Hello, my name is Andy Reynolds and today I’m bringing you a brief tutorial on how to shoot a drone hyperlapse with any of the Mavic series drones.

For those uninitiated – a hyperlapse, also known as a moving time lapse, is a type of video in which time is sped up while the drone records the subject(s) moving at rapid speed.  The drone will stitch several shots at specified intervals together to create the video automatically. The results are quite unique and as expected this is one of the hot new features which the Mavic lineup are offering.  If any of the above is new information to you, or even if you’re a seasoned vet, you’ll want to read until the end for some tips and tricks on how to create these effectively.

 

1. Subject:

One of the most important aspects of a drone hyperlapse is going to be your subject. You’ll want to consider what will make the video interesting, how well your drone will be able to move among the terrain / whether there is anything in the vicinity that your drone may hit midflight etc.  I recommend starting out early in the morning as a sunrise will allow for some very dramatic scenery.  Sunset can work just as well but do be sure you’re complying with state / federal laws.

 

2. Settings:

Ultimately time and experience will prove the best way to go about getting better at creating these videos, but the following setting tips will definitely get you up, running and creating something truly interesting:

White-Balance:  This setting changed the color temperature of the video, which some people refer to as the mood of a photo or video.  I recommend setting this to 5500 – 5600. Never shoot video with auto white balance, the drone will try to adjust mid video which produces poor videos.

Raw Img: You’ll want to enable this, if your drone is capable of it, as it will allow you to edit it far more later in post.  Even if you don’t intend to do so at this stage it will be nice to have later on.

Interval: This specifies how often the drone takes a picture. Keep it at 2s or less. Any higher and the video starts to look like a slideshow.

Aspect Ratio: Keep your aspect ratio set to 16:9. This is supported on most platforms.

Speed: Keep the speed as low as possible, 2.5 MPH is the standard setting and should work well. Anything higher and the video won’t come through smooth.

Length: Set the length to a video length of your desire but do bear in mind how long it will take for the drone to complete this. You’ll see a small timer near this at the bottom of your video feed.  It is not uncommon for a video of 5-10s to take 10+ minutes to finish.

3. Function / Mode:

Now that you have your location and camera settings dialed in, it’s time to choose which mode you want to use.  Your Mavic should be equipped with four options: Free, Course Lock, Circle and Waypoint. While Free may arguably be the least interesting option amongst them, it will allow you to keep the drone stationary, or manually control it if you so choose, and in my opinion is the easiest to learn with.  it’s a good idea to start with this for your first couple attempts. Once you have a solid understanding of what is happening, try taking a look at the other options.  These will allow you to select a specific subject, keep it in frame while having the drone intuitively move around it.

 

Putting everything together we’ve learned you should be capable of going out and filming something along these lines:

 

 

4. Final Considerations:

At this point, you should have just about all the knowledge you need to get out there and have fun. I’ll leave you with a few tips:

  • Try to shoot when there is as little wind as possible.
  • Movement is key. Pick a subject / setting with something happening in it!
  • Use a Neutral Density ‘ND’ filter in bright light situations. These could use their own article, but essentially what they do is reduce the amount of light in the shot / video so you can use a lower shutter speed for better image and video quality.
  • Most importantly fly safe and have fun!