DJI Mavic Adventures: Film the Action Like a Pro

The Mavic Pro is the drone what was built inside and out for one thing: adventure. Its foldable design packs well for traveling on or off the trail. A 40mph max speed and 30-minute flight time catch all the action with ease. And with a 4K camera on a 3-axis gimbal, the Mavic Pro captures stunning photo and video with incredible clarity and exceptional style.

The Mavic Pro also offers the perfect combination of quality and usability so that beginning aerial photographers can create an action shot just like they see from professional videos. To show you how to use all of the Mavic Pro’s features to shoot activities like surfing, mountain biking, and even snowboarding, DJI teamed up with Mpora to produce DJI Mavic Adventures. As Europe’s leading sports and outdoor lifestyle site, Mpora created this tutorial series so you can find out how to film like an expert.

Mavic Pro Outdoor Shooting Guide

Episode 1: How to fly the Mavic Pro Drone
Episode 2: How to Shoot Mountain Biking with the Mavic Pro
Episode 3: How to Shoot Surfing with the Mavic Pro
Episode 4: How to Shoot Road Cycling with the Mavic Pro
Episode 5: How to Film a Hike with the Mavic Pro
Episode 6: How to Shoot Snowboarding with the Mavic Pro

Episode 1: How to fly the Mavic Pro Drone

In this first video, Mpora’s Seb Hejna walks you through takeoff and basic controls. This starts with making sure that your smartphone has the most up-to-date version of DJI GO 4. Before flying for the first time, run through the simple setup process in the manual and make sure you’re in an open area away from any people or buildings. Rules change from country to country, so always check your local regulations on where you can fly.

  • Unfolding and Preparing the Aircraft

After unfolding the aircraft arms in order, attach the propellers by matching its markings with those of the motors. Open out the blades, push down, and twist them in place. Next, remove the gimbal cover. Once switched on, the gimbal will keep the camera perfectly steady as you fly.

Make sure you’ve fully charged the battery. You can check the level by pressing the button once. To switch the drone on, press the button twice, holding it down for two seconds on the second time. Do the same with the remote controller and wait for the app to connect.

  • Basic Flight Controls

Once you have a strong GPS signal, you’re ready to fly. The Mavic Pro has a control range of up to four miles, but if you’re flying in Beginner mode, you’ll be limited to 30 meters for peace of mind. To start the motors, pull the control sticks down and in. To take off, move the left stick up or just swipe on the app. To descend, simply move the left stick down. Now, let the Mavic hover. This is the amazing thing about modern drones. Now once it’s in the air, the aircraft can hold its position on its own, and its forward and downward sensors let it fly indoors without relying on GPS.

Once you’re in the air, move the left stick left and right to turn the Mavic on its own axis. This is called yaw. Move the right stick up to move forward, down to move backward. To move the drone from side to side, move the right stick left and right. This is called roll.

  • Landing

When you’re ready to land, you can press the Return to Home button, and the Mavic Pro will guide itself back to your takeoff point using GPS (learn more about how to use Return to Home safely). Having completed your first flight, keep practicing until you’re really comfortable with the controls.

  • Camera Control

Let’s move on to the basics of camera control. To make the camera move up and down, use the scroll wheel on the top left of the controller. To start recording video, press the button on the top left. The top right button is for taking a photo. The Mavic can film in 4K and take 12MP photos. You can adjust the format and style in the settings.


Episode 2: How to Shoot

Mountain Biking with the Mavic Pro

We can use the Mavic Pro’s Intelligent Flight Modes to film mountain biking like never before.

  • ActiveTrack

Let’s start by taking a look at the three ActiveTrack modes. These make it possible to follow a subject automatically, leaving you free to concentrate on recording the action.

With Trace mode enabled, simply position yourself behind or in front of the rider before they set off. Now tap on the rider and the Mavic Pro will follow them along the trail.

Profile mode is almost the same, but this time the drone follows the rider from the side. Line yourself up alongside and then again, just tap on your subject and off you go.

Spotlight mode lets you use the control sticks to rotate your drone around the rider as they’re moving. The Mavic Pro will automatically keep them in the center of the frame at all times.

Learn more about ActiveTrack Modes

  • Sport Mode

Another great feature for shooting bikes is Sport mode, boosting the Mavic Pro’s top speed to an impressive 40 mph. One shot to try with this mode is called “the pullback.” Start close to the rider, flying backward as they set off down the trail. Then accelerate out to reveal more of the hillside. It’s a good way to showcase the scenery and put the action into context.

  • Obstacle Avoidance

When it’s time to land just press Return to Home and the Mavic Pro will find its own way back to you. Thanks to its forward and downward sensors, it will even fly over any objects that might be in the way. This comes in super handy when you’re shooting a mountain bike trail full of trees. It even works in the middle of a flight if you accidentally get too close to the landscape.


Episode 3: How to Shoot Surfing with the Mavic Pro

Before surf photographers had a drone, they could only get really great surf shots by using a huge lens, or by putting on fins and diving in with a bulky waterproof camera. Luckily, the Mavic Pro is easy to take to your local break and gives you the opportunity to get some awesome aerial views of the ocean.

  • Tools and Tips

Before taking off, get yourself a set of ND filters , which are basically sunglasses for your camera. In bright conditions with lots of reflected light, the right ND filter will enable you to shoot at slower shutter speeds, making for perfectly smooth and professional-looking video.

If you’re taking off from a cliff or a rock above the sea, pay extra attention to your altitude. If you move over the edge of a cliff and then descend towards the ocean, you will begin to see a negative altitude reading, since the altitude is set according to takeoff. For this reason, keep an eye on the aircraft at all times.

  • Perfect Surf Flight

Probably the best angle when filming a surfer is looking back down the barrel of the wave, which means flying backward. Once you’re over the lineup, fix a safe altitude above the breaking waves and point the Mavic Pro towards the takeoff zone. Pull diagonally down on the right stick in the direction of the breaking wave. Try using a pinch grip with your index finger and thumb, as this will give you finer control. Start the movement slowly, and gradually increase speed, adjusting direction on the stick as necessary.

If you’re filming a particularly fast break, and you find you’re losing the surfer out of the frame, switch to Sport mode. Alternatively, use the Mavic’s ActiveTrack functions to lock onto the subject and follow them automatically.

  • Epic Final Shot

Finally, no beach edit would be complete without some dramatic shots of the shoreline. The Mavic Pro can shoot up to 96 fps and fly up to 40 mph, so you can achieve forward movement in the final shot while the breaking waves are slowed down for an awesome cinematic effect.


Episode 4: How to Shoot Road Cycling with the Mavic Pro

Road cycling is more popular than ever before. If you want to film this sport, you need to be able to keep up with a cyclist’s blistering pace. That’s why the Mavic Pro is the perfect solution for a great road bike video

  • Stay on Course

To follow a rider, you can use ActiveTrack, but let’s try something new — Course Lock. This fixes the drone’s flight direction and lets you spin the camera around while keeping a straight line. Think of it as a virtual cablecam. When you’re shooting a straight section of the road, simply position the Mavic parallel to the road, and point it in the direction the rider will be traveling. Then hit Course Lock, and use the right stick to move forward. Now use the left stick to turn the camera. With a little practice, you can get some awesome cinematic shots.

For faster sections, flick the Mavic into Sport mode. At up to 40mph, you can overtake the cyclist and keep going to focus on the scenery.

  • Get Creative

For a dramatic entrance, fly straight down the road at normal speed, and wait for the rider to burst into the frame. With drone shots, simple moves like this are often the most effective. If you’re riding in hills or mountains, tight bends provide a great opportunity to capture that classic bird’s eye view. Simply hover over the corner, and tilt the camera straight down using the gimbal wheel. To add some movement to the shot, slowly ascend by pushing the left stick up, revealing more of the landscape as you go.


Episode 5: How to Film a Hike with the Mavic Pro

When it comes to epic subject matter, you can’t beat Mother Nature. And with the lightweight Mavic Pro, you can now get awesome shots from the air during any holiday or trip to the great outdoors.

  • Photos

The Mavic Pro’s camera can shoot super high-quality 12 MP stills. Just tap on the screen to focus and hit the shutter on the top right of the controller. For the ultimate selfie, check out Gesture mode. Pick a scenic spot, send your Mavic Pro above you, and spread your arms to get its attention. Then, just signal to take a picture and say “Cheese!”

  • Videos

If you’re making a road trip video, you can set the scene by following your vehicle using ActiveTrack. Simply tap on the subject and the camera will lock on. When hiking uphill, pressing Terrain Follow will keep the Mavic Pro at a fixed high above the ground using its forward and downward sensors. No bumps, no scrapes, just smooth footage. When you want to capture the whole scene, Point of Interest mode will automatically circle an area for an epic 360° panorama. Just fix your center point, apply a radius, and watch it go.

When you’re done with shooting, the Mavic folds back down in a few seconds, so you can easily stash it away and carry on with your trip.


Episode 6: How to Shoot

Snowboarding with the Mavic Pro

We saved the most exciting outdoor sport for last, and guess what: the Mavic Pro is a great way to capture it, too! Get your friends, head to your favorite slopes, and film yourselves snowboarding with amazing angles.

  • Conquering the Mountain

You have to start by capturing the beautiful alpine landscapes. With its 4K camera, the Mavic Pro will shoot footage that looks awesome. For added impact, one trick to try is called the “tilt reveal.” Choose a value of distant peak for your subject and fly towards it by pushing forward on the right stick, keeping the camera pointed straight down. Now slowly rotate the gimbal wheel on the top left of the controller and the camera will tilt up to reveal the full picture. It’s a great way to grab the viewer’s attention and pull them into the scene.

If you’re shooting a ridge line, another technique to add some drama is to start below the height of the peak. Now increase your altitude by pushing up on the left stick. As the camera passes the summit and reveals the background, the foreground will appear to move faster, giving a 3D feel to the landscape.

  • Action on the Slopes

When you’re ready to film some action, the Mavic features several ActiveTrack modes. Just tap on a subject and the camera will lock on. One thing to be aware of when flying in the mountains is that you’ll quickly gain height relative to the slope as the rider descends, so it’s best to start low to the ground and finish your movement before the rider becomes too small in the frame.

Finally, if you’re shooting tricks in the park, the Mavic Pro’s two super-handy settings help freeze time. The first is slow motion video. You can capture full HD at up to 96 fps, perfect for reliving every moment in the air. If you’re taking still images, check out Burst mode. The 12 MP camera will fire off either three, five, or seven photos in a single second, giving you a better chance of capturing that banger shot.


Final Word

These excellent Mavic Pro tips from Mpora will turn you from a novice to a pro sports photographer. But don’t limit yourself! The Mavic Pro and all its features work perfectly for mountain biking, surfing, road cycling, camping, and snowboarding, but it’s great for really any type of adventure. Use the tips you learned here to capture any exciting activity, and your footage will become unforgettable. Who knows? Maybe you’ll come up with some tricks of your own.

Other Useful Mavic Pro Tips:

How to NOT Crash Your Drone in 15 Easy Steps

10 Common Mistakes Mavic Pro Pilots Make

5 Bags & Cases to Keep Your DJI Mavic Pro Safe

5 Great Third-Party Mavic Pro Accessories

Creativity is at the heart of every dream. At DJI, we give creators the tools they need to bring their imagination to life. Our products push visionaries to go beyond the limits of possibility, inspiring them to see the world from a brand new perspective.