10 easy drone moves to help you shoot like a pro

Feb 20, 2023

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

10 easy drone moves to help you shoot like a pro

Feb 20, 2023

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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The proliferation of <250g drones from manufacturers like DJI, Autel and others has caused a lot of people to take up the hobby. Whether they want to shoot photos or video, the tech available on the newest tiny drones allows us to shoot things that wouldn’t really have been possible just five or so years ago. And if you’re new to drones, it can be difficult to know where to begin and what to try.

In this video, YouTuber Mattheww Brennan shares 10 of his top drone moves using one particular feature of the DJI Mini 3 Pro, and that’s the “Spotlight” mode. This is a tracking mode that allows you to draw a box around a subject, and then as you fly the drone, the camera automatically keeps track of that subject.

The video begins by explaining how the Spotlight mode works and the benefits it offers over the regular ActiveTrack or POI tracking modes. The short version, though, is that it allows you to pull off some fairly complex looking drone moves using very simple input movements on the controller. This is due to the fact that Spotlight mode is taking care of the rest. For example, if you want to orbit around a subject, all you need to do is move to the right, and the drone automatically turns to keep your subject in the centre.

After this, Mattheww goes into ten different techniques you can use to shoot smooth and impressive looking footage. It’s an interesting set of techniques. Because the drone is doing a lot of the heavy lifting to ensure that the camera always points towards the subject, it frees you up to concentrate on the actual drone moves without having to worry about keeping your subject in the right part of the frame.

While the video is based on a specific feature of the DJI Mini 3 Pro, other drones offer similar capabilities. The Autel Evo Nano (review here), for example, now also has tracking functions that offer a similar capability to that of DJI’s Spotlight feature. They’re not quite the same, so there are going to be some differences in technique and which shots you can pull off, but you’ll definitely be able to do some of these.

[via Fstoppers]

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John Aldred

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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