Join Jim Heid for an in-depth discussion in this video Exposure and white balance, part of DJI Mavic Pro: Tips, Tricks, & Techniques.
- Now when it comes to exposure, we have a lot of those same auto versus manual issues to cover. The Mavic Pro's automatic exposure features do a good job in most circumstances, but you also have some controls that can help them along. One of those controls is to set the exposure based on a specific part of the image. Normally, the drone's light meter sets exposure based on what's at the center of the frame. In the photo world, that's called center-weighted metering. To set the exposure based on a different area, just tap the metering focus box and then tap the area that you want to adjust the exposure on.
You can see that the whole image got a little bit darker because I tapped on that bright highlight of the drone that we're pointing at. This little indicator remains on the screen to remind you that you've set the exposure based on that arrow. If you tap that little x, the drone's light meter again reverts to its center mode. One very useful feature for fine tuning the exposure is to adjust the EV. That's short for exposure value. You can do this by turning the camera settings dial on the remote controller. As I do, notice that the image is getting darker and brighter.
I use this feature all the time when I'm flying. As I mentioned at the start of this video, you generally want to avoid overexposing a shot. When you do, bright areas, the highlights, get blown out to pure white and any details in them disappear. But when you're shooting on a bright day, it can be hard to see whether those highlights are blown out, especially if you're using a phone with a small screen. That's when the overexposure warning feature can really help. Tap the camera settings button, tap the gear, and then turn on the feature called overexposure warning.
Now, the app displays what are called zebra stripes on areas that are overexposed. You can see them there. You can then use the camera settings dial to dial back the exposure so that those areas aren't blown out. Now, it isn't necessarily bad if some areas of a scene have those zebra stripes. Extremely bright areas, like the reflection of the sun on water, are pretty much always going to be blown out. And if you try to recover them, the rest of the frame will probably be way too dark.
Your goal shouldn't necessarily be to kill every single zebra stripe. Instead, your goal is to adjust the exposure so that the brighter areas of the frame aren't overexposed. I'm going to put the zebras back in their pasture and show you another feature that you can use to judge exposure. It's called the histogram and you can turn it on right here. This is something you might recognize from your digital camera or from a photo software like Lightroom and Photoshop. It's a bar graph that shows the distribution of darks, lights and midtones in the image. And notice that as I adjust the exposure value using the camera settings dial, the histogram adjusts accordingly.
Now for this particular scene, because we're photographing this drone against a black background, you can see we have a lot of data bunched up against the blacks. In a typical daylight scene, a properly exposed shot will have a nice distribution across the histogram. And by the way, you can move the histogram around on the screen to get it out of the way and you can make it go away by tapping the x. There are lots of other exposure-related topics to cover and we'll look at them in the next movies. For now, I want to mention one more and that's the exposure lock function.
When you activate the exposure lock button by tapping the AE button up here, the drone locks the current exposure settings. You can then change the framing of a shot or even fly to a completely differently spot and those exposure settings won't change. This can be really useful when shooting video. It keeps the exposure from changing in the middle of a clip. Finally, let's talk about color, specifically white balance. Like all digital cameras, the Mavic Pro has an auto white balance feature and it generally does a fine job.
But when you're shooting video, auto white balance can work against you. If the sun goes behind a cloud, auto white balance can change in the middle of a video clip and that usually isn't a look that you want. It's better to set the white balance to match your shooting conditions. Tap the camera settings button then tap the camera. Then in white balance, choose the white balance that you want. You can also dial in a specific color temperature if you like. The settings I've talked about in this movie are ones you'll find useful for both still photography and video shooting.
In the next movies, we'll drill into those two areas separately and look at settings and strategies for each.
- Safety checks
- App settings
- Startup, takeoff, and landing
- In-flight data displays
- DJI GO tips
- Flight modes
- Streaming live
- Adjusting focus
- Exposure and white balance
- Still photography and panoramas
- Shutter speed
- Aerial video
- Using the gimbal
- Using the remote controller