Becoming a Better Drone Photographer: Creating a Drone Panorama using Luminar 2018
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Becoming a Better Drone Photographer: Creating an Aerial Panorama using Luminar 2018

In this article, I am going to walk you through the process of creating a panorama from 3 photographs from your DJI Drone using the DNG RAW setting in the Go 4 app. Then I will use Luminar 2018 for processing the RAW files and Affinity Photo for combining them together into the panorama. Finally, I will bring them back into Luminar 2018 to fine tune and export the final Panorama as a JPG.

Download Luminar 2018 here.

DJI Drone Camera Settings

Setup your drone camera in whichever mode you like. See my articles on full auto mode, aperture priority mode, and full manual mode.

Next turn on DNG RAW in the Camera Photo section of the DJI Go 4 app. To do that click on the 3 lines below the shutter button (#1) and then click on the Video/Photo Settings (#2).

Setting up RAW

Next click on the RAW setting in Image Format. Select RAW

 

Now to turn on the gridlines. Having this grid active will make it easier to set the 30-50% overlap for each photograph you take in the panorama. To do that, click on the 3 lines below the shutter button (#1), then click on the gear icon at the top of the pop-up window (#2), scroll down until you find Grid (#3) and click on that.

Set Grid

Then click on the Grid Lines option. Use this grid

 

Creating the Images

This is a 3 photograph vertical panorama. I always start with the top of the panorama and work down. The key is to get a 30-50% overlap between the photographs. Using the grid, find a landmark or object and use that to help you estimate the overlap. See the images below as an example of that overlap. If you are doing a horizontal panorama, you can start at either end and work toward the other end, making sure you have the 30-50% overlap. If you have a specific object you want in the middle of the panorama, then make that your first shot and move out each direction from there. That way you can be sure you have that object in the middle of the panorama. Overlap example

Vertical Pano Top
Vertical Pano Top
Vertical Pano Middle
Vertical Pano Middle
Vertical Pano Bottom
Vertical Pano Bottom

Now you are ready to take the photographs. Start up your drone, get it in the air, and move to the location where you want to shoot the panorama and take your photos. Don’t forget to set your White Balance!

Editing the photos in Luminar 2018 and Combining them in Affinity Photo

In this example, I am using DNG RAW files from my Inspire 2. Watch the video below for how I edited them. You can find the LUTs I use with DJI Drone RAW images in my article here. You can also read about how to set up a custom workspace in Luminar 2018 for working with DJI RAW here. You will notice that I save the intermediate and final photographs as 16-bit tiff files. This format gives me much more flexibility than JPG when it comes to editing/grading the photographs. When I output the final panorama image, I use JPG.

In Conclusion

So that’s the process for creating a panorama using photographs from your drone. You can also do this with JPG files, but you won’t have the latitude that you get with RAW. RAW takes more work, but the results are worth it! Once you are able to a 3-photo panorama successfully, you can explore 180-degree and 360-degree panoramas.

Fly Safe and Have Fun!

You will find Luminar 2018 here.

You will find Affinity Photo for Mac here.

You will find Affinity Photo for Windows here.

DJI Mavic Air at B&H

DJI Mavic Pro at B&H

DJI Phantom 4 Pro at B&H

BJI Inspire 2 at B&H

All Drones at B&H

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