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PRO Settings are key to good video quality.

So you got your new DJI Osmo Action 4 to capture your adventures or mountain bike rides. It’s one of (if not) the best action cameras out right now. So it’s only fair if you want to squeeze out every bit of performance using good settings!

It can get tricky to find your way around the menu and pick the best settings for you. Don’t worry I’ve got you covered!

I’ve been filming 40+ downhill mountain biking POV videos with the Osmo Action 4, using various accessories, testing its features and trying out different settings.

If you don’t want to mess around too much, here are easy, set-and-forget settings:

Point-and-Shoot Settings

  • Resolution: 4K
  • Framerate: 30 FPS
  • Stabilization: Rocksteady
  • PRO Settings: Off
  • FOV: Wide or Ultrawide (personal preference)
  • EIS Priority: On
  • Sharpness: -1
  • Noise Reduction: 0
  • Low-Light Image Enhance: On
  • and just point and shoot.
MTB POV footage using these automatic set-and-forget settings

Only a slight color grade is added here using a simple free LUT I created for MTB.

To be honest, for the first time ever using an action camera, I believe the OA4’s automatic settings will lead to good-looking footage! The color reproduction is great, white balance is accurate and stabilization works even in low light.

These will work well in any lighting condition, keeping footage stable and colors popping straight out of the camera without any editing required.

For anyone looking to fine-tune their look or even edit and color grade their footage, I’ve got some different PRO settings for you.

Recommended Cinematic Settings

  • Resolution: 4K
  • Framerate: 30 FPS
  • Stabilization: (regular) Rocksteady
  • PRO Settings: On
  • Exposure: Auto
    • Shutter: 1/400 – 1/8000
    • ISO: 100 – 1600
    • EV: -0.3
  • White Balance: 5500K
  • Color: Normal (or D-Log M for color grading)
  • Field of view (FOV): Wide or Ultrawide
  • Image Adjustments:
    • Sharpness: -1
    • Noise Reduction: 0
  • Low-Light Image Enhance: Auto (only available in Normal Colors and Wide)
  • Audio:
  • Channel: Stereo
  • Wind-noise reduction: Off
MTB POV footage using these cinematic settings

There’s lots of color correction and grading added, taking advantage of the new D-Log M color profile.

These are the exact ones I use for the Suspension Traveler Youtube channel. They will work in difficult, changing lighting conditions going in and out of tree cover.

Find my current camera setup here. In this resource, I list all gear I use to make quality MTB POV videos.

Using these semi-manual settings, the camera will only adjust the shutter speed and ISO automatically within the ranges you set. Everything else is in your control and will repeatedly lead to amazing video quality!

Feel free to change some things around to find your style. Here are some pointers:

  • Colors: Both Normal and D-Log M provide 10-bit color depth. Only use D-Log if you plan on color grading as it does look bland otherwise.
  • FOV: Ultrawide is one of the best, immersive FOVs around currently. But it does come at a cost with stabilization. Turn to Wide for amazingly stable footage.
  • ISO: You may find that ISO 800 or even 400 looks even better as it prevents the camera from going too bright, resulting in deep, saturated footage. For overcast days or dark forests, 3200 might be the way to go.
  • Noise Reduction is on all the time if you set it. So only use this when specifically shooting in low-light. Otherwise, your footage will get soft and mushy needlessly.
  • Wind-noise reduction can make the audio sound overly processed. The camera does switch off the front-facing microphones by itself when the wind gets too loud which is enough to get good audio. Try out a windsock (“Windslayer“) or piece of foam if you want to cut out wind noise even more.

For low-light situations or at night, a few tweaks are necessary to get optimized settings. There’s a full article dedicated to filming with the DJI Osmo Action 4 in low-light.

For the true geeks of you, let’s go even further down the rabbit hole and have a look at ND filters.

Forest Fade LUT by Suspension Traveler

Color Grading for Action Cam Videos

Make your POV footage pop with custom color grades!
Download my FREE LUT specifically for MTB videos:

Settings to use with ND Filters

Quick disclaimer: What are ND filters and what do they do?
They’re basically sunglasses for your camera, reducing the overall light exposure. This allows lower shutter speeds without overexposure. And a slow shutter results in natural motion blur.
ND filters DO NOT change colors, increase contrast or increase saturation.

In other words: If you want awesome, cinematic motion blur, you need to have a fixed, slow shutter speed. And ND filters allow you to do that without making everything too bright.

The only problem with action cameras is that you probably need them to stabilize. And their electronic image stabilization needs crisp (not blurred) frames. Bummer.

No worries tho! I found specific shutter speeds that allow both motion blur and stabilization at the same time:

  • Use the exact cinematic PRO settings listed above with specific exposure settings
  • Exposure: Manual
  • EV: -0.3
  • Shutter and ISO:
    • Stabilize anything: Shutter 1/320 and ISO max 1600 with ND4 or ND8.
    • Sweet spot: 1/240 and ISO max 1600 with ND4 or ND8.
    • Smooth rides: Shutter 1/120 and ISO max 800 with ND8.
    • Smooth rides and helmet mount: 1/60 and ISO max 400 with ND8.

MTB POV footage with high-speed effect by using an ND filter.

These settings will keep stabilization working well but ND filters limit usability in low light. You’ll need the manual exposure control here to keep the shutter speed at a fixed value – which is the whole point of using an ND filter.

By the way, I got the DJI Osmo Action ND filter set. But I’m only using the ND8 for MTB videos. Anything higher just gets too dark. Other brands even have an ND4 included like the Skyreat ND Filter set, they’re not swapped as easily tho.

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Getting more widely used but still mysterious: ND filter for action cams.
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5 full custom setting presets can be saved and cycled through using the mode button.

How to use the “PRO settings”

Unlock PRO settings

In order to gain access to the full list of settings, you need to activate PRO settings.

  1. Simply access the camera setting menu on the right of the screen.
  2. And on the top right of that menu, you see the toggle for “PRO” settings.
  3. It’s activated when it’s yellow instead of black.

You immediately see additional settings added when it’s on. The detailed video settings are accessed through the menu on the right side. See the pictures below for reference.

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Access the recording setting menu from the right
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Activate PRO options at the top right.

How to set shutter speed range

Now in the exposure settings that are showing up in these PRO settings, you can choose between Manual and Auto exposure. Only in Auto you can select a shutter speed range.

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Simply open the menu and tap on the yellow Shutter option in the top left. Now you can set a limit to the slowest shutter the camera can fall back to when in low-light scenarios.

By setting the minimum to 1/400 you can guarantee that the camera can always stabilize the footage, even when it gets dark. It will max out the ISO when the shutter can’t get any slower.


So, there you have it. That’s how you get settings that reliably record cinematic footage that looks more like what you experience through your own eyes. Read on for a deep dive into what each setting does.

DJI Osmo Action 4 Settings Explained

Resolution

I’m sure you know this one: total pixel count. But there’s more to it in an action cam!

The way stabilization works is through software. The camera actually crops into the frame a little bit to be able to seemingly “remove” movement from the picture.

That also means the real captured resolution of the final video is usually a little lower. That’s why 1080p will look blurry and a minimum of 2.7K is recommended.

Look across the mountain trail into the opposing mountain range in crips 4K resolution, 30 frames per second and 1/120 shutter.

Framerate

This is what produces the true-to-life look by creating some natural motion blur.

60fps looks unnatural and sometimes even jarring as it doesn’t mimic what you would see through your own eyes. It’s also a big reason why footage LOOKS slow. Framerates of 24, 25, and 30 are a big part of what makes video footage cinematic.

For POV shots I believe 30 FPS works best as 24p can look stuttery. But it’s all personal preference!

At regular watch speeds, there is no tangible difference between slow-mo framerates of 60 and 480 fps. High FPS is completely unnecessary for MTB, tho your SD card may disagree as it fills up much quicker.

Rocksteady Image stabilization (RS)

On a bike, it’s critical to use any one stabilization option, preferably the RockSteady or even Rocksteady+

You may find that RS+ gets too narrow. I personally stick with the regular RS. It works incredibly well as is. And if the occasional bump gets through, it only adds to the immersion.

Horizon leveling mimics a gimbal that’s keeping the camera level. I don’t recommend it for biking POV, because the FOV gets way to narrow. It’s a cool effect tho, especially doing a follow-cam where the subject is in front like in the example video at the top.

Caution: Horizon Leveling crops into the frame dramatically to be able to keep the image leveled by software processing. This means the FOV is locked at “Dewarp”.

So, stabilization and FOV work very closely together.

Field of view (FOV)

A wider FOV can help with a couple of effects: the sense of speed, showing steepness and capturing reference points the viewer can identify with like handlebar, hands and bike frame as well as the trail ahead.

The wider the FOV, the more of that is in the picture.

This clip was recorded with a chest mount and the Ultrawide FOV setting.
Notice that a lot of the bike frame and even my helmet can be seen from this perspective.

The Osmo Action 4’s 155-degree FOV is arguably the widest right now (apart from 360° cams) and creates incredibly intense footage without an overly distorted look (looking at you, GoPro Hyperview!).

White Balance (WB)

WB is basically the overall color temperature ranging from red to blue – think summer sunset to overcast day. It’s measured in Kelvin. And it’s a big factor in how colors look in a video.

In the past, when left on automatic, the camera would constantly color correct. With the new Osmo Action 4, that changed and manual white balance is not as much of a game changer as it used to be.

Deep dive into how cameras see color & light temperature

So, it’s up to you if you leave it on auto, or set it yourself. Either way, it’s a set-and-forget option. Why? Because this is an outdoor camera. And sunlight has a color temperature of about 5500 Kelvin.

Exposure Value (EV)

Exposure Value is a measurement of how a scene is “exposed” or how well it’s lit. The camera is usually trying to aim for an EV of 0, meaning it’s well-exposed.

It’s doing that by adjusting the two options it has for exposure control: shutter speed and ISO. Action cams usually have a fixed aperture, so they can’t adjust that.

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Especially outdoors, it struggles in some situations like patchy lighting in a forest or lots of bright, white snow in winter. Overexposure is usually the most common problem for MTB, so an EV of -0.3 can be quite helpful.

It means you’re telling the camera it should make everything a bit darker than it overwise would, preventing overexposure.

Shutter

Shutter speed determines how long the shutter is open and your camera’s sensor is exposed to light. A faster shutter speed lets in less light, and a slower shutter speed lets in more light. The longer it’s open, the more blurry each frame gets when there’s movement.

The new feature of being able to set a shutter speed range is a big deal for the OA4! It allows you to precisely set the limit while the camera can still adjust to changing lighting conditions.

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This means even in dark areas, your footage will be guaranteed to be stabilized even tho the camera is in control of the shutter.

ISO

ISO determines the light sensitivity of the camera’s sensor. The higher the ISO number, the more sensitive the sensor is and the brighter the image gets. But more isn’t always better as high ISO also leads to grainy, blurry, desaturated footage.

So, a limit on the maximum ISO is a good idea! Especially in combination with a minimum shutter.

Same clip as above. Shutter and ISO limits are what allowed me to get this darker, moody look in the first place.

That way you’ll limit the negative effects that occur in low light. Additionally, you’ll keep darker areas realistically dark and don’t make them bright and mushy.

ISO 800 is usually enough for outdoor stuff. And even if it isn’t your video won’t be ruined since you set your minimum shutter. ISO 1600 will be enough for pretty much anything, but it also brightens up dark areas a lot. So it’s a personal preference.

Color Profiles

Nothing is inherently wrong with the “Normal” color profile, which sports the popping colors you’d expect from an action cam. If this saturated and high-contrast style is something you like, is completely subjective. On the OA4 I’d say it looks pretty realistic and well-balanced too. Plus, it’s now in 10-bit colors!

That being said, those saturated colors just limit the options for post-production color corrections and custom color profiles to really make the edit your own. If you like playing around creatively in an editing suite, D-Log M is perfect for you as it provides more freedom for creative exploration.

Forest Fade LUT by Suspension Traveler

Color Grading for Action Cam Videos

Make your POV footage pop with custom color grades!
Download my FREE LUT specifically for MTB videos:

Sharpness

Sharpness is a processing effect that’s applied on top of footage. It will not increase resolution or bitrate. Instead, the sharpening effect will be applied in real time and is baked into your footage.

If that look is something you like or not, is up to you. But keep in mind, that you can’t remove it and high sharpness may look unnatural or even jarring to watch. It can also introduce weird visual glitches on gravel, leaves and grass.

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Noise Reduction

Denoise or noise reduction refers to a processing effect to reduce or remove “noise” or grain resulting from high ISO in low-light situations. Overall it makes the image softer (the opposite of sharpness).

Beware: This effect will be applied at all times, when this setting is enabled! Leave on Low unless specifically shooting in low-light scenarios.

Low-Light Image Enhance

LLIE is DJI’s own algorithm to automatically detect low-light scenes and apply processing effects to reduce noise and grain. Use this instead of the global Noise Reduction setting to only have these effects when necessary.

Only available in Normal color profile and up to Wide FOV.

10-Bit Colors

10-bit color offers a significantly higher color depth than 8-bit color (1 billion vs 16.7 million colors), resulting in smoother gradients and more detailed color nuances. This is particularly noticeable on high-quality displays and when color grading.

Both color profiles “Normal” and “D-Log M” now support 10-bit so it doesn’t have to be enabled manually.

Audio Channel

Set the number of audio channels the video clips export with: Stereo or Mono.

Wind Noise Reduction

Again, this is a post processing effect coupled with front microphones being turned very low or off. The processing can sound unnatural and distorted. For extreme wind noises it can be beneficial.

But otherwise, turning it off is more than sufficient as the camera does switch to the bottom, wind-protected mic anyway when wind gets too loud.


Battery saving tips

While the Osmo Action 4 has incredible battery life, there are some small tweaks to get even more juice out of each squeeze (battery)!

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Battery life is crucial for outdoor adventure gear. And DJI has got you covered with the best solution.

Screen off when recording

This should be as soon as possible on a mountain bike. While riding you’ll never even see the screen. So there is no use in leaving the screen on and wasting battery charge. Turn this option to 3 seconds for increased battery life.

Auto Power Off

Kind of self-explanatory. How long it takes from your last input to when the camera turns itself off. 30 seconds to 1 minute is usually a got period.

Especially useful in combination with the quick-record feature!

Snapshot

Don’t let yourself get held back by waiting for the camera to record. One-press-record is extremely helpful for capturing snapshot moments.

As a bonus, it also turns off immediately after stopping recording.

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Screen brightness

Everyone knows that big, bright displays are the number one power consumer on devices. There’s no harm in turning it down, even on bright days. 30% – 50% brightness is usually enough and will save you precious battery!

Single Screen Preview (Screen off when locked)

Complicated name, simple feature: When this is on, whatever screen is not being used, is turned off. For POV stuff, this means the front screen, and for vlogging the back screen is off – saving battery life whenever the camera is on.

Voice control

This one’s quite power-hungry, as the camera has to be listening for audio queues at all times. Turn it off whenever possible.


Bonus tips and tricks

Naming management

A neat little quality-of-life feature that allows you to name files and folders in advance. Very helpful when on multi-day trips where you want to save different locations in different folders. Or have files named in a specific way within a folder.

3×3 grid

Don’t be sleeping on this one! This underrated overlay is perfect not only to align the adhesive mounts on a helmet but also to find the perfect camera angle that captures the trail not just your front wheel. Find the picture below for how this looks on-screen.

Ideally, the trail and horizon should meet somewhere near the center or even on the top horizontal line. With the handlebars in the lower third, it makes the footage enjoyable and inviting to watch as the viewer can look ahead on the trail and also get a feel of how the bike’s handling.

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Using the DJI Mimo App to take a screenshot of the live view feature.

Overexposure warning

This helps with optimizing the parameters of your manual settings. Overexposed areas are marked by zebra stripes.

There is no way to save overexposed footage (as I showed you above), but slightly underexposed one by brightening it up in editing software. The white, detail-less overexposed areas will stay detail-less. Darker details can be brought forward.

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The switch to vertical mode is extremely easy.

Orientation lock: off

This auto-detect works so well that there is no reason to turn it off. Also recommended for easy swapping between helmet, chest mount, and vertical mode.

Fullscreen: off

This has nothing to do with the recording format, only what’s displayed on the touch-screen finder. Both a 4:3 and 16:9 format will get cropped to fit “fullscreen” on the square screen.

Leave it off to be able to see the actual frame you’re actually recording including the peripheral space on either side, where you can look forward into corners or see the rider’s arms and handlebars. Those sections of the frame are crucial for MTB.


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