The great thing about the camera on the DJI Mavic Pro (or any DJI camera) is that you have lots of options. You can choose to go full automatic and have the camera do everything, or go full manual and change every setting you can think of. In this example we chose to go full manual and do things the hard way for the most flexibility and control over the footage.
This post isn’t meant to be a tutorial on color grading or color correction. Maybe that will be a future post. For now, I’m just going to go over what I did to the camera to get the footage to look the way it does and give you a general idea of what I did in post.
What is D-Log And Where Do I Find it?
For those of you that don’t know, log footage is video that was shot specifically to be color graded at a later time. The reason why the image from the Mavic using this color profile look so flat is because the camera is trying to compress as much of the image it can into a color range that retains the highlights, shadows and any other color information that would otherwise be lost when recording in standard picture profiles. To get the camera into this mode, you just go into the camera settings and look for a section called color, there’s lots of other color options but D-Log is the one you want.
Set Your White Balance!
There were a few other things I did before recording that make the image look better and easier to deal with, but the first and most important thing is to lock the white balance. When working with color, you never want to leave the white balance on the camera in the auto setting. If you do, the colors will most likely shift right in the middle of your shots making it extremely hard to color correct later on.
Fine Tuning The Image
In the camera settings, there’s another section called style. This is where you can tune the contrast, saturation and digital sharpness. When not shooting in D-Log I usually turn the color down to -1, but since Log tends to make everything less colorful anyway you can leave it at 0. Leave the contrast at 0 as well, and turn the sharpness up by one if you want the image to look more like it came from the Phantom 4.
Lock The Exposure
The last thing that I do before recording is set the exposure and make sure it’s locked. You don’t have to lock the exposure, but it’s recommended for most shots because it will keep the image from getting brighter and darker when moving the camera around. Just like locking the white balance, this makes it easier to work with. If you want to get even more technical, you can control the camera ISO and shutter speed manually, but if you’re not careful then you may end up overexposing or underexposing the image (like I did in most of my D-Log examples :P).
What I Did With The Colors.
First I did a basic color correction, then a color grade. Color correction is when you make the image look as true to life as you can. You then finish it off with a color grade which is an artistic style or look. Think of it like a custom Instagram filter.
The program I use for video editing is Final Cut Pro X. It’s a professional video editor for the Mac. I also use the Plugin Color Finale for more advanced color grading. You can use whatever program you want for video editing as long as it has a decent amount of features. If you’re fairly new to video editing, I would use Final Cut Pro X on a Mac or Premier Pro on Windows. Premier Pro will also work on a Mac, but it won’t run as fast and smooth as Final Cut will.
Want To Try Color Grading It yourself?
If you would like to download a high quality sample video to try color grading, just click on the download button below. These are a few clips that I shot using the Mavic Pro. I rendered these clips out as Apple Prores 422 for easy color grading and to maintain video quality.