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Film Smooth & Steady Drone Video using DJI Point of Interest

DJI’s Point of Interest intelligent flight mode is a powerful tool for drone pilots. It allows your drone to automatically circle around a defined subject while keeping the subject centered in the frame. It is compatible with the DJI Mavic Air and Mavic Pro, as well as the Phantom 4, Phantom 4 Pro, and Phantom 4 Advanced. What makes Point of Interest so powerful is it puts your DJI drone on an automated flight path, allowing you to focus on capturing cinematic footage and breathtaking drone shots. Watch the video below to see a full overview on the Point of Interest intelligent flight mode. The video includes what exactly Point of Interest does, how to set it up, and 5 engaging drone shots to try while you are flying.

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What is Point of Interest?

Point of Interest (POI) is an intelligent flight mode available on select models of DJI drones. It uses advanced positioning systems to put your drone on an automated flight path around a desired subject, while rotating the drone to keep the subject centered in the camera frame. Compatible drones include the Mavic Air, the Mavic Pro, and the Phantom 4 series of drones.

This is an incredibly versatile intelligent flight mode, allowing you to easily capture beautiful footage for a variety of applications. Not only does capturing a slow, smooth circle around a subject look great, but you can also control the altitude, direction, and tilt of the camera mid-flight for a whole new world of cinematic possibilities. Spiral up and above your subject. Slowly fly back, up, and away. Create a smooth tilt-up reveal of your subject. And so much more. Point of Interest brings new capabilities to drone pilots, allowing them to showcase residential real estate, commercial properties, and construction projects in exciting new ways.

How do I Setup Point of Interest?

Before engaging Point of Interest, it is important to understand the basic principles behind the what the intelligent flight mode does. First, you will need to use your drone to define your point of interest. You do this by flying above your desired subject when you activate the intelligent flight mode. Next, you will need to set a radius for your flight by backing away from the subject. Lastly, you configure the altitude of the drone and the title of the camera before sending your drone on its automated flight path.

Point of Interest in 5 Steps

1. Fly above your desired subject

DJI uses the GPS built into the drone to define the point of interest. When you activate point of interest, the current location of the drone becomes the center of the circle it flies around, so it is important to position the drone carefully during this first step.

Helpful tips:

  • Keep the camera pointed straight down. This will help ensure you are directly above your subject and not off to the side because the camera was at an angle.
  • Use a center point indicator to align your drone above the center of your subject.
2. Activate the Point of Interest Intelligent Flight Mode

Tap on the intelligent flight modes button (the controller icon) and select Point of Interest. It is the icon that an arrow flying around a mountain.

3. Set Your Point of Interest

You have already flown above your desired subject, so tap “Record POI” at the bottom right of the screen

3. Set Your Radius and Altitude

Back your drone away from your subject to create a radius. The minimum radius is 17 feet, and at that distance you will see the numbers turn from red to blue. Be sure to tilt your camera up while you are setting your radius so you can get an idea of what the shot will look like. You can also choose to change your altitude. Lower-altitude shots are great for showcasing a subject from the ground, such as for residential real estate projects or highlighting storefront locations, while higher-altitude shots can be ideal for filming larger sites and putting the location of a property into perspective. Once you have your altitude and radius set, you can tap “apply” in the bottom right of the screen.

4. Set Your Flight Direction and Speed

After you tap apply, your drone will automatically begin to fly counterclockwise around your subject at 2 miles per hour. You can drag the slider to the right to fly faster in the counterclockwise direction, or you can drag the slider to the left to fly in a clockwise direction at your defined speed. You can pause your drone at any time while it is on its flightpath by tapping the pause button. This can be helpful if you need a moment to reframe your shot, or to prevent your drone from automatically colliding with a building or obstacle.

5. Capture Amazing Aerial Footage

Now that your drone is on an automated flight path, feel free to experiment with changing altitude, radius, direction, and camera tilt mid-flight for creating a combination of cinematic camera moves. There are many incredible combinations to explore. We recommend trying the following 5 camera moves start for adding a little flair to your point of interest shots.

5 Cinematic Camera Moves using POI

1. Pull Back and Up
Start low to the ground and close to your subject, then gradually pull back and up. Your drone will appear to spiral up and away from your subject, creating an awesome reveal.

2. Fly Up and Tilt Down
Flying up while tilting down will make it appear as though your drone is spiraling up and above your subject. Try to make the camera tilt to be as smooth as possible for the best results.

3. Tilt-Up
Simply tilting your camera up while in Point of Interest mode can create a cool reveal of your subject. Try this simple move from a variety of heights and see how it looks!

4. The Sweeping Motion
Set a large radius for your point of interest and make your altitude reasonably high. Then adjust your speed as you see fit. The large radius combined with a slower flight speed creates a nice, subtle sweeping motion as your drone flies across the landscape. This is great for putting the location of a property into perspective and showcasing the surrounding area.

5. The Reveal Pan
This shot can sometimes be more challenging to pull off, but it creates beautiful drone footage. Start with your drone close to your subject and at a slower speed. As your drone is coming around your subject, gradually rotate the drone toward the direction it came from. This means if your drone is on a counterclockwise path around your subject, you want to rotate it to the right. If your drone is on a clockwise path, you want to rate it to the left. Experiment with this move while increasing the radius of your circle. This can create a beautiful sweeping shot of your subject and the surrounding area.

Watch the video above to see these shots in action!


Get Certified to Fly Commercially

The Dronegenuity Part 107 Test Prep Course does a deep dive into all of the topics that are covered on the FAA’s Part 107 Exam. This exam is required for drone users who intend on using their drone commercially. In other words, if you intend on making money with your drone, this course sets you up to take the FAA’s exam and get your certification. We’ll cover topics such as FAA regulations, weather, radio communications, sectional charts (of course), the national airspace system, and more. Enroll now to take your first step towards FAA certification.




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About the Author

Stetson Doggett

Stetson is an Ithaca College alum and a certified drone pilot. He has been flying the DJI Mavic Pro since it first came out and loves finding new ways to improve his aerial photo and video quality. Stetson is from Acton, Massachusetts, and when not in the air he enjoys playing board games, producing YouTube videos, and watching Stranger Things.