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My DJI Mavic Air drone has the ability to shoot video footage in either standard mode or “D-Cinelike”.

Is D-Cinelike just a flatter colour profile with less contrast (to capture more detail in shadows and highlights)? What caveats should one be aware of when shooting in this mode or working with it in post-production?

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“Is D-Cinelike just a flatter colour profile with less contrast (to capture more detail in shadows and highlights)?”

Yes. It's closer to log color rather than linear. The big thing to be aware of in post production is to make sure you grade it to where you want it to be and possibly use their LUT to convert back towards Rec 709 depending on what you are looking for.

If you don't want to have to work on your color, don't shoot D-Cinelike. If you want the best recovery in highlights and more ability to adjust the tone, shoot D-Cinelike and spend the time to apply a color grade to your liking. (D-cinelike isn't so great in shadow unfortunately).

Personally, I always shoot D-log on my Mavic 2 Pro, which is similar in concept to D-Cinelike, though it has better shadow recovery and a bit more balanced, though slightly less cinematic looking without more effort to tweak it, but last I knew, D-log isn't available on the Mavic Air.

If you want to see some good samples, this youtube video seemed like it had relatively good comparisons of the 3.

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Here’s what I have learnt so far about about D-Cinelike:

  • It appears to be a DJI proprietary colour profile used on Osmo and Mavic drones. It is similar to a log profile, which flattens colours for greater dynamic range and flexibility when colour grading, although the range is not as wide as log.

  • Being not as wide as log has pros and cons: compared to log it captures less extremes (bright whites and dark blacks) although you will get more detail in the midrange.

  • Compared to normal mode, it can be a little harder to determine if you're exposed correctly, since the picture looks less natural and “washed out”

  • I found that it’s possible to lower the contrast setting even further (such as down to -3) to get a little wider dynamic range (extra highlights and shadows)

  • I’m not an expert colour grader, but from what I’ve discovered thus far, the best way to grade D-Cinelike footage (as with log) is via S-curves or highlight/shadow adjustments. You can use LUTs but they tend to be preset for particular scenarios and I find they often don’t fit well with my footage.

This YouTube video compares D-Log with D-Cinelike:


(the summary: it depends on your situation)

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