Matti Haapoja is a Canadian filmmaker who often uses drones in his videos to get different perspectives. DJI and other brands alike give you a platform through their drones to take smooth, high-resolution video, but getting good at flying them can be tough. These companies claim their drones are easy to fly, and while that’s true to a certain extent, there is a tremendous amount of skill involved in using drones effectively. Let’s get into Matti’s 5 tips on how to get better at flying!
1) Start with a beginner drone
His first tip is to buy a cheap drone to get used to flying. He recommends a small Cheerson drone to practice with before buying something that costs you hundreds or thousands of dollars. These small drones are great to fly indoors to get you acclimated to the controls. It’s better that you crash one of these inexpensive drones in the early stages of learning to fly instead of losing something much more expensive!
The truth is, if you can fly a smaller toy drone, you’ll have no problem with some of the larger drones made by a company like DJI. These drones like the Mavic or Phantom hold their altitude by themselves and use a GPS connection to keep them still, even in high winds. Smaller drones require you to always provide stick input to keep the drone in the air, otherwise, it will just fall to the ground.
Putting in a few hours with a cheap drone isn’t a bad idea. If you want to go with the “Ferrari” of toy drones, check out the RYZE Tello. It packs in a ton of features for a cheap price and will help you get ready when its time to upgrade.
2) Know your drone’s settings
The most confusing part of flying a drone is the settings. Throughout all of the different menus, there are hundreds of different options you can choose and change to your liking. In his second tip, Matti recommends that you learn the settings. This will give you a customized experience tailored to how you prefer the drone operate. This is also a good way to troubleshoot your own problems, which can be frequent when you first start.
Knowing the settings is overall an important part of taking your drone flying to the next level. Being able to diagnose your problems in the field by yourself gives you more time in the air and the customization these settings offer will unlock new ways to use your drone. My tip to you is to take an hour out of your day to just flip through the menus and research any questions you have.
Matti’s third tip and the one he claims is most important, is to just practice! He doesn’t think you should worry about getting shots when you just break the drone out of its box for the first time. Just learn the movements of the drone, how it operates, and get to a point where you feel comfortable. This is best done in an open field, so find a park away from people and just fly.
4) Establish flight patterns
After you practice flying… it’s time to practice again! In his fourth tip, Matti suggests you work on shooting techniques like following subjects, orbiting around objects in a circle, and revealing shots up and over the scenery. These might be the hardest to master, but will improve with time. I have been flying for 2 years and still find little ways to make my shots better. It’s just all about the amount of time you put in.
While talking about these different flight patterns, Matti also shared a bonus tip telling viewers to fly low to the ground. I do this myself quite often, which leads to fast-paced, close up shots. This takes quite a bit of guts and skill, because you are closer to obstacles, but the end result is always worth it.
5) Gimbal control
Finally, Matti address’ the gimbal which adds a new dynamic when shooting. Gimbal control when paired with the other flight patterns brings your drone footage to a whole new level, leaving the stagnant “up and down” shots behind.
If you feel that the gimbal is moving too fast, the speed at with the gimbal pitches can be changed within the DJI Go app, assuming you are using a DJI drone. Otherwise, these other big drone manufacturers usually include gimbal controls within the settings portion of the drone’s companion app.
These five tips from Matt Haapoj are perfect for any new drone pilot looking to get good at drone flying! Be sure to check out his YouTube channel for plenty of other filmmaking tips and tricks.
Do you guys have any good tips for new drone flyers? Let us know in the comments below.
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