Back in late 2016, DJI revolutionized the consumer video drone market with the release of its innovative newcomer – the outstanding Mavic Pro, a brilliantly portable yet highly intelligent drone small enough to carry around in your backpack. While the Mavic Pro is arguably one of the most affordable drones on the market, it is missing a few features from the much more premium-priced Phantom and Inspire series.
Although, just because the Mavic Pro may not have the same capabilities as its older siblings doesn’t mean you can’t get some great cinematic shots out of this innovative device. Here is a video from username Henbu on YouTube that highlights some tips to make your own Mavic Pro footage look more cinematic.
One very effective method to get more cinematic shots from your Mavic Pro is by changing the in-camera look for your image. Firstly, inside of the video settings of the DJI Go App, select D-Log, which is the proprietary log gamma color profile implemented by DJI. The footage may look bland and tasteless at first, but by preserving all of the details in the shadows and highlights, you can season your shots easily, giving you the flexibility to really dial-in the look for your shots.
By default, the footage that comes out of the drone may appear just a little unsharp and a bit too contrasty. To achieve a more cinema-like feel, try setting the Sharpness to +1 and the Contrast to -2. This should help you to achieve a more organic look, which you see in most, if not all major films.
Besides tweaking the image itself, the movement captured in your video can separate an amateur shot from a more professional looking one. Since the gimbal system of the Mavic Pro is not advanced as those in the Phantom or Inspire series, simpler maneuvers are recommended. This includes moving the drone up, down, forward, backward, or side-to-side, rather than doing a combination of moving the drone body and the camera separately. By perfecting simple movements, you reduce the amount of jitter and shake from the shot, mimicking the look of a $5,000 drone with one that is less than $999.
Lastly, doing some minor color grading in post can really add some cinematic aesthetic to your Mavic Pro shots. By increasing the contrast and dropping some of the highlights in the shot, you end up with footage that has more visual appeal than what was originally shot with just the D-Log color profile. If you want to pursue the typical Hollywood visual style, you can try pushing your shadows towards a teal color and moving your mid tones towards an orange color.
These adjustments can be done in most non-linear editors such as Adobe Premiere Pro or Apple’s Final Cut Pro X since the basic tools are the same. Of course, it is important to remember that everything said here is merely advice, not strict rules that must be followed. Feel free to experiment with different coloring techniques, settings, and camera moves to find out what will ultimately help you attain the shots you need.