DJI Go 4 is absolutely packed with settings. It can be challenging to know exactly what each option does or how it affects the flight of your drone.
That’s why we recently did a deep dive into DJI Go 4 and all of the available options in our DJI Go 4 Tutorial. Be sure to check out that post for additional information, but in this post we wanted to highlight 5 key settings to change to get the smoothest, most cinematic drone footage possible.
- Change Your EXPO Settings
- Decrease Your Sensitivity Settings
- Adjust Max Gimbal Pitch Speed
- Customize Your Gimbal Pitch Smoothness
- Use An Intelligent Flight Mode
1. Change Your EXPO Settings
Modifying your EXPO settings is one of the quickest and easiest ways to not only get smoother drone footage, but to have much greater control over your drone.
What are EXPO settings, you ask?
Put simply, EXPO settings are how the drone interprets your controller stick movements. They control how much and how quickly the drone will tilt forward, backward, left, right, ascend, descend, rotate right, or rotate left as the control sticks are gradually moved from the center point to the edge of the controller.
You can find the EXPO settings under Main Controller Settings > Advanced Settings > EXP. (DJI Go 4 abbreviates EXPO as EXP).
Within the settings you will see three graphs with exponential curves going through them. This is because the control input is not mapped 1:1 with the control output interpreted by the drone, as you might expect. Instead, stick movement starts out being interpreted gradually and accelerates rapidly as the stick approaches being pushed 100% in any direction.
You can actually try moving your control sticks and see the graphs update in real time. The x-axis shows your physical movement, while the y-axis shows the logic output interpreted by the drone.
To adjust the EXPO sensitivity, you can either tap and drag on the graph with your finger or you can manually type in a value in the control box. We recommend setting your EXPO sensitivity to a lower value, such as 0.15-0.20. You could even set the rudder setting to be 0.10.
The reason you want lower settings is that so your stick movements are interpreted more gradually by the drone. Instead of zooming off in one direction the moment you lightly touch a stick, your drone will slowly begin moving in your desired direction.
Setting lower EXPO setting can help you get smoother movements for more cinematic shots. EXPO settings apply regardless of which flight mode you are in.
2. Decrease Your Sensitivity Settings
In a similar vein as decreasing the EXPO settings, decreasing your sensitivity settings can also help you achieve more cinematic shots. Sensitivity settings can be found under Main Controller Settings > Advanced Settings > Sensitivity.
Here you will find options to adjust your attitude, brake, and yaw movement limit sensitivities.
Attitude sensitivity is how quickly your drone responds to controller input. We actually recommend keeping this set at the maximum value, 100. This will make it so your drone feels responsive, even if the movements are more gradual due to the lower EXPO settings.
Brake sensitivity is how quickly the drone comes to a stop after you release the control sticks. For achieving more cinematic shots, you want to decrease the brake sensitivity. This will make it so your drone gradually drifts to a stop and prevents jerky camera moves. Use caution when adjusting brake sensitivity. Consider using DJI’s Visual Obstacle Avoidance and stop well in advance of any obstacles.
Yaw movement limit is how rapidly your drone will rotate left or rotate right. This translates into panning movements in the camera. Typically you want a slower yaw movement limit for slower pans and more shots. However, there may be times when you need quicker yaw movements to track moving objects, so feel free to play around
3. Adjust Your Max Gimbal Pitch Speed
While the yaw movement limit controls the horizontal pans of the camera, max gimbal pitch speed adjusts the rate at which the camera tilts up or down. This is another setting to get right for smooth, cinematic footage.
Find the setting for max gimbal pitch speed under Gimbal Settings > Advanced Settings.
Setting the max gimbal pitch speed to a higher number will tilt the gimbal up and down faster, while a lower number will make the movements slower. Similar to the yaw movement sensitivity, you may need to play around with the gimbal pitch smoothness to find the tilting rate suitable for your flying style. We recommend a lower pitch speed of around 12-20 to start.
4. Customize Your Gimbal Pitch Smoothness
In this same area as the max gimbal pitch speed, you will see an option for gimbal pitch smoothness.
Gimbal pitch smoothness is a lot like braking sensitivity. It controls how suddenly or gradually the gimbal comes to a stop after a tilting the camera up or down. Lower numbers will stop the gimbal suddenly, while higher numbers cause a slower stop.
For cinematic footage, you’ll want to increase the gimbal pitch smooth to around 15 to 25. You’ll get more natural and gentle camera tilts.
Take time to play around with this setting. It may take a bit to get used to. You’ll need to release the gimbal tilt wheel before the camera is positioned where you want it be because it will continue moving and drift to a stop. Once you get used to it, having a smoother gimbal tilt is a great way to improve your footage and reduce unwanted jerky gimbal movements.
5. Use An Intelligent Flight Mode
Intelligent flight modes are special flight modes built into DJI Go 4 that allow your drone to perform specialized maneuvers. While many of these maneuvers are somewhat gimmicky and more for show than actual utility, some of them are complex and enable you to capture shots that are much more challenging if you were controlling the drone manually.
The intelligent flight modes we have found most helpful for capturing amazing shots are ActiveTrack, Point of Interest, Cinematic Mode, and Tripod Mode. Here is what each mode does:
ActiveTrack: ActiveTrack allows your drone to follow moving subjects and keep them in frame. This intelligent flight mode is particularly useful for sports, action, or other scenarios where your subject is moving in potentially unpredictable ways. All you do is tap and drag a box around your subject, and your drone will automatically track that subject and orient itself to keep the subject in frame. ActiveTrack also has options for following the subject in a side profile, from behind, or orbiting around the moving subject.
Point of Interest: Point of Interest is a phenomenal flight mode that can be used in a wide variety of applications. It allows your drone to orbit around a stationary subject while keeping the subject in frame. This mode is great for capturing residential real estate, shooting a commercial real estate drone video, or any other application where you want a slow, sweeping, circular movement around a subject. To use Point of Interest, all you do is fly your drone above your subject, set that point as the subject, fly backwards to create a radius, and then set the speed of the orbit and your drone will automatically begin circling your subject.
Suggested Video: Film Smooth & Steady Drone Video using DJI Point of Interest
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Cinematic Mode: As the name implies, Cinematic Mode is helpful for capturing cinematic footage. What Cinematic Mode does is it essentially the same as what is outlined in the first part of this article: it increases breaking distance for smoother stops and it slows down the rotation speed for smoother pans. Cinematic Mode is helpful because it is a quick one-tap way to enable many of the settings you need for more cinematic footage.
Tripod Mode: Tripod Mode is found in the Intelligent Flight Modes menu for most drones, but for the Mavic 2 Pro and Mavic 2 Zoom DJI added Tripod Mode to the flight mode switch found on the right side of the controller. DJI made this change because of the popularity and versatility of Tripod Mode–it’s one of the best intelligent flight modes available on DJI drones. Tripod Mode does three things: 1) it slows down the maximum flight speed of your drone to 2.2mph-5.6mph (depending on your model of drone), 2) it reduces the breaking distance for more abrupt stops, and 3) it enables visual obstacle avoidance. Tripod Mode is great for getting slow, controlled shots and navigating in tight spaces. The the slow flight speed of 2.2-5.6mph actually helps many shots look more cinematic and beautiful.
Suggested Video: 5 Best Uses for DJI’s Tripod Mode
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