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Anafi 4K - Rough Stuff Video Noise & Artifact Tests

Krusty Geeza

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I've started what is probably going to become a long process, experimenting through the variables of recording in 4K modes with the Anafi to try & find out what is causing the random noisy & degraded imagery in my video's.

I didn't actually fly the Anafi for these ones, I just lifted it, turned it & lowered it, as it seems to be movement of all sorts that is triggering this degraded footage that I keep randomly experiencing.

Here's the first two comparison videos.

Cinema Mode


Standard 4K Mode
 
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Krusty Geeza

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I suspect you are seeing the effects of Electronic/Digital Image Stabilization.
After only a few minutes of research on this it looks like I finally have my answer! It is as a result of the 3rd axis electronic stabilisation used in the Anafi.

Looks like I have myself a good aerial photography tool when working stationary & a relatively good aerial video capture tool if I only fly forwards extremely slowly! :eek:

Honestly, for aerial video capture I would have bought the DJI Mavic Pro 2 Zoom or Phantom 4 Pro if I had known this prior to purchase.
 
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Krusty Geeza

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I've just spent a little bit of time comparing a heap of other Anafi video footage in 1080, 2.7K & 4K presentations & they all have this noticeable to me degradation to them! I suspect part of it could be people not noticing it in editing (if they even do) or on export of their videos though.

I've also just had a quick conversation with an American friend who works with video professionally & he says it's a problem with video captured on the smaller sensors, so the DJI Pro 2 Zoom would have the same issues for me if I am wanting really clean footage & that where I see clean footage presented by others online with skies & areas that are devoid of this, the person has probably selectively applied noise reduction in post-production. He also mentioned something about the Anafi's little Sony sensor not being capable of full 4K video capture, that it is performing some seriously good digital trickery to achieve better imagery & that most people don't ever notice it. He's promised to explain this to me fully later on, but it's something about it inserting lines of data that it is approximating & creating, which is apparently common in 4K video capable mobile phones.

I'm sort of wishing I had done a lot more research before buying this drone, I probably would have ended up with the Phantom 4 Pro with its larger sensor & controllable aperture.

He did quickly suggest I try out the 2.7K & even the 1080p video capture of the Anafi as these may present with far less noticeable (for me) deterioration of the video imagery & to learn to work with it using very slow, smooth movements a s a result of it not having 3 axis motorised gimbal abilities.

More to try & see if there is an improvement in capturing my video footage this way.

Oh & I will reiterate what I said above, I do consider for photography that this is possibly the best drone in this budget range available currently! :)
 

Island Xpress

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Hello,
I'm not quite sure that I understand your problem. What I see is that due to the fast angular movement and the low frame rate (24fps) there are each second very different pictures to be captured and thus it is not possible to get a smooth video.
When doing my first experiments in my backyard I noticed a blur using 4k 30 fps and 10 degrees per second rotation speed. Reducing the speed of rotation to 4 degrees per second and 4K 30 fps works for me. As well as 10 degrees per second and FHD 60 fps.
Flying in higher altitudes produces not so fast changes of the scene and is thus more forgiving.
Again , not sure that this is the subject.
 

Krusty Geeza

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Hello,
I'm not quite sure that I understand your problem. What I see is that due to the fast angular movement and the low frame rate (24fps) there are each second very different pictures to be captured and thus it is not possible to get a smooth video.
When doing my first experiments in my backyard I noticed a blur using 4k 30 fps and 10 degrees per second rotation speed. Reducing the speed of rotation to 4 degrees per second and 4K 30 fps works for me. As well as 10 degrees per second and FHD 60 fps.
Flying in higher altitudes produces not so fast changes of the scene and is thus more forgiving.
Again , not sure that this is the subject.
Thanks for the observations, but this is not to do with smoothness of frame rates at all. It is a degradation (very noticeable to me) of portions of the image in video capture. I am not viewing this by zooming in at all, I am actually viewing this on a 2560 x 1440 pixel monitor, so theoretically, it should actually be appearing even better as it gets downsized on my screen. That I can see this blotchiness in most all skies & lots of other areas of footage captured by the Anafi is what is of concern to me. I'm coming to understand that for video it needs to be used extremely slowly, smoothly & even then, in post-production you will need to apply selective noise reduction to certain colour ranges / areas so as to minimise this effect. The areas where there are lots of details are usually okay, but, if you look at areas of forest for example, you will find the almost complete loss of detail in many videos captured by the Anafi of the foliage, this is part of what I am noticing in a lot of my footage.
 

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I've just spent a little bit of time comparing a heap of other Anafi video footage in 1080, 2.7K & 4K presentations & they all have this noticeable to me degradation to them! I suspect part of it could be people not noticing it in editing (if they even do) or on export of their videos though.

I've also just had a quick conversation with an American friend who works with video professionally & he says it's a problem with video captured on the smaller sensors, so the DJI Pro 2 Zoom would have the same issues for me if I am wanting really clean footage & that where I see clean footage presented by others online with skies & areas that are devoid of this, the person has probably selectively applied noise reduction in post-production. He also mentioned something about the Anafi's little Sony sensor not being capable of full 4K video capture, that it is performing some seriously good digital trickery to achieve better imagery & that most people don't ever notice it. He's promised to explain this to me fully later on, but it's something about it inserting lines of data that it is approximating & creating, which is apparently common in 4K video capable mobile phones.

I'm sort of wishing I had done a lot more research before buying this drone, I probably would have ended up with the Phantom 4 Pro with its larger sensor & controllable aperture.

He did quickly suggest I try out the 2.7K & even the 1080p video capture of the Anafi as these may present with far less noticeable (for me) deterioration of the video imagery & to learn to work with it using very slow, smooth movements a s a result of it not having 3 axis motorised gimbal abilities.

More to try & see if there is an improvement in capturing my video footage this way.

Oh & I will reiterate what I said above, I do consider for photography that this is possibly the best drone in this budget range available currently! :)


The Parrot Anafi is great for photos as you have suggested and I agree video is just OK. A camera that has only 2 axis gimbal the video will never compare to one with 3 axis gimbal. I would suggest if you are thinking about upgrading the Autel EVO.
Autel is opening shop in Australia but not sure when.
It has a camera that compares and some even say better then any DJI 1" sensor drone out there and it is on average 400 cheaper. You should check out their promo videos like this one. Very impressive if you ask me for a $999.99 dolar UAV.

 
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Island Xpress

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Hello again,
I'm sorry but I can still not see the problem of areas of blotchiness in the skys or elsewhere. I'm using a MSI 4K laptop and have repeatedly played your footages. Although the really fine details will only be observed with the original footage. By Vimeo having converted the video, Vimeo reduces the size to a level of only a few pecent of the original, c substancial losses in quality.
I have never noticed anything unusual e.g. blotchy patches etc. on my 65" 4K TV when checking the original file copied to a fast USB stick. When using Adobe CS 6 and coding with 4 K settings I could not find any noticable degradation.
I wonder wether you could see this effect also on my recent videos at vimeo. About the last 10 are done with the Anafi. (vimeo.com/boege)
 

Krusty Geeza

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By Vimeo having converted the video, Vimeo reduces the size to a level of only a few pecent of the original, c substancial losses in quality.
That's not actually the case! What you upload is pretty close to exactly the same, unless you choose to watch it under automatic settings & then it might deliver a lower quality version to you, but if you click 4K, you will view it at extremely close to what was uploaded, unlike YouTube that applies some fairly heavy colour, sharpening & noise reduction algorithms to everything uploaded there.

Using this video of yours as an example, it is visible on your video, which is not available in 4K, but rather 1080p as the highest option. Just within the first 15 seconds it is evident on the waves, with lots of random patches going soft in focus, losing the crisp edges to them & is easily noticeable in the sky too with colour differences & the dirty plastic screen effect. There are also some weird roughly 1 second apart pixelated pulses doing something to the upper sections of your video in places!

I think it is a limitation of electronic image stabilisation on the horizontal axis of the Anafi gimbal/camera setup; after some research into the effects of that earlier on today when somebody mentioned this as their thought about it.
 

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@Krusty Geeza
Well I think I'm content with much less than you. If I watch the Island Xpress video, it's ok for me, but not looking into the pixels.
The wave edges with their foam crowns are sharp, I see a lot of details in the small waves. As an amateur I don't know the "colour differences & dirty plastic screen effect", so I cannot judge the video regarding this point.
We had many discussions in the past on the horizontal stabilization of Anafi. But I don't find anything obvious in this video pointing to this theme.
Could you explain in a simple way what you are missing!?
 
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Krusty Geeza

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Could you explain in a simple way what you are missing!?
Clarity at 4K quality across the scene when moving slowly, just as is seen with still frames captured as DNG's. At the moment it's basically equivalent to filming with my iPhone 8 Plus in 4K. I don't expect professional results like from a Blackmagic Micro Cinema Camera, but do expect it to be better than my mobile phone used in my handheld gimbal, mind you, that has a 3 way motorised gimbal & the EIS of the mobile, so maybe that's slightly unfair...
 

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On the Blackmagic Micro Cinema Camera page it mentions:
The built in recorder captures true 12-bit log digital film quality images without the artifacts you get on heavily compressed 8-bit H.264 files used on small consumer action and DSLR cameras.

According to my American Pro. Video friend, this is a huge part of what I am seeing, but not everybody does! Which is why it's acceptable for most people. Sort of like listening to a 320K mp3 vs an uncompressed CD, not everybody notices the difference & there's nothing wrong with that.

He has suggested this little camera to me for when I upgrade later on, to be added to a drone with a redundant motor & battery system. The great part about it is that it uses the micro four thirds mount, so there is a huge range of lenses that can work with it & even though it's only capturing at 1080p, I'll have better quality imagery than I can achieve now.
 

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I also find it hard to see what you see Alex. If I could see something abnormal, I think it is necessary to see the raw material directly from the camera before it has been re-encoded several times !!!

I added a link to some of the recordings I made last week, testing my new Anafi2. Can you see some strange errors in these recordings?

I also have to say that they are made without ND filters in Auto mode in the NAT position.

And don't let me fly like I do if you don't know what you're doing. Others may say: Don't do what you see at home. ?

You must of course download the files and not see them in the viewer on Dropbox. All 4 clips are 12.3 GB in size.

Hmm, it seems that Dropbox doesn't like the amount of traffic on my account. Therefore, I have moved the files to Google drives instead. Then we have to see what they say !!! ?


Regards, Leif.
 
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Dirk_ANAFI

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Clarity at 4K quality across the scene when moving slowly, just as is seen with still frames captured as DNG's. At the moment it's basically equivalent to filming with my iPhone 8 Plus in 4K. I don't expect professional results like from a Blackmagic Micro Cinema Camera, but do expect it to be better than my mobile phone used in my handheld gimbal, mind you, that has a 3 way motorised gimbal & the EIS of the mobile, so maybe that's slightly unfair...
Anafi uses an older smartphone camera chip Sony IMX230. So why do you expect better results as from your iPhone 8?
 

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I too think the noise / image quality loss in the shadows when panning is pretty obvious, but for a $800 (AUD) drone I think the anafi does a decent job. Dynamic range is important to me and has me interested in the Phantom 4 Pro... but will need to be using my anafi a lot more before I go for an upgrade, I still see the anafi being a great portable solution....

@Krusty Geeza surely the black magic cameras weigh a fair bit, would need a big drone to support such a camera
 

Krusty Geeza

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I also find it hard to see what you see Alex. If I should be able to see something abnormal, I think it is necessary to see the raw material direct from the camera before it has been recoded several times !!!

I have added a link to some of the recordings I made last week where I tested my new Anafi2. Can you see some strange errors in those recordings ?

I should also say they are made without ND filters on Auto mode in the NAT position.

And please don't fly as I do, if you don't know what you're doing. Others might perhaps say: Don't do what you see at home. ?

You should of course download the files and not see them in the viewer on Dropbox. All 4 clips are 12.3 GB in size.


Regards, Leif.
Leif, I will download them & take a look this morning.

Anafi uses an older smartphone camera chip Sony IMX230. So why do you expect better results as from your iPhone 8?
Simple, advances in time since then with much better algorithms available for treating the captured data & that the Anafi was supposedly designed for cinematographers as a high focus, as is claimed in a lot of the marketing material.

I too think the noise / image quality loss in the shadows when panning is pretty obvious, but for a $800 (AUD) drone I think the anafi does a decent job. Dynamic range is important to me and has me interested in the Phantom 4 Pro... but will need to be using my anafi a lot more before I go for an upgrade, I still see the anafi being a great portable solution....

@Krusty Geeza surely the black magic cameras weigh a fair bit, would need a big drone to support such a camera
Mine cost me AU $999 for the base model. I have never seen it for AU $800 & I did a lot of searching online for the cheapest price at the time of purchase. It's retailing for AU $1,099 still.

I understand much better the limitations of it now & will just have to work within those confines as it is where all my available funds were invested for this purpose.

I think the quality of its captures are quite good when used really slowly & with no turning. Looks like I'll have to focus on lots of quick snatches in my video production, like the cleverly put together one inside the Museum. Lots of tiny, short clips, so you don't get to notice this sort of effect that I see.

Oh yeah, that will involve a seriously bigger drone, but the beauty of going up substantially in size is the ability to construct something purpose built. Think carbon fibre, 2 batteries & 6 or 8 motors with redundancy features built in so that if a motor or battery craps itself the thing will still stay in the air & be controllable. This will also legally allow us the ability to fly over crowds in conjunction with full licensing. The ability to program in flights & use follow me will be the only missing factors, but, they are not needed for capturing community events as a voluntary extension of my Mindful Photography groups Happy Helper service, where the participants get to assist local community events & groups by capturing them voluntarily. I have played with Follow Me & Mapped Flights, but do I really use it as a part of my Krusty Geeza explorations of decrepitude? Nope!
 
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