In a bid to improve my videos to compliment this blog I thought it was about time to invest in a new video camera and, after a lot of reading and research, I decided to purchase a DJI Osmo video camera.
I have always wanted to have a go at slow motion photography so as soon as the DJI Osmo was delivered I thought I would take a trip down the local river, throw in a few pieces of bread to get the resident swans in a feeding frenzy and capture the footage.
In manual mode it is possible to capture video at 60 frames a second (“FPS”), and whilst it is possible to slow down footage captured using this frame rate it isn’t ideal. The DJI Osmo can capture video footage at 120 FPS, which is ideal for slow motion footage, but this is an automatic mode.
Capturing video footage with the DJI Osmo at 120 FPS means all I had to do is select the correct mode and start filming. This is simple since the camera sorts out the settings it thinks is needed for the correct exposure, but this is not ideal. I like to have the ability to tweak the ISO and the shutter speed to get the look I want but this is not possible when using this camera at 120 FPS.
Considering it as a November afternoon there was quite a bit of light, which was good because you need a fair amount of light to shoot video at 120 FPS. The sky was full of white clouds, which was not ideal because many cameras tend to over expose in these tough lighting conditions when left to their own devices. Before I even hit the record button I knew exposure was going to be an issue and the highlights were going to be ‘blown’ meaning a sky with no detail. Given the swans (and the seagulls that decided to make an appearance too) were predominantly white I had the feeling the birds were going to lack detail too. Unfortunately, there was nothing I could do about this.
I know from my stills photography an ND filter and/or polarizing filter would help balance the exposure to improve the sky, render a bit of feather detail in the birds, reduce the glare from the water and add a bit of saturation but I didn’t have any filters with me. I did have some cinematic ND polarizing filters on order but these were still on the way so all I could do was get feeding the birds, hit the record button and let the Osmo do its thing.
Below is the footage captured using the DJI Osmo in the automatic slow motion mode:-
The above footage is straight out of the DJI Osmo and I have not edited it, other than adding the title/caption and some background music (courtesy of the Youtube royalty free music library) of course.
The objective was to record some slow motion footage, and this is what the DJI Osmo has done. The footage isn’t super slow and I think there is scope to slow it down a little more using my video editing software, and still have nice and smooth footage. This is something I will definitely try in the near future.
The sky is blown quite a bit, as I expected it would be as are the birds. I really wish my filters had been delivered prior to my trip down the river to experiment, but such is life. Once again, this is something I will do in the future.
Knowing what strength ND filter to use when the DJI Osmo is in automatic slow motion mode is going to be tough because it’s not possible to tell what ISO and shutter speed the camera is using. I think identifying what strength ND filter is use is going to take trial and error, time and a lot of experimenting. It’s a real shame you can’t use the DJI Osmo in manual mode and shoot at 120 FPS.
There may be scope to use manual mode and shoot at 60 FPS (to nail the exposure) and then slow it down some more using some photo editing software, but I can’t confirm this and will have to see how far I can crank it back (and still get smooth footage) in the future.
Overall, I am happy how my first slow motion filming went although there is a lot I need to experiment with and learn. I will write about my experiences and findings as I go, so if you want to follow me on this journey (and perhaps add some thoughts, ideas etc.) feel free to keep checking back.
You can buy the DJI Osmo from Adorama, Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk and eBay.
To see the photography equipment I use, together with some reviews and useful links, feel free to check out my "Must have photography equipment" page.
Keen photographer addicted to cameras, lenses and everything photography related. Feel free to follow me in my photography ramblings, and if you have any thoughts, comments, queries or anything else to add I would love to hear from you.