Neewer Variable ND Filter (ND2–400) for the Phantom 4



Here is another ND filter for the Phantom 4 that I purchased. I have several different filters for my Phantom 4 and as usual I am writing about them, how they work, and a few thoughts on the accessory in general. I can say that this Neewer filter is a good buy for the money. It does a great job on bright sunny days, which is the intended purpose of these filters.

A few thoughts on the filter; the first thing I liked was the packaging, it comes in a hard plastic case with a soft foam inside to keep the filter protected when it is stored in your Phantom 4 backpack or carrying case. Which brings me to my next point, this filter is the screw-on variety and you will need to remove the lens filter that comes stock on your Phantom 4 in-order to use this filter. With that being said, once you take the stock filter off, the carrying case that comes with this Neewer filter is a great place to store the stock filter, so you do not misplace or lose it.

Once the Neewer ND filter is screwed onto your Phantom 4 camera, you can adjust the filter to your desired setting. The filter range goes from ND2 to ND400. The filter setting from minimum to maximum made a great difference in color, where the lower setting was much more brighter and colorful, while the higher setting was still very colorful but much darker. My photos and videos were much darker and had a much deeper color to them. I believe this filter uses 2 filters and changing the setting from minimum to maximum is supposed to allow in less light.

Here are two un-processed images, top image is set on minimum and the bottom image was with the Neewer ND filter set on maximum:

Minimum:

Maximum:

This filter is better suited for photography rather than video — on video I much prefer a higher natural density filter, like a ND8 filter or above. Or course this is the preference of the creator, I am just stating what I like and prefer. Overall this is a great buy for less than $20.

If you are flying a Phantom 4 for aerial photography I would highly recommend you invest in some sort of ND filter, if not this particular one. If you are using your Phantom 4 for mostly videography then check out this review I did of the Polar Pro ND filters and circular polarizer; http://www.crizzo.net/2016/04/nd-filters.html. Both filters are a great buy and as you can see I purchased both sets. I do like this Neewer filter because I can easily adjust the filter without having to remove anything, just a simple twist of the filter and I am back to flying again.



Buy on Amazon, currently on sale for only $17.99 http://amzn.to/1P2i3gr.

If you have any questions, feel free to DM me on Twitter @crizzonet.

Phantom 4 + Facebook Live

Today the DJI Go app was finally updated to allow me to stream to Facebook Live. The biggest difference between streaming to FB Live and Periscope, or at least from what I can tell, Facebook Live uses the Go app to stream, while Periscope uses the actual Periscope app. I think the output to Facebook Live was much cleaner overall, I am not sure what sort of compression Periscope uses but it was awful in comparison.





I was on WiFi while streaming today, I plan on testing the streaming to Facebook Live on cellular tomorrow, it was really windy and it was about to rain so I am going to wait and hope it doesn’t rain tomorrow. Stay tuned!

I still have not used the YouTube Live Streaming option, that is what I will test next! In a couple of weeks in Vermont we have a hot air ballon festival, I hope to fly my Phantom 4 close enough or high enough above them to get some good video footage. I do plan on live streaming to whichever service works the best, but I will most likely opt to stream to Facebook since I have the potential to get many more eyes on the video. If you want to follow me on Facebook or send me friend request; http://facebook.com/icrizzo.

Phantom 4 and Periscope

Today I tried to Periscope from my Phantom 4 for the first time and my experience was meh. This is a neat idea but it is not ideal, the quality is very poor, even when I was on WiFi the video quality looked very poor.

Here is a live stream on cellular data, which I admit I only had about 2 - 3 bars of service;

Here is a live stream from my house, 15 feet or less from my WiFI router, full bars, still meh;

As you can see, it didn’t make much of a difference in terms of quality — both streams looked like crap.

I like the idea of being able to do this but I had a ton of issues; from my screen going black, to the audio not working, to people joining but the app still telling me I had zero viewers even though I seen the ’so and so just joined’ message.

The biggest issue I see with trying this is obviously the connection. You have 2 areas that are ideal; rural areas with beautiful landmarks like waterfalls or covered bridges or city/urban areas where a poor connection or interference to the cellular connection is just as likely. I guess with an urban area you could connect to WiFi, but as you can see in my video above it didn’t seem to make much of a difference. Hopefully Periscope/Twitter continues to work on this and one day we will have beautifully streamed aerial footage from drones to Periscope (which I am a huge fan of) or even Facebook Live. I really like the idea and I do plan on trying to stream again in the near future!

If you’d like to catch one of my Phantom 4 Periscopes you can follow me on Twitter @crizzonet or on Periscope @crizzonet.

Logic Keyboard skin for FCP X



No matter if you are a seasoned veteran of Final Cut Pro X or if you are just starting out, these keyboard skins are super useful when editing. There are so many keyboard shortcuts in FCP X that most of the time I forget that they are even there. Having a visual reminder is super useful as keyboard shortcuts make editing much quicker in my opinion. Between the different applications I use such as FCP X, Motion 5, Photoshop, Lightroom, Logic Pro X, etc., they all utilize keyboard shortcuts and it is hard keeping up with what is what, this skin helps with that.

Also, another aspect of the keyboard skin is it feels great to type on. Not sure how to describe it other than it softens the keys and feels better when typing. One thing I would keep in mind as well, I am not sure if the paint will wear off over time, so I most likely will remove it when I am not editing. But, the good thing is that these are cheap enough that even if the paint on the keys does wear-out they are affordable and can be easily replaced.

You can grab the Logic Keyboard skin for Final Cut Pro X on Amazon; http://amzn.to/1Vcl4Bj

The skins will fit on both the smaller wireless Apple keyboard, the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro keyboards. I am not sure about the new MacBook as I don't own one to test it on.

There are also keyboard skins for:
Premiere
Photoshop
Logic Pro X

Manfrotto Lumie Art (Lumimuse)

Grabbed a couple of these yesterday, I’m going to try and figure out a way to mount this to the Phantom 4. These are extremely lightweight (4 oz.) but are extremely illuminating, almost blinding. It shouldn’t affect the balance of the drone too much, but I’ll find out soon enough.

These are new products; they get about an hour of usage time; but, it takes about 3 hours to charge from 0% to 100%. It uses a standard micro USB to USB cable. It will work with an iPhone style charging brick, or just use your computer.
The LED light also comes with a filter, a defuser, and a ball / hot shoe mount to attach to a tripod.

There are 3 different light models; 4-LED, 6-LED, and 8-LED. The filters from the 6 and 8 model are swappable. The battery life on the 4-LED isn’t quite as good but it takes less time to charge.

This particular model I purchased is a 6-light LED portable lighting kit. It features three stops of lighting, 1-hour of lighting time, and a 420 @ LUX.

Lumimuse on Amazon: http://amzn.to/23ON8uw





Tung (beta)

Tung podcast app is by far the best podcast app I have ever used. Not only the design, but also the features of it. It isn't just an app, it is a social services as well where you can comment on podcast within the community. Think of it like a blog post with comments activated, but instead of reading an article you listen to it. After you listen you can add your own commentary and interact with others who have listened as well.

Currently it is in beta, as far as I know it is iOS only. You can sign up here; https://tung.fm/ (just scroll to the bottom) — you need TestFlight (https://goo.gl/x24Pqs) and a free developer account from Apple (https://developer.apple.com/) as well to install the beta.

 The social features are great, you can also donate to a favorite podcast if you are into doing that sort of thing. This is a game changer.

PS: I am not in anyway associated with Tung, I have just been testing the app and wanted to help get the word out. I really enjoy podcast, I listen to them daily. Here are some screenshots of the application:







ProCraft Cases backpack for Phantom 4



I recently purchased a ProCraft Cases backpack to use with my Phantom 4 and I wanted to give a brief overview of the product; as well as some of my initial opinions.

The most important aspect of this bag is that the Phantom 4 does indeed fit, this bag was designed for the Phantom 3 initially. That is one of the biggest problems with the Phantom 4 just launching, sellers are trying to market their products made for the Phantom 3 as being for the Phantom 4. Some things do work well, like ND filters, but other accessories might not work with the Phantom 4 being a bit different in design from the Phantom 3. So as I purchase these items I will probably do short demo videos and write-up reviews on the products as I get them.

The outside of the ProCraft Cases backpack is made of a vinyl material that feels very well made. It has 2 straps that allow you to wear this over the shoulders — there is also a handle on top of the bag if you prefer to carry it. There are 6 pockets (including the pouch) on the outside of the bag that allows you to store other accessories for your Phantom 4; such as: batteries, cables, ND filters, cleaning cloths, etc. This backpack also comes with a raincoat to make it water resistant should it start to rain while you are out flying your Phantom 4, which will help not only keep your Phantom 4 dry; but, also your devices like your tablet or laptop.

There is also a strap on the bottom of the bag that you can wrap around your waist to keep the backpack nice and secure against the body. This strap is ideal if you are climbing rocky areas or even riding a bike while wearing this backpack. It will keep the backpack from bouncing around and help keep it from damaging any of your contents on the inside of the backpack. The backpack also has buckles that attach the front of the bag to the back of the bag, which is double protection for keeping the bag shut incase you forget to zip a zipper all the way closed.

The padding on this bag is minimal, while there is sufficient padding it isn’t too thick, which helps keep the backpack have a slim build while your Phantom 4 and accessories are packed into the bag. This backpack probably doesn’t offer the most protection in terms of padding, but I feel fairly confident that if I dropped my bag that this backpack would offer enough support to cushion a few drops; as well as every day wear and tear. Speaking of tear — ProCraft states that the material of the bag is tear resistant; but, that is something I will have to test over an extended period of usage.

The inside of the backpack is broken down into halves — the top half for your remote controller, the bottom half for your Phantom 4. Of course there are more pockets and pouches for storing accessories, cables, and whatever else you might need to carry with you. There is also a pocket on the back side of the backpack that allows you to store a tablet, laptop, or even your remote controller sun visor. Since I only have an 11” MacBook Air it fits nicely in there, from what I can tell, you could easily fit up to a 15” laptop in there as well.

The top half where you store the remote controller is big enough to not only store the remote, but also an additional battery or two. This is where I keep my propellers inside the DJI propeller bag that came with my Phantom 4.

There are pockets on the top of the bag where slots have been made for two pens or pencils, there is a pocket with a velcro strap that you could put a smart-phone (small one) or other accessories — I store my Lightning cable in there. There is also a pouch on the right side, next to the pen holder, where you can store other accessories; this is great for ND filters or even SD cards.

On the top of the cover that lifts up to reveal the remote controller are two additional zippered pockets. The top pocket is great for a set of propellers or SD cards (I store mine here), but you could store whatever you want in here. The bottom pouch is much bigger, this is where I store my charging block and my charging cable for my Phantom 4. You could probably fit your propellers in here as well as the charging block if you wanted, the pouch is that big.

The bottom half of the bag is where the actual Phantom 4 sits — the Phantom 4 needs to be placed upside down in the bag in order for it to fit inside the backpack. The Phantom 4 does not fit in the backpack rightsize up, it will not zip closed — the bag is not designed for the Phantom (3 / 4) drones to fit that way. There is a strap that you can buckle to hold your Phantom 4 into place while in the bag. This will help steady it so it is not bouncing around in the bag while you are transporting your Phantom 4 in the backpack. Additionally, there are four more pockets in this area of the bag. There are two pockets on the bottom of the bag that are designed for spare batteries, they have a velcro strap that allows you to keep them in place while in these pockets. There are also two larger pockets on either side of the Phantom 4. In one of these pockets you will find a supplied raincoat for the backpack — this also doubles as an extra cushion if you are not using the raincoat. One the other side, the pocket it just as big and I use this for various straps and tools that I carry with me. You could probably use this for a camera lens if you wanted to bring a DSLR camera with you as well. There is plenty of room in this backpack for additional photography items such as cameras and lenses.

Overall I am extremely satisfied with this backpack, it gives me the ability to carry all my gear in one bag, and makes carrying more gear convenient. I would have no problem at all recommending this backpack to anyone in the market for a case for their Phantom 4. There are other much more expensive backpacks that do not really offer anything this bag does not offer me.

You can find this ProCraft Cases backpack on Amazon for $139.99; http://amzn.to/1QSkVvE.

SPECIFICATIONS

  • Size: Approx. 46cm wide x 27cm high x 33cm deep
  • Net Weight: Approx. 1.5kg
  • Maximum Weight: Approx. 7.5kg