Evening Gold & Hero Red: Protune Grading

Burg Thann, Nuremberg county. (BY/D)
This time in my series «one video lies more than a thousand words» I'm showing how to carefully emphasize an evening mood in Protune footage. This gives, for instance, castle Burg Thann more atmosphere.

Without further manual grading, Protune footage may appear rather very neutral and even appear to be slightly cold. But adding some nice touch to your footage is really easy. Just take Kdenlive, no need for any professionals' tools or similar marketing balderdash...


Kdenlive Video: Color Grading Protune Footage

Following my motto «a picture lies more than a thousand words» I produced a short video tutorial: color grading Protune footage. I'm demonstrating my technique on a short but vivid autumn scene. My goal is to achieve almost the same result as if filmed without Protune and thus with the camera-integrated automatic image processing.

While working on the specific video effect set to reproduce the genuine GoPro video look I noticed something interesting going on color-wise inside these cams...


Castle Burg Thann

Nuremburg county is rich of relicts from our ancestors. This is giving the landscape its flair. After my friend Wolfgang had infested me to film in somehow ruined locations I had to throw up my little cam copter into late Autumn air...


Kdenlive Effect: Protune

In my article Grading of Hero 3 (Above Waterline) Footage I've shown how to create a new effect template in Kdenlive for uncompressing the tonal curve of Protune raw footage. This effect is really useful for working with Hero 3 video footage.

You can also directly create the effect outside of Kdenlive without fiddling around with the curve handles...


Post Processing Protune Video Footage

Graded Protune footage in Kdenlive.
Before color grading (just luma correction).
Are you asking yourself too: how do I set up my GoPro Black Edition or Silver Edition for filming under water? How do I avoid tinted images? How do I process my Protune footage shot with a Hero 3?

Over time, I will post here several blog articles covering these topics and I will show you the aces up my sleeve when it comes to post processing Protune footage. I'm in no way a professional, so please be forgiving. Hopefully, you can benefit from my posts. Of course, useful feedback is always appreciated.

In case you are working with Kdenlive to cut and grade your footage, then you should take a look at my post Effectively Working with 2.7K Video Footage in Kdenlive. In it, I'm showing you how to create proxy clips to speed up your editing work without having to wait all the time for the project preview or clip view to update.

But the main starting point is Helpful Hero 3 Practice Above + Below the Waterline: so what is this Protune and how do I avoid color faults and tints in my footage? While Protune allows us to switch off white balancing this all comes at the price of post processing your footage.

Next comes my post Grading of Hero 3 (Above Waterline) Footage. In it, you'll learn how to uncompress the tonal curve that Protune uses, so you get back good-looking video. I'll also show how to properly increase color saturation and sharpen the footage to get the decent GoPro look. If you want to create the Protune custom effect in Kdenlive for easy work with Protune footage, then head over to Kdenlive Effect: Protune.

When you have mastered this step, you are ready to do Grading of Hero 3 (Diving) Footage. In this post, I tackle the specifics of grading underwater footage. In particular, I show how to deal with underwater footage shot in difficult light conditions that are typical for coldwater freshwater lakes.

Grading of Hero 3 (Below Waterline) Footage

In a previous article I've shown how to post process GoPro HD Hero 3 Protune footage in Kdenlive. On purpose, this previous article covered only footage shot above the waterline. In this second article I'm now focusing on the specifics of underwater footage.


Grading of Hero 3 (Above Waterline) Footage

In this article I'll show how to post-process video footage that was shot with a GoPro HD Hero 3 Black Edition (or Silver Edition) in Protune mode. In order to better understand the details of what really is going on in post processing, I'll show the necessary steps using the non-linear video editor Kdenlive.

On purpose, I'm not using proprietary software packages for demonstration, but instead open source software. However, with the knowledge gained here you should be able to easily transfer my description to any decent other video editor software ... as long as your software gives you the required basic tools.


Effectively Working with 2.7K (Protune) Footage in Kdenlive

Working with high-bit rate footage that was shot with a GoPro HD Hero 3 Black Edition easily eats up all your available computational resources in post production. Especially for footage shot in the 2700×1520 dimension and with Protune switched on your video editor needs to process around 45MBits per second for real-time playback, applying all the required effects such as color grading, sharpening, et cetera at the same time. However, unless you happen to possess a really highest-end system, these image bit rates are still too much for effectively working in your video editor software. You will quickly grow tired of heavy delays when editing. Luckily, Kdenlive has something to speed up your work again...

Helpful Hero 3 Practice Above + Below the Waterline

GoPro's HD Hero 3 action cams are very popular for sure. Especially GoPro's top of the line HD Hero 3 Black Edition delivers stunning pictures above and below the waterline. And this despite its small size.

But right out of the box, video footage shot with the HD Hero 3 below the water surface still sometimes really sucks heavily, so how do we properly configure a Hero 3 Black Edition and then post-process (color-grade) the resulting footage to avoid such mishaps?


T14SG Telemetry: Setting the Warning Level for the Flight Battery

Personally, I really like Futaba's telemetry function: this way, I can always accurately see how much juice my Phantom's flight battery still has. In this article, I will show you how to configure the T14SG to warn you when the voltage of the flight battery drops below a certain level.

T14SG Phantom Programming: More Sensitive Control Sticks

When I set up my Futaba transmitter T14SG for the first time for use with my Phantom I also programmed a mixer: this mixer allowed me to change the rate (stick curve) for the rudder, in order to get more precise control during filming.

Of course, there is a better way to set up dual rate functionality. Almost any half-decent computer transmitter now comes with such a function already built-in. Time for an upgrade of my transmitter setup!


DJI Phantom and Futaba T14SG/R7008SB

Some time ago, I had this great idea to replace the original DJI transmitter and receiver units in my Phantom with with something better and more robust. I opted for a Futaba transmitter T14SG and an R7008SB receiver, complete with telemetry.

I've even upgraded my Phantom with a Zenmuse H3-2D gimbal recently; that required replacing the original main board.

For those interested in these upgrades I've documented both the hardware upgrade side, as well as the gory details of programming (or configuring) the T14SG transmitter. As there are quite some things to take care of, I've cut down the rather big topic into a series of blog articles:
In addition, you can find more articles with respect to the Phantom quadcopter and the Futaba T14SG transmitter:

    GoPro HD Hero 3 in Practice

    Always diving with the little cam cubes...
    (In Fernsteinsee TY/A)
    So you've got this tiny little cam cube that pretends to be a full-blown video camera...

    ...but what equipment do I need and how do I get proper colors even under water, for heavens sake?!

    And what is this Protune thing, do I really need it?! What's this crap anyway, it produces awfully dull images??

    If you somehow care about the later results when shooting video and if you want to achieve more than just Apple's iRrespective video effects, then you will find in my blog some helpful tips for working with Protune and Kdenlive. My examples are real-world examples taken from the videos I shot.


    Working with the GoPro HD Heroes becomes more fun when you make sure that you get some more equipment. You may get away for some time without them, but in the end, you will need additional equipment. Please head over to my blog post GoPro HD Hero 3 Black Edition equipment for my subjective list, based on my own experience for working with the HD Heros for over three years now. Also, not least when diving, proper light is of much importance to getting good footage from your HD Hero 3.

    Protune For Starters

    In Helpful Hero 3 Practice Above + Below the Waterline you'll learn how to start shooting in Protune. I'll show you step by step how to enable Protune and how to switch off the annoyingly bad automatic white balancing.

    Effective Kdenlive

    Those working with the open source non-linear video editor Kdenlive may benefit a lot from working with the so-called proxy clips. In Effectively Working with 2.7K Footage in Kdenlive I'm explaining how to set up proxy clips and I show the proxy-clip rendering profile I'm usually working with.

    Grading Protune Footage

    In Grading of Hero 3 (Above Waterline) Footage I'm showing and explaining my basic set of video effects I typically use when grading Protune video footage. I'm only working with really basic effects, so you can easily transfer your knowledge to any other decent video editor software, as long as it offers you the necessary basic tools. Albeit I use a simple set of effects, I've found them to be highly effective in many situations. Of course, I'm using real-world examples instead of artifical scene to show you my simple basics of how to grade footage.

    Protune in the Evening

    When you need to work on Protune footage shot in evening light, then this additional grading effect may come in handy: in Evening Gold and Hero Red: Protune Grading I'm showing you how to improve the appearance of evening footage even more. This is a more specific topic. Nevertheless, it's again a real-world example I ran into, so you may learn from it and may put it to good use even in other situations.

    Protune Below the Waterline

    In Grading of Hero 3 (Diving) Footage I'm dealing especially with the situation of filming in Protune under water. Starting from my basic set of video effects, I'm now making some changes to accommodate to the specifics of under water lighting conditions and even the water conditions itself. Again, I'm explaining my grading process with the help of several (bad?) real-world examples, fresh from mountain lakes and other filthy water holes.


    Over time, there will be more articles related to GoPro HD Hero and Kdenlive video editing, which are...