Colour Grading with the DJI Phantom 4
The settings and colour grading tips for getting the ultimate cinematic grade from your DJI Phantom 4 - It can be done!
Filmmaking is a constant learning process. No matter how often you're creating content. No matter how large of a scale or how big your crew. There is always techniques & technologies to master.
Our most recent addition to the 'toolbox' was the DJI Phantom 4 Drone. If you are familiar with Drones and UAV's your'll know this is not a high-end bit of kit, rather a prosumer gadget. We were not after a pro UAV as we do not claim to be Aerial Specialists - rather we needed a series of aerial shots and this was the best option. However this has bought to light an important question. How cinematic can you make a Phantom 4 look?
The camera onboard is far from top-tier - but that doesn't mean it has to look bad. Although the highly compressed 4K h.264 image it puts out is nothing compared to our RAW cinema standard cameras; We need them to be indistinguishable. This is an experiment to see how far we can push the footage captured from the DJI P4.
I think we got pretty close to our BlackMagic 'A Camera' footage. We were able to carry over the blue/green tones and boost contrast and the footage held up well. For our applications its as good as a high-end aerial camera. So how did we do it?
Surprisingly easy! We had seen people shooting with DJI's "d-log" colour profile and turning down the sharpness settings, but this seemed to give us a 'muddy' image that wasn't good to work with in post. While having slightly more dynamic range, the trade off was poor colour rendering on d-log. We found the best settings are default!
Control Shutter Speed with an ND filter, set 5600K WB and your good to go! Not often you hear that. Standard Colour Profile gives solid colours, useable DR and a manageable image. Its slightly too contrasty for real grading, but we might try and sort this in future tests.
Keep following the blog for the DaVinci Resolve Tutorial next week.