Can DJI Avata Fly Backward? (Explained)

You need control over all flight directions to capture fantastic video recordings with a drone, including DJI Avata.

You may need to get your drone out of a place where changing directions is risky, hence the question, can DJI Avata fly backward?

DJI Avata can fly backward in Normal, Sport, and Manual Modes, as well as with the FPV Remote Controller and motion controller with head tracking. To fly backward with Avata is not ideal due to the lack of avoidance sensors and difficulties in controlling the drone.

There are a few more reasons why you should not fly backward with Avata and some tips to consider if you want to do it, so make sure you check out the information we have for you ahead!

Flying DJI Avata backward – What you need to know

DJI Avata is an FPV drone. A standard drone may be able to fly backward with no issues in any direction, but with FPV drones, it’s a bit trickier.

The Avata’s advantage is that you can use Normal and Sport Modes on top of Manual Mode (acro), where things get more complicated to fly backward 

You can fly backward two ways with Avata: Using the standard remote controller and the motion controller, but only with the head tracking option from the DJI Goggles 2.

You cannot fly backward with only the motion controller or with the motion controller and the DJI FPV Goggles V2.

How to fly DJI Avata backward with the FPV Remote Controller

On the FPV remote controller that you use to fly the DJI Avata, you have (on Mode 2) on the left side the throttle and yaw, and the right joystick adopts pitch and roll.

The pitch will perform as flying forward when you push up on the right joystick and will fly backward when pulling toward you. 

Of course, with a good combination of throttle and yaw/roll, you can create a smooth, unique cinematic video with your Avata while flying backward.

It all relates to different drone flying techniques in Normal/Sport Modes. 

As for flying in Manual Mode backward, that’s a different story.

Flying DJI FPV backward with the motion controller + head tracking

With a motion controller, you can fly only in the directions you face the drone, hence moving forward.

You need to activate the head tracking to fly sideways and, most importantly, backward.

  • Before you take off with your drone, go to settings > camera > EIS and set to HorizonSteady.
  • After you take off, turn on the head tracker from your DJI Goggles 2. 

Flying the DJI Avata backward in Normal, Sport, and Manual Modes

The Avata is similar to other DJI drones when flying backward in Normal and Sport Modes. 

Maybe we’re looking at different drone stability or camera leveling, but nothing out of the ordinary compared to the Mini 3, for instance, when you want to fly backward.

Flying the Avata backward in Normal Mode may be the ideal approach with the remote controller or motion controller with head tracking.

If you want to fly your Avata backward in Sport Mode, please remember that you face much higher flight speeds, putting your drone at risk if you fly in places with many obstacles.

But what about flying the DJI Avata backward in full Manual Mode (acro)? 

This is a highly complicated technique for flying an FPV backward.

It can be done, but you must ensure you know how to fly an FPV well before attempting to fly it backward. But why?

You must fly at a specific speed forward when you set a camera angle for your Avata drone to fly in Manual Mode–for instance, 20 degrees–to center your horizon line. 

The higher the angle, the faster you will fly.

If you want to hover or land your Avata, your horizon level will go way down, and you will see mostly the sky.

This is because we attempt to level the drone to zero degrees to hover while the camera angle remains at 20 degrees.

Now, pushing the drone to fly backward will result in an even higher inclination opposite to the camera angle you had set to your Avata to fly manually.

Easier it would be to set the camera angle to zero degrees when flying manually, then you can pitch backward and fly backward.

But beware, at this time, your flight control will be the opposite of flying forward in Manual Mode. This will put your drone at risk of crashing if you don’t have experience in a simulator to fly backward.

For this reason, we recommend you first try to fly an FPV drone backward in Manual Mode in a simulator.

Why else we don’t recommend flying the DJI Avata backward?

The DJI Avata has no proximity or avoidance sensors, neither frontal, on sides, or backward. 

If you fly backward with your Avata, you will not know your surroundings and what is behind your drone.

Your visual field will be restricted to only observing forward, and there is no way to automate this function as with standard drones.

Note: And we do have to mention one more time, to attempt flying the DJI Avata backward in Manual Mode, you will likely crash the drone if you don’t have the required experience and knowledge to do so.

Airwayz, Royal NLR Partner to Accelerate Drone U-Space Adoption Across Europe

Airwayz CEO Eyal Zor, right, shakes hands with Henk van Dijk, VP of aerospace operations of Royal NLR, after signing their collaborative partnership agreement. Photo courtesy of Airwayz.

AMSTERDAM—Umanned traffic management (UTM) provider Airwayz announced it is collaborating with the Netherlands Aerospace Center to support drone traffic management across Europe.

The partnership will see Airwayz and NLR combine efforts to perform trials, research best practice and accelerate research and development. Combining NLR’s expertise in air traffic management with Airwayz’ UTM system provides a framework for U-spaces, Airwayz’ terminology for UTM-supported flight areas.

NLR is an independent innovative research center for the aerospace industry, working to solve global airspace issues, and plays a pivotal role between science, industry, government and society. Israel-based Airwayz’ dynamic UTM-unmanned systems service provider software monitors and coordinates multiple fleets of drones in real time, using proprietary artificial intelligence to ensure safe and efficient commercial drone activities.

Airwayz’ partnership with NLR signifies new levels of commercial opportunity for drone ecosystems, the companies said.

Airwayz and NLR are already cooperating on multiple projects for air navigation service providers. Additionally, both Airwayz and NLR are active at the Port of Rotterdam, with Airwayz spearheading the creation of a safe and efficient U-Space across the port for commercial drone services to flourish.

“We’re excited to announce the official signing of our collaboration with NLR today at Amsterdam Drone Week,” said Airwayz CEO and co-founder Eyal Zor. “We have many ground-breaking projects in the pipeline. Our partnership signifies the next level of airspace management; combining manned and unmanned traffic management and pursuing urban air mobility operations will revolutionize the industry and keep our airspaces safe across urban areas whilst they develop. The commercial potential will expand the capabilities of commercial drone services and drastically change how we all view our skies.”

Does DJI Avata Have Follow Me Mode? (Explained)

Avata is the latest FPV drone released by DJI with extraordinary features packed in a little Cinewhoop frame. Of all its characteristics, does Avata have a follow-me mode?

DJI Avata has no follow-me mode or Active Track features like standard DJI drones. Despite this, Avata lacks any avoidance sensors. It’s a drone made to be flown in Manual Mode.

There are reasons behind the absence of features in Avata. Shall we have a look over all this information together? 

What are follow me mode and Active Track?

Follow-me mode is a semi-autonomous feature allowing the drone to follow a subject via object detection, controller flow, GPS/GLONASS, and other hardware and software methods.

This mode is helpful as a drone can follow the subject automatically, allowing us to engage in different activities than controlling the drone.

Activities such as cycling, running, and vlogging might benefit from Avata’s follow-me mode if there existed one.

Active Track is a more advanced feature in DJI drones that allows the drone to perform more automatic functions than follow me, such as orbiting around an object.

» MORE: How Does Follow Me Mode Work in Drones?

DJI Avata and follow me mode – what do we know?

DJI Avata is the second FPV drone created by DJI. 

DJI adds Active Track and follow-me mode to the majority of its drones. Yet Avata does not have a follow-me mode or Active Track.

We lack such features mainly because Avata is not meant to be an automated drone. It should be flown in Manual Mode without any active sensors.

After all, Avata’s primary flight modes work best with flying in full Manual Mode.

Can any firmware updates enable follow-me mode on DJI Avata?

The lack of a follow-me mode and Active Track is related to the lack of software and hardware components in Avata.

The drone also does not have adequate computing power to assess and scan the surroundings or any physical sensors to allow for any of the mentioned functions.

Therefore, a follow-me mode cannot be enabled in any way on DJI Avata, not now nor in the future.

What else must we know about the DJI Avata and follow-me mode?

  • Because DJI Avata does not have a follow-me mode or Active Track, it does not have any other similar autonomous or semi-autonomous features.
  • Avata is an FPV drone, and until now, there have been no FPV drones on the market with follow-me mode.
  • The follow-me mode is often found on simple drones like the DJI Mini 3 Pro, DJI Mavic 3, etc.
  • The market looking for a follow-me or Active Track features on an FPV drone is nearly nonexistent, hence the reason this was probably never considered a priority for DJI to add more autonomous functions to this drone.
  • A drone’s follow-me mode uses advanced camera features to recognize objects and subjects, whereas the camera will always follow the subject.

    Avata in Manual Mode has a fixed camera angle; hence an FPV drone can’t have a follow-me feature in Manual Mode.

  • Even if Avata had follow-me mode, performing any activities with the headset, such as walking or running, would be difficult.

If you want a drone with follow-me mode, what do we recommend instead of Avata?

Now that we understand why it may be difficult for an FPV drone to have a follow-me mode, what about a drone that already has one?

Here are some great options.

  • DJI Mini 3 Pro: This drone is fantastic for its size under 250 grams, excellent battery life, and Active Track and follow-me mode.

DJI Mini 3 Pro (DJI RC)

Lightweight and Foldable Camera Drone with 4K/60fps Video, 48MP Photo, 34-min Flight Time, Tri-Directional Obstacle Sensing, Ideal for Aerial Photography and Social Media

Buy from Amazon

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03/20/2023 09:50 pm GMT

  • DJI Mavic 3: A more professional and robust drone with omnidirectional avoidance sensors and advanced Active Track and follow-me features, the Mavic 3 performs better than most drones on the market.

DJI Mavic 3 Classic (DJI RC)

Includes the drone and the DJI RC remote controller with a built-in 5.5-inch HD display for crisp viewing, even in direct sunlight.

Buy from Amazon

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03/21/2023 01:35 am GMT

Upcoming Webinar Explores What Must be Done to Enter the Age of BVLOS

A drone equipped with uAvionix’s systems flies at the test site at the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma. Photo courtesy of uAvionix.

The unmanned systems industry is preparing for federal rulemaking so flights beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) will become the rule rather than the exception.

But how can industry and government safely achieve that outcome? And what technology is needed to routine BVLOS flights a reality?

UAvionix, based in Bigfork, Montana and Leesburg, Virginia, is working with the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma to answer those questions. The company brings its SkyLine command and control software and pingRID drone remote identification system to the Choctaw Nation’s expansive test range, which covers more than 44,000 acres in the southeastern part of the state.

Their partnership will be explored in an April 4 webinar, “Entering the Age of BVLOS,” which will featured Brit Wanick, the vice president of marketing for uAvionix, and Marc Hartman, aviation operations manager for the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma. It will be moderated by retired Maj. Gen. James Poss (USAF, retired), the CEO of ISR Ideas, and the founder and former executive director of the Alliance for System Safety of UAS through Research Excellence (ASSURE). You can register here

“The current regulatory environment keeps drones below a specific elevation and has a lengthy waiver process for flying them beyond the line of sight of a ground-based observer, “Wanick said, which is “not necessarily a scalable process.” The industry wants to carry standards of performance forward but not manage UAS separately from other aircraft.

That’s where uAvionix’s pingRID remote ID and SkyLink come into play. PingRID, launched at the end of February, is an attach-and-fly system that allows drone operators to be compliant with the FAA’s Part 89 remote ID standards, effectively a license plate for drones.

SkyLink is aimed at ensuring steady, reliable communications for unmanned aircraft, a critical component of BVLOS capability. It allows a drone to maintain constant contact using whatever network is available, whether it is C Band, LTE, ISM or satellite networks, which the company has named “path diversity.”

The system is much faster than a human being and capable of seamlessly switching its communications path, automating the handoffs between the networks. It also has to do this at scale, as “there are thousands [of drones] that will be in the sky at one time,” each vying for the same signals. It also has to accommodate the various spectrum used by the networks, which it calls “frequency diversity.”

Poss said the FAA has for years been working to set up demonstration programs for BVLOS-enabling technologies, including the Integration Pilot Program, which gave way to the current Beyond series of demonstrations.

The Choctaw Nation is a partner in that, and uAvionix has set up its SkyLink systems at the nation’s test site.

Hartman said the site boasts a ground-based S-Band radar, capable of detecting aircraft out to 18 nautical miles, as well as a series of ground-based ADS-B receivers. The nation, is the only tribal government to be part of the IPP program and the Beyond program. The Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma’s waiver allows BVLOS flights using the uAvionix SkyLine system, ADS-B data and data from its radar.

The entire area of operations is controlled by the tribal government and can be a virtual “splashdown zone” if there are any issues. “That’s one of the huge benefits of our range, is that we can control access and fly,” Hartman said.

Learn more by registering for this free webinar to take place on Tuesday, April 4, 2023 at 1:00 PM EDT – 2:30 PM EDT

Can Drones Test AI Designed for Spacecraft? Space Park Leicester’s Drone Lab

AI for spacecraftSpace Park Leicester Launches Drone Equipped with AI for Spacecraft

by DRONELIFE Staff Writer Ian M. Crosby

Space Park Leicester has announced the successful launch of a drone making use of revolutionary AI equipment for use in spacecraft.  The equipment leverages an innovative design approach to enable AI algorithms to be dramatically reduced in size. The solution is suitable for embedded computing devices utilized in satellites, drones, autonomous driving and robotics, and has applications in cloud detection, disaster, flood, crop, and pollution monitoring alongside situational awareness, spacecraft anomaly detection and maritime surveillance.

Space Park Leicester’s Drone Lab is fully operational due to joint investment from the University of Leicester, Space Park Leicester, the National Centre for Earth Observation (NCEO) and the National Environment Research Council (NERC), and is prepared to support further ground-breaking projects going forward.

With funding from the Science and Technology Facilities Council, the project is led by Principal Investigator Professor Tanya Vladimirova from the University of Leicester’s School of Computing and Mathematical Science, with support from METEOR Principal Engineer Piyal Samara-Ratna and Space Park Leicester Software and Instrumentation Engineer Oliver Blake.

“The first flight of this project provided invaluable data to the development of a new high performance and lightweight framework for the use of artificial intelligence algorithms powered by high complexity neural networks, developed by Dr Tolga Turay, a member of my research team,” said Prof. Tanya Vladimirova.

“This initial flight will lay the foundation for future flights. Each mission and deployment is an opportunity to learn and develop our methods to make flying a drone of this size safe and more efficient,” said Piyal Samara-Ratna. “Using drones to test space-based sensor systems and ideas may help reduce costs and the development time associated with using manned flight testing. Manned aircraft costs thousands, requires booking weeks, if not months, in advance and if the weather is adverse on the day of the flight the data gathered from deployment may be impacted negatively, resulting in additional flights being required.”

“Drones provide a unique capability. They fill the gap between ground based and air-based deployments of equipment,” said Dr Steven Lloyd, Drone Laboratory Coordinator. “So long as we have permission from landowners, we can fly drones when the weather conditions allow, reducing the risk to project timelines from multiple missed deployments from manned aircraft. This deployment was the first of its kind for the Drone Lab at Space Park Leicester, with more flights planned soon.”

“The drone lab project, funded by the Science and Technology Facilities Council, is now fully operational and is ready to support more amazing projects in the future,” added Co-Investigator Dr Joshua D. Vande Hey from the University of Leicester’s School of Physics and Astronomy.

“Access to the drone laboratory and engineering capabilities at Space Park Leicester is a fantastic resource to further and maximise the impact of my research,” said project participant Viktoria Afxentiou, whose PhD is with Professor Tanya Vladimirova.

The Space Park Leicester engineering team acknowledge and thank Gareth Bustin and Sittles Flyers Lichfield Airfield for their support in the drone flight campaign.

Read more:

Hoeven Holds Planning Session for Counter-UAP, Announces FAA BVLOS Waivers for Unmanned Flights & Outlines Economic Impact of Sky Range Program

GRAND FORKS, N.D. – Senator John Hoeven today held a meeting with leaders from the Grand Forks community, the University of North Dakota (UND), and the area’s unmanned aerial systems (UAS) industry, where he:

  • Announced that that, at his urging, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA):
    • Has approved beyond-visual-line-of-sight (BVLOS) waivers for UAS flights in the region utilizing enhanced radar software.
    • Will approve an additional waiver to allow the test site to host UAS flights for additional companies.
  • Outlined the economic impact of Sky Range, the hypersonic missile testingprogram at Grand Sky.
  • Discussed opportunities for the Grand Forks region to help secure the nation’s airspace against the threat of unidentified aerial phenomena (UAP).

“The waivers we secured from the FAA, as well as those we continue to advance, will put the Grand Forks region on track to enhance its BVLOS operations in tremendous ways, including by helping bring in new commercial-sector partners. That will be a big economic benefit to the region, as is the Sky Range program, which not only brought $2 billion worth of aircraft to Grand Sky, but will deliver hundreds of millions of dollars in value annually as the program moves forward,” said Hoeven. “These efforts align with emerging national security concerns. In particular, the recent incidents with UAPs in U.S. airspace have clearly demonstrated the need to strengthen our nation’s domain awareness capabilities. North Dakota is well-positioned to fill this need. That’s the case we continue making to our military leadership as we work to leverage assets in the Grand Forks region to ensure U.S. airspace is fully secure.”

Securing BVLOS Waivers

Specifically, the waivers secured by Hoeven support BVLOS flights conducted by the Northern Plains UAS Test Site and General Atomics, utilizing enhanced radar software. The software upgrades improve the safety and security of BVLOS flights, but required a new waiver from the FAA before being deployed. New BVLOS waivers face a lengthy approval process, and Hoeven worked to accelerate these approvals based on North Dakota’s strong track record of safe UAS operations.

Hoeven also said he is pursuing a separate waiver that will make it easier for companies to test their aircraft at North Dakota’s test site:

  • Under current FAA rules, a UAS must be designated for public rather than commercial use in order to fly, even when operating under the supervision of a UAS test site.
  • This restricts the companies’ ability to establish a safe operating record, which is required in order to fly UAS in the broader national airspace.
  • The waiver being advanced by Hoeven would allow many companies to work within the airspace governed by North Dakota’s test site without needing a public designation, giving the state an even greater competitive edge in the UAS industry.

Economic Impact of Sky Range

Following his efforts to establish the Test Resource Management Center’s (TRMC) Sky Range program at Grand Sky, Hoeven has continued working to ensure the program moves forward and is fully funded. The program is anticipated to bring to Grand Forks:

  • $2 billion in market value for the Global Hawk fleet that was transferred to Grand Sky.
  • More than $100 million of additional construction at Grand Sky.
  • More than $300 million in annual operations budget, which would include efforts by Northrop Grumman to convert the Global Hawks into Range Hawks for hypersonic missile testing. 

Addressing the Threat of UAPs

During the meeting, Hoeven discussed the need for partnerships to improve domain awareness and ensure the nation’s airspace is secure against a variety of threats. The senator stressed how defense agencies could achieve this goal by leveraging North Dakota’s leadership in UAS and its enhanced radar systems, among other assets. The discussion builds on a recent meeting where Hoeven outlined Grand Forks’ capabilities and assets to General Glen VanHerck, Commander of the U.S. Northern Command (NORTHCOM) and North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD), including:

  • The early warning radar at Cavalier Space Force Station.
  • The RQ-4 Global Hawk Block 40, based at Grand Forks Air Force Base.
  • The MQ-9 Reaper, based at Hector Field in Fargo.
  • An MQ-9 variant flown by Customs and Border Protection out of Grand Forks.
  • Expanded radar coverage of North Dakota airspace in support of unmanned aircraft operations near Grand Forks and eventually across the state.
  • Partnerships through the Northern Plains UAS Test Site.
  • UND’s research and development of counter-UAS measures.
Best Video Settings for DJI Mini 3 Pro (Explained for Beginners)

With the Mini 3 Pro approaching its one-year anniversary, it is abundantly clear that the Mini 3 Pro is both an excellent drone for photography and equally as impressive when it comes to shooting video.

As with any camera, whether it be a drone, mirrorless, or DSLR, if the initial video settings are not correct, the end product will not highlight the capabilities of the camera.

Oftentimes, the results can be quite poor.

We will be going over video-related definitions, tips, and the best settings for ISO, Frame Rate, Shutter Speed, White Balance, and Color Profile settings to get the most out of the video produced by the Mini 3 Pro.

There is also included Mini 3 Pro video footage with the settings used to achieve the onscreen results.

Accessing the Video Settings

In order to manually change the settings mentioned in this article, you will need to be in Pro Mode while in Video Mode.

To get to Pro mode:

While in video mode, tap the camera icon on the bottom right of the DJI Fly app live view screen. If the video settings are currently set to Auto, tap the camera icon and it will change to Pro.


Surprisingly, ISO is not an acronym when it comes to cameras. ISO is simply the value of measure for a camera sensor’s light sensitivity. On the Mini 3 Pro, ISO 100 is the lowest value (darker) and when shooting video, can be as high as 6400 (brighter).

When shooting video with the Mini 3 Pro, and any drone for that matter, the lower the ISO the better. Low ISO values ensure that the video footage is not noisy or “grainy”. It is suggested that, whenever possible, shoot with an ISO value of 100.

With the Mini 3 Pro having such a wide and fast aperture of f/1.7, shooting at ISO 100 is easily achievable. However, there will be times when the “stay at ISO 100 rule” will need to be broken, in order to achieve better scene exposure.

To change ISO settings:

Tap on the right-side bottom section, where the camera icon with the Pro mode label is located. This is reserved for ISO and Shutter settings.

You can now change ISO settings by sliding left and right.

Frame Rate or FPS (Frames per Second)

The frame rate of a video or its FPS means how many frames are shot during a given second. The higher the value, the more frames are in that given second.

When it comes to drone footage, frames per second aren’t as critical as it is for, say, ground camera footage where one might be filming live-action sequences that need to be slowed down or accurately rendering dialogue between characters.

That isn’t to say FPS is not important at all when it comes to drone video. Generally, drones are filming scenes from a fair distance, showcasing entire areas, so oftentimes a low frame-per-second rate of 24 or 30 is perfect.

We’ll briefly discuss a few shooting scenarios and the correct frames per second to capture these.

Scenario 1 – Sweeping Scenic Views

When shooting areas with broad and beautiful vistas, mountains, and lazy water views, 24 or 30 frames per second works great.

24 frames per second is the universal cinematic video standard and something that we are accustomed to seeing in movies.

When shooting at 24 FPS, keep in mind that there is little room for proper speed adjustments in video editors, ie slowing down the footage.

When shooting in 24 frames per second, you will need to be very smooth on the control sticks to avoid jerky flight movement showing up in the footage.

30 frames per second can be used when you’d like to slightly slow down the footage in post (in video editing software), to give it a smoother overall appearance. Videos shot in 30 FPS can be slowed down by 80% in post.

Shooting in 30 frames per second and slightly slowing the footage down in a video editor can smooth out the footage slightly if the drone operator is a little less careful and smooth on the flight sticks.

Scenario 2 – Slow Motion Footage

If planning to shoot slow-motion footage, or “slower-motion footage” this can be achieved by shooting at 60 FPS.

You might want to shoot at this frame rate to capture close-up views of running water, fast-moving boats that are kicking up large wakes and spray, or even faster-moving people and animals.

If you are looking for even more drastic slow-motion shots, the Mini 3 Pro is capable of shooting video at 120 FPS.

If looking to slow down 60 FPS footage in post, you can do so at 40%, whereas the 120 FPS footage can be slowed down to 20%

Note: To get the best video quality, you’ll want to set your Mini 3 Pro to record in 4k resolution if you are planning on shooting footage between the 24 FPS and 60 FPS range. If shooting at 120 FPS, the Mini 3 Pro will drop down to HD resolution.

To change the video frame rate:

STEP 1: Tap on the left-side bottom section, where the camera icon with the Pro mode label is located.

Note: The left side of this area is the video option, whereas the right side is reserved for setting the ISO and Shutter Speed.

STEP 2: Scroll down to the RES&FPS section and use the second slide area in that section to set the frame rate.

To change the video resolution:

STEP 1: Tap on the left-side bottom section, where the camera icon with the Pro mode label is located.

STEP 2: Scroll down to the RES&FPS section and use the first slide area in that section to set the video resolution.

Shutter Speed

Shutter speed serves two very distinct purposes when it comes to photos and videos.


If the video needs to be brightened or darkened, outside of the ISO values, you can up the shutter speed, which will darken the footage, or slow the shutter speed, which will brighten the footage.

The Mini 3 Pro will adjust the shutter speed when in Auto Mode, to brighten or darken the scene.

Since we are advocating shooting in Pro Mode for the best video settings, we definitely do not want the shutter speed adjusted automatically or outside what is mentioned next.

Achieving Proper Motion Blur

Motion blur is a very important aspect of shooting film. If the shutter speed is too low, then video footage will look extremely blurred, while too high a shutter speed will result in the footage being choppy.

When it comes to shooting video, the shutter speed should not be used to properly expose the video, but instead, it should be used to achieve proper motion blur.

To do this, the 180-degree rule comes into play.

The 180-degree Rule

When it comes to shutter speed and achieving the proper motion blur for the FPS you are shooting in you’ll need to have your shutter set to double (180 degrees) your frame rate.

This means if you are shooting at 24 Frames per second, you’d want your shutter speed to be double that, in this case, 1/50 of a second, since the Mini 3 Pro does not have a 1/48 option.

For 30fps, 1/60, and for 120fps, 1/240.

With the 180-degree rule applied, all of your footage will have the proper motion blur the eye is accustomed to seeing in video footage.

To change shutter speed:

Tap on the right-side bottom section, where the camera icon with the Pro mode label is located.

You can now change Shutter Speed by sliding left and right.

White Balance

The white balance option in the Mini 3 Pro, as with every camera, evens out the color temperature in an image or video to make the image look more natural (removing too much yellow or blue casts). 

This is done by bringing in opposite color temperatures that help bring the whites back to neutral, which affects the entire color of the footage. 

The Mini 3 Pro allows the white balance to be set to Auto, even when shooting in Pro mode, so you’ll want to be aware of this.

Manually Select White Balance

When choosing the best settings for video, you’ll want to take the white balance out of auto mode and set it manually.

This may seem difficult at first since the Mini 3 Pro does not have set white balance profiles like Sunny and Cloudy, which was in the DJI Go 4 app many might remember.

Why should the white balance be set manually, instead of letting the Mini 3 Pro choose it?

This is because as the lighting conditions change periodically the Mini 3 Pro will try to change the white balance of the footage while flying through a scene.

This can sometimes be jarring if too drastic or appear unprofessional for those delivering paid content to clients.

Instead, it is better to set the white balance, shoot the scene, and if the sky gets cloudy or sunnier, stop shooting, adjust the white balance, and then continue shooting.

Here is an easy way to set the white balance manually:

STEP 1: Set the white balance to auto and make a mental note of the Kelvin (k) number – 5000k, 6000k, etc.

STEP 2: Turn off Auto White Balance and set the slider to the (k) number you made a note of. Now the white balance will stay at that setting.

As the lighting changes, you can either move the slider slightly right or left to adjust for the color temperature change, or simply repeat Steps 1 and 2.

Color Profiles

The Mini 3 Pro currently has two color profiles: Normal and D-Cinelike. Depending on which color profile you choose, you’ll either be shooting in 8-bit or 10-bit.

When it comes to color depth (8-bit or 10-bit), we are referring to the amount of color and the variety of shades a camera can record in.

The higher the bit depth, the more colors can be used to enhance a video’s detail and visual quality. With this comes better, more realistic, or even more creatively color-graded footage.

Videos recorded in 8-Bit utilize RGB using 256 colors per channel, meaning 8-Bit can display a little over 16 Million colors (16.7 Million to be exact).

In comparison, videos recorded in 10-Bit use 1024 color levels per channel, displaying over 1 billion colors (1.07 Billion). With all of this access to color and shades, footage can be more true to life.

Note: Since we are talking about the best video settings for the Mini 3 Pro, we encourage you to shoot in the 10-bit color profile which would be D-Cinelike.


D-Cinelike, like Sony’s S-Log or Canon’s C-Log, is a fairly flat video color profile that is specific to higher-end DJI consumer/prosumer drones.

The D-Cinelike 10-bit color profile contains more information that can be modified and adjusted, along with being able to apply Cinema LUTs (lookup tables), for a more cinematic appearance.

When D-Cinelike is chosen the footage will be recorded in 10-bit. In addition to recording in D-Cinelike, you can either choose the h264 or h265 codec (high-efficiency video coding).

Note: The h265 codec is better, but takes up more sd card space than h264 and will cause the machine you are using for editing to work harder and possibly slower.

Shooting in a 10-bit color profile enables you to extensively color-grade your footage in a video editor without the fear of destroying the footage, due to color artifacts related to pushing the color too far.

To access the color profile settings:

STEP 1: Tap on the left-side bottom section, where the camera icon with the Pro mode label is located.

STEP 2: Scroll down to the Color option and set the color to D-Cinelike and the coding format to H.265

Note: If you are planning on uploading your videos to youtube, we also suggest setting the video format to MP4, which is right under the Color settings.

Best Video Settings Recap

  • ISO 100
  • 24/30 FPS
  • 1/50 or 1/60 Shutter Speed
  • Manual White Balance
  • D-Cinelike (10-bit color), H.265
  • MP4 video format
  • 4k Resolution

Tips for Shooting Better Video

ND Filters

This might be one of the best tips for video shooters. As mentioned earlier, if you are using the settings suggested here, outside of ISO there aren’t many things one can do to change the exposure of the video footage being shot.

The aperture is fixed at f/1.7, so this can’t be used to darken the footage by choosing a more clamped-down f-stop like you can on the Mavic 3 series.

Also, as mentioned the shutter speed needs to be double the frame rate, so this can’t be used to darken the footage either.

ND filters act as sunglasses for cameras, so the only available option for footage that is too bright is to use an ND filter to moderate the amount of light coming into the camera.

There are quite a few manufacturers that make ND filters for the Mini 3 Pro and we suggest the following:

NEEWER ND Filter Set

Compatible with DJI Mini 3/Mini 3 Pro, 6 Pack Neutral Density Filter Drone Lens Accessory with Aluminum Alloy Frame, Multi Coated HD Optical Glass: CPL ND8 ND16 ND32 ND64 ND128

Buy from Amazon

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03/20/2023 10:25 am GMT

K&F Concept Variable ND Lens Filters Kit

DJI Mini 3/ Mini 3 Pro Variable ND Lens Filters Kit ND2-32+ND32-512(2 Pcs), Variable ND Filters 1-5 Stops + 5-9 Stops Compatible with DJI Mini 3/ Mini 3 Pro.

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We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
03/20/2023 11:56 pm GMT

Composition Related

The DJI Fly app has quite a few tools to aid in the composition of video footage. Turning these on can aid in framing your shots and keeping subjects center-frame if that is what you are going for.

Grid Lines

Gridlines are broken into 2 types, with the addition of a center target.

These being:

  • Rule of Thirds
  • Diagonal

Rule of Thirds

The Rule of Thirds overlay has 9 equal blocks that divide each frame.  There are 4 intersecting points on these lines and placing your subject on one or more of these intersecting points creates more compelling compositions than just having the subject in the middle of the screen

Diagonal and/with Center Target

These lines aid in framing up your shot.  For some, the diagonal lines may be an added distraction, whereas, for others, they are useful when you’d like a particular subject (boat, jet skier, or something else) to be front and center in the picture.

To access the gridlines and center target options:

STEP 1: Open the options menu in the upper right-hand side of the DJI Fly app live view screen.

STEP 2: Go to the Camera Tab.

STEP 3: Scroll down to Gridlines and choose either Diagonal, Rule of Thirds, Center Target, or all three.

When it comes to “Best” for any subject, it can all be very subjective. In light of this, our “Best” video settings are simply settings that we recommend or suggest for getting the most out of the Mini 3 Pro camera.

Feel free to test and play around with various video settings to get the best setup for your style of video shooting.

Passenger eVTOL in Japan: LIFT Aircraft Completes First Piloted Flight with HEXA

passenger eVTOL

©︎GMO Internet Group, used with permission

LIFT Aircraft Completes Japan’s First Piloted Passenger eVTOL Demonstrations

by DRONELIFE Staff Writer Ian M. Crosby

This week, LIFT Aircraft conducted the first-ever piloted eVTOL demonstration flights in Japan using its HEXA aircraft. The flights were performed in collaboration with Marubeni Corporation, a partner of LIFT Aircraft in the development and advancement of Japan’s eVTOL market, as well as with the participation of GMO Internet Group.

Continue reading below, or listen:

The demonstration flights were chosen for the Osaka Prefectural Government’s FY2022 Subsidy for Urban Business Creation Flying Car Projects and as a Candidate Demonstrator for Expo 2025, the Japan Association’s project for the 2025 World Exposition and the Osaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

The demonstrations were held for audiences including Japan’s aviation authority, the Japan Civil Aviation Bureau (JCAB). While HEXA conforms to FAA Part 103 for operation within the U.S. without aircraft type certification or a pilot’s license, Japan lacks an equivalent regulation. JCAB meticulously evaluated the aircraft’s safety, as well as the test program and the flight envelope, before granting permission for the demonstrations to begin.

©︎GMO Internet Group, used with permission

“JCAB was thorough in their review of our safety standards and our aircraft, and gave us the green light to fly,” said LIFT Aircraft founder and CEO Matt Chasen. “It’s an honor that our aircraft was selected to be the first eVTOL ever piloted in Japan.”

Having formally concluded Phase 1 flight test and beginner flight envelope development with the U.S. Air Force, LIFT has launched Alpha Flights, enabling operation by people outside of their Flight Operations and Test teams. Alpha Flights featured as part of this week’s demonstrations, with GMO Internet Group’s Masatoshi Kumagai successfully piloting HEXA and completing three flight patterns after only around an hour of training and introduction to the aircraft. Nine flights were completed in Osaka, with LIFT and Marubeni to continue their Japan demo tour in Niihama and Imabari next week.

“This is a strong indication to the world, and especially the thousands on our waitlist, that they will have the opportunity to fly very soon,” said Chasen.

Read more:

Ian attended Dominican University of California, where he received a BA in English in 2019. With a lifelong passion for writing and storytelling and a keen interest in technology, he is now contributing to DroneLife as a staff writer.

Can You Fly a Drone in Sedona?

Situated near Flagstaff, Sedona is a desert region in Arizona with forests, canyons, and buttes. It’s beloved as much for its natural beauty as for its arts.

If you’ve always wanted to visit Sedona and you’re finally making it happen, naturally, you may wonder – can you bring your drone with you?

Can you fly a drone in Sedona?

You can fly a drone throughout much of Sedona but not in Wilderness Areas or Sedona Airport and Flagstaff Pulliam Airport. You’re also required to follow FAA guidelines when in the skies.

If you have a trip to Sedona in the cards, this is the article for you.

In it, we’ll discuss in-depth whether you can use a drone in this part of Arizona, highlight all the off-limits areas, and go over Arizona’s flight rules.

Don’t miss it!

Can you fly a drone in Sedona?

Under Public Law 112-95, Section 336 and the FAA, commercial and recreational pilots can operate a drone in Sedona.

However, the desert town has a lot of off-limits places, so let’s review.


Sedona is only 18.31 square miles, yet still contains several airports. One is the aptly-named Sedona Airport, and the other is Flagstaff Pulliam Airport.

As a drone pilot, you’re prohibited from flying within five nautical miles of an airport. Given the tiny size of Sedona, this will make planning flight routes difficult but not impossible.

Military bases

Across Sedona’s borders, you’ll find a couple of military bases. These too can complicate your flight plans, as you’re not allowed within five nautical miles of a military base either.

Wilderness Areas

Drones are strictly prohibited in Wilderness Areas throughout the United States. That’s been the case since 1964, when the Wilderness Act went into effect.

The goal of that act is to prohibit industrialization that prevents designated areas from existing that solely protect wildlife and nature.

Sedona has two Wilderness Areas, Red Rock-Secret Mountain Wilderness and Munds Mountain Wilderness.

Neither area is small. The Red Rock-Secret Mountain Wilderness is 47,195 acres, while Munds Mountain Wilderness is 18,150 acres.

Designated Primitive Areas

Further, Sedona law restricts drone access in designated Primitive Areas.

The United States Forest Service once used these lands, which have since mostly converted to Wilderness Areas. 

Other restricted airspace

Always use a drone map when operating your UAV in Sedona. The above areas all constitute restricted airspace, but other restrictions could exist throughout the town.

Also, stay vigilant for temporary flight restrictions, which only affect your drone plans for a limited time but are still enforceable.

4 fantastic places to fly a drone in Sedona

Although Sedona restricts drone access to many places throughout the town, if you know where to look, you’ll find an exceptional selection of spots where you can take breathtaking footage.

Here are some of our favorites.

West Fork Oak Creek Trail

About 9.5 miles from Sedona is the West Fork Oak Creek Trail. As you stroll along the trailhead, you’ll spot canyons, a stream, and cliffs.

The buttes here are a trademark red, and when autumn arrives in Arizona, the fall foliage will take your breath away.

Charge up your drone battery, as you’ll surely want to stay here for a while!

Devil’s Bridge Trail

Venture out to Yavapai County to hike the Devil’s Bridge Trailhead.

Only moderately difficult, the entire hike (round trip) is 1.8 miles, so you won’t have to sweat it out too much if you’re trying to look professional for a drone project.

The route takes you across sandstone arches, so you’ll have lots to film or photograph here.

Schnebly Hill Vista

Along Schnebly Hill, you’ll find a vista with a clearance area to witness the beauty of Sedona.

While the Schnebly Hill Vista isn’t all that far from the Munds Mountain Wilderness, it’s well outside of the wilderness boundary line.

Many drone pilots have flown here before, so you shouldn’t have to stress about restrictions. If anything, keep in mind that the crowds here can be rather plentiful.

Since it’s often such a populated area, consider scheduling your drone flight either earlier or later in the day to avoid the crowds.

Courthouse Butte

We also recommend exploring Courthouse Butte while you’re staying in Sedona. The butte near Oak Creek in Yavapai County is just a bit southward of Sedona. The peak of the butte is 5,454 feet.

You don’t have to ascend that high up, of course. That’s what you have your drone for!

You can take some aerial shots of the tall, tree-lined butte that will make a fantastic addition to your portfolio.

Drone operation rules to know before visiting Sedona

With your plane tickets and hotels booked, it’s time to jet off to stunning, warm Sedona.

Before your plane touches down, make sure you’re privy to the following drone rules, which apply to Arizona as a whole.

Do not launch your drone closer than 328 feet to wildlife

Sedona drone law prohibits drone pilots from vertically approaching birds or animals with their UAVs.

Further, you cannot launch your drone any closer than 328 feet or 100 meters from local wildlife.

It’s no secret that drone exposure can cause unfortunate behavior in wildlife, including aggression and sometimes even abandoning their young.

Do your part to preserve Sedona’s great wildlife!

Have your drone license and registration ready

As a safe drone pilot, you must have a current drone license and an active registration (as required), both issued by the FAA or another body with authority.

Let’s start by discussing your registration. Commercial pilots must register their drones, but it’s optional for recreational pilots, depending on the weight of their UAVs.

If your drone weighs 0.55 pounds or under, you don’t have to register it. For all other drones that require registration, you can register for up to three years.

Next, let’s go over licenses. Hobbyists must carry a TRUST certificate issued by the FAA after passing The Recreational UAS Safety Test.

That license doesn’t expire but don’t lose it on your trip to Sedona, or you’ll have to take the exam again.

Commercial pilots need the Part 107 license, aka the Remote Pilot Certificate. You can only obtain this license by passing the Part 107 exam administered by the FAA.

Your certificate is good for only two years, but you can recertify online for free.

Avoid critical facilities

Arizona drone law mandates that pilots fly no closer to critical facilities than 250 vertical feet and 500 horizontal feet.

Examples of these facilities include hospitals, courthouses, power plants, and water treatment facilities.

Do not interfere with emergency response efforts

When firefighters, police departments, and other emergency responders arrive on the scene, do not get in their way with your drone.

You could prevent people from receiving the life-saving services they need!

Do not fly higher than 400 feet

You cannot operate your drone more than 400 feet from the ground throughout Arizona. It’s your responsibility to gauge the allowable height and fly your drone within that range.

Maintain a visual line of sight on your drone

You must also keep eyes on your drone the entire time you fly. If you operate your drone so far out of range that you can’t see it with the naked eye or when wearing contacts or glasses, you’re beyond VLOS range.

You must bring your drone back or operate it with a spotter who can watch it beyond your visual line of sight.

Do not fly your drone in inclement weather

Arizona is known for its hot and humid weather, but the sun can’t shine every day.

On those less-than-perfect days with strong winds and rain, refrain from operating your drone. The weather makes flying a UAV too dangerous.

You could also end up with a damaged, broken drone!

Sedona is a desert town in Arizona known for its towering buttes and appealing arts scene.

You can fly your drone here but must avoid designated Wilderness Areas, Primitive Areas, military bases, and airports.

Follow FAA drone rules when you take to the sky, and remember to avoid wildlife with your drone especially. Stay safe and have fun out there!

DJI Mini 3 / Pro – Map and Radar Explained (Video)

The lightweight Mini 3 line, with its small footprint and agile handling, is one of the more fun GPS camera drones to fly.

While the Mini 3 is a fun drone to fly, some new to drones may feel slightly intimidated when trying to understand and learn the map and radar functions on the initial flight.

This article and the included YouTube video will act as a tutorial discussing the various aspects of the map and radar and should help new Mini 3 owners understand and use both tools in the DJI Fly app.

The Map

When you first go into live view, you’ll see a map in the lower left-hand corner of the screen.

Image Credit: Dan Bayne/Droneblog

For most, it is an exact representation of the surrounding area. Whereas for some, it appears like a tiny 1×1 icon, simply tap the icon to get it into map view.

Image Credit: Dan Bayne/Droneblog

Map Symbols

Once in map view, you’ll see these various symbols:

Blue Arrow – shows the direction of the drone. If you turn the drone in any direction, you’ll see this represented onscreen.

Blue Dot – represents the current position of the Remote Controller. Because the RC is being held, wherever you move, this blue dot will move, as long as the RC is in-hand.

Yellow Circle with H – represents the home point where the GPS signal locked in and the Mini 3 took off from.

The blue dot and yellow circle will normally be fairly close together unless you are walking or biking away around the general area, after which you’ll see an increase in distance between the blue circle and the H.

In Flight

For this section, we’ll look at the map in its expanded mode.

To get into this mode, which essentially swaps the live view screen with the map, tap the map and it will go into an expanded map view.

As you fly the Mini 3 out some distance, you’ll see a blue line. If you begin to move the drone, in this instance, sideways, you’ll begin to notice there are now two developing lines.

The blue line is the path of the drone and the reddish line is the path directly back to the home point (yellow circle with the H).

Image Credit: Dan Bayne/Droneblog

This is especially useful if you lose sight of the Mini 3 and need help determining the direct path back to the home point.

While in the standard smaller view you can tap the tiny – or + to change the zoom view of the map.

The Radar

Radar view is an interesting tool, as it removes the map and brings you into a view that shows the position, orientation, and level of the Mini 3 without any sort of map data.

To get into the radar view, you must be in the standard map view.

If you are currently in the expanded map view, to get back into the standard map view tap on the live view screen.

Once in normal view, on the bottom right of the map screen, press the small circle with an arrow in the middle of it.

Like with map view, the following symbols apply:

  • Blue Dot
  • Blue Arrow
  • Yellow Circle with the H

In addition to those symbols, you’ll also see the four compass directions: North, South, East, and West.

Something that might stand out is the half-blueish-green semicircle on the bottom of the radar. This is the horizon level.

When the Mini 3 is maneuvering or even hovering in wind, you’ll see this area move based on the pitch of the drone.

Because of the compact setup of the radar screen, you will always know the Mini 3s direction, home point, and location of the RC.

To Read the Radar

Reading the radar is not as complex as it might initially seem.

In the standard view, the drone operator (you) is in the center of the screen and the drone rotates around you.

When you are behind the drone and it is facing out, the blue arrow (representing the Mini 3) will be at the top of the radar screen.

As you physically turn away from the Mini 3, let’s say left, you’ll see that arrow is on the right of the screen and vice versa as you continue to turn.

Image Credit: Dan Bayne/Droneblog
Image Credit: Dan Bayne/Droneblog

If you turn all the way around, the blue arrow will be at the bottom, showing that it is now behind you.

Image Credit: Dan Bayne/Droneblog

If you’d like, you can change the view to have the Mini 3 in the center of the screen. To do this tap on the little arrow on the top left of the radar screen.

Now the home point and RC are shown in relation to the Mini 3. Most operators disregard this particular option and use the standard radar view previously mentioned.


Although there are no lines to guide the Mini 3 back to you, getting back to the home point is quite simple if the Mini 3 is ever out of your line of sight.

To return home manually, while in the radar standard view, simply turn the drone around so that the arrow faces you and proceed to fly towards the blue dot or home point. That’s it. Nice and simple.

Image Credit: Dan Bayne/Droneblog

Whether in Map view or the Radar Map, if you have an understanding of what the various symbols mean, you should always be able to navigate back to your home position.