With the Sep 2015 update from DJI The Phantom 3 professional drone gains new intelligence modes enabling new features. These Phantom 3 pro intelligent modes make this drone a secret weapon for today’s stock footage videographer. In this post I’m going to you review some of the modes and how you could apply them.
Application of all modes
I shot this video in Chiang Mai Thailand and made use of all the intelligent modes and different techniques. In the Buddha scene you will see I did an orbit around the statue 75M in the air. The course lock mode allows you to lock in the orientation of the drone and allowed me to fly away from the mountain temples with the camera facing me. I had the comfort that no matter which way the drone was flying that down on the right stick would bring it back to me. I used waypoints in monk jungle temple scene to carefully map out my route. I would then drop the waypoints along the way. Once I had set my route I could request the drone to fly the mission allowing me to focus on controlling the camera.
Follow me mode
I’ve tested the follow me mode (aka selfie mode) several times.
After several failures trying to fly the Phantom 3 professional drone with an ipad mini 2 I finally had success using the follow me (selfie mode) using the Phantom 3 professional with my friends Samsung Galaxy J7 phone.
I was surprised how easy it is to use someone else’s phone and app with your aircraft. It adopts the settings I had set up on my app like the critical battery warning, but it records the flight records with his app.
In this mode you can set up the drone high up in the air while it follows your remote control. It was helpful to wear a strap (lanyard) to attach the remote control to your neck in case you drop it by accident.
At first we tested it by walking and then I hopped on my friends scooter while I controlled the drone and camera from the back. I found it was easy to keep line of sight from a scooter. You have the ability to control the camera rotate the aircraft while it is in this mode. You can also ajjust the altitude of the aircraft, which you may need to do to clear any obstacles such as trees. This mode has some interesting potential. You need to carry the remote so that is a bit limiting for sports activities. I also wouldn’t recommend not controlling the remote control and let the drone fly itself. You could get some interesting aerial car chase shots while in a car, speedboat (if you’re brave enough), or a motorbike. Try tilting the camera down for a birds eye mode to get some interesting shots.
Point of interest (Orbiting mode)
This mode is really interesting. If you’ve ever scene shots that go around an object or person. You would need to rails or creative footwork to get this shot with an SLR camera. Even with a drone it was tricky to do a perfect circle. With the intelligent mode you can easily set up an orbit with the ability to control the direction, speed, radius, and altitude. You can create interesting shots with anything of interest like a landmark or person that was hard to previously do. The combination of aerial 4k and orbiting movement are sure to create stock footage shots in demand.
This allows you to create a flight route also known as a mission. On the mission you can set virtual markers known as waypoints. These waypoints are collectively used to create a mission. The waypoints record the height and direction of the aircraft. A waypoint mission is useful if you are flying in a challenging airspace with obstacles. You can fly slowly and set up the waypoints for your mission. After you have recorded the mission you can fly your mission at a faster speed. If there is a site you know you’re going to fly at you can record a mission in advance so the next time you fly you could automatically just play the mission.
It took me a while to get my head wrapped around this mode. Basically it allows to fix the direction no matter which way the aircraft is facing. I think Tom’s video does a good job of explaining this. With the course lock on you can do a moving pan shot like in Tom’s video. You can fix the forward direction as North and while the drone as moving past it you can rotate the aircraft WHILE moving forward. This is just one example of how the course lock can be used.
With the new update you have a new arsenal of creative tools for your aerial videos. For the stock videographer you can use these features to create many different angles of an object of interest. Before I felt like I need to fly up high to capture footage, as do many aerial videographers. Now you don’t always need to fly high to capture something special. I think they key is know the creative tools available to you and which situations to use them and to practice them a lot. As a stock footage artist you already had the ability to get new angles using the altitude as well as freedom of movement. With the new features you can now take that creativity to another level.
Gear I used in this video and recommend
This is the gear I used in this video and recommend. These are affiliate links that I get a commission from. Thanks if you decide to click and buy from this link
Phantom 3 Professional
It allows me to film 4k aerial videos and photos. It’s easy to travel with and as a 1st generation flyer I appreciate all the safety and technology improvements it allows. The integrated camera allows me to get great stable videos and photos that I can control from the app on my ipad mini 2.
Phantom 3 Professional battery
The battery gives you 23 advertised minutes of flight time, but in reality with the critical battery warnings you want to bring it down sooner than this. I recommend that once you hit 10% battery you should be coming back to land. If you buy the Phantom 3 pro drone the battery is definitely a smart purchase if you want more flight time. It will save you the hassle of leaving your flight location to find a coffee shop to charge for an hour. Purchase the battery here.
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