Neutral Density filters, commonly referred to as ND filters, are essentially sunglasses for the lens of your drone.
The idea of an ND filter is to partially block some of the light entering the lens and hitting the sensor. Some of you may be thinking:
Why would I want to do this?
Surely you can just turn the shutter speed up?
Or just close the aperture?
The reason we want to partially stop light hitting the sensor is that when we shoot video we want to lock off out Aperture, ISO and Shutter Speed.
Firstly, you'll always want to lock your shutter speed off at 2 x the frame rate. So if you are shooting 25 fps (Frames per second), you'll want to lock the shutter speed at 1/50. When the shutter speed is set to 2x the frame rate, this gives the optimal amount of motion blur in video that most audiences now expect to see, and will look the most 'cinematic'.
Secondly, for the ISO you'll want to keep this as low as possible as by having a high ISO it can introduce 'noise' into the image that can look distracting when played back.
Lastly, when shooting with your drone you'll want to have an f-stop range of around f5-f8 to get the best quality footage before you'll get lens diffraction by having too narrow an aperture, or a shallow depth of field with a wide aperture.
So if we wanted to shoot at Shutter 1/50, ISO 100 and f8 on a sunny day, it's more than likely that your footage will be overexposed, so the way to combat this is with a set of ND filters.
ND filters come in a variety of factors, whereby the higher the factor the more light it blocks (kind of like sun-lotion!). ND filters usually come in a range of ND4 through to ND1000 (and more!).
What are the best ND Filters for Drones?
There are a variety of brands on the market, each having their own merits and benefits. When it comes to ND filters for drones such as the DJI Mavic 2, we highly recommend Polar Pro for their quality and performance.
Polar Pro do a series of ND filters and have a fantastic Cinema Series Collection that includes 3 variations from ND4 through to ND16, with and without polarisers.
Alternatively, You could also purchase the DJI Mavic 2 ND Filters.
If you want to shoot professional video footage you are going to need to invest in a set of ND Filters so you can expose manually and correctly.
Shooting in Auto is the first and most obvious sign of amateur footage so cut that cord and start to shoot like a PRO!