Day 2: 25 Insights in 25 Days 2019 New Year Marathon!
The Curse Of The Drone: Over-Sharpening In-Camera
Over the past decade, drones have gone from a developing technology and niche use-case, to an incredibly common tool used in filmmaking worldwide. In the world of documentaries, reality TV, and non-fiction TV – almost every show uses drone footage these days.
While the technology has developed a lot, and people have come up with many creative uses for drones and drone footage – one major problem still plagues colorists and post production professionals: These drones usually have utter garbage for cameras!
While productions love to use drone footage for the unique perspective it can add, very few productions can afford a heavy-lift drone carrying an Alexa or RED camera. Instead, prosumer drones with built-in or small action cameras are seeing a lot of use in the TV world. These cameras suffer from a lot of challenges, including:
- Many only record 8-bit
- Many record highly compressed codecs
- Small sensors and lenses make for low image quality
- Footage is often excessively sharpened in camera
In this Insight, I specifically tackle the sharpening issue. Shots with heavy sharpening, when put in context with shots that don’t have heavy sharpening, can stick out like a sore thumb. As colorists, we know that the flow from shot to shot is crucial for getting the most effective grade. One oversharpened shot can easily ruin a sequence.
Not just for drone footage
These techniques and tools aren’t limited to only drone footage. The techniques we explore apply to any over-sharpened footage that needs help fitting into a project.
In the video below we explore a few different options to “take the edge off” an over-sharpened drone shot. I share methods I think don’t work because the image looses too much detail. I also walk you through a less conventional technique that does a fantastic job removing sharpening without sacrificing detail.
In future Insights – I’ll explore fixing some of the other problems colorists grading drone footage have to deal with.