by Sebastian Wöber | 27th January 2017
I recently reviewed the new DJI Inspire 2 drone extensively and did thorough tests in our lab. In this workflow tutorial on how to master drone footage, I will show you how to convert Inspire 2 X5S or DJI Inspire 1 X5R files in order to get the best results from your Inspire footage. Get our Inspire LUT and Inspire Raw to Log conversion presets HERE. Why Convert Inspire 2 Raw Files? I spent a few days filming with the Inspire 2 drone to create a drone film so I could gain some hands-on experience for my review. During the editing process, I quickly noticed that when filming in Raw mode ( = 5.2K resolution), and similar to the DJI Inspire 1 Raw drone, the DJI Inspire 2 X5S produces .dng sequences that I somehow needed to transcode in order to edit and apply LUTs. The problem for me was that I could never get anywhere near neutral colors by simply sliding the color settings in Adobe Camera Raw, or even by using DaVinci Resolve’s “Blackmagic Film Gamma”. I had the same problem with the Inspire 1. Furthermore, to edit properly I needed some kind of proxy footage, so early transcoding was inevitable. Of course, professional colorists can use the Raw files and tweak the colors until they are right to them, but that is not my style – I’m used to neutral Log gamma video files that I can apply LUTs to and color easily and efficiently, preferably directly in my editing app. So, in conclusion, my requirements were to: Convert Inspire 2 Raw (Or Inspire 1 for that matter) to a well-preserving video format in order to edit and colorize later (without having to go back to Raw). Match and get a neutral Gamma on all my video files, ideally right while transcoding, so I can apply LUTs and grade easily. In the test lab, the colors coming from the X5S and X5R (Inspire) cameras appeared to be off by quite a bit in comparison to an Arri ALEXA, so on top of making a workflow tutorial video I also decided to create several presets and LUTs to get closer to Alexa Log C. Inspire Raw to Log Conversion During my test lab analysis, I found that the best workflow for .dng Raw from the drones to be as follows. Note that this workflow works both for the DJI Inspire 2 with the X5S camera as well as the DJI Inspire 1 with the X5R camera. Also note that this workflow method is for Mac users only right now, although if you work with Windows you can probably adapt it. 1. Convert Inspire 2 Raw to Log in DaVinci Resolve Camera Raw Settings in Blackmagic Design DaVinci Resolve Notes about the DaVcini Resolve conversion • Faster than the After Effects method described further down. • Does not remove lens defects like chromatic aberration, vignetting and distortion. • Gives you a generic flat gamma. (Unless you use the DaVinci LUTs) • In my experience, it blows out the highlights a bit. Open DaVinci Resolve (free download). Browse to your Inspire Raw shots. Drag your folder(s) to the media pool. Change your project settings to the resolution of your shots. (Gear wheel at the bottom right –> Timeline Resolution) Go to the “Edit” tab and drag your shots into the timeline. Go to the “Color” tab and select each shot. Then change: Decode Using: “Clip”; Color Space: “Blackmagic Design”; Gamma: “Blackmagic Design Film”; Tick the “Highlight Recovery” box. (optional) Use our DaVinci 3D LUTs to get closer to the Alexa Colors. Then export your files in the “Deliver” tab. To batch convert all clips, select “Individual Clips” and “File” –> “Source Name”. Click “Add to Render Queue” and then “Start Render” to convert Inspire 2 Raw or convert Inspire 1 Raw files. Using the cinema5D DJI Inspire Raw to LOG Conversion LUTs With my conversion LUTs you can get closer to the Arri Alexa Colors and Gamma. To install them: Launch DaVinci Resolve. Start a new project or open an existing one and click on the settings icon in the lower right corner. Click on the “Color Management” tab. Click on “Open LUT Folder”. The LUT folder will open in a finder window. Copy the LUT .cube file(s) into the LUT folder. When copying has finished, click the “Update Lists” button in the DaVinci Resolve settings window. And to use them: Follow the instructions laid out earlier and apply the “Blackmagic Design Film” Gamma. Before exporting, right click each clip thumbnail and select “3D LUT” –> “C5D_Inspire-1-RAW-to-LOG” or “C5D_Inspire-2-RAW-to-LOG”. 2. Convert Inspire 2 Raw to Log in After Effects Converting Raw to Log in After Effects using the conversion presets. [Update March 31st 2017] With DJI’s new firmware for the Inspire 2, there is now an option to select “D-LOG” gamma while shooting in RAW mode. Please note that this option has little to no effect on your RAW files, but it will lock your exposure to ISO 500. If you can shoot at ISO 500, which is a good place to expose RAW correctly, then use the “D-LOG” option while recording RAW. Otherwise, if you want to be more flexible, leaving the “D-LOG” option off while recording RAW is recommended. Notes about the After Effects conversion • Removes color noise from your footage. • Removes chromatic aberrations, vignetting and distortion from your shots by using the embedded Raw lens data. • The Olympus 25mm lens data is currently faulty, so any footage shot with this lens will not look great. Let’s hope DJI will fix this. • This conversion takes a very long time. Expect your computer to run for at least a day for 30 minutes of footage. Open Adobe After Effects CC. Drag and drop your folder(s) containing the Raw .cdng sequences into the After Effects “Project” tab. The Camera Raw App will open. (optional) Go to the Presets tab (second from the right) and select one of the cinema5D RAW to LOG presets. For each shot (folder with .cdng sequences) you import, the Camera Raw App will open individually. Once all your shots have been imported into After Effects, you can drag them to the “Render Queue” tab at the bottom. Select your desired target codec under “Output Module” in the “Render Queue” tab. Select your desired file destination under “Output To”. Click “Render” in the “Render Queue” tab to convert Inspire 2 Raw or convert Inspire 1 Raw files. For the best possible quality, select the Apple ProRes 4444 or 4444 XQ codec. To save space, go for Apple ProRes 422 HQ. Using the cinema5D DJI Inspire RAW to LOG Conversion LUTs With my conversion presets you can get closer to the Arri Alexa Colors and Gamma. To install them: Navigate to your “Library” folder in Mac OS X. If it is hidden you can reveal your library folder by going to your home folder and then selecting “View” –> “Show View Options” and ticking the “Show Library Folder” checkbox. Navigate to “/Library/Application Support/Adobe/CameraRAW/Settings/”. Place all the .xmp files inside this directory. Restart After Effects. And to use them: Follow the instructions laid out earlier. To use the presets, go to the “Presets Tab” (second from the right) in the Camera Raw window of each clip and select one of the presets. “Inspire-*-RAW-to-LOG_0” is the standard preset. “+1” means pushing the shot if it was underexposed. “-1” means pulling the shot if it was overexposed. For shots with overexposed portions of the image you can also choose the “HL” or “HS” presets. “HS” saves your highlights, “HL” blows your highlights and makes the rolloff more smooth. Note that the presets inside the parenthesis “(…)” are NOT always recommended, as they may produce a “flicker effect” in rare occasions. Inspire Raw to LOG presets If you intend to get awesome shots, I’m sure you will benefit from my presets. I’ve spent a lot of time and effort to get them right, which is why we are not offering them for free. The package also includes the C5D instaLUT B1010 (.cube file) for Log footage (ARRI Alexa and Inspire RAW to LOG) and DaVinci presets for fast conversion of Raw and D-Log footage. This is the best way I found to convert Inspire 2 Raw files to a better format. Disclaimer The presets don’t turn your shots into 100% Arri Alexa Log C footage. They were created by hand and they were intended to get your colors and gamma into the ballpark of Alexa Gamma, so third party LUTs can be used more easily and D-Log and Raw can be matched more easily. That said, for me they are a big help and I hope you enjoy them too. GET THEM HERE As I mentioned in my video, the After Effects workflow gives you the best possible quality and I use it all the time, but DaVinci Resolve converts quicker and the files are also very usable in case you need your files fast. If you shot your video in 4K (UHD) on the Inspire 2 you should use Apple ProRes and D-LOG and you won’t have to convert Inspire 2 Raw files at all. I have tested and explained this in my review. 3. Convert Inspire 2 D-Log to Log in DaVinci Resolve Converting D-Log to Log in DaVinci Resolve with the conversion LUTs With my conversion LUTs you can also convert your D-Log footage (recorded in Apple ProRes) to get closer to the Arri Log C look as explained earlier. Note These only work for the Inspire 2 which records in high quality at 4K resolution with the Apple ProRes codec. It is not recommended to use them on the Inspire 1 or any other DJI drone available right now, as the quality and bitrate of those is not high enough to work properly in such a flat Log Gamma. To install them: follow the instructions laid out under point “1.”. To use them: Open DaVinci Resolve (free download). Browse to your Inspire D-Log shots. Drag your shot(s) to the media pool. Change your project settings to the resolution of your shots. (Gear wheel at the bottom right –> Timeline Resolution) Go to the “Edit” tab and drag your shots into the timeline. Go to the “Color” tab and select all shots. Right click each (or all) clip thumbnails and select “3D LUT” –> “C5D_Inspire-2-RAW-to-LOG” or “C5D_Inspire-2-RAW-to-LOG”. Then export your files in the “Deliver” tab. To batch convert all clips, select “Individual Clips” and “File” –> “Source Name”. Click “Add to Render Queue” and then “Start Render”. 4. Convert Inspire 2 Raw to D-Log in After Effects Here is one more conversion preset as a bonus that I haven’t mentioned in my video. It is called “(Inspire-RAW-to-DJI-LOG)”, part of my cinema5D Raw to Log conversion package. You can select it in the presets tab during the After Effects Camera Raw conversion that I explained in point “2.” This allows you to convert Inspire 2 Raw shots into a gamma that is closer to the D-Log look that you get with AppleProRes recordings on the Inspire 2. It should make it easier to match your footage if D-Log is your target gamma. 5. Direct Workflow in Premiere Pro CC Step 1, 2 and 3 There is also a very simple way to use the D-LOG to Log LUT in Premiere Pro CC directly. The LUT contained in the Raw to Log package converts D-LOG to Log and it can be applied in the Lumetri Color Panel. The benefit of this method is that you do not have to convert your files, but you can work on them natively. The downside is that you cannot apply this to RAW, but only to D-LOG footage, shot on the DJI Inspire 2 with the X5S camera. Go to the Lumetri Color Panel in Premiere Pro CC. Under “Basic Correction”, choose the C5D_Inspire-2-D-LOG-to-LOG.cube LUT as “Input LUT”. Choose your look under the “Creative” tab in the Lumetri Color panel. Choose any .cube file of your liking that works with Alexa Log C. Conclusion That’s it. I hope this workflow tutorial on how to convert Inspire 2 Raw files or Inspire 1 Raw files into Log was useful for you, even if you don’t use my presets and LUTs. I tried to make this tutorial informative for everyone, but I must admit that I see my presets as an integral part of my own workflow to get my footage to where I need it to be. If you have any questions don’t hesitate to let me know in the comments, and please post links to your work where you used the presets successfully!Read more
by Sebastian Wöber | 19th December 2016
Many people were thoroughly impressed when the new DJI Inspire 2 drone was announced. And rightfully so, as it features a 5.2K RAW camera, Apple ProRes, obstacle avoidance, redundancy systems and double the flying power of its predecessor – all at a fairly reasonable price. I spent a week testing the drone in the field and I’ve seen what the camera is capable of after testing it in our lab. In this DJI Inspire 2 review I will show you how the drone performs and what kind of image quality you can expect. Stay tuned for part II of our DJI Inspire 2 review. If you are interested in our DJI Inspire 2 LUT and Inspire 2 RAW to LOG converter, please see this article. Please note: I abided by all laws to make this video. Due to concerns of some viewers I would like to point out that flight safety is very important. You should at all times see your drone. My night shots were filmed at dawn and I did not fly above people, buildings or streets for them. I flew slightly next to the highway, not above it, the church shots were filmed from above the yard and not above people and the shot inside the fog has an invisible cut, so I myself was positioned above and below fog for a clear sight of the drone at all times. Determine all risks carefully. Achieving many of these shots is much more work than it might appear. DJI Inspire 2 Review – The Next Generation This video review was my most extensive and time-consuming ever, but the more I worked with the DJI Inspire 2, the more I found that there is no way around creating an in-depth hands-on piece which I hope you will enjoy and find useful. As the successor to the Inspire 1, the DJI Inspire 2 really marks the next generation of drone flying for me. I was already impressed with the Inspire 1 RAW, but the 2 is a much more serious cinematography tool as the images it can produce are truly remarkable. Please note that the YouTube/Vimeo compression, even in 4K is very strong. If you want to see how the actual image quality is in 4K, make sure you download the source file and watch it on a 4K screen before giving your final judgement to the image. Photos shot by Gavin Fürst I don’t want to repeat myself too much, as I mention most of what I found important in my hands-on video. In this written DJI Inspire 2 review, I want first of all to simply give you “the list”: PROs The X5S camera quality 5.2K clean image quality – depth and resolution is amazing Apple ProRes Codec integration is very handy The overall ergonomics (case, battery, setup time, charger, etc…) The extended flying time of up to 25 minutes (I think I managed to get 20) Improved flying stability for smoother shots Improved flying speed, ideal for aerial cinematography SSD workflow Safety features (redundant batteries and IMU) Wider viewing angle Acceptable low-light capabilities CONs ProRes color always defaults to “none” and burns in a “bad look” when not changed manually Obstacle avoidance triggers too quickly and ruins my “flyby” shots The DJI Go App is too crowded, some buttons are too small and popups are unorganised The image transmission often broke up too quickly, at a distance of around 800m Every second shot had a bad horizon, although this can be fixed in post easily Focusing is still horrible. You tap to auto-focus but never know if you’re in focus or not until after the shoot. It is clear that DJI had been working on further improving the ergonomics of the drone, which is very nice to see. Small things like the remote control automatically charging your phone or tablet, the inclusion of an automatic landing gear, self-heating batteries, dual charging – all of these all make your life easier, especially as a one-man operator. It’s easier and safer to fly the DJI Inspire 2 than any other drone before. I’m sure DJI will be working on future updates to address some of the issues I encountered. One should keep in mind that the first DJI Inspire 2 units are only just starting to ship to a few testers, and that the software for this complex machine is still in its early stages. In my correspondence with DJI, however, I did feel that the company took my feedback seriously. DJI Go 4 App. The Color of ProRes recordings right now s defaults back to “none” whenever you change format. The Camera – Zenmuse X5S At the time of this review, I still couldn’t get the more affordable Zenmuse X4S camera to work, so I was only looking at the higher-priced Zenmuse X5S. The perfomance of the Zenmuse X4S will be, among other things, one of the points we will look at in Part II of our DJI Inspire 2 Review. DJI Zenmuse X5S Camera – Gives you RAW and ProRes recording options. As mentioned in the video, the results I got from the Zenmuse X5S are truly remarkable. Not only could I match it pretty closely to the the colors of the ARRI Alexa, but the 5.2K resolution for me is rather mind-blowing. This kind of frame size is very useful, especially on aerial shots. That said, the dynamic range is not quite up there with the Alexa, and the colors of the Alexa are a tad smoother and more accurate out of the box. You should also know that the Zenmuse X5S has a micro four-thirds sensor, while the Alexa shines in super35. During my skintone test with our model, I used the 45mm Olympus lens, which I believe would be a 60mm equivalent on a super35 size. I used the Zeiss 50mm Cp2 macro lens on the Alexa. I don’t intend to suggest that you should shoot your whole movie with a drone, even though DJI tried that in their promo video, but I do think the Inspire 2 can be used in high-budget movie productions mixed with ARRI Alexa footage. It is nice to see how powerful the DJI Inspire 2 RAW files really are, coming out of such a small and ergonomic single-operator drone. DJI Inspire 2 – 5.2K RAW file, converted to LOG (right-click open for full size) And then there is the Apple ProRes codec, although please note that it is limited to 4K UHD. In my tests, I found that 4K ProRes gives you nicer results than using 4K RAW, because the 4K RAW files have some aliasing distortion. Instead, you should shoot 5.2K RAW and convert to 4K later for the best possible quality in 4K. I took night shots for the beginning of my film by intention, in order to see how the camera performs in lowlight. The compressed YouTube film looks rather noise, but the actual footage had less grain and was clean, so shooting a lit city at night is very much possble with the Inspire 2 Zenmuse X5S camera. I shot at around ISO 400, though it is hard to determine exactly as the source was RAW. We will do further tests and present the results in my DJI Inspire 2 Review Part II that is coming soon. Inspire RAW to LOG Conversion During my analysis, I found that the best workflow for .cdng RAW from both the Inspire 1 and Inspire 2 is a little complicated, so I made a separate article and video that describes the process in detail. There you will also find a download to conversion presets and LUTs that can be used to improve and optimize the post production workflow of Inspire 2 Raw and ProRes D-Log files. In particular I tried to come close to Arri Alexa Log C gamma and colors. In the test lab, the colors coming from the X5S and X5R (Inspire) cameras appeared to be off by quite a bit in comparison to an Arri ALEXA. The idea behind the workflow and presets/LUTs was to convert Inspire 2 Raw (Or Inspire 1 for that matter) to a well-preserving video format in order to edit and colorize later (without having to go back to Raw). And furthermore to match and get a neutral Gamma on all my video files, ideally right while transcoding, so I can apply LUTs and grade easily. Go HERE for the workflow tutorial DJI Inspire 2 Package – What else do I need? If you’re going for the high end DJI Inspire 2 Premium model with the Zenmuse X5S camera, here’s what I’d recommend you get: The X5S package comes with most of what you need to fly professionally. Some kits come without the 15mm lens. You can either get that or any other of the recommended MFT lenses. The drone comes with 2 batteries. These will let you fly for about 20-25 minutes. If you want more fly-time, get more batteries. I’d get 3 more sets, for a total of 8. This means I can spend about 2-3 hours in the field. I’d also recommend you get another charging hub and power adaptor, because the included one only charges 2 of the batteries at once, which takes about 90 minutes. If you want to pilot and have someone else operate the drone, this can be achieved with a second remote. And another set of propellers might come in handy in case one of them breaks for some reason, although it is better to stay safe and never let that happen. Ah yes, the Inspire 2 bundle will ship without SSDs, so if you plan to record anything you’ll have to get those as well. If you want to save money, you could go for two 120GB SSDs and only record ProRes 422 HQ in 4K UHD. If you want to do 5.2K, then two 480GB SSDs would be useful. In any case, I’d recommend to get two, because you can’t delete individual clips and transferring files takes ages, but also because if you lose or break one it would mean you can’t film anymore. Don’t forget the SSD Reader. The minimum complete package is a little bit more expensive than expected, costing about $8,000. Considering the package DJI promotes costs $6,000, that’s a large extra and reminds me of the experience of getting a RED camera. But considering what you get, $8,000 is a well-deserved price, and in comparison to any other drone + camera that achieves this kind of quality, you could even consider this affordable. Conclusion There is no question about it, the DJI Inspire 2 is an impressive drone and a testament to the irritatingly fast pace at which DJI is advancing drone technology way beyond the competition. If you are a single operator and you are looking for a drone with great ergonomics and flying power, as well as the best possible cinema-worthy image quality in a small package, then look no further. There is nothing comparable out there, as any large drone will only outperform this if it is equipped with an ARRI Alexa. Even then, the resolution of the DJI Inspire 2 has no match. Maybe the RED Helium 8K could compete, but we hear the color science is not quite ready yet. 5.2K on a 4K screen is really, really impressive, the ProRes integration is a big improvement and the intelligent features this drone brings to the table will be a great help on any shoot. I hope DJI can work out some of the issues I have pointed out, especially the default color on ProRes and the horrible focusing limitations, but overall, the Inspire 2 is a great step up from the Inspire 1. Now all we need is this camera on a shoulder mount, but I have a feeling this is exactly what DJI will have in store for us soon. What option would this leave the rest of the camera manufacturers? I have no clue. We hope you liked our DJI Inspire 2 Review and camera analysis. If you have any questions or thoughts please let us know in the comments. Special Thanks To musicbed.com for providing the song. Stray Theories – “We Never Left” www.straytheoriesmusic.com Skintone model – Ieva Pocytė Big thanks to Gavin Fürst for his help flying the drone, photos and navigating the city!!!Read more
by Sebastian Wöber | 17th November 2016
The unveiling of the DJI Inspire 2 yesterday took us all by surprise. This new professional camera drone offers a plethora of features and impressive specs. At Inter BEE 2016 in Japan we had a chance to look at the new DJI Inspire 2, and found out a few more tidbits like information regarding the improved RAW offload speed. In a nutshell, the DJI Inspire 2 offers a 5K RAW camera that also includes Apple ProRes and H.265 codecs, obstacle detection, an additional front-facing camera for navigation, an interchangeable lens system, higher speeds, redundant systems, increased flight time and more. Taketoshi Kumada from DJI Japan, an experienced Inspire 1 user, had the chance to fly with the new drone, and what seems to have impressed him most is the overall more advanced flying experience with the DJI Inspire 2. In comparison, he says the new drone now really stays in the air with its new vision positioning system. Kumada could only use the Inspire 2 indoors, but he describes the experience as fantastic. Interesting for many will probably be the battery flight times he reports about. As I can confirm, the Inspire 1 with the Zenmuse X5R RAW camera had an air time of a mere 10-12 minutes on a single charge. In comparison, Kumada claims, that same Zenmuse X5S RAW camera on the new Inspire 2 gets you 25 minutes in the air. That’s impressive. Another very important piece of information for me as a shooter is the offload time Kumada talked about. This is still one of the main problems on the DJI Inspire 1 RAW: offloading a full 512gb magazine could take up to 5 hours, and the lack of an option to delete individual clips meant you were sometimes stuck offloading for hours until you could resume flying. It seems like this issue has been resolved with the introduction of the onboard CineCore 2.0 system that stores all files in a readable format on the SSD and lets you use them like any other external hard drive. I’m yet to find anything I don’t like about this drone, besides the fact that a failsafe algorithm for single propeller damage is obviously missing on this quadcopter design. Other than that, I’m impatiently waiting to test this cinema camera / drone marvel soon. The DJI Inspire 2 is available for pre-order now. The basic version will cost around $3600, while the Zenmuse X5S (RAW) version will set you back by about $6,000.Read more
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