The DJI Mavic series of drones are fantastic for capturing stunning aerial footage for your films, travel vlogs, corporate videos or broadcast. Affordable, lightweight and easy to fly thanks to the excellent in-built software and intuitive controller.
They are ready to fly right out the box but here are a few suggestions from Tom at Tom Tech Time, one of my favorite YouTube channels, to get the most from your Mavic.
These tips apply equally to the Mavic Pro and Mavic Zoom and indeed to any drone on the market in this category of light-weight, built-in camera drones.
Transporting your drone safely is sensible and, fortunately, hard-cases with specially cut-out foam inserts are widely available and not too expensive. They are also a good way to store your drone if you won’t be using it for a while. They will give you good protection from bumps and drops and keep your drone dry if the rain starts.
I would say that a set of ND filters are absolutely vital for drone filming or photography. DJI sell their own brand on their website but other brands are available with Polar Pro being a high-quality option. They act essentially as sunglasses for your camera but allow you to set your shutter speed at twice your frame rate and therefore achieve a pleasing motion blur in your footage. Increasing your shutter speed to find correct exposure will make your footage look amateurish.
This is a rather expensive upgrade but if you buy with your Mavic there is a saving to be made over buying separately. The Smart Controller will give you the same controls but a brighter screen and a quicker set-up time.
OK, I really like Tom’s reviews but I’m not really on-board (if you’ll pardon the pun) with this one. The drone comes with a lovely camera that has full control – do you really need to add another camera on top? Tom describes the extra view this gives you to watch back the footage but c’mon… really?
I do totally agree with this recommendation! Invest in some decent, reliable cards and you will lessen the chance of losing any of your precious footage or having problems recording in the most advanced settings such as 4K video, HRD, high frame rates etc. Cheap, unbranded cards are available but for just a little more you can have a quality card or two in your bag.
This very much depends on where you live but having fingerless gloves is a great idea if you are filming in the cold. There are fancy, expensive ‘photography gloves’ available online but any pair of gloves combined with the momentary application of scissors will usually suffice. Having your fingers free to use touch screens is pretty handy… again, sorry for the puns.
Having a charger in your car is sensible especially if you have a full day out filming. There are plenty available but the DJI branded option on their website is a good choice and not too expensive. Having a few spare batteries is also a really good idea.
I don’t mind the idea of customizing, go wild, pimp your drone however you like, but I’m not really seeing this being a safety measure. Tom suggests that it will make your drone easier to find if you crash it. My suggestion – don’t crash your drone. Always maintain a good line of sight with the drone and finding it really shouldn’t be a problem.
Certainly a good idea if you plan to take your drone on a commercial flight. These are cheap little bags, designed to hold a li-po drone battery, or indeed any extra li-po battery, in your hand luggage. The principle is that they will reduce the risk of any fire associated with the battery. In practice the airlines require them, so best to have a few in your bag rather than lose your extra batteries at the security check area.
There are other nice accessories available for your drone but these are a great start.