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ND Filters


Active Member
Dec 12, 2023
United States
I was wondering what exactly ND filters do, how to use them, and what I can do with them. I am a new pilot and dont have much experience using Nd filters.
In still photography they can be used to intentionally blur motion such as waterfalls, car headlights, etc.

In video, they are used in place of an aperture to lower the amount of light entering the sensor to create a relationship between frames per second and shutter speed where the shutter speed is 2x the FPS, creating intentional blurring, assuming either the drone is moving at a sufficient speed, or something the drone is filming is moving with sufficient speed. So, on a bright day, for a drone with f/2.8 aperture, you might use a 16 or a 32 ND filter to allow for say 24 fps and 1/50s, or 30 fps and 1/60s.

For still photography, unless you are intentionally trying to make something blur, avoid them. For video, use them to create aesthetic motion blur for scenes where this effect is possible (movement)
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I am a new pilot and dont have much experience using Nd filters.
ND filters don't really do much and you'd be better off forgetting about them until you know enough about them to know if they would really be useful to you.
For most flyers, most of the time, they aren't needed .
"my drone is always in auto white balance and auto exposure"

That right there is the key statement in his video.

He does not know what he's talking about when it comes to delivering professional imagery to a client. If you don't care about making sure shutter speed is twice frame rate (30FPS at 1/60 second, etc.), called the 180 rule, and only want to make home videos, then use auto settings. If you want to actually start making money with your drone (or any camera for that matter), you better understand the concepts of manual exposure and manual white balance. As well as color grading and settings. And if he doesn't have time to think about the actual flying aspect of the video because he's too busy "worrying" about the settings, then that's a failing on his part. Or he's ADD and can't do more than one thing at a time.

Otherwise, I promise you, you will not keep clients.

This guy has an ego, and his goal is to build his viewership. That's fine, not faulting him for wanting to do that. But his air quotes are annoying. and wrong. He paints all other drone YouTubers as frauds. Most aren't. Most don't sell things. And there's nothing wrong with that if they do anyway, it's a legitimate business model. And he gets on them because they have affiliate links. Well guess what, so does he. His Amazon links are also affiliate links. Go to one of them and look for this "&tag=tednemethbali". That his affiliate link. He's actually the fraud here for complaining about something that he does himself. His credibility is questionable.

And when he states that subjects are always far away from a drone, he shows his narrow mindedness about where to fly. Being close to things is one of the best ways to truly take your drone videos to the next level. And when you do that, and you're set at auto exposure, you get choppy videos during any movement at all. Especially when panning. The 180° rule is imperative for smooth videos when subject are close or you're panning your drone.

Also, when you have auto exposure on, and the sun is in your frame, you lose all shadow detail. And many times, that's what you want to do. Even in home videos.

By all means watch these videos if you never plan on progressing in your work. But if you want to get serious about actually providing footage a client can use, you need to move beyond (way beyond) auto settings.

And yes, I've been doing this commercially for 35 years. I know what I'm talking about.

And seriously, it took him "2 years of experimenting" to figure out how to use auto settings? He's a slow leaner... 🙄

Again, if all you want to EVER do is vacation videos, use auto settings. It's fun. But it's VERY limiting.

My thoughts anyway. My thoughts based on 35 years of owning a commercial photo/video business.
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"my drone is always in auto white balance and auto exposure"
There’s a lot to criticize about the video.

First what comes to mind for me is the fact he’s operating two drones at the same time.

He’s using drone content for commercial purposes. Self-promotion is commercial use. So….🤷

Ironically in another video he talks about how it’s important to know and follow the laws so you can fly confidently.

I think there’s some value in his perspectives - such as focusing on subject, lighting, composition. May seem obvious. But it’s easy to lose sight of that especially for someone new.

All that said, I’m guessing Kurosawa used ~24 fps and ~1/50s.

My thoughts anyway.
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