DJI Mavic Air

I decided to buy a drone to supplement my photography whenever I travel or just feel like going out for a photo shoot.  Unlike photography, there isn’t really a whole lot of worthwhile choices to choose from when shopping for a drone.  The drone industry is dominated by DJI.

Having been introduced in January 2018, the Mavic AIR is the newest model to the DJI line-up.  It is also less expensive than the Mavic Pro and the Phantom 4.  Part of the reason I went with the less expensive Mavic AIR is that I have no drone pilot experience and don’t want to ruin a more expensive drone if I accidently crash into something.

I actually did fly my Mavic into the wall already and broke two propeller blades.  The drone came with extra propeller blades in the box for just such a situation.  Also included are propeller guards that I used a couple times before taking them off.

Before you fly, you have to pair up the drone to the remote control.  You also have to download the DJI GO 4 app on your phone and connect your phone to the remote.  You can technically fly the drone with just the remote but without connecting your phone, you can’t use any of the camera settings or see what the drone is seeing from up in the air.

Lastly, you have to register your drone with the FAA and affix your registration to the drone much in the same way that you have to register your vehicle and affix your license plate to it.

It’s also a good idea to download the FAA B4UFLY app on your phone so that you don’t accidently fly in restricted airspace.

Once I was all set up and got my registration taken care of, I set out to fly the Mavic and see what it is capable of.  Since there is no shortage of natural beauty in Hawaii, I set out all over the island to capture its beauty from the air.

Like photography, videography is a combination of artistic expression and technical skills.  As it pertains to the Mavic, you have to get good at flying it proficiently so that you can catch smooth video and you have to play around with the camera settings to know how to get the best video quality.

Likewise, after you record your video, you have to learn how to use a video editor in order to make the most out of the Mavic’s potential.  I am finding that to be my biggest challenge in making a good video.  I am thinking that I will probably have to buy a new computer since my current one doesn’t support video editing without slowing everything down, or just crashing all together.

After a bit of experimenting with different settings on the Mavic and flying it enough to become reasonably proficient at maneuvering it, I finally made a video compilation with some of the footage I have taken so far.

Though I am content with my first real video, not all the footage is one hundred percent to my satisfaction.  My computer doesn’t have enough processing power to handle any serious video editing, so the video sequence below shows how my footage looks straight out of the camera.  It is basically stitched together using the Photos app on Windows 10.

Filming locations include McKenzie Park, Kealakekua Bay, Downtown Kailua-Kona, South Point, Old Airport Beach Park, Keauhou, North Kohala, Hilo, Kalapana, etc.

I also make a cameo appearance in a number of the scenes.  It’s a little bit like finding Waldo but it’s not overtly difficult to see me if your look carefully.


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