You finally have that DJI Avata you’ve been drooling over, and pure giddiness abounds. You can’t wait to get her up in the air and learn all the ins and outs of how she flies.
Or if you’re someone who’s had the Avata for a bit already, well, you already know just what a fun flyer the Avata is and how enjoyable learning to fly it can be, and of course, just how surprisingly amazing it is.
Of course, it’s also thanks to you, the early adopters of the DJI Avata, that we can glean ten tips and tricks to help those who have just entered the game.
So, thank you, all of you, for doing those things that you do, so we don’t have to.
Here we’ve scoured our sources to bring you ten helpful tips and tricks for the DJI Avata.
For those of you new to the Avata, welcome aboard, and for those of you who’ve had the Avata for a bit – you never know – even you may pick something up here.
Let’s get to it.
1. You can fly in cold weather
It’s that time of the year when beautiful snow-filled forests and fields provide some fantastic visuals.
As a DJI Avata owner or any drone pilot, actually, you’re going to want to get out there and freeze your fingers off collecting some of that stunning winter footage.
Now, we’ve covered cold weather flying here on Droneblog before if you want to know more about flying in cold weather.
» MORE: How Does Weather Affect Drones?
We’re here today for tips and tricks, though.
Tip: Keep a Hand Warmer in your pockets. It’s best if you have one for each hand. I use the Zippo Heatbank 9s Rechargeable Hand Warmer. Works great, and it’s easy to use. Warms the digits right up!
In a pinch, it works as a power bank as well. Win, win!
Trick: Keep the DJI Avata Battery in your pocket until ready for use.
All drone batteries have an operating temperature, which in cold weather is difficult for the battery to reach.
By keeping the battery in a pant pocket, it is able to get closer to its normal operating temperature from your body heat.
2. Learn to use Gyroflow
As many Avata users know, the DJI Avata comes with two settings to stabilize the video it records. They are Rocksteady and Horizonsteady.
These are built-in options of very decent quality and do a good job of providing a steady image on playback.
If you’re looking for more control of that image stabilization, though, then Gyroflow is the best option for you.
Tip: Gyroflow is a free editing program that will steady the footage taken from the DJI Avata by using the craft’s gyro data which will be stored if you have either of the stabilization options turned off.
This is a highly customizable program providing the ability to make changes that the built-in options just cannot provide.
Although either of the built-in stabilization systems will provide great footage, for those who like to tweak things here and there, Gyroflow allows you to do that.
Trick: Always make sure and double-check that the built-in Rock or Horizonsteady is turned off, or Gyroflow will not be able to process the footage properly.
3. Add an Action Camera
Adding anything to a drone is risky, and one of the first things you will want to be sure of is the mount for that added gear.
Deciding to add an Action Camera to the Avata is a tough choice, as the DJI Avata’s camera really does a terrific job on its own, when compared to some of the newest action cameras out there.
Some of the biggest reasons supporting adding an Action Camera would be having a different angle of footage, or backup footage.
Tip: DJI Avata Bad Idea Camera Mount from The Original Dobo is what I use.
There are others, though, that you can find. It’s a quality mount, and there are no fears of the camera becoming displaced during flight, even with a hit here and there.
Trick: Flying with a camera mounted to the top of the Avata does change how it flies.
A trick here would be to use the mount for a simulated camera weight and practice with that on the Avata prior to actually using the camera.
This allows you to get accustomed to the new flying parameters, including the new headroom the craft will need once the camera is in place.
You won’t be hitting such narrow gaps anymore.
4. Set the Aircraft Signal Lost Action
This is a safety feature found in the DJI Avata, one that you won’t find on too many FPV systems, but is a feature found on most GPS drones.
The addition of these types of safety features is just another reason the Avata is different from what is typically seen with other Cinewhoops or FPV quads.
Found in the advanced safety menu, it offers three selectable options: Return to Home (RTH), Hover, and Land.
Based on which one of these options is selected, this will be the action the aircraft will take in the event of losing signal with the control station (controller).
Tip: When utilizing this feature, it is best to keep yourself aware of your environment.
If you’re flying in open areas, having the aircraft return to home may be the best choice.
When flying in a wooded area where there is a canopy overhead and a lot of obstructions, having the aircraft land or hover would be advisable, as the DJI Avata has no obstacle avoidance system.
It would not be able to avoid those obstructions, so being mindful of how you have this feature set is just practical.
Trick: The trick to using these onboard safety systems is to remember to always double-check the current settings for the environment you have decided to fly in.
The setting for flying in the woods certainly shouldn’t be the same as flying over rows of corn.
After all, forgetting to adjust the height of the RTH from 100ft and then flying indoors with it could lead to a bad day, what with the little fella just bouncing into the ceiling and making quite the ruckus after that.
5. Turn on Centerpoint and Gridlines
If you are someone new to the First-Person View experience, as many Avata owners are, or if you’re even a very experienced FPV pilot, these two features can be a game changer for getting through that hole or gap versus hitting just off to the side of that opening and crashing.
The Centerpoint feature can be located in the settings tab under Camera and can be where you can find this great feature, which adds a small Centerpoint marker to the view in the goggles.
Also found in the same setting area can be found Gridlines. Similar to the Centerpoint, Gridlines offers three options.
Which is best for you? Only you can decide that.
Tip: Using the Centerpoint with gridlines together will give you the best chance at keeping the aircraft steady and in line with any target you’re trying to fly through or follow.
Trick: If you’ve added an action camera to your Avata, don’t forget to account for its higher profile.
If using the Centerpoint, the marker will now be off by just a little bit as the aircraft does not know of the added height due to the added action camera.
6. Turn on Manual Mode
Switching to Manual Mode on the DJI Avata is a heart-pounding few seconds.
Have you ever thrown the switch, though, and instead of going to Manual mode, it stayed in Sport mode?
Well, it comes this way out of the box as a safety precaution, so you avoid triggering it by accident.
Tip: After some practice and flight time, you will want to enable full Manual Mode.
- Go to the Setting Menu and select Control.
- Then select Remote Controller and scroll down and change Custom Mode to Manual Mode.
- Now when you use the Toggle Switch on the controller, you will switch into Manual mode.
Trick: With the above tip, you will be able to switch into manual mode.
However, there will still be roll limits in place. So, the Avata still won’t be able to point directly down or roll, or flip.
To remove these limits, from the same Remote Controller menu page located on the top bar, select Gain & Expo.
You will see M Mode Attitude Limit. By turning this off, you will now have full acrobatic control of the Avata.
7. Adjust the gimbal angle
Unlike GPS drones that are designed to maintain a steady position, no matter where the gimbal is pointing, on the Avata, the gimbal angle has a direct effect on how the Avata flies.
If you’ve attempted to fly in manual mode with the Avata, you’ve already learned it’s not as easy as it looks.
You probably found the little flyer gets away from you very easily, and maintaining control is nearly impossible.
Sure is a speedy little devil, isn’t it? That can easily be explained by the position of the camera and how it’s gimballed.
Tip: Adjust your gimbal angle. When pointed up, the Avata will pitch more during forward flight to maintain the horizon.
This equals more speed.
By using the scroll wheel or the snap toggle, you can adjust the gimbal angle.
Trick: Adjust the gimbal tilt angle to 0. This will slow the rate of speed the Avata flies at, allowing for slower, more stable, and controllable flight in manual mode.
8. Land in normal mode
The DJI Avata, unlike other FPV quads, is equipped with downward landing sensors. This is one of the reasons it is able to be equipped with the RTH feature and auto landing.
This comes in very handy when flying in one of the other modes besides manual, such as normal or sport mode.
Although it can sometimes not choose the best place as a landing location, such as sandy, dusty areas or tall grass.
Of course, those auto landings can be rough for sure.
Tip: When coming back in for a landing after flying in manual mode, switch to normal mode on the controller. This will stop the drone and put it into a hover.
From there, land as normal. It’ll lead to a much less bouncy experience.
Trick: Hand-catch your Avata!
When flying in areas such as the beach or a gravel path, or in a tall field of grass, just hand-catch the DJI Avata.
This easy method can be employed in any dubious environment where landing on the ground is questionable.
Simply position the Avata in front of you so that you can get ahold of the battery or the top of the aircraft, grab the Avata and flip it over. This will immediately shut the motors down.
Of course, do be cautious when performing this method.
9. Learn how to get motion blur
We’ve all seen that awesome low-proximity flying footage that looks like warp speed over the ground.
What a good many don’t realize is they can get that awesome footage themselves.
Motion blurring is an old-school photography technique and can be achieved by lowering the shutter speed.
Motion blur will occur when the shutter speed is set to twice the frame rate. So, if you shoot at 50fps, you would want a shutter speed of 1/100.
Tip: When adjusting the shutter speed to get the motion blur effect.
It’s best to employ the use of ND filters, or sunglasses for your Avata’s camera lens.
ND filters allow for running at these lower shutter speeds without overexposing and blowing out the footage.
Trick: With the DJI Avata’s high frame recording ability, you can capture some great footage that can be easily converted to slow motion in post-editing by most editing software available.
Try 1080p/100 or 2.7K/100.
Bonus – Easily find a crashed or lost Avata
Most seasoned FPV pilots learned this lesson long ago – you’re going to crash, and you’re going to end up in some unseemly places to recover that craft.
Tall weeds, crumbling buildings, croc-infested swamp lands, trouncing around active volcanos. Ok, maybe not the last one, maybe.
No matter where you’re flying, crashing is more than possible. It’s the nature of FPV. Within the settings, you will find a small toggle square in the Safety section labeled ESC Beeping.
Much like it sounds, when turned on, the aircraft will start beeping until it runs out of battery or you turn it off.
This small, simple thing can easily lead you to your downed aircraft. You will also see just above this setting “View last 30 sec before loss.”
This is a 30-sec cached video of what happened just before the craft was lost. This can help in putting you into the area where you would hear the ESC beeping once toggled on.
Tip: By connecting your phone to the goggles and initiating the Fly App, you can by going into the profile section, use the Find My Drone map feature as well if you’re having a difficult time locating your lost Avata.
Trick: Try Turtle Mode. This unique feature should be one to try if you haven’t already.
Set it up as one of the customized buttons on your controller.
After all, it’s very possible that the small bump crash you had, has not rendered the aircraft disabled and is still flyable.
Turtle Mode, when initiated, will flip the DJI Avata over.
In certain cases, this could be enough to allow the aircraft to liftoff again, allowing you to fly the Avata back for inspection.
As I am sure, just due to the large number of features and changes that can be made to the DJI Avata, there are many more tips and tricks to be had out of that rabbit’s box of cereal.
And updates will be bringing new and interesting features such as the new 10-bit recording option and, of course, the Remote ID they snuck in there, those silly rabbits.
The DJI Avata is a feature-packed flying work of genius, which probably has much, much more to reveal to us as time goes by.
Fly Safe, Fly Always, Always Fly Safe!