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  • Charlotte Chapple

So I Bought a DJI Osmo Pocket…

Updated: Aug 13, 2020

In recent months, I have been thinking of expanding my camera equipment and maybe buying some new lenses for my Canon. Luckily, when in University I have access to some amazing lenses through an AV Loans Booking System, where I can book to take out equipment from the Universities Audio-visual (AV) library. This is great whilst in University, but once back home I do not have access to equipment due to it being it Leicester, and myself being in North Wales.

As a Photographer and Videographer, I love to produce both still and moving image work, though I have to admit by moving image work is not as abundant as my stills and this is an area in which I really wish to improve. So combine a want to develop my own equipment library, and a will to develop my videography work, enter the DJI Osmo Pocket. When I recently saw a lecturer use this device on a trip to New York, I immediately realized this highly compact gimbal camera might just be a game-changer. A couple of months later and after weighing up alternatives such as a GoPro, I ordered my very own Osmo Pocket, and oh boy was I excited!

There are many reasons I ordered a Osmo Pocket, mainly because it has an amazing 3-axis stabilization, it is super easy to use & insanely portable and for such a small piece of equipment, can produce 4k video at 60fps, 120fps slow motion at 1080ps and 12MP still photo. The Osmo Pocket truly is tiny considering the fact that it has a mechanical electronically controlled gimbal built in. It weighs an astonishing 116g and it’s form of 12 × 3.7 × 2.8 cm makes it easy to stash in a pocket or handbag. It also has many intelligent shooting modes which I will get to in a bit.

Although many claim that it falls within the action camera category due to its small size, I believe it should come under a category of its own. Being a gimbal equipped camera, the Osmo Pocket is instead a camera designed to capture a cinematic view of the world around us as opposed to an action camera designed for filming things as seen from various perspectives. Whilst, I am sure with some practice it could be used as an action camera, the style of videography I wish to produce with it is more down the cinematic route.

So what comes with the Osmo Pocket?

The Osmo Pocket comes with a nice case that allows quick access and also the possibility to charge the camera while it sits within. A removable wrist strap and a USB-C charging cable are also included. There are also two connectors for both Android phones that use USB-C and IPhones that use a Lightning connector. The adapter can be installed with the tip facing inward (facing to the right) when not in use. 

Gimbal Modes

FPV (First Person View) mode essentially follows the direction you point at. The three axes are not locked and the gimbal provides more relaxed stabilization. It attempts to follow the direction and angle you are pointing at. If you are tilting the camera, it will stay tilted as well, while attempting to stabilize the footage. FPV mode offers you an immersive perspective.

Follow Mode follows your movements and the direction it is pointed at. However unlike FPV mode, the camera stays level and stabilized while shifting slowly to point at the general direction you are aimed at. This is used mainly to record moving subjects. If you tap on a person, the Osmo will identify the face and enter FaceTrack which intelligently follows the subjects face. If an object is selected it will enter ActiveTrack and follow the object, remaining focused.

Tilt -Lock mode locks the gimbal tilt and the direction the gimbal is pointing at. Even if you sway the gimbal from side to side or up and down, the gimbal camera will still face the front direction. This mode is perfect for recording forward and backward motions, such as jogging or walking scenarios, ensuring that the basic composition stays the same.

Shooting modes

There are various shooting modes available on the Osmo Pocket. These are Photo, Video, Slo-mo, Timelapse (and Motionlapse) and Pano.

Based on features alone, this is clearly a camera for those interested in shooting video. But there are notable features for still photography as well. The camera has a fixed lens of about 26mm (35mm format equivalent) and a fast f/2.0 aperture.

Video on the other hand is limited to either 1080p, 2.7k (16:9) or 4k (16:9) options on the Osmo Pocket. You can also set the framerate at either 24, 25, 30, 50 or 60fps.

Slow-Mo is available at 4x slow-mo and only at 1080p there are no other frame rate options.

D-CLike is another option that is available once Pro mode is selected from the settings. Using Cinelike-D colour profiles is similar to using log and gives a “flatter” colour and contrast profile. That is, with low levels of saturation and contrast while still retaining the important data of your subject. The resulting footage is much better for colour grading on a computer as it retains a lot more information. This setting is very handy for me as it will help create a more cinematic feel to my footage. Shooting in a flat color profile such as this gives you more freedom in your edits. As I wish to develop my video skills, this will also help me learn and develop skills in colour grading to change the look and feel of my video.

Timelapse and specifically Motionlapse and Hyperlapse are highly rated on the Osmo Pocket. Although there are mobile phone apps that can do timelapse sequences these days, they are stagnant sequences. A motionlapse however adds movement to the timelapse by moving the camera in increments before taking each shot. This creates a more cinematic feel to the timelapse allowing for nice reveal shots or tracking of a slow moving subject. Setup is easy. Use the touch screen to choose the delay between shots and the recording time, then put the camera in place and manually turn the lens point the camera to the starting point and tap the screen. Then manually turn it to the end point and tap again. Hit record and the Osmo Pocket does the rest!

Hyperlapse involves the camera moving considerable distances during capture to create complex motion paths and angle changes. Much like a tracking shot where the camera moves along a particular axis, a hyperlapse is essentially time-lapse but with added movement over greater distances. The same basic principle for time-lapse capture applies to hyperlapse: images are taken of a particular subject at regular intervals using a mounted camera. Hyperlapse, on the other hand, involves greater acceleration across longer distances, creating seamless motion paths while the camera continues to capture at regular intervals.

The Pocket creates a 1080p version of the timelapse which can be downloaded to the phone. For those that want 4k clips, individual (jpeg) photos are stored on the SD card at full resolution which you can copy to a computer and stitch via other software.   

Finally there is Pano mode. When selected, the camera turns automatically and takes a series of photos at various angles and then stitches them together. The resulting stitched image can be then viewed within the DJI Mimo app. Within the Pano mode, you can choose from the 180° panoramic option (which merges 3 shots side by side) or the 3×3 option (which takes 9 shots in 3×3 to create a larger image).

DJI Mimo app

When the Osmo Pocket is attached to a mobile phone, the phone can be used as a screen to monitor what you are shooting and control the Pocket. It also allows for “Pro” modes. Pro modes basically offer more manual controls over the standard auto settings, including setting ISO and shutter speeds. The DJI Mimo app (Android and iOS) is used to interface with the Osmo Pocket. This interface is easy to interact with and navigate and the expanded screen can be incredibly helpful when taken long distance shots with small subjects.

Final Thoughts

Whilst I am still getting to grips with the settings and many modes the Osmo Pocket has available, I can safely say this tiny gadget is a much welcome addition to my equipment. It might not be the most advanced camera in terms of sensor size or dynamic range, but the DJI Osmo Pocket is an exceptional device. The fact that you can get super stabilized 4K footage from a camera that fits in your pocket and can be hidden in the palm of your hand is proof of how much technology has advanced. While it won’t easily replace traditional cameras and DSLRs, the DJI Osmo Pocket looks like a camera from our most futuristic dreams. 

For me, the DJI Osmo Pocket found new motivation in me to just go out and film, experiment and practice. I am still developing my moving image work, and to do that I need practice. Having a tiny camera in my pocket helped me also to shoot more videos and I felt so much freedom using it. It is so quick and easy that if i get a sudden burst of motivation to film, I can just grab the Osmo and go.

As I continue to practice with the Osmo and develop my video editing, I plan on sharing my experience and growth with you, so please stay tuned and keep an eye out on my YouTube channel (@cac-chapple photography) where I will post my work.

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