Last week, Andy Cahill who runs Pro Studio Hire, asked us to produce a short video for the homepage of his website. He wanted a fly-through of the reception and his studio space to show off the facilities.
We needed a small and cost effective gimbal stabiliser that would allow us to achieve the fluid motion Andy required, through narrow corridors, and tight doorways. After reading a few positive reviews on the DJI Osmo, we thought we should give it a try and see how it handles.
Mounted to the Osmo, we had the Zenmuse X5 paired with the Lumix 15mm G Leica F/1.7. After some quick tests, we found that the lens performed nicely at f/3.5, delivering sharp images with little to no purple fringing.
Shooting at f/3.5 and 1/100 did mean that we didn’t have enough light to operate at the native iso of 200. We had no choice but to push the iso to 800 which really is the usable limit, before seeing significant grain on the image. We combated some of the noise using a plugin by ‘Neat video’ called Noise Reducer for After Effects, which cleared up the worse noise and blockiness.
When we shot the clip, we removed as much of the baked in data as possible, but noticed that there was still a significant amount of in-camera sharpening. It’s a real shame there isn’t an option to have this turned off, as I know the footage would have graded much nicer without it.
100% Crop on the graded shot without Noise Reduction – notice how the internal sharpening has degraded the image.
To get the most out of the footage, we shot the film in D-log colour space, which overall delivered a usable dynamic range. I noticed that bright reds were rendered incorrectly as purple, even when conforming with the Zenmuse rec.709 LUT.
The footage isn’t designed for a heavy grade, as the data rate is too low at 60/mbps. When lifting the shadows or crushing highlights, the footage deteriorates quickly, the only way to get around this was to make sure we maintained a nearly perfect look/exposure in each area we passed through.
The stabilisation on the Osmo is generally very impressive for such a small device. Something you quickly notice as an operator is that the motion becomes bouncy if you’re not flowing your movement. It’s a lot less forgiving in this respect than the Movi when it comes to pulling off sharp and quick movements.
Behind The Shot
Overall, we were amazed by the performance of the Osmo, and are now thinking in hindsight that the opening hanger shots in our promotional film with AIM Altitude, could have been pulled off with the Osmo and delivered a similar quality of motion. Knowing how impressive it is, it’s definitely a tool we will be using again.