.1000 firmware. Will ICARUS LUTs become useless?

It’s firmware time again and in their typically cryptic manner, DJI announced something about image quality.  This could be anything so let’s do it right and run some tests in D-LOG.



Codec improvements?
2.7K is still being written at 40MB/s
DCI 4K is still being written at 60MB/s
Intra Frame distance is still 8, we have the same jittery, GOP interval artefacts as before.

Color Improvements/Changes?
I filmed a detailed landscape in DCI 4K, using .0900 and .1000 to see if there are any changes in the color response. The settings are D-LOG +1;-1;0 Sunny White balance.
I could not see any difference in the color response between them.

The center red spot?
Watch this video to find out more.



Sharpening watercolour effect?
Maybe. I didn’t run this particular test. But I know for a fact that filming with sharpening at 0 or less seriously affects the overall sense of details because it correlates with digital noise reduction. Did DJI fix this? Leave your comments below if you have any information about this.

Conclusion
No changes are required in the usage of ICARUS LUTs with this new firmware and it’s nice that the red spot issue was fixed. Is anyone else seeing this improvement as well? Let us know in the comments.


ICARUS V.2.2 and a NEW LUT called Push


It’s update time again and v.2.2 and here we address the presence of an overall green tint in the mid-tone hues such as rock and sand. This was left unnoticed until a recent project I did where I saw no separation between the grey sidewalks and a green’ish nearby wall. This lead me to investigate if it was a recurring problem with all midt-tone neutrals and this proved to be correct. This version corrects this issue for a more pleasing, balanced and neutral image. The update is available for D-LOG only since the green tint issue wasn’t visible in D-Cinelike.

Use your mouse over these images to compare both versions. Blue sky is slightly affected, making it denser and less green tinted.


A new LUT – PUSH

I am delighted to present a new LUT for the ICARUS family. This is a custom made LUT designed to get the most vivid image out of your MAVIC without compromising image quality.
Dynamic range is preserved while contrast is greatly enhanced. Extra midtone contrast reveals texture and volume in rocks.
Greens gain volume and atmospheric haze contributes to a greater notion of space. Saturation is kept under control, avoiding channel clipping and unnatural tones. No other commercially available LUT offers such a degree of control over landscape imagery. To fine tune the color output using this LUT, simply adjust exposure and curves before applying it. In Premiere, for example, load the LUT in the creative panel and make any necessary adjustments in the Basic tab and Curves tab. In DaVinci Resolve, add a node before another node containing the LUT.






Existing customers will receive the update by email. New customers will have this update available upon checkout.

If you’re interested in a test run, send me a video clip and see these LUTs in action. 

ICARUS v.2.2 update

An update for ICARUS is coming. It addresses the presence of an overall green tint in the midtone neutrals such as rock and sand.


A New LUT

Also, a new LUT will be included in the pack. It’s called Push and it’s a high contrast, high saturation, vivid preset that only needs exposure adjustment for a quick correction.



 
As always, the updates will be free for all existing customers. Please check your inbox to download this update.

Specific Highlight Channel Clipping Issues

This is another post about the highlight rendition on the DJI MAVIC PRO.  The first post was published here.

I received a clip from a Eric Jaakkola pointing to the discontinuous tonal gradation in the highlights under specific situations. The transition between sky and direct orange light from the sun puts a lot of stress on these small sensors. Here’s the before and after of a D-LOG (+1:-2;0) Auto WB frame. Eric pointed to that darker yellow halo around the sun. We can also see it shifts towards green, making it a very unpleasing and unrealistic image. The LUT being used here is ICARUS V.2.1 DJI MAVIC PRO D-LOG Sunny WB – sRGB – High Key_64 point. 

Measurements

Here are the RGB values on the original frame. We can see the red and green channels clipping before reaching peak white,  leading to a yellow halo around the sun. 

ICARUS LUTs deal with this pure yellow not knowing that it sits at the edge of pure white, thus correcting it as was designated to do so with the calibration charts used. This leads to the darker, greenish tone we saw in the first example. There’s the possibility that Auto WB is to blame here. Then again, I wasn’t there when this video was shot, so I don’t know how intense was that orange/yellow sunset shot by Eric.

A less dramatic case

Here is another example, this time shot with sunny white balance.  Channel clipping ain’t that dramatic and presents the transition between sky and sun in a more pleasing manner. Notice how the LUT fixes the salmon tinted ring around the yellow area, creating a smoother transition but it can’t insert information where there’s none, just two clipped channels and blue at 38.

Using the corrective LUT

At this point I considered the option of creating a LUT that corrected this artefact. Since recovering clipped channel values is impossible to do with a LUT only, my approach was to clip the yellow color all together while maintaining a pleasing and smooth transition into pure white. Here we see the original D-LOG frame corrected with a LUT that fixed the yellow halo. Beware that this correction will affect the presence of pure yellow (and it’s transition into surrounding colours) anywhere in your image so beware of it’s use.

 

Example 1

 

Example 2

Native
Corrected

 

Using the corrective LUT followed by another ICARUS LUT

Subsequently, any other LUT can be applied. Here we see the original D-LOG clip and a transformed version with the corrective LUT and an ICARUS LUT applied in serial. Notice how the transition is smoothed out even further.

Example 1

Example 2

 

Using secondaries

Of course the ideal situation would be to use a precise, dedicated, secondary color correction in your NLE. Here we see the original D-LOG frame and a transformed version with custom made secondaries and an ICARUS LUT applied in serial, plus a custom grade. Everything looks better now, we have an even smoother transition between sky and pure white, no noticeable halos and an overall pleasing, well exposed and vivid image.

Example 1

 

Example 2. This is clearly the best of all. The yellow halo was selected, darkened and color was added so it would match the surrounding orange and interior peak white. We get a very smooth transition to peak white and a wider perceived dynamic range. Remember that highlight roll-off is as important as dynamic range.

 

This corrective LUT is being distributed for free. Download it here
ICARUS Yellow Highlight Channel Clipping Fix

Have you encountered such situations? If so, send me a short clip and I’ll look into your case.

Cheers

 

Heads up > v.2.1. Why an update to ICARUS so soon after release?

This is where we get really picky about the details, and gladly so.

The images we received from all over the world provided a better insight on how the MAVIC sees color and what these LUTs should work with. Thank you to everybody who submitted their media, your participation is essential for the improvement of current and development of new LUTs. As always, you might get better results from a previous version.  Existing customers have received this update in the email used to purchase the previous version. Also, if you spot anything out of place while using v.2.1 don’t hesitate in sending me a message. You might see that this or that color looks strange, that a gradation isn’t as smooth as it should or that something simply doesn’t look real. Happy flying everyone!

Release notes for v2.1 – Coming next Monday.

  • Blue skies were desaturated and shifted towards green
 
  • Caucasian skintones at the edge of the luminance range were shifted towards yellow and were over saturated. This will affect the hue of sand, rocks, wood and naturally caucasian skin tones.
 
  • Some reds were desaturated and shifted towards magenta
  • Two new LUTs added
    • ETTR. This LUT was designed for those who expose to the right. Shoot as bright at possible before clipping the highlights. In post, manipulate your exposure, curves, saturation and white balance on your log footage while having this LUT working in a node or adjustment layer ahead/above the clip. Finish the grade with your secondaries and any other adjustments after the LUT.
    • ETTR + saturation. The same as before but with a custom curve that increases saturation without clipping or distorting already saturated colours while maintaining neutrals free of chroma noise. It works like the vibrance setting in Adobe Camera Raw but has been molded as illustrated in the curve below.
   

V.2 is ready

And will be released this Friday, May 12th
A few months ago I set out with the idea to create a dependable, rigorous and affordable color service for a very capable camera and all the effort put into the development of these LUTs has proved fortunate. MAVIC users are now getting better colour and enhanced grading manoeuvrability. Thank you to all the community that has helped me keeping this project alive. Your feedback and video samples were  fundamental in the creation of these LUTs.
 
Version 2 was developed using new color charts, new calibration methods along with various refinements. You will get better colour separation, richer hues, smoother gradients, neutral greys, all the dynamic range available and reduced posterisation.

Support for D-Cinelike

D-Cinelike frame corrected with a single LUT – ICARUS V.2 DJI MAVIC PRO D-CINELIKE Sunny WB – Film Contrast 2
This colour mode is very popular amongst MAVIC users so it became a priority.  Its contrast and color is the closest to a no-grade solution out of the box. Still, with V2 you will get even better images. ICARUS performs the exact same kind of transformations as with D-LOG but with lesser intensity and obviously different values.

What about V1?

Since you might get more adequate results with one of the legacy products, versions 1.0 through 1.3 will remain available for download for existing customers.

Will V2 be a payed upgrade?

No. All existing customers will receive this update for free! Just go the the inbox on the email you used to register the first time. If, until Friday you want to get acquainted with V1 LUTs, you have nothing to loose. Just download, run your tests and receive the updated versions on May 12th. The only quirk is that the camera settings have changed. V2 was created around D-LOG (+1:-1;0) and D-Cinelike (+1;-1;0). We’ve discussed these options in the previous blog post.

Until Friday comes

Again, if you’d like to be featured in an upcoming demo reel, send me some video clips to icarus@paulocunhamartins.com, along with your name, and shooting locations.
Thank you,
Paulo

ICARUS LUTs – About Dynamic Range, Highlight Roll-Off and Channel Clipping

New recommended contrast settings for D-LOG

V2 is coming and it addresses a series of problems with the MAVIC’s D-LOG response. We’re seeing better results with contrast set at -1  instead of -2. By looking at the way my charts clip in the highlights, I’ve seen that there is no real advantage in shooting -2. It just lowers the highlights and raises the blacks, thus compressing the existing DR without any advantages. On the contrary, it puts more stress on the already fragile H.264 60MB/s file. Having a slightly lower white point isn’t necessarily a bad thing as I’ll explain with the examples below.

About Dynamic Range

Also, DJI D-LOG, on the MAVIC at least, is more like a flat curve with a lot of highlight compression. This makes sense because it addresses some problems with small sensor cameras, namely low dynamic range in the highlights, and favours landscape shots by compressing strong reflections in water, clouds in the sky, etc. Let’s call it an aerial footage friendly curve rather than true LOG. This compression can be restored with a LUT and doing the same with D-Cinelike is trickier and leads to more posterisation and a less smooth roll-off.  
D-LOG +1;-2;0 Sunny gamma response curve tested with a Colorchecker Video
 

Smooth highlights

See that dent in the curve above? V.2 LUTs restore details in the highlights in a realistic manner, while preserving a smooth roll-off into pure white. Smooth roll-off is as important as dynamic range because it is makes a digital image perceptually pleasing. This holds water from iPhones to Alexa’s. In the example below, notice how the halo surrounding the sun is almost invisible in the original D-LOG frame. Also, that warm mist in the horizon is restored without any harsh posterisation artefacts. White levels are kept a hair below 254 to account for any unforeseen variation in the video levels.

Channel clipping

Digital cameras have an issue with some channels clipping sooner than others. In a pseudo-log format like D-LOG, dialled at -1 contrast, this is quite evident. Here we see a bright sun, against a blue/orange gradient. On the left, at the #2 picker, notice how the green channel almost clips at 235 (considering that pure white in D-LOG is 236;236;236) whereas, on the right, a corrective LUT restores a natural colour balance, even when the red channel clipping at 255 on the #5 picker. Do you have any questions? Send me an email to icarus@paulocunhamartins.com Fly safe, have fun!  

ICARUS LUTs V2 dev

Hello world. ICARUS 1.0 through 1.2 have been a success. We’ve received feedback from MAVIC shooters all over the world complementing us on the benefits of having a calibrated starting point for their color correction workflow.  And we’re not done here. We prepping up for a major new release. Version 2 will be remade from the ground up using new and better color charts, better software and improved methods. Expect improvements in color balance, better contrast separation and new contrast curves. We’re also preparing calibrations for D-CINELIKE. This popular color mode requires little or no correction out of the box and so a corrective LUT will be less stressful on the codec. What contrast settings do you usually go for? Stay tuned and if you need more information, please write to us at icarus@paulocunhamartins.com. Now go outside and shoot some video!