Two weeks ago we were impressed when the new ultra-compact DJI Mavic Pro was announced. As a drone enthusiast of course I had to get my hands on this new tech and compare it to the DJI Phantom 4 and Inspire 1. Here is our DJI Mavic Pro review where we look at image quality in particular. If you are interested in our free DJI Mavic Pro LUTs, you can download those here. DJI Mavic Pro Review – Image Quality Several early Mavic Pro review videos currently circle the web, where testers claim that the Mavic Pro image is much softer than previous drone generations. In light of the already limited 4K quality of drones like the Phantom 4 or Inspire 1, this claim made little sense, so we set out to get our hands on our own early DJI Mavic Pro review sample to check and here is our observation. DJI Mavic Pro Camera It seems like most reviewers out there were not aware that the DJI Mavic has a built-in “tap autofocus” system, like the Zenmuse X5 and Zenmuse X5R cameras for DJI Osmo and DJI Inspire 1. If you forget to autofocus, your image will eventually be out of focus. And if you compare this out of focus image to other drone footage, of course it will be softer. So after a tap autofocus and after aligning the image of the DJI Mavic Pro, DJI Phantom 4 and DJI Inspire 1 (Zenmuse X3) I concluded that the image of all three cameras is very similar in quality. 600% crops of 4K images For HD productions the image quality of the DJI Mavic is acceptable. If you use a LUT, like our free cinema5D instaLUT for Mavic, or any other grading process, it is possible to get a nice image from the DJI Mavic Pro, just like I showed you in my Mastering Drone Footage series. On the other hand, the image of all these drones is far inferior to other cameras or the DJI Inspire 1 RAW for that matter. (Check out our detailed comparison here: LINK) Unfortunately the data rate on the DJI Mavic is still 60 Mbps, just like on the Phantom 4 and Inspire 1 and for anyone who is a bit more serious about filmmaking 60 Mbps is hardly enough. Again, for HD productions the image will be mostly fine, but if you aim higher or would like to crop into an image the quality could be better. Considering the small size and intelligent sensor technology built into the Mavic (read all about Mavic’s high tech here), this drone is still an impressive piece of technology that will be very useful on any smaller documentary style production where weight and size is an issue. DJI Mavic Pro Review – Pro’s & Con’s Here is my summary of pro’s and con’s for the DJI Mavic Pro: PRO’s ultra-compact and lightweight ergonomic and foldable remote 27 minute flight time stability, easy to fly intelligent flight modes and sensors 4K image comparable to Phantom 4 & Inspire 1 65 km / h, fast speed CON’s Same low bitrate as previous drones Low dynamic range as previous drones Vertical angle of camera is limited Tap Autofocus is a source for errors In conclusion this is the best compact drone money can buy right now. If you want higher quality get a DJI Inspire 1 RAW. Otherwise, the DJI Mavic Pro is highly recommended. If you are interested in our free DJI Mavic Pro LUTs, you can download those here. We hope you liked our DJI Mavic Pro Review and comparison to Phantom 4 and Inspire 1. If you have any thoughts on the matter let us know in the comments. Song by: Art-List.ioRead more
Do you work with a DJI Mavic Pro? Then you probably know that the footage from the DJI Mavic Pro camera is not particularly nice out of the box. In our DJI Mavic Pro review we took a closer look at the camera quality and created a DJI Mavic Pro LUT that we are giving away for free. DJI Mavic Pro LUT – cinema5D instaLUT FREE Note that this LUT is not made to be used on videos shot with the D-LOG setting. Instead this basic LUT should be applied on standard picture setting. It is ideal for people who don’t want to tamper around with the drone too much and who want to see the full colors and clarity during shooting, but still get a nice and filmic look in post. Download: Please provide your name and email address for your free download. To get our DJI Mavic Pro LUT we ask only that you subscribe to our newsletter and in turn you will get the download link sent to your e-mail. This is a double opt-in and will not work with fake e-mails. Your e-mail address stays with us. No spam or third parties and you can of course unsubscribe if you don’t like the weekly newsletter whenever you receive one. We hope you will enjoy our future content and stay on board. Here are a few shots where you can see the LUT applied to DJI Mavic Pro footage. These shots have the look applied with a 100% intensity and no other modifications. DJI Mavic Pro LUT (right) applied to original DJI Mavic Pro footage (left). instaLUT W3010 DJI Mavic Pro LUT (right) applied to original DJI Mavic Pro footage (left). instaLUT W3035 DJI Mavic Pro LUT (right) applied to original DJI Mavic Pro footage (left). instaLUT N3010 DJI Mavic Pro LUT (right) applied to original DJI Mavic Pro footage (left). instaLUT N3035 Note that this Mavic Pro LUT is optimized for landscape and aerial photography and is not ideal for skin tones. If you like this LUT, also check out our free Inspire 1 LUT. I recommend grading in Adobe Premiere Pro CC if you are familiar with it, but these .cube LUT files can also be used in any other software that supports LUTs on Windows or Mac. In my Mavic Review I applied both LUT with an intensity of 100% and did not change any other settings. You can always play with the look intensity and other basic setting to get nice look variants as desired. Note: If you don’t receive an e-mail after submitting, please contact us.Read more
The Canon EOS-1D X Mark II may be a flagship stills camera, but it also has some very decent video capabilities, such as 4k up to 60fps, 1080p up to 120fps and dual pixel autofocus. How good is it when it comes to shooting with it? I had to give it a try and conclude my own opinion. (Make sure to read Johnnie’s initial hands-on and Sebastian’s lab test, too)! The Setup Canon was kind enough to provide me with their flagship photography DSLR camera, the Canon EOS-1D X Mark II, for a trip to the Balkans. Although earlier vacation plans had vaporised due to work and personal reasons, this last-minute spontaneous trip somehow managed to work out, as did the delivery of the camera. It came in a rather modest setup, and since I didn’t have the CFast card or a fast CF card necessary for shooting 4K, I was limited to Full HD for this trip, but that was OK. In terms of usability and workflow, this was the better choice anyway. So in total, my whole kit added up to: – Canon EOS-1D X Mark II body – Canon 24-105mm f/3.5 – 5.6 IS STM – 1x battery & charger – 1x 32GB CF card – 1x MacBook Pro, card reader, 2TB USB 3.0 hard drive – 1x voltage converter in order to charge laptop and camera battery in the car – LENSKIRT (used just once in the first shot) – 1x iPhone with SunSeeker app I must admit, this initial situation was a little odd, but I was willing to rise up to the challenge. Actually, just to see what would happen, I restricted the rules of the game even further: No tripod. In order to achieve usable stable footage, I set the camera to 100fps (I’m located in Germany). Everything set to automatic: auto-white, auto-iso, auto-iris, auto-focus. Wait, autofocus? Yes, indeed. Throughout the whole shoot, I never touched the focus ring, not even once. And it worked out surprisingly well! As we were traveling by car and (sadly) did not sleep in a fancy hotel suite every night, I had to come up with a portable power strategy. my humble DIT station in the back of the car. In order to add a cinematic touch, I added a 1:1.35 mask to the edit. The piece was graded with just a little Lumetri tweaking in Adobe Premiere Pro, nothing else. Keep it simple, remember? Canon’s color science does a really nice job out of the box already. In terms of camera settings, everything was shot in the “neutral” profile. The route we planned involved 6 countries and about 4600km (2.860 miles) by car. We went from Berlin (Germany) to Lubjilana (Slovenia) via Austria, and then further south through Croatia until we finally reached Montenegro. The 6th and last country in that list was Bosnia-Herzegovina on our way back. Canon EOS-1D X Mark II – What a (stills camera) workhorse! If you ever have the chance to shoot some stills with this beast, do yourself a favor and switch to continuous mode. Its DSLR-style mirror really sounds like a machine gun at 15 stills per second! Clearly, this camera is made for still photography professionals who demand guaranteed performance in any situation. But the Canon 1D X Mark II has more to offer than just stills. It is capable of shooting 4K resolution up to 60 (59,94) fps and 1080p at up to 120fps. The secret weapon! The LensSkirt helps to get rid of (most of) the windshield reflections. As my aim was to put the camera to the test, I only did the framing and let the camera do everything else. I think this could be a realistic work scenario for cameras like these. The form factor, which has evolved over many years for the purpose of still photography, is obviously not ideal for capturing moving images. But if you happen to be a pro photographer and own this camera, it’s nice to have the ability of shooting decent video as well. Here is a summary of my findings while working with the Canon EOS-1D X Mark II: Pros: (in no particular order) Autofocus works really well! From time to time I had to frame the shot in order to make the autofocus work the way I intended it to work, but in general it really gets the job done. You can control it by just pointing the camera at your given subject or you can use the touchscreen to tap the area of choice. No idea if it works that well when following a subject through a crowded area, though. Pleasing color science and nice highlight roll off, with a very organic and beautiful look straight out of the box. Relatively high bitrate (approx. 360 Mbps @ 100 fps Full HD) Cons: (in no particular order) The overall ergonomics are not ideal for shooting video. Not only does it not have a viewfinder or ND filters, its screen also doesn’t swivel. The start/stop button for shooting is sometimes hard to push. Several times, I ended up pushing it and framing a shoot and then noticing that the camera wasn’t recording. But I must admit, after almost two weeks I discovered the option to map the start/stop control to the main shutter button. That will help, for sure. a (very) remote basketball court somewhere in Montenegro. Conclusion The Canon EOS-1D X Mark II is certainly not a movie making machine. It is a genuine professional still photographer’s working tool, but it does the job when it comes to capturing some b-roll or shooting a behind the scenes while out on a job, for example. The autofocus in particular was really a pleasure to work with. If I had to choose, though, I wouldn’t use this as an A cam for my video related work since this camera lacks most of the functions I’m used to relying on like focus peaking, ND filters, a dedicated viewfinder, a high quality codec and C-log. Although again, it CAN get the job done, and quite well at that! At the end of the day, it was more than enough for my trip as I wouldn’t have brought a full sized video camera up these mountains anyway. There are other cameras out there, of course, to which the same would also apply. But this one has autofocus capabilities that work like a charm, and I hope we’ll see more and more cameras in the coming years with this feature built in!Read more
Filmconvert has just announced their latest camera profile, this time for the DJI Osmo X3 camera. As it is the same piece of hardware internally, the Phantom 4 and Inspire 1 are also included in this free update. Get the Filmconvert Treatment for the Osmo X3 Not so long ago, a log gamma curve for in-camera aquisition was something you could only find in really high end cinema cameras. As time goes by, nearly every decent camera in the market is capable of capturing footage with a higher dynamic range than plain Rec709. At that point, a handy piece of software called Filmconvert comes into play. It not only converts log footage back into good looking imagery, but also adds film grain and certain looks of actual film stocks. Now, even the tiny DJI Osmo X3 camera gets its own Filmconvert profile. For such a small sensor as the Sony 1/2.3″ model, it’s even more important to treat the resulting footage in a way that takes away the digital harshness which is typical for sensors of this type. Oftentimes it comes with a strong video-esque look due to the very deep DOF and other things like ugly moiré patterns. The Osmo X3, just as the Phantom 4 on-board camera, is capable of shooting in D-Log, which is a custom gamma curve created by the engineers at DJI. With it you’ll get a flat looking image, but it has a much higher dynamic range in return. In order to revert that washed out footage back to normal in post, Filmconvert is here to help with its now released profile for that very camera. How to Filmconvert Your Footage Step one: You need to apply the Filmconvert effect from within your favorite NLE such as Premiere Pro CC or, if you’ve already finished editing your piece, it’s available for DaVinci Resolve, too. There’s even a standalone version, but for me it’s much easier to stay in my application of choice and work from there. (Tip: add an adjustment layer on top of your footage and drag the filmConvert effect there to avoid individual FilmConvert clip corrections. Then do minor needed changed on the video clip itself). Step two: Choose the correct profile, in this example the DJI Osmo X3 profile. This will transform the log footage back into the realm of Rec709. Step three: Now you can choose your favorite film stock, such as Kodak 5207 Vision 3, and tweak the settings to your likings. Usually, the amount of film grain is a bit too high, at least to my liking. There you go: after that, your footage will suffer less from that harsh video look. These steps are valid for every available camera profile, of course. Conclusion I really appreciate the progress in which Filmconvert develops new profiles for different cameras. The DJI Osmo X3 is certainly not the best camera in the world, but with the help of its D-Log profile and the Filmconvert treatment it actually looks kind of nice! One more thing to have in mind: you should get a variable ND filter for that camera! Since it lacks a variable aperture, the X3 has to increase the shutter rate like crazy, which results in ugly jittering. It’s a good idea to tackle the problem in the first place by setting the camera to manual (1/50 shutter and ISO 100 for example) and controlling the exposure with the variND only. Filmconvert is $149 for one host application or $219 for the complete bundle, check out their site for more information. Download the new profile on the Filmconvert.com websiteRead more
During my recent trip to Japan, I had a chance to visit FUJIFILM HQ and discuss the future of their X camera line, particularly the new X-T2. The talk was centred around the video capabilities of this new camera. Later this week, I will publish my review and a short video that I took with the X-T2. But first things first, and to anyone who is not familiar with the new camera, here is a short summary: As reported by us during early July, Fujifilm announced their first 4K APS-C sensor size mirrorless camera, promising to shake the somehow crowded DSLR/mirrorless camera market with a new filming tool that includes their famous film simulation. In addition, they have added an F-log function for achieving greater dynamic range and maximum flexibility during the color correction stage for anyone who is willing to use and invest in an external recorder. The additional offered VPB-XT2 handgrip will let you enjoy longer recording times in 4K mode (approximately 30 min. instead of 10 min.) and increased continuous recording time with a total of 3 batteries (one in camera plus two in the grip). Last but not least, it allows you to monitor the recorded audio, as the headphone jack is located on that grip. Jun Watanabe presenting the new Fujifilm X-T2 I must say that the people at FUJIFILM were very humble yet confident about their new creation. If you take a moment to look at the interview we did with Jun Watanabe, a manager at FUJIFILM corporation, you will clearly understand that the X-T2 is just the beginning for FUJIFILM when it comes to video-enabled mirrorless cameras. Now that they have acknowledged the need for a video function in their cameras, they will continue to improve and perfect this filming tool. Maybe the biggest news coming out of this interview is the likelihood of a firmware update that allows implementing Fuji’s F-log function in-camera, and not just through recording with an external device. In order to do so, FUJIFILM needs to be assured it is a highly requested feature. I truly urge anyone who watches this interview or reads this article to contribute by writing a short line and let FUJIFILM know it is indeed an important request. Please take into account that, while this implementation is certainly possible, it is still recommended to use the grip and record externally to achieve the highest recorded picture quality: uncompressed 4:2:2 8 bit externally, vs. compressed 4:2:0 8 bit internally. Another matter to point out is the subject of lenses. Apparently, the XF optics are designed by the same team in charge of Fujinon’s professional line of lenses. It is worth pointing out that FUJIFILM will consider expanding their selection of video zoom lenses according to market demand. Other topics discussed in the interview are FUJIFILM’s take on creating tools for professional filmmakers, and an answer to my question if we will ever see a full frame sensor size X camera. Stay tuned for more fresh content about Fuji’s new X-T2 camera, and please don’t forget to raise your voice and ask for in-camera F-log. Many thanks to Jun Watanabe, Kiyoshi Inoue and Fabian Chaundy for helping conducting and translating this interview.Read more
External recordings on Sony a7 series cameras are awesome for several reasons, but unfortunately the image is crushed and there can be a loss in dynamic range when recording externally via HDMI. The famous Slog problem cuts off blacks and highlights and gives you a wrong Slog 2 or Slog 3 image. But we’ve developed an extremely easy fix. This LUT can be applied either during external recordings or even in post and give you back the full dynamic range of a true Slog image. The Slog Problem Explained Back in March, I wrote a scientific article on the crushed blacks phenomenon concerning the Sony a7S, Sony a7S II, Sony a7R II and Sony a6300 cameras. Basically, the contrast information is saved incorrectly on external recordings via HDMI, thus defeating the whole purpose of a standardized Slog Gamma. This phenomenon has been the main reason why some people have avoided using external recorders with these cameras. There is a fix that involves either DaVinci Resolve or level filters in Premiere that I described here, but these can impact your rendering time considerably. [Important UPDATE:] You do not need this on the Convergent Design Odyssey Recorder as their latest firmware provides a fix in the form of a “Legalize HDMI” function you will find in the INPUTS menu. [UPDATE:] The Slog Fix LUT also fixes external recordings in F Log from the Fujifilm X-T2. There is a recovery of about 1 stop of dynamic range in the highlights. The C5D Slog Fix Here is better way to fix the Slog Problem at any stage of your workflow, and it’s the fastest we have found in the form of our very first official C5D LUT. Essentially, it recovers any Slog 2 or Slog 3 files recorded externally, and gives you back a true Slog image with the cameras full dynamic range. On top of that, this LUT gives you the unique possibility to burn the correct Gamma right into your external recordings. By loading this LUT onto an external recorder like the Atomos Shogun, you can fix the Slog problem during recording, work with a correct file from the start, and save the additional rendering time otherwise needed in post production. This Slog Issue is especially problematic in Slog 2 Gamma, as it kills some of the highlights and thus reduces the dynamic range of the image where it matters (highlight rolloff in critical shots): 100% crop of 4K image (Slog 2 Gamma) This is how the Slog affects the dark areas of the image and how the Slog Fix recovers the correct Gamma: 100% crop of 4K image (Slog 2 Gamma) In our tests, an external recording with the C5D Slog Fix LUT on an Atomos Shogun was virtually identical to a file otherwise transcoded in DaVinci Resolve by changing the Video Levels manually (See more sample images below) Note: We cannot be held responsible for wrong use of the LUT. Please test this yourself before implementing into your own workflow. We decided not to give away the C5D Slog Fix LUT for free, but if you buy us a cup of coffee it’s yours to use in your projects. We’ll also be happy for a higher contribution if you feel this fix helped you in your work. DOWNLOAD IT HERE [UPDATE:] As cinema5D reader Corey Robson pointed out, there is an alternative method on the Atomos Shogun, that gets you half way to the goal: The Shogun offers a “5D MkIII” Color Corrector option in the “Source” window. While I do not know the science of it, the tests showed that it recovers some of the highlights, but not the true Slog Gamma. If you’re working semi professionally it should be “good enough”, as the highlights are most important. For those who want to use a second LUT as a preview on the Shogun, I would recommend this method instead of the C5D LUT, or alternatively the C5D LUT can be used in post for a 100% accurate result. Sample Images Sony a7S – Slog 2 – Internal H.264 Sony a7S – Slog 2 – External – unfixed Sony a7S – Slog 2 – External Fixed with Slog FIX LUT in post Sony a7S – Slog 2 – External – Fixed with Slog FIX LUT burned in, on the recorder FAQ Do I need this if I don’t use Slog 2 or Slog 3 Gamma? No. The Slog Problem is only present in external recordings with Slog 2 and 3 Gammas via HDMI. What about external recordings via SDI? External recordings via SDI are not affected. Please don’t use the Slog Fix on those. Will this work even on files that have already been recorded? Yes. You can use this on files you have recorded with an external recorder in the past. The files were only saved with the wrong metadata and the information can be pulled back with the help of our LUT or the workarounds described here. Who is it for? For people who want to retain the original Slog 2 or Slog 3 Gamma in order to grade accurately, match cameras or use pre defined LUTs. If you apply LUTs meant for Slog 2 or 3, you will not get the correct results without fixing your files first. Do I need this on the Sony FS7 or FS5? If you’re using an external HDMI recording you will also need this on a Sony FS7 and Sony FS5. If you’re using SDI as an output interface you will not require the fix. Will I lose color information or quality when I use the LUT on a recorder (burned in)? No. According to our tests the results are the same as if you would apply the fix in post. Note that in general there is a slight variance between externally recorded colors in comparison to internally recorded H.264 files on Sony cameras. We think the external recordings with our LUT look more color accurate. Download the sample images above to compare them and see the nuances. Make sure you use this workflow properly before burning the LUT into your recorded files. How do I use this on an Atomos Shogun? 1. To use the C5D SlogFix for monitoring purposes: Copy the C5D-SlogFix.cube file to the root folder of your Atomos Shogun Media (An SSD or harddisk) Tap the yellow “…” icon at the bottom right hand side of the screen Tap on one of the 8 LUT slots (preferably an empty one) Tap on the folder icon In the new window that opens tap the “C5D-SlogFix.cube” file twice. This will load the LUT onto your Atomos Shogun recorder To monitor tap the LUT slot now associated with the C5D-SlogFix and tap the monitoring icon on the top right hand side to switch monitoring on or off The C5D-SlogFix.cube file can be deleted from the media 2. To burn C5D SlogFix into your file (RECOMMENDED for a faster grading workflow): Follow the monitoring setup of 1 After your camera is connected, tap the “hdmi” icon in the top left hand corner In the window that opens, under the section “RECORD 4KUHDp…” tap on “3D LUT: Off”, so that it shows “3D LUT: On” There should be a red, flashing icon in the top right hand corner that says “MON LUT” Make sure the C5D-SlogFix LUT is selected in the yellow “…” menu Download Click the image below to get the C5D LUT Slog Fix:Read more
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