Indoor Drone Photography Tips & Tricks
Safely operating a drone indoors not only relies on entering the correct settings, but it also depends on the skill of the pilot and additional precautionary measures that the pilot chooses to use. This can include hardware accessories, important considerations before takeoff and while you are airborne, and the best intelligent flight modes to use. In the video below we discuss all of these, along with one neat trick nobody seems to be talking about. Watch the video to find out what it is!
1. Get Propeller Guards
Propeller guards are an essential accessory for flying indoors. Not only will they help keep your drone safe, but they will also help protect any walls, equipment, or furniture the drone may crash into. They are reasonably affordable too, ranging from $15-$25 online from various retailers. You can get propeller guards for the DJI Spark, Mavic Air, Mavic Pro, and Phantom 4 Pro, and we think they are well worth the investment. (Definitely cheaper than buying a new lamp from IKEA!).
2. Scan Your Environment
Know where obstacles are, account for air movements, and familiarize yourself with the area. Being aware of potential hazards or obstacles is crucial for avoiding them. Remember the movie The Blind Side? Well, if you can’t see what’s coming, then you won’t know what hit you. Same thing for drone flying. Planning your flight route in advance is a great way to be prepared and anticipate any tricky areas. Know where you are going to take off and land, and know how you will navigate around any obstacles. Minimize your time you are in the air to reduce the likelihood of crashing.
3. Take Off Manually
Automatic settings and controls can be great for their simplicity and convenience. However, when you are in an indoor environment space can be tight and you need to make sure you have full control of the drone. Manual takeoff will allow you to perform a nice, gradual liftoff, and your hands will already be on the sticks so you can react quickly and make any adjustments you may need to.
4. Stay Away from the Ceiling
Drones and ceilings are not friends. If you get too close, the force of the propellers can actually suck the drone into the ceiling, causing it to crash. This can damage both your drone and the ceiling. (Have you ever had propellers spinning at 5,000 RPM boring into you?) Maintain a safe distance of 2-3 feet to prevent your drone from sucking itself into the ceiling.
5. Fly Slow & Controlled
Slower movements allow for finer control of your drone, give you more time to react, and help your footage look nice and smooth. Adjusting your Expo and sensitivity settings as discussed in our previous blog post can really help with this, along with using Tripod Mode.
6. Use Tripod Mode
Tripod Mode is a fantastic flight mode for flying indoors. We made a whole video explaining this intelligent flight mode and how to use it, and indoor flying is one of the best use cases for Tripod Mode. It is an intelligent flight mode that limits your maximum speed (2.2mph for Spark, Mavic Air, and Mavic Pro, 5.6mph for Phantom 4 Advanced and Phantom 4 Pro) along with reducing the control sensitivity. Using Tripod Mode helps get those slow, smooth shots you’re looking for while giving you finer control of your drone. It is also one of the only flight modes that limits your maximum speed, which can be extremely beneficial in indoor environments.
7. Use Cinematic Mode (but be careful)
Like with Tripod Mode, Cinematic Mode reduces your control sensitivity. However, instead of being for finer control, Cinematic Mode is designed for capturing that beautiful, cinematic drone footage you’re looking for. Keep in mind that the braking distance is increased with cinematic mode, so you need to stop well in advance of any obstacles and potentially apply manual breaking.
8. Use Course Lock
Have you ever been flying outside and become so focused on the shot that suddenly you have no idea how the drone is oriented and what sticks will move the drone in which direction? Well indoors, this can be disastrous. Which is where Course Lock comes in. Course Lock is an intelligent flight mode that makes it super easy to maneuver your drone because it makes the controls remain the same regardless of which direction your drone is facing. For example, if you have your drone facing north and enable Course Lock, then forward on the right stick will always move your drone north. Right will move your drone east, down south, and left west. Keep in mind this is regardless of which direction your drone is oriented. Not only does this make it easier to fly your drone, but it also makes it easier to get cool, creative shots. For example, you can now fly in a straight direction while panning your camera, allowing you to get a nice shot of a subject or a cool reveal when coming around a corner.
9. Carry Your Drone (what?!)
The trick no one seems to be talking about when flying indoors, because, well, it’s not flying! I know we just covered 8 tips and tricks for flying indoors, but sometimes the situation just isn’t optimal for flying. NOT flying your drone indoors is the best way to keep it safe, and hand carrying it remains a great option for getting beautiful interior footage. The 3-axis gimbal still provides amazing stabilization, and there are even accessories to make it easier to operate your drone in a handheld configuration. If you do decide to carry your drone, make sure to take the propellers off so if the motors accidentally start you are not injured by a spinning blade. Then simply fold up the drone, or hold it in a way that is comfortable for you, and hit record.
Is it Worth it?
So there you go, those are 9 tips and tricks for flying indoors. Indoor flying remains great way to get amazing footage for a variety of projects, including showing off equipment or machinery, showcasing the interior of a finished construction project, or even for just getting beautiful footage of residential real estate properties.
I’m curious to hear your thoughts though. Is it worth it? Will you be flying your drone inside? Or will you be sticking to flying outdoors? Either way, I hope these tips helped. Share this post if you found it helpful, and be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel for the latest drone tips, tricks, and tutorials. And of course, please feel free to follow us on our social media channels or join our mailing list for regular updates.