The Importance Of Testing
The importance of testing. You know, you can, I mean just out of the box get a decent exposure. You can even put it on auto exposure, go out there and get good looking images, but I think we're talking about maybe taking things to the next level, like having that care that us photographers and film makers, that we have for the image and like you know, retaining shadow detail and all that kind of stuff, especially if we're not shooting in sort of a raw video format where what we get is kind of pretty much, there's a lot of it that's just baked into the image and we need to get up close because we know that in post we don't have a huge amount of latitude. So, what I thought we could do, and it might make sense to cut the lights on this 'cause it may be hard to see otherwise, the difference in these settings. We'll take the feed from the laptop and and take a look at some of this and some of this is going to be relative to this monitor over here. Let's see how this is lookin'. Okay, it is...
what it is, but you'll be able to see the difference. So, yesterday I went up on the roof and just took some sorta last minute tests and so, the first thing I wanted to do is, they have a color profile called, I think it's D-Cine, it might be called Cine like, I can't remember exactly what it's called, but you'll see it as a Cine type color profile and it's less contrasting than like, I think non and DJI, sort of like Canon's standard. And so, what I did was I started playing around with different settings in Cine and seeing and the first thing I wanted to see is the, is the, what the effect on decreasing the sharpness had. I want to see if I can get this full screen. It was not lettin' me, there's a way that I can toggle through while still being able to highlight, make this full screen. Can you see that okay anyways? Okay. So, right now we're going from zero, okay, so the first number is, is sharpness so what I'm gonna do is go show you zero and then I'll full screen it. Oh good, I got it workin'. Cool, and then even minus one, what I look at is like the detail in like the cinder block on the wall and then on the, the plants. You start seeing the detail go away quite a lot to the point where the trees like way out there just turn to mush. And so what I realized is that I mean, by the time you get to minus three which is what some of us used to do with like, Canon 5Ds and whatever, I mean, there's just, that tree just becomes mush to the point where you can't even bring it back. And so, for me I just decided you know what, with this Phantom, and you know what, even with the Inspire, there's something about the Kodak with the DJI cameras that I tend to at most go to minus one, but mostly I'm tryin' to bring that back anyways. So, I'll stick to zero. Next thing I wanted to take a look at was the saturation. Typically, any of these profiles that have any bit of good amount of saturation always tend to be like a little more saturated than what looks natural to my eye. So again, it's just showing us what a stop in the camera's menu, what one step looks like. So, with the DGI profile, there's actually quite a, I'm sorry, this is contrast. With the DGI profiles there's actually quite a big difference between one click and the next. So this is you know again, to zero and you can see the shadow details pretty much crushed. It actually looks pretty good on that monitor, but on my computer monitor it's really crushed. So, what I tend to do is also I run a zero on sharpening and a minus one on contrast. Chances are I do, I do bring the black level back down, but what that does is it helps me retain a little bit more shadow detail and also instead of shooting a Log footage I'm able to use more of a standard profile that's not too flat, but gives me a little bit of wiggle room in post. So yeah, you can just see as you go minus three. My rule of thumb is if you're not gonna grade that D, like if you're not gonna grade in such a way that it looks that, like that low contrast level, you're not gonna grade it that way, then you might as well shoot at a higher contrast level like, like a minus one or zero. So, we're still in D-Cine. Now we're just looking at saturation and going to minus three. I mean, even at minus three we've got good color, but again, I'm more after a natural look so, minus one tends to be where it's at for me. And then, just you can compare that with Log. I mean that's, that's yeah, that's pretty de-saturated, pretty low contrast. When shooting Log, if you are gonna do that, I would typically keep things at zero, zero, zero just because a lot of the. Okay, so what you typically pair with a Log profile is a LUT, or a lookup table. It's, so on DGI's website, on the actual Phantom 4 page you can actually download the LUT for the Phantom to take it from the Log look to a Rec 709, which is sort of a standard broadcast kinda look. So, I would tend to not mess around with the contrast and the saturation on Log. I would just keep it right down the middle. But, so you can see. Then this is not, this to me looks a lot sort of similar to sort of Canon standard True. And this is what I noticed when I was, and I noticed that I did a test the previous day over at the hotel with this, lookin' out the window and I noticed that the difference between None and True is a slight shift in saturation to something that looks more natural like the colors, but it's super subtle. So, not a big difference. Art is something that some people will go to instead of a Log footage, but it's almost as de-saturated as Log and to me I would be personally like I would be tryin' to get that back to something that looked like that anyways. I'd be trying to get something back to True or None. Okay. So, going back to True and then I was just checking sharpening, just making sure that the color profile itself wasn't having a different effect on the sharpening and what I found was the sharpening was, was effecting the image the same way and then again, on contrast, and then again on saturation. So, you know, after going through all this stuff, it sounds like, kinda like crazy OCD, but you know, for me what I found is like either, either a None or a, or a True, if you're looking for just sort of a natural color, either a None or True with just a slight like de-saturation like a minus one on, excuse me, on contrast and a minus one on saturation, for me that works for me. I'm not sayin' that should work for everybody. Everybody's kinda after a different look. If you wanna lotta potential latitude in terms of how you're gonna grade the image you might try the Log. But again, this is getting to know your camera. This has a huge amount of impact on how your image is gonna look, especially if you don't notice the things like, oh my goodness, I can't bring the sharpness back. The rules that I used to apply to my DSLR do not apply to this camera. So, I mean you can go based on other people's opinions, you know, like mine for example, like we just did this little test. I'm gonna make this, these profile shots available for those of you that purchased the course so you'll be able to download these clips and be able to like look and scrutinize. The nice thing about this scene right here is that there's a good amount of sort of shadow to like look at how the contrast effects the shadow details. But again, I think when it comes down to it, you need to take the time to play with stuff. I mean, especially, I don't know. What's impressed upon me is just like how much, even though this is almost seemingly like, like a toy like thing, you know it's small. It's got a little camera. It seems almost like toy like, but just the amount of power and the amount of creative flexibility you have in this little thing, the fact that you can actually shoot even in a Log footage. I mean, matter of fact one thing that's pretty cool, so I don't have the DJI Log. I've got, I'm kind of in between Premier Versions and there's something weird going on at the moment. If we go here and then it seems like, like whenever I tried the, we're in Premier, right, and then we're in the Lumetri Color Panel on the right. That's where you would browse for a LUT that you've installed on your computer. This actually responds pretty well to the Alexa, I think it was the Alexa. So, I mean it's still pretty, pretty, pretty amazing even for an eight bit image, how much gets brought back when you apply a LUT to it, so that's, that's like the RE Alexa let going from the Log to a Rec and you can just play around with. I mean, just because it's made for a different camera doesn't mean you can't play around with these different lookup tables. Some of them will clearly not work very well, like that one, for example. You know, but it's almost like, yeah, so, yeah I mean, it may you know, if you're on a production where maybe they're cutting this strung footage with other cameras that are shooting in a, in a Log profile and they want to apply like a LUT, similarly to different kinds of cameras this can help to match footage. But again, it's a little look under the hood of the camera settings that are in even this tiny little camera on this DJI Phantom. It's just, you know, it's just more things that you can add to our skillset to get the best image possible, so.