If you couldn’t tell, we’re burning through a series of new features and updates. Last week we dropped the long-awaited Solo flight simulator app (for iOS and Android), and the week before that we released our biggest update yet — Solo 2.0, with multipoint cable cam, Free Look and in-app airspace safety information.
This week’s Solo update is for controlling your GoPro® camera. Now you can adjust your camera’s exposure value (EV) through the Solo app, while you’re flying. To get this new feature, you’ll need to update your Solo app through either the App Store or Google Play. (You don’t need to update your Solo firmware.) We also suggest enabling “auto updates” for your apps, so whenever we release an app update your phone takes care of it for you.
To use EV, open the GoPro control settings menu in the Solo app (it’s next to the record button on your FPV screen; the icon looks like a couple of sliders). Next open the ProTune menu; exposure value is in there.
Exposure determines how bright/dark your video is. GoPro’s exposure is set to “0.0” as the default. Remember that EV compensation is exponential: Set it to +2.0, for example, and your video will be four times brighter. Dropping the exposure just a touch, however, can help draw out some cool contrasts, like the variegated patches of lighter and darker hues of blue in a lake or the ocean. You can monitor the effects of your adjustments in real time using the HD feed.
What exactly is exposure value, and why would I need to adjust it?
When you capture an image, your camera assesses the amount of light in that scene and automatically makes adjustments to keep the exposure even, given how bright or dark the setting is. This is called exposure value compensation, and it ensures your image has the best range of light and dark tones. It’s kind of like a bell curve built around the class average: Sometimes the class average is too high, so scores are dropped; sometimes the average is too low, so scores are raised.
Sometimes, though, you and the camera see things differently. This is when you might want to adjust the EV yourself to ensure your video is lit the way you want it. For very bright scenes (like snow, for instance, or filming the roof of a Walmart at high noon), your camera will automatically adjust EV to bring those brights down. Now your whites will look gray. To compensate for this, boost EV to a positive number (+.5, +1, etc.); for super dark scenes do the opposite, and set EV to a negative number.
Say you’re shooting a white sheep on the beach with sand dunes behind it. The central exposure value of this scene is very, very bright. The GoPro will adjust its bell curve accordingly to make “white” the center value, which tones all that white down to a gray middle point. But you want white. Boost EV and the scene will whiten. (“All of you did so well on that test that I’m overriding the bell curve and leaving your scores high, so you guys can see just how great you all are! I mean, really! Wow! A+!”)
But here comes a black sheep. When you put your camera on it, the camera wants to boost EV to compensate. But not you. You’re a human. You know that in this instance you want contrast. You want a truly black sheep. Knock the EV down a little and you get better contrast. (“You kids really blew it this time. The plane has crashed into the mountain. You don’t even deserve a curve. Look around and notice how very clear the minute differences are between your utterly abysmal grades. I’m calling your parents.”)
Mission: Now that you have control over EV, go out and shoot a video in some challenging light!