When shooting great footage there is really no way around looking at Mavic Pro best camera settings. In this episode, I will explain the menu settings and include my recommendation for best settings.
We have covered some of the camera settings in details in previous episodes, so make sure to check these links:
Mavic Pro best camera settings
Apart from understanding your scene-specific settings like shutter speed and ISO, selecting the right resolution, frame rate, white balance, color profile, and style is essential for archiving a great result.
The camera settings are divided into the 3 sections
The first tab
The first tab is the direct scene-specific settings like ISO and Shutter speed. Setting these right in conjunction with essential ND filters are covered in the previous episode. You will primarily be adjusting the parameters during flight with the camera set to manual mode. Auto is not recommended, as this will change your shutter speed away from the 1/60 that is needed to produce cinematic footage.
The second tab:
In the second tab, you have preflight parameters, that is normally set before take off.
Resolution: There are many opinions about the resolution. You can shoot from 4k in 24fps down to 720p in 120 fps. I have found 2.7K is the best compromise between picture detail, frame rate, compression and file size. Many like to shoot in 24fps. I prefer to 30fps when it involves movement as this seems to produce smoother footage during playback. You need to select NTSC video standard for 30fps to be available under 2.7K
Video format: You select between MOV or MP4. Mov tends to create bigger files, but this does not necessarily mean better quality. If you are working on a Mac you should select Mov and MP4 if you are a PC.
Video Standard NTSC/PAL: With PAL you only have the options to select between 24 and 25 fps at the higher resolution. If you select NTSC you can go as high as 30 fps for 2.7K and some of the 4K options. I recommend shooting some test footage for yourself and review what framerate you prefer, but I will stick with 30 fps. Note that 30fps are NTSC standard 29.97fps. This is important to know when you import the footage into your editing software. I found matching the frame rate of the drone footage with the timeline produces a less jittery result when rendered into the final footage. If you add 30fps to a 25fps timeline, the editing tool will have to skip frames to make it match.
Picture look and feel settings:
White balance: You need to select the white balance so it matches the weather. Normally for outside flying, it will switch between Sunny or Cloudy. You can set a custom color temperature if the if you prefer, but Sunny or Cloudy should be sufficient.
Style: Under this point, you can set the digital sharpness, contrast, and saturation of your footage. How you find the optimum for that requires testing, but the recommendation is to go for 0, 0, +1. This means that saturation has been cranked up a bit. If you prefer the picture a tad sharper you could use +1, 0, +1. One of the previous episodes covers the style setting menu in details.
Color: Mavic has a big selection of color profiles that can be used for different purposes depending on what you want to do with the footage. If you are planning to do any post color grading you want to select a format like Dlog, D-Cinelike that leaves the image flat but preserves as much information as possible. If you want to use the footage right out of the camera you want to select profiles like TrueColor, Emili or Poles that adds a certain mood the picture.
Again this topic has been covered in a separate tutorial where you can see how each color profile looks when it’s rendered to a final video (see above).
The third tab
The last tab is the general settings: Some of the options under settings are for taking pictures, so I will only highlight the ones I find useful for shooting video.
Histogram: With the histogram enabled you will have a small chart in your viewfinder. The histogram is a visual indication of the exposure of the shot. You want to make sure the chart stays within the frame. This is to prevent the shot for not being over or underexposed.
Overexposure Warning: With this option enabled you to have Tiger stripes in areas of your frame that is overexposed. This is helpful when you are outside in the sun where that screen is hard to see. You need to increase the shutter speed on the dial on the right side to compensate or add an ND filter.
File index mode: If you shoot a lot of videos, selecting file index mode to continuous is preferred as every filename will be unique. In this way, you will not overwrite any of precious footage.
Grid: With this option, you can enable a grid of your preference. I think it’s not needed as there is enough going on on the screen as it is, but that a personal preference.
As promised in the beginning I will round off this tutorial with a Pro Tip that will make sure you keep the object or the horizon in focus. This function is called peak threshold focus, and it will basically draw red lines around the object or area that is in focus. This makes it very easy to see what is in focus even in bright sunlight. It’s not pretty, but don’t worry it will not be recorded on the final footage.
Now you should be ready to shoot some great footage.
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