Over Christmas I treated myself to a new camera – the newly released DJI Osmo Pocket. This thing is a wondrously small gimbal mounted camera, that I thought might be really interesting to carry with me on bike rides.
This absolutely isn’t a proper review, since I’ve not had the device long enough. Instead, it’s a few early thoughts.
The thing is tiny. I knew this as everyone said it was tiny, but it really is. Even the box that it comes in is tiny! But it’s size means that you can put it in just about any pocket. Certainly it’d be safe in a cycle jersey pocket.
Yes, phones are great, and more and more of them have optically or digitally stabilised cameras, but you can’t beat mechanical stabilisation with a bit of leeway for shakes. And there’s no real problem taking both this and your phone out with you. Indeed, you can use the two together to get a proper screen Note: This can be important if you want to get your focusing right. Focusing is perhaps the thing you need to most worry about with the camera. A couple of the shots above are definitely a little “soft.”
To really use this phone properly you will need either a USB-C enabled phone like a Google Pixel device, or an Apple iPhone. If your phone uses micro-USB you lose a lot functionality. I suspect that limitation is because different manufacturers have the micro-USB port oriented differently. USB-C and Lightning connectors are reversible, and the adaptor to the device only works if you have the screen facing you.
The device is 4K and can shoot at 60 frames a second, meaning that you can slow it down a bit if needed. But it also has a good slow motion mode, shooting at 120 frames a second in regular 1080 HD. The video above is shot using that 1080 mode.
Usually I edit all my videos in Adobe Premiere Pro CC, but for this I thought I’d try a more portable solution at least to start with.
I shot that video without a phone attached – people barely could see there was a camera there. Then I edited it roughly using Adobe Premiere Rush, Adobe’s new lightweight video editing application. It’s iOS and desktop only at the moment, so I used it on an iPad rather than my Pixel 2 phone.
I did a rough-ish edit on the iPad, but also did some colour grading there too. Then using the Adobe Cloud, I opened the project on a laptop to fine-tune those edits. I’m not sure that Rush is quite there yet for really precise editing – certainly not on a touchscreen interface. Shortening clips can be tricky. On the other hand – you can certainly get something out the door very fast with it.
Incidentally, I seemed to need to open my project it in Rush on a PC before I could open it in Premiere Pro CC on my PC. Theoretically, I shouldn’t have had to do that, but the project failed to open (although a previous project did!).
I ended up finishing up the video in Premiere Pro CC, where I tightened edits some more, added some music, and added a couple of fades (Rush has limited transitions available). Finally, there was a little bit of camera tracking to be done in After Effects to get that text on the wall at the start. Not necessary, but the wall lent itself to it.
While you can edit a 4K video on a phone using something like Rush, I don’t think it’s all that practical. Mostly that’s because of the sizes of video involved. Your phone or tablet will need plenty of free space to work with, and even transferring the files between camera and device is a slow process. If your phone has 128GB or more, then go for it. For short videos anyway. But even a 15 minute video might be difficult to find space for.
Anyway, I might write a fuller review of the Osmo Pocket once I’ve used it for a while. But in general terms, I like it a lot.