Whenever we get something new into our hands, we want to make it our own.
That may mean we have a skin produced to cover the object with some of our unique flair or 3D print an add-on so we really feel that we’ve made it our own.
Even more functional is adjusting some settings so it feels more comfortable to your style. We may even go as far as naming an inanimate object just so it seems more relatable.
All my drones are named Bob, for example, going back to when the earlier drones were much harder to maintain steady flight and they bobbed up and down some. So yeah, they’re all Bobs – you know Bob 1, Bob 2, etc.
That’s just human nature, and there is nothing wrong with making something more unique to yourself or more relatable. That’s not what we’re covering today. Oh goodness, no!
Today we’re going to be looking at the most important settings you need to change on your new in-the-factory-default-state DJI Mini 3 Pro.
The DJI Mini 3 Pro is an impressive piece of kit. Even in the factory default state, you can get some nice photos and videos.
However, by tweaking a setting here and there, we can go from getting some good stuff to getting some great cinematic footage.
As yes, the DJI Mini 3 Pro is more than capable of doing so. Now the challenge isn’t just on the drone; it’s on you as well.
As the pilot of this wonder of modern technology, knowing how to use it and how to change the settings is on you!
Only you can make yourself better. I mean only you can make yourself a better pilot. Both statements stand, though. Let’s get into it!
The DJI Mini 3 Pro offers a variety of video resolutions. However, filming in 4K is always best. The DJI Mini 3 Pro is able to record in 4K 30fps and that is actually a great place to be.
No, it’s not quite 60fps, I know, but for a camera like the Mini 3 Pro, we couldn’t really expect much more than that.
Here are a couple of things about working with 4K footage or any recorded footage, really.
In post-editing, always match the editor to the video. For example, if you recorded your video in 4K 24fps, then the editing program you’re working with should also be set to match. Meaning it should also be 4K 24fps.
You can always downgrade a video resolution after working with the original footage. It’s not advisable to grade the footage down while still working with it.
In the Camera settings tab, you will see a section marked Color, with the option of Normal or D-Cinelike.
Now this one can really depend on your location and what you’re looking to capture. That and personal preference.
Most professionals would choose the D-Cinelike option, as they intend to add a Coloring LUT in the post-processing of the recorded footage. This format of the recording is how you get the very best out of the DJI Mini 3 Pro.
Similar to a JPG or a RAW format photo, Normal here would be the JPG and the D-Cinelike would be the RAW. The D-Cinelike option provides a flatter color palette and many more post-editing options than that of the Normal format.
The Normal option can tend to be overly saturated. So, being able to control or adjust that is indeed how you would get the best out of your recorded footage.
When we look at this setting, we need to keep in mind that the H.265 format is one of the newest available, and as such, it will only really work with newer systems that support this new format.
The H.264 is the older, more common format and will be found to work on nearly every device out there.
So, if you’re using a fairly new device, recording in the H.265 format shouldn’t be an issue.
However, if you’re still using older hardware, like many of us, the format you’ll want is the H.264, as it will work with older operating systems and software.
Otherwise, the system you are using may not be able to play the H.265 codec.
Gridlines is an option found in the Camera settings tab and offers a couple of options, each with its own benefit.
This is probably the most underused feature you will find in any drone system, not just the DJI Mini 3 Pro. It’s surprising how many pilots out there just don’t use this convenient feature.
It not only helps to line up a shot or your framing, but it also improves the pilot’s situational awareness as well.
By selecting this option, an overlay will appear on the screen, depending on which one you choose. You will have a nice grid overlay to assist you in your positioning and lining up of your shots.
You can also use this feature to not only keep your shot lined up but to keep the drone safe by flying by line.
The grid overlay plays an additional part here. By using the grind lines, you can monitor your proximity to objects, and if you are trying to shoot a gap, these lines can assist in keeping you from that gap’s edge.
Nifty right?! For sure something you’ll want to switch on and utilize.
Gimbal Pitch Speed
Here’s one that, if you’re not aware of it, you could easily skip or decide not to mess with due to not wanting to mess anything up, right?
Don’t worry; you can always reset any of these settings back to default if needed. This setting gives you control over the speed of the camera’s gimbal. How fast it goes up or down.
In the factory default, this setting tends to be a bit fast. If you find yourself trying to get a smooth, steady, slow gimbal movement, this is where you can control that speed.
Since the default is known to be a bit fast, this should be one of your first stops when setting up your new DJI Mini 3 Pro. You’ll be grateful later, for sure.
This one’s sort of a big deal. The DJI Mini 3 Pro comes with a built-in obstacle avoidance system. These settings are found in the Safety Tab.
Now, this system can be the bane of your existence or a descending angel of light saving your dear little aircraft.
Here I’ll impart a short story. A friend of mine a few years back was flying in a large city with large city buildings.
He had overlooked resetting the height of his return-to-home settings. In this case, he did indeed initiate an RTH when there was a loss of signal between the ground station and the aircraft.
Now, the end of the story is he crashed into the high-rise building, flew right into it, and well, you can imagine how that all worked out, and if you want, it is out there on YouTube.
If you’ve followed me at all, you know who it is. What this story does, though, is show how this setting should always be at the forefront of your mind and should be checked every time you fly.
Now a little more on this amazing robot vision, which is, in essence, what it is.
The sensors you find on the front, back, and underside of your DJI Mini 3 Pro are special cameras, and they work together to give the aircraft some awareness of what is around it.
We’re going to keep it simple, but this is some crazy cool tech, and if you’re interested in knowing more, there is much more to find. Back to these settings, though.
The most important option on this tab is the ability to turn the system on or off. You will find there are times when flying with the obstacle avoidance on will hamper what you’re doing.
That’s not always going to be the case, and I fully recommend using the obstacle avoidance system when not in these particular situations.
When the system is on, we can choose what action the craft will take when encountering an obstruction. We can choose to bypass, brake, or off.
When flying in sport mode, this system is by default turned off and does not operate in the Sport flying mode. Just another one of those things to keep in mind.
The point is, every flight you take is different from the one before it and the one after it. Getting into the habit of checking these settings on each and every flight is just a good habit to have.
The alternative is picking up many pieces of your aircraft from flying into a building due to a mere oversight on these exact settings.
Advanced Safety Settings
These settings actually tie right into the Sensors section we just covered above, and they also tie into the brief recap of my buddy Ken, using the Return to Home function and flying right into a building. But I digress.
From the Safety Tab, we will find the option for Advanced Safety Settings.
By selecting this, we are taken to a section where we can select an option for what the aircraft will do in the event of signal loss. These options are Return to Home (RTH), Descend, or Hover.
This is another of those options that should be selected per flight, as one may be a better choice over another.
A good example here would be, do you really want the Descend option you were flying over water?
No, you wouldn’t, as in the event of signal loss, the aircraft would simply descend into the water, and the fish will be the only ones enjoying that footage.
For my buddy, if he had selected Hover, he would have had a chance to move and reacquire the signal. One of those “live and learn moments” we’ve all had.
JPG or RAW
Here as a professional, it’s a non-starter. Even if the client has only requested JPG, I will always shoot in both formats, and you should too. Even if you’re not a professional.
The reason why is simple. RAW captures more detail and data per pixel than the lower-quality Jpeg.
If you get back to your computer and start looking over your photos, you may find that some of the Jpegs are overexposed or underexposed.
With a RAW copy, you stand a better chance of being able to correct the image.
With the limitations found with Jpeg, having that RAW as a backup is just another of those good practices to get into.
It is true that when shooting in the Dual format of Jpeg+RAW you will be using a significant amount more storage than if just shooting in Jpeg.
However, this old argument is really negated by today’s SD cards and their increased capacities.
This interesting setting can be a real pain if you managed to turn it on and not realize it. What this setting does is just what it says. It enables or disables the aircraft’s ability to fly from side to side.
When first coming across this setting, I was like, WHAT?! Why would I ever need that?
Since then, I have found that there are many places where this setting can come in really handy, like flying down a hallway or a straight line through trees. Yeah, see, not as silly as it first seems.
Having sideways flight disabled when following a subject can also be a great way to utilize this function.
As you become more and more familiar with your DJI Mini 3 Pro and its features, who knows how you may use this function. After all, the sky’s the limit.
With an f1.8 aperture, the amount of light the DJI Mini 3 Pro is able to take in is substantial, and it makes this a great drone for low-light situations.
The other side of that coin is that the camera can tend to be overwhelmed on super bright sunny days, leaving you to up the shutter speed.
In order to limit this sort of over-saturation and use a lower shutter speed, it is recommended that you use ND filters, as this will allow for lower shutter speeds even on those bright sunny days.
ND filters are an excellent option for capturing great footage with a lower shutter speed and limiting the amount of light getting into the camera.
We’ve covered quite a bit here with the settings on the DJI Mini 3 Pro. Although these are settings you certainly want to make yourself familiar with, there are yet more settings you can learn about.
These settings are some of the first you will want to change to improve not only your flying experience but to capture the best and most amazing footage that the DJI Mini 3 Pro can muster than if you leave these settings alone.
Fly Safe, Fly Always, Always Fly Safe!