Props and Prop shadows getting in footage

If your flying aggressively  forward and straight, you might see your arms and props in your footage. Also if you are flying during mid-day when the sun is high, you may experience prop shadows that flutter over the lens. Here’s a few tips on how to edit it out or avoid it.

Shoot your footage at a larger aspect ratio like 1440. You can then crop out the top portion of your shots in post if you edit at 1080.
Film backwards. Your props normally show up in footage when flying forward, so if you fly backwards, you won’t see the front arms and props. then you can always reverse the footage later.
Tilt your GoPro down a little bit using the gimbal lever. By angling it down, you won’t see the props in the footage.
Fly slower
Add an ND Filter to your lens. The ND Filter helps slow down your footage which helps give a more cinematic feel to your footage. Also by slowing down your shutter speed, it will produce a natural blur to your footage which can mask the props in some cases.

For more information about ND Filters and how they are useful when shooting video, click here to read my review

Line of Sight (LOS)

For new and even experienced flyers, always try and maintain line of sight with your craft. Yes, your Phantom could go thousands of feet up and away in the air, but honestly at even a few hundred feet away, your Phantom looks like a dot in the sky. If you lose line of sight and don’t have a strong FPV signal (that’s assuming you even have FPV), unless you remember your orientation and can bring it back to you, you may lose your craft. Play it safe, stay in line of sight of your quad.


Orientation is key

This is for new and experienced flyer/pilot. Always practice with orientation in close range. Practice doing straight lines first, forward, backward, left and right. Understand the difference between the left and right yaw and left and and right roll. Do boxes and figure eights until is becomes second nature. Never rely solely on GPS to fly.

Hover for 20-30 seconds

After startup and GPS lock, fly your copter up about 10 feet and hover for about 20 – 30 seconds before taking off on far distances. This gives your phantom time to get situated in the air and allows GPS lock to better track your craft. When you hover, make sure your drone is not drifting to far in any direction. If it is, land it immediately and recalibrate compass. 

Add your FAA and contact number

Use a label maker and/or get a permanent marker and write your name and number on your phantom. In case of a fly away or crash, someone may retrieve your copter and call you back. It’s worth a try… and you might be able to get your footage back.

Understand the lights

Understand the lighting sequences. This will help you better understand when you have a strong or weak GPS lock on your Phantom. Plus, when you see the yellow lights on, you will want to definitely recalibrate your compass.

Practice with a non-gps drone

If you have one of the early Phantom models like the Phantom 1 or 2, I suggest flying a bunch of times before putting the gimbal on. I know it’s tempting to fly it and record your first flights, but plan on a few light crashes here and there. You definitely will not want to crash on your first few flights with that expensive gimbal attached. While the DJI lineup is extremely stable, I recommend practicing with smaller toy drones indoors without GPS (manual modes)

Drones are not toys

Understand that the Phantom is definitely NOT a toy like people refer to them as. They are very stable but are also very dangerous if flown without proper experience and or training. Do not underestimate these power of these machines. The blades are spinning at such a high speed, it can easily cut you, dent walls and damage property. Take baby steps and always fly in an open area when learning.