It would seem that DJI has figured out a few key things about us as humans – we like technology, we like photography, we like drones, we love those awesome aerial videos and we do not want to practice to become great.
Instant gratification is in the palm of your hand with the new DJI Spark and new Quickshot camera modes. Four autonomous flight modes are just a tap away, getting you those epic selfie drone videos without having to learn how to fly.
Update: There is a new flight mode for the DJI Spark, it’s an extension of the Panoramic shot option called Sphere. Admitting that this is not, technically, part of the Quickshot suite of flight modes, it offers the same level of autonomy.
Update: Quickshot now available on DJI Mavic Pro
As I had hoped all along, DJI has added the Quickshot self-flying functions to the bigger ans stronger Mavic Pro. This is exciting news for all Mavic pilots out there, folks like me that want the best features for their favorite drone. Be sure to grab the latest firmware update for your drone and, more important, install the latest version of the DJI GO 4 app for your mobile device.
Now that you know you can use the camera features on your Mavic Pro, read on to see just what modes we’re talking about.
You want to learn more before you buy your Spark compact drone? Well of course you do.
Quickshot has four distinct moves, at least now, there is nothing stopping the team from adding more modes in future software updates. Rocket, Dronie, Circle and Helix are the names of the modes, automating popular flight techniques that make for popular drone video. When you are all done recording Quickshot has a super easy editing tool that will automatically create short, shareable video clips, including music.
DJI is taking something fun away from us hobbyist pilots, taking away the need to perfect your flying skill in order to capture great footage. However, Quickshot is the very definition of what technology should be, automating tasks that are difficult or awkward for humans to do. We’re not here to choose sides on this debate today, let’s look at what Quickshot can do and go from there.
From a relatively low hover with the camera facing straight down, the drone simply flies straight up. This is absolutely the easiest mode to perform manually, at least with a quality drone. The resulting video offers a great sense of environment, slowly revealing the area around the subject.
Offering the same idea, focusing on a subject and pulling away to reveal the world around it. In this case, you are supposed to be the subject, ‘Dronie’ playing on the word ‘selfie,’ of course, the Spark is a great addition to our Selfie drones list, after all. The drone starts near you, facing horizontally at you, it then flies backward and slowly upward. You remain the center of the frame, but the world is revealed around you, including the horizon and sky this time.
A familiar mode to anyone that’s watched a Bad Boys movie. Keeping the subject in the center of the frame, the camera slowly circles around, hence the name. This is a very difficult flight to perform manually, balancing just the right amount of yaw with the right amount of ‘strafing’ sideways.
Where the other modes thus far benefit from a starting point close to you and/or the ground, Circle can be successfully performed from most starting points. Whether you are going for that epic close up with the camera circling you, or from afar so that you are but a speck in your environment, Circle will look great.
Ready for something a little more complex? Helix, in a way, combines above flight modes into one impressive movement. Think of Helix as an upgraded Dronie, start close to yourself, the drone will back away from you, slowly rising upward, but it also begins to circle you. This is as close to that epic Hollywood helicopter shot as you’ll get.
Let’s see some of that in action:
DJI has equipped the Spark, as with nearly all of their drones, with forward facing object detection sensors. Plainly put, most of these new automated modes have the drone flying backward, it will not stop itself from backing into a tree or wall. Keep your controller at the ready, and an eye on the machine, just in case.
Also, please note that under normal rules, the Spark is heavy enough that it needs to be registered with the FAA. Registration may be in limbo at the moment, but the rules to follow while you fly are still in effect! You still cannot fly over top of people, near airports and stuff like that.
Editing and sharing your video
Quickshot makes your final product super simple. For each Quickshot flight you take, the app will produce a ten second video, including fun music. All you have to do is click Share, and your friends and family on your favorite social network will get to enjoy your production.
If you didn’t catch it already, the new DJI Spark is the drone that captures everything that Quickshot has to offer. Be sure to check out our Spark coverage for more details, and don’t forget that the remaining great autonomous flight modes from DJI are included in the drone as well.
As I say, most seasoned pilots have practiced to perform these flight modes manually. It is the work from these pilots, like the ones from the New York Drone Film Festival last year, that DJI is emulating, and for good reason.
We are very excited for what Quickshot and the Spark could mean for the drone industry. Putting a powerful, convenient and easy to use flying camera into the hands of many new users may trigger a new craze. Gone may be the days of $1000+ to get a great camera drone, perhaps $500 and under can be the new standard.
What do you say, are you more inclined to shoot aerial footage knowing you can get the perfect footage and produced video with ease?