance: Custom 5700k
Color: D-Cinelike

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Main Settings

Histogram: On
Lock Gimbal while shooting: On
grid on, having a pointer on, etc.


But what I am not sure about yet and to which I ask you guys help with is the following:

1. Regarding Manual or automatic exposure control settings (ISO, aperture, Exposure, etc.)
So far I have been answered with that the best is to have it manual, and keep the ISO at 100.
The exposure does change as light changes. But what kind of shutter speed settings should I use then in a setup like this? Because in this case the shutter speed is then used to set the exposure right?
Also I'm not familiar with Shutter speed in general. Should shutter speeds have different settings when capturing in 30fps and 60 fps?

2. Another thing is. I mentioned 4k is the resolution to film on. But in my mind I think of capturing it in 60fps in stead of 30 because I want my motion to be as smooth as possible. But I see some of these users who captured great footages from the Phanom 4 pro drone, but then in 30 fps. So I am a bit confused in my initial feel of what I should go for. 30 or 60 fps? Visual quality should stay the same right? but one more smooth?

3. Also. I noticed filming in 4k 60fps is not possible with H.265, only in H.264. Are these formats quality wise the same? I know that H.265 should make file sizes smaller than H.264

4. As mentioned. I have not flown yet as I am mostly concerned with the settings at the moment.
But I do have questions.
-What is your preferred flying mode? Do you fly everything manually? My goal is to have the most smoothest cinematic like landscape video's.
-So would you use way points?
-And can I use way points and "script"/"animate" the field of view and tilting?

5. last question. What can you do with the Histogram when it's set to on?

thanks alot in advance guys.
 

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As mentioned. I have not flown yet as I am mostly concerned with the settings at the moment.
You did not mention it, but just to throw this out there, if you are not an experienced flyer ( Which again you did not mention other than the quote above ), I would highly recommend that you concentrate more on the Aircraft settings and control's as opposed to the video settings. This is far more important. Again, just throwing that out.
 

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4. As mentioned. I have not flown yet as I am mostly concerned with the settings at the moment.
I think you have things backwards.
There's a lot to learn a\bout flying a Phantom before you can start creating masterpieces.
There's plenty of time to experiment with camera settings after you know how to fly the drone.
Photo settings
Image ratio
either 4:3 or 16:9. But 16:9 is perhaps best because it matches the video format
Why cut off a big chunk of the top and bottom of your image before you've even taken the photo?
It makes more sense to shoot 3:2 and get the largest image possible and then be able to crop which ever way is best.
Don't give away your options.
1. Regarding Manual or automatic exposure control settings (ISO, aperture, Exposure, etc.)
So far I have been answered with that the best is to have it manual
Best ?? There is no best.
The reason there are so many possible camera settings is that there are so many conditions to shoot under and so many different styles and effects to go for.
There is no best and you'd do well to experiment and work out what you like and what works well in what situations.
As for manual is "best", it doesn't matter whether the exposure is set by the camera or yourself, if it's off it's off.
And if it's good, it's good.
Use manual or whichever one of the automated metering modes suits you and forget the concept of some theoretical "best" that some youtube guru has convinced you about.

The exposure does change as light changes. But what kind of shutter speed settings should I use then in a setup like this? Because in this case the shutter speed is then used to set the exposure right?
Also I'm not familiar with Shutter speed in general. Should shutter speeds have different settings when capturing in 30fps and 60 fps?
It's not that simple.
If there was one "best" setting, the camera wouldn't have all the other options.
2. Another thing is. I mentioned 4k is the resolution to film on. But in my mind I think of capturing it in 60fps in stead of 30 because I want my motion to be as smooth as possible. But I see some of these users who captured great footages from the Phantom 4 pro drone, but then in 30 fps. So I am a bit confused in my initial feel of what I should go for. 30 or 60 fps? Visual quality should stay the same right? but one more smooth?
Try them all and find out what you like in what situations.
You'll find that 60 fps will give you huge file sizes and probably won't do much worth the inconvenience - unless you want to shoot slow motion.
There's a common misconception that bigger numbers must be better.

As for shooting raw, do you know your way around Photoshop and want to put in a lot of effort working on your images to get them looking presentable?
If not, try shooting jpg too.
It's a lot easier and is all most photographers need most of the time (despite what you'll hear from a lot of people on forums and youtube).
 
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I would avoid H.265. If you use H.265, you may find that there is a brief freeze of the video near the beginning of the new file created after it reaches the 4GB filesize limit. I stopped using it and went back to H.264. This took me awhile to figure out. And it didn’t appear that H.265 saved any space.

Yeah auto white balance and auto exposure will cause changes in your video which are hard to deal with in post. I typically pic a white balance setting close to the conditions (sunny,cloudy, etc.). That way the balance is close but it doesn’t change in flight.

For photo aspect ratio I use 3:2. That uses the whole chip and gives you maximum pixel count. The other aspect ratios are cropped in the camera throwing away info. You can always crop later in your edit software.

Widely accepted rule of thumb for video is that that you should fix the shutter speed at twice the framerate. If shooting at 30fps then the shutter speed should be 1/60 sec. On the P4P you can also adjust aperature so that can HELP you get the proper exposure by tweaking that instead of ISO. But you may need to use a neutral density (ND) filter when it’s bright out. Also people say to stay as close to the f/5.6 setting as possible for best lens performance. So an ND filter will help there. I have a three pack: ND8, 16, 32. They screw on in place of the haze filter already on there. You have to buy ones made for the P4P. Ones for the P4 may work. Not sure.

On choosing the framerate, some say 60fps is *too* smooth. Not “cinematic.” Kind of soap opera like. So, many shoot 30fps for a more cinematic look.

I shoot video both while flying manually and using waypoint programmed missions. I use aftermarket software called Litchi for programmed missions. You plan them in the app on your phone/tablet or desktop. You program path and where the camera aims and tilts. When running the mission you use the Litchi app *instead* of Go4. When flying manual I use Go4. It takes practice to get smooth video this way. You are flying, yawing, tilting sometimes all at once. It helps to chance some of the joystick EXP parameters to dampen and smooth out the yaw and especially tilt movements.

The histogram shows you the distribution of pixels along the exposure spectrum. For a normal daylight scene, If it’s all bunched to the left, it’s probably underexposed because no pixels in the highlight area for example. If there are lines piled up on the right you’re probably blowing out highlights. You generally want a distribution spread over the whole range. Of course if shooting at night or dusk you maybe aren’t supposed to have many on the right side so use some common sense.
 
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As for manual is "best", it doesn't matter whether the exposure is set by the camera or yourself, if it's off it's off.
And if it's good, it's good.
slow motion.

This is the one thing I disagree with. In Auto the exposure will suddenly change on you mid shot. And it’s noticeable and *not* gradual. It jumps. But it’s also not completely instantaneous. It’s spread over a few frames. So it’s nearly impossible in post to slice the video at the change and try to match things to hide or smooth the transition. I gave up on auto exposure unless I know that I’m going to have lighting conditions that won’t vary much at all through the shot.

Edit: oh and you want manual in order to nail your shutter speed at 2x the framerate if you subscribe to that belief. Shutter priority would work too. But then you have the problem I state above.
 
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This is the one thing I disagree with. In Auto the exposure will suddenly change on you mid shot. And it’s noticeable and *not* gradual. It jumps. But it’s also not completely instantaneous. It’s spread over a few frames. So it’s nearly impossible in post to slice the video at the change and try to match things to hide or smooth the transition. I gave up on auto exposure unless I know that I’m going to have lighting conditions that won’t vary much at all through the shot.

Edit: oh and you want manual in order to nail your shutter speed at 2x the framerate if you subscribe to that belief. Shutter priority would work too. But then you have the problem I state above.
I'm a stills photographer so I don't have to worry about that stuff much.
 
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I think you have things backwards.
There's a lot to learn a\bout flying a Phantom before you can start creating masterpieces.
There's plenty of time to experiment with camera settings after you know how to fly the drone.

Why cut off a big chunk of the top and bottom of your image before you've even taken the photo?
It makes more sense to shoot 3:2 and get the largest image possible and then be able to crop which ever way is best.
Don't give away your options.

Best ?? There is no best.
The reason there are so many possible camera settings is that there are so many conditions to shoot under and so many different styles and effects to go for.
There is no best and you'd do well to experiment and work out what you like and what works well in what situations.
As for manual is "best", it doesn't matter whether the exposure is set by the camera or yourself, if it's off it's off.
And if it's good, it's good.
Use manual or whichever one of the automated metering modes suits you and forget the concept of some theoretical "best" that some youtube guru has convinced you about.


It's not that simple.
If there was one "best" setting, the camera wouldn't have all the other options.

Try them all and find out what you like in what situations.
You'll find that 60 fps will give you huge file sizes and probably won't do much worth the inconvenience - unless you want to shoot slow motion.
There's a common misconception that bigger numbers must be better.

As for shooting raw, do you know your way around Photoshop and want to put in a lot of effort working on your images to get them looking presentable?
If not, try shooting jpg too.
It's a lot easier and is all most photographers need most of the time (despite what you'll hear from a lot of people on forums and youtube).
Meta4. Thanks for your reply. I got your point. No best settings, or else there wouldn't be so many settings as you say.
And yes I know my way around Photoshop. I have zero knowledge about droning yet, but am 15 years in the movie and games industry.
 
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I'm a stills photographer so I don't have to worry about that stuff much.
The OP’s stated goal was for 4K footage so I was gearing my response toward that.

But as far as still pix go, then I agree with you in the context of drone photography (where depth of field control is usually not applicable as an example).
 
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I would avoid H.265. If you use H.265, you may find that there is a brief freeze of the video near the beginning of the new file created after it reaches the 4GB filesize limit. I stopped using it and went back to H.264. This took me awhile to figure out. And it didn’t appear that H.265 saved any space.

Yeah auto white balance and auto exposure will cause changes in your video which are hard to deal with in post. I typically pic a white balance setting close to the conditions (sunny,cloudy, etc.). That way the balance is close but it doesn’t change in flight.

For photo aspect ratio I use 3:2. That uses the whole chip and gives you maximum pixel count. The other aspect ratios are cropped in the camera throwing away info. You can always crop later in your edit software.

Widely accepted rule of thumb for video is that that you should fix the shutter speed at twice the framerate. If shooting at 30fps then the shutter speed should be 1/60 sec. On the P4P you can also adjust aperature so that can HELP you get the proper exposure by tweaking that instead of ISO. But you may need to use a neutral density (ND) filter when it’s bright out. Also people say to stay as close to the f/5.6 setting as possible for best lens performance. So an ND filter will help there. I have a three pack: ND8, 16, 32. They screw on in place of the haze filter already on there. You have to buy ones made for the P4P. Ones for the P4 may work. Not sure.

On choosing the framerate, some say 60fps is *too* smooth. Not “cinematic.” Kind of soap opera like. So, many shoot 30fps for a more cinematic look.

I shoot video both while flying manually and using waypoint programmed missions. I use aftermarket software called Litchi for programmed missions. You plan them in the app on your phone/tablet or desktop. You program path and where the camera aims and tilts. When running the mission you use the Litchi app *instead* of Go4. When flying manual I use Go4. It takes practice to get smooth video this way. You are flying, yawing, tilting sometimes all at once. It helps to chance some of the joystick EXP parameters to dampen and smooth out the yaw and especially tilt movements.

The histogram shows you the distribution of pixels along the exposure spectrum. For a normal daylight scene, If it’s all bunched to the left, it’s probably underexposed because no pixels in the highlight area for example. If there are lines piled up on the right you’re probably blowing out highlights. You generally want a distribution spread over the whole range. Of course if shooting at night or dusk you maybe aren’t supposed to have many on the right side so use some common sense.
basartist. Thanks alot for your reply and your share of your experiences about everything
So regarding the formats. Ill use H.264 then as your points are important points and I actually heard it yesterday from someone else as well.

Ok. So instead of just using 5700k for every light condition, you use fixed values, but each for a different situation like in the sun, clouy, etc.

As Meta4 said. Aspect ratio 3.2 with the argument: why waste/throw away pixels.

Thanks for the rule of thumb and the reason why people film at 30fps. More cinematic.
Also I did see another guy saying he mostly if not always uses f/5.6

And really nice tip regarding Litchi for programmed missions! Ill download it when Im back home

Ok. So with the histogram, everything evenly spread out. At least on daytime. For the night it may be different or something
 
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You did not mention it, but just to throw this out there, if you are not an experienced flyer ( Which again you did not mention other than the quote above ), I would highly recommend that you concentrate more on the Aircraft settings and control's as opposed to the video settings. This is far more important. Again, just throwing that out.
Fly Dawg, Thanks this evening I'll start with my first flight tests. I set my stuff in beginners mode and I just bought those DJI P4 propeller protection thingies
 
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basartist. Thanks alot for your reply and your share of your experiences about everything
So regarding the formats. Ill use H.264 then as your points are important points and I actually heard it yesterday from someone else as well.

Ok. So instead of just using 5700k for every light condition, you use fixed values, but each for a different situation like in the sun, clouy, etc.

As Meta4 said. Aspect ratio 3.2 with the argument: why waste/throw away pixels.

Thanks for the rule of thumb and the reason why people film at 30fps. More cinematic.
Also I did see another guy saying he mostly if not always uses f/5.6

And really nice tip regarding Litchi for programmed missions! Ill download it when Im back home

Ok. So with the histogram, everything evenly spread out. At least on daytime. For the night it may be different or something
Keep in mind that Litchi comes with a learning curve. It is very powerful but you can shoot yourself in the foot if you’re not careful. For example not giving yourself enough altitude to clear obstacles and such (although obstacle avoidance may save your bacon I wouldn’t count on it. If I were you I would browse these forums for threads on Litchi and read up quite a bit.
 
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Fly Dawg

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this evening I'll start with my first flight tests.
Two other recommendations,

1) Read the FULL manual start to finish at least three times.

2) After you have flown a few times in normal GPS flight mode. Practice flying in ATTI mode.
This could save your aircraft, should you experience an Auto-Switch to that.

Yes, the Phantom is quite easy to fly, but there is a learning curve to all the nuances of the aircraft's operation which
you do need to know before trying anything extravagant.
 
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Keep in mind that Litchi comes with a learning curve. It is very powerful but you can shoot yourself in the foot if you’re not careful. For example not giving yourself enough altitude to clear obstacles and such (although obstacle avoidance may save your bacon I wouldn’t count on it. If I were you I would browse these forums for threads on Litchi and read up quite a bit.
bsartist. Alright thanks. Ill do that!
 
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I agree with the one's that said learn to fly first, yes the phantom's are easy to fly and even easier to crash! Placing too much concentration on the video will get you in trouble, the more you accumulate hours of air time the calmer you will become and you will understand all the telemetry at a glance. Like Fly Dawg said read read read and you must understand how dji GO configures your craft and what ALL the settings do. And most of all go have fun with your craft, the cool video's will follow.
 
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Keep in mind, in order to use 100 ISO, appropriate shutter speed & a 5.6 f-stop, you will have to use ND filters on sunny days. Also, for many situations 24fps is even more cinematic than 30 fps. Also, please search this forum for video camera settings advice. Everything that has been suggested to you here has been discussed in detail over several threads this year alone. It's a wealth of knowledge for you to benefit from. Best of luck!
 
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I agree with the one's that said learn to fly first, yes the phantom's are easy to fly and even easier to crash! Placing too much concentration on the video will get you in trouble, the more you accumulate hours of air time the calmer you will become and you will understand all the telemetry at a glance. Like Fly Dawg said read read read and you must understand how dji GO configures your craft and what ALL the settings do. And most of all go have fun with your craft, the cool video's will follow.
Thanks. I havent flown yet. I started out indeed on everything regarding camera settings, gimbal stuff and Im currently watching videos for flying in different modes, safety things as well. I also bought propeller guards which only adds to the safety of people and the drone.
But saturday and sunday will be my first tests, without any goal other than maneuvering and getting comfy.
 
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Keep in mind, in order to use 100 ISO, appropriate shutter speed & a 5.6 f-stop, you will have to use ND filters on sunny days. Also, for many situations 24fps is even more cinematic than 30 fps. Also, please search this forum for video camera settings advice. Everything that has been suggested to you here has been discussed in detail over several threads this year alone. It's a wealth of knowledge for you to benefit from. Best of luck!
Thanks alot JarrodF. I will! Am not sure yet which thread for camera settings is the best to read upon, but I'll do my best. There are so many sources left and right
 
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Keep in mind, in order to use 100 ISO, appropriate shutter speed & a 5.6 f-stop, you will have to use ND filters on sunny days. Also, for many situations 24fps is even more cinematic than 30 fps. Also, please search this forum for video camera settings advice. Everything that has been suggested to you here has been discussed in detail over several threads this year alone. It's a wealth of knowledge for you to benefit from. Best of luck!
You say "Keep in mind, in order to use 100 ISO, appropriate shutter speed & a 5.6 f-stop, you will have to use ND filters on sunny days."
But if I use a ISO of 100 (lowest noise), and a shutter speed of 1/60 (at 30 fps), wouldn't you want lower f-stops than 5.6? Like 2.8 ?
Im a little confused in this, and the true purpose of why I need ND filters. I know that ND filters make sure you don't get blown out high values, but not the underlying reasoning (regarding the exposure, f-stop etc)
 
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Two other recommendations,

1) Read the FULL manual start to finish at least three times.

2) After you have flown a few times in normal GPS flight mode. Practice flying in ATTI mode.
This could save your aircraft, should you experience an Auto-Switch to that.

Yes, the Phantom is quite easy to fly, but there is a learning curve to all the nuances of the aircraft's operation which
you do need to know before trying anything extravagant.
I will be flying my Phantom 3 Advanced for the first time this weekend ive spent the past week studying the manual and watching tutorials
 

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But if I use a ISO of 100 (lowest noise), and a shutter speed of 1/60 (at 30 fps), wouldn't you want lower f-stops than 5.6? Like 2.8 ?
With ISO 100, your average scene in sunlight would require an exposure of roughly 1/100th sec at f11+
If you wanted a shutter speed of 1/60th and use f5.6 you would have to reduce the light by about 3 stops
Using f2.8 would only increase the light falling on the sensor and cause overexposure problems
Im a little confused in this, and the true purpose of why I need ND filters. I know that ND filters make sure you don't get blown out high values, but not the underlying reasoning (regarding the exposure, f-stop etc)
ND filters aren't to prevent blown out highlights. They reduce the light levels uniformly across the frame .
If you have some areas much brighter than the average of the scene, you can still get blown out highlights with ND filters.
The idea is to reduce the light levels to give proper exposure when using slower shutter speeds.

If you aren't familiar enough with photography, it might be an idea to leave out the ND filters for a while and just get the hang of flying and then using the camera.
You can try ND filters when you are more experienced rather than trying to do everything at once.
You'll still get reasonable looking video without video and it would be one less complication to get your head around while you're beginning.
 

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