In this video, we are taking a look at Freewell Gear’s ND filters for the DJI Mavic Air. If you’re new to drone cinematography you might be wondering what an ND filter is and why you would use them. ND stands for neutral density and in simplest terms, it is just like a pair of sunglasses for your drone’s camera. There is a lot of confusion on what exactly an ND filter does, so let me clear it up a bit. An ND filter allows you to set the correct shutter speed on your drone’s camera to get the perfect amount of motion blur. There is a rule when trying to capture cinematic footage with your drone (180 Degree Rule). Basically, the rule is that you want your shutter speed double what your frame rate is. For example, if you are filming at 30 fps you would want your shutter speed at 60 (1/60th second). If you’re filming at 60 fps then you would want your shutter speed at 120 (1/120th second). This will give the perfect amount of motion blur that the eye and brain are comfortable with.
The problem with setting these low shutter speeds is that it lets in a lot of light and makes the video overexposed and blown out. This is where an ND Filter comes in (sunglasses). They allow you to set a low shutter speed and still have correct exposure.
Freewell gear sells ND filters for all the most popular drones including the DJI Spark, Mavic Air, Mavic Pro, Phantom Series and even your GoPro and Karma Drone. I have used the Freewell gear ND filters for several years for my GoPro and many drones and have always been pleased with the products. When it comes to ND filters they come in several levels ND4, ND8, ND16, ND32, ND64. They even have an ND 1000 for those times when you want to take long exposure photos with your DJI Mavic Air.
They also sell versions of their ND filters that are polarized. Setting polarization within the filter really helps cut out glare from water and can really make for a cleaner image, it also helps make the sky a little deeper blue. With Polarized ND filters, they can only be used 90 degrees from the sun. The sun cannot be in front of or behind your drone. This does make lining up shots a little more difficult. If you just want quick and easy filters I would stick with ones that are not polarized.
Watch our video where I show ND filter installation instructions and a demonstration of how ND filers work with the DJI Mavic Air.
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