It has an impressive 4K video camera, but how can you get the best footage for editing from a DJI Phantom 3 Pro quadcopter?

When you start out in video the basic colour settings will serve you well, at least for a while. There will come a point will you want to edit your video footage in the same way that photographers edit still images. As we have shown to get the best when colouring your footage, it is best to get the video looking as flat as possible. This gives you the maximum possible colour and tonal values to play with. This is fairly straightforward on a camera, but how do you do it on a DJI Phantom3 Professional drone?

Set the white balance

We’ve found that whilst the AWB (Auto White Balance) setting works quite well, for best results it is important to select the correct white balance. So that means the Sunnysetting on a bright day, the Cloudy setting on an overcast day, or better yet pick a precise colour temperature using the Custom setting.

Colour

The best option for colour is to chose the LOG setting. Footage produced in this setting may seem quite dull, but again, it is not what it looks like now, but when it is edited. The LOG setting produces the flattest results and shouldn’t have any completely saturated or blocked out colours.

Style

With the colour set you can make further tweaks by adjusting the style of the footage. Select Custom and then move the Sharpness, Contrast and Saturation sliders so that they are all at -3. Again, this will create an extremely flat setting, and is about as close to a unprocessed video that you can get with the Phantom 3 Pro drone.

Downsample

If you have no need to shoot 4K footage, it might be an idea to do so anyway. By shooting and editing the 4K footage and then downsampling to 1080 when you export you can often improve some of the colour and detail of the footage. There is also a perceived sharpening as the larger footage is made smaller.

 

The footage you can see on this page was edited by videographer Harry Jenkinson, who had the following comments to make:

The footage from the DJI Phantom 3’s camera was better than I first expected for a company, especially one that isn’t a traditional camera manufacturer. Using the LOG image profile reduces the harsh highlight roll off that we tend to see with small sensor cameras and you are left with an image that has some level of flexibility in post-production. The range for colour adjustment in grading is reminiscent of a lower end DSLR (Canon EOS 550D/60D) with some room for small white balance adjustments and a bit of the classic split tone look. But don’t expect to be able to build a strong look, the footage does have limitations and is compressed.

Watch our video above to see the results of a basic colour grade.