The Mavic Air is the smallest foldable drone that DJI has built to this date. It has some awesome features when compared to DJI Mavic Pro (Click HERE to see), but even though the camera is very similar the best settings are not.
In this article, we are going to cover each segment of those settings, and after reading this you will hopefully understand everything.
So let’s begin.
There are Photo and Video settings in the DJI GO 4 app, but we are going to focus on best camera video settings for the Mavic Air.
There are 5 categories:
- Video Size
- Video Format
- White Balance
For video size we recommend using the highest possible settings. Why? Well simply because that way the sensor of the camera is fully utilized and the camera receives the most visual information that way.
So our suggestion is 4k at 25fps (Frames Per Second).
NOTE: We use 25fps because it is easy to calculate the framerate and the shutter speed with different ND filters. Article about that is coming in future and will be linked HERE.
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That being said if the situation requires a bit of a slow-mo, feel free to go with 2.7k at 50fps. 2x slower when converted to 25fps footage. You will get smooth slow-motion with still crisp high-quality footage.
There are only two options in Video Format settings and basically, those options are pretty useless.
Quality-wise MOV and MP4 are the same. They are only containers for the AVC/H.264 image compression.
MOV was initially developed by Apple as a file format for QuickTime, and thus it lives mostly in the Apple ecosystem.
MP4 was later developed from the MOV, and it is the industry standard nowadays and has more widespread support than MOV.
So basically if you really want to choose: if you are using Apple devices only, go with the MOV, otherwise go with the MP4.
NOTE: Never set this to Auto. You don’t want it changing in the middle of the video.
White balance should be set by current weather conditions. So pick one of the presets (they work really good), or make a custom WB profile with your preferences.
Let’s quickly go through each of the presets:
Sunny – When it’s sunny outside
Cloudy – When there are a lot of clouds and no direct sunlight
Incandescent – When there is candlelight or bulb light in the scene (flying indoors)
Fluorescent – When there are neon lights in the scene
So, basically, forget these presets. You want to set this to custom with following preferences:
1. For easy workflow, and nice straight-from-the-camera raw footage:
Sharpness: 0 | Contrast: 0 | Saturation: -1
2. For a bit more professional look and with post-processing, we suggest:
Sharpness: 0 | Contrast: -3 | Saturation: -2
NOTE: Don’t forget to put the contrast back on later, because we chose -3 to shoot with.
This is something new with the Mavic Air, because we only have 2 options: Normal and D-Cinelike.
Always go with D-Cinelike.
The footage has a much more dynamic range and you have much more freedom in post-production.
In post, you would first do the color correction as desired. Then you can use any professional video or image editing software for more details like Final Cut Pro X or Adobe Premiere Pro or can use any Plug-in Color Finale for advanced color settings and grading.
So whether you just want a quick shot or you are a pro, D-Cinelike is the way to go.
The Shutter speed should be set so the shutter is the inverse double of your frame rate. For example, if you are having a frame rate of 25fps at 4k, your shutter should be 1/50s.
But there is one problem… At most light conditions the image will be overexposed at these settings. This is solved with ND Filters.
NOTE: If you would like to know When and How to use ND Filters, check out our article.
These filters limit the amount of light that enters the camera thus allowing you to set a lower shutter speed while maintaining good exposure.
They are really a must-have accessory.
So if you want to have that professional and cinematic looking footage, click the image and learn how to do it!
Don’t misuse the filters.
BONUS: Choose the right time!
Choose the right time for shooting with appropriate light.
Very cloudy and extra bright days are not recommended. Too dark scenery or too high-contrast shadows don’t look good at all on the video.
The recommended time for shooting is mornings at sunrise and time during and after sunset. The well known “Golden Hour“.
So even though using the right ND filter can produce good effects even when you are shooting on extra sunny days, it is better to choose the right time.
Professional settings and approaches should be taken if you want your footage to look great.
NOTE: Lightly lit mornings and evenings produce a certain magical effect!
So there you go. Our take on Best settings for your DJI Mavic Air.
We hope this helped you. If you have any opinions on this, please leave a comment.
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