Drone Lesson 2: Peak Lighting

Just a quick note on lighting and how it can drastically affect your final image. After flying your drone or UAV and downloading the footage for review and editing, have you ever noticed a bit of consistent lines disrupting the image? Almost reminiscent of poor quality cable television from the 1990’s?

This cause is basically due to sunlight interacting with the drone propellers. It can happen in a few ways:

1.) The sunlight can be directly overhead (early afternoon – mid day, depending on location/season) of the drone shooting light straight down; every time the props spin the light is slightly interrupted from the camera and it causes the lines.

2.) The sunlight can be coming in at a slight angle (late morning or late afternoon), and if the trajectory is right, it will bounce off the drone props and shoot the light almost as if it’s additional, in to the camera.

The best way to remedy this situation is to fly early in the morning, when lighting is optimal but not too extreme, or later in the afternoon when the sun has started to descend towards the horizon. Remember to adjust your camera settings for each event.

For early mornings, utilize 60FPS or your maximum FPS (frames per second) option as you’ll have plenty of light to work with.

For later afternoons, light might start to dissipate a bit, so use a slower FPS such as 30 FPS, this will keep the shutter open a touch longer in between frames and allow a bit more light to enter the camera.

Quick recap, more light available = higher FPS rate; less light available (sunsets, dusk) = lower FPS rate.

Good luck flying!