Solstice Sunset

The sunset tonight was too good not to take the drone out and capture it from the air.

This is my first video that I’ve shot with an ND filter, and I have to say that I’m pretty happy with how this turned out. I don’t think I would have been able to point the camera right into the sun and still capture so much detail, or get that nice slow 24 FPS, without the ND filter to cut the light down.

Also, I’m not sure if I’m just picking bad export settings or what, but it seems like every social network (Twitter, Instagram, Facebook) all ruin your video with awful compression. That’s part of my motivation for cross-posting videos here, on my website: I’m not going to take perfectly good video and smash it down to cut bandwidth costs.

For reference, I edited this in Final Cut Pro at 29.97 FPS (which I think is the frame rate Instagram uses) and 1920x1080 resolution, then exported it to H.264 using FCP’s “Master File” setting. The output was a 16 Mbit/s .mov file, around 31 MB large. I tried running the result through Compressor, which did get the filesize down to roughly 9 MB but the quality was noticeably worse, especially in the shadows.

Are there better settings I should be using to avoid the ugly compression after uploading?

Justin Voss

Software Engineer

I spend my days creating software at Apple, and I occassionally write or make videos that I share here.

You can follow me on Twitter, Mastodon, or email me at

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