From using the DJI Mavic Pro as a handheld gimbal to creating an inception style photograph, here’s a quick two-minute video by Youtuber WuzzupAllen showing five DJI Mavic tips. Most of these “hacks” can be done on nearly any drone, but the video was created specifically for the DJI Mavic.
The Hollywood movie Inception showed scenes of a city bending towards itself like it was on a wave, and that’s where “Dronception” got its inspiration from. An Inception style photograph is created from multiple drone images shot from different angles and heights while fixed on one target. Photoshop is required to merge the images together. A detailed tutorial can be found in WuzzupAllen’s other YouTube video for DJI Mavic tips.
Sky Light Painting
By using long exposure photography and lights strapped onto a drone, sky light painting is possible! Change the settings to manual and drop the ISO as low as it can go to minimize noise levels. Then adjust the shutter speed and aperture according to the lighting conditions. Ideally, a 1” shutter speed on something like a DJI Phantom 4 Pro is enough to produce those wanted light streaks in a photo, but mess around with the shutter speed accordingly. Just make sure to be as still as possible. If wind is a problem, then ground the drone and shoot with the gimbal tilted towards the subject. As for the drone lights, be creative and fly around to make unique patterns. The sky is literally the limit for this type of photography.
This trick might be useful for someone looking for a quick range extender. Folded tin foil can be used to help amplify a drone’s RC signal, but these types of mods can be purchased for around $10 on sites like eBay or Amazon. The pro to this tin foil range extender is that the materials are usually found in nearly every house.
There are aftermarket products to convert a DJI Mavic into a handheld gimbal, but a large, foldable tripod like the ones from Joby can also be used to make a drone into a handheld, stabilized video camera. Just wrap a large tripod around the Mavic, use a phone as the viewfinder, place the phone on the tripod and use one of the tripod legs as a handle. This can be useful for someone who already has a capable tripod lying around.
The Dolly Zoom or Veritigo Effect was used in movies like Jaws to focus on a subject while the background appears to be closing in. This zoom-like effect can be applied to nearly any straight flying drone video footage. Here’s We Talk UAV’s tutorial on how to create the Dolly Zoom in Premiere Pro. It can also be done in Vegas Pro and other video editing softwares.
DJI Mavic Tips
These tips and tricks can help create unique drone footage, but settings need to be adjusted for each specific situation. It may be illegal to fly at night in certain cities, so make sure to check the local laws. Always remember to fly safe and have fun!