DJI took the drone world by storm by releasing a mini drone with features that you find in more expensive consumer drones. These included 4K at 60fps resolution, obstacle avoidance, Follow Me mode, an extended range, and up to 30 minutes of flight time.
But even with all these features, drone users still want more. And one of the features drone users wish to have on the Mini 3 Pro is waypoints.
But does DJI Mini 3 Pro have waypoints?
DJI Mini 3 Pro waypoints are only available as one of the options to execute a Hyperlapse – where you take several images and stitch them together into a video.
Please keep reading to learn more about the DJI Mini 3 Pro Waypoints and how you can get great footage from them.
What are waypoints, and why would you need them?
In DJI drones, waypoints are a feature that allows the drone to fly a predetermined flight path using GPS coordinates.
You can program the drone to follow a specific series of waypoints, and the operator can set parameters such as altitude, speed, and camera settings for each waypoint.
Waypoints can be helpful in various applications such as surveying, mapping, and inspections.
For example, a drone operator could use waypoints to fly a drone over a construction site and capture aerial photographs or video at specific intervals.
The operator could also use waypoints to program the drone to fly a specific pattern, such as a grid or circle, over an area of interest.
I’ve also used waypoints to take specific shots at a beach or landscape where I want to take exact shots at different seasons to document the change.
To create waypoints on a DJI drone, you need to use the DJI app or a third-party app, such as Litchi, that supports waypoint functionality.
The app will allow you to set the coordinates for each waypoint and specify the parameters for the drone’s flight. The drone will then follow the predetermined flight path when you start the waypoint mission.
Waypoints on the DJI Mini 3 Pro
Waypoints exist on the DJI Mini 3 Pro, but not in the way you would expect them.
While some DJI drones allow you to create waypoints and use them for video and photo and even get creative with many other options, the DJI Mini 3 Pro only allows you to use Waypoints in Hyperlapse mode.
Fully functional waypoints features are only fully available in DJI Enterprise drones. So if you really want to experience the full power of waypoints, you need to get the DJI Mavic 2 Pro, Mavic 3, or Phantom 4 Pro.
But still, it’s a good thing they gave us a taste of Waypoints in a Mini drone, and you can still get some good shots with it.
The extended flight time also gives you enough time to do a Hyperlapse, especially if you get the 47-minute battery, making the Mini 3 Pro the perfect mini drone for Hyperlapses.
Besides, the DJI Mini 3 Pro has a vertical camera feature that allows you to capture vertical hyperlapses. Combine that with waypoints, and you will have excellent content for your social media channels.
What is Hyperlapse in DJI drones?
Hyperlapse is a feature that allows you to create a time-lapse video using a DJI drone.
A time-lapse video captures a scene or event over an extended period of time and plays it back at a faster speed, creating the illusion of fast-moving action.
Hyperlapse takes a series of photographs or video frames at regular intervals while the drone is in flight. The images are then stitched together to create a smooth, accelerated video showing the drone’s movement over time.
You can activate the Hyperlapse feature in the DJI Mini 3 Pro from the DJI Fly App.
The app will allow you to set the interval at which the drone will capture images and the speed at which the final video will play back.
The drone will then fly the predetermined flight path and capture the images needed to create the Hyperlapse video.
Hyperlapse can help capture dynamic, sweeping aerial shots of landscapes, cityscapes, vehicles on a highway (my favorite), and other subjects.
You can also use it to show the passage of time or the movement of people or objects over time.
How to use Waypoints and Hyperlapse in the DJI Mini 3 Pro
Below is a step-by-step process of utilizing Hyperlapse in the DJI Mini 3 Pro.
- Conduct a pre-flight check and ensure the drone and controller are in working condition.
- Launch the drone.
- As it hovers, access the photos and videos options at the right side of the screen above the Shutter button.
- Select Photos, scroll down to Hyperlapse, and on the Menu on the left, scroll down to Waypoints.
- In the Menu that appears, set the parameter values for the Hyperlapse, such as altitude, speed, length, and intervals.
- Fly the drone to where you want to start the Hyperlapse and click on one of the rectangles at the bottom with a plus in the middle.
- Fly to the next position and do the same.
- Do the same for all the positions that make up the shot, and click on the Shutter button to start recording.
Once you initiate Waypoints, the drone will start flying along the path without much input from you.
The drone will automatically adjust the gimbal and camera throughout the mission. And you can also choose to execute the mission forwards or backward, depending on your desired results.
Tips to get the best footage from Hyperlapse Waypoints
Below are some ways to fully utilize Waypoints.
- Before setting the path, scout the area with your drone to find the best points to include in the Hyperlapse. This way, you’ll save time and have enough battery power to conduct the Hyperlapse. It’s also essential to have extra batteries in case you need to retake the shot or change the path.
- Set the footage to 4K for the best resolution, and RAW so you have the flexibility to edit the footage.
- If you want to take the Hyperlapse at night, plan the shots and conduct the shot during the day to save it, then go back to the same position and execute it at night. If you don’t do that, you may crash due to the limited visibility at night. Also, remember to check the parameters, especially height, since the drone may sometimes not save them.
- Use an ND filter to effect motion blur. The Hyperlapse does take photos, but when they are stitched together, they become a video. Without an ND filter, the moving objects may appear stationary. You can use a more powerful ND filter (ND32 to ND512) for a better effect.
- Use a slower speed and a high interval. As a result, the drone will move slower and take more photos, and when they are all stitched together, you get a better-looking Hyperlapse.
- Start with two points and experiment from there, adding an extra point when necessary and depending on the type of shot. Also, avoid making abrupt changes in direction, as this will ruin the shot.
Where are Hyperlapse Waypoints saved?
The footage is saved on the SD card. You can access it by going to the task library. The footage you just created should be at the top.
You can also click on the pencil icon next to each footage to rename it. This makes it easier to find at a later time.
Can you use DJI Mini 3 Pro waypoints on Litchi?
At the time of writing this, DJI has not released an SDK for the DJI Mini 3 Pro, so it’s not possible yet to use it with third-party apps like Litchi.
Litchi has helped access features that are not initially available on drones, such as waypoints and Follow-Me feature in the DJI Mini 2. But it’s still not clear if we will be getting an SDK release for the DJI Mini 3 Pro.