How To Choose Your First Drone
My name is Dirk Dallas and I am up here in beautiful Washington and we are going to show you some of my drones. And I wanna walk you through some of the settings. I wanna show you how to put the props on. I wanna talk to you about the camera, the gimbal, show you how the battery goes in, how you can take the battery out. And I just wanna walk you through and help you learn a little bit more about each of the models and hopefully you feel a little bit more comfortable with these. Just to give you a little bit of history, I started one of the first drone websites for aerial photography and videography. It's called FromWhereIDrone.com. I've also started a hashtag called #FromWhereIDrone. And I'm happy to say that it has over 700,000 uses right now on social media. So pretty cool, very exciting. But let's get started. I'm gonna start off over here with this drone. This is the Mavic Air. And you can see right off the bat that this is a really small drone. It's one of DJI's newer drones. And...
what I love about this drone is, I can literally put this in a jacket pocket and I don't have to bring around a big backpack, a big case. And really this drone blows my mind. I'm gonna show you right now, though, how I unfold it 'cause right now it's folded up. So it's nice and compact. And so I'm going to take the back props out and I'm just swinging them up. And these are out. And then I'm gonna swing the front props out and then now we have the drone. Right underneath the front props, I have two legs, which also act as antennas. So if I set this down, the camera is now protected from hitting the ground, hitting the grass, wherever you might be. So just to walk you through the Mavic Air, I have two sensors up front. This helps with obstacle avoidance. I have sensors on the back, helps with obstacle avoidance. So what that means is if the drone was gonna start backin' into me, it would automatically stop because of the smart intelligence features on here, preventing me from getting hit with the drone, which is obviously really cool. And then we also have some bottom sensors. So that means the drone can also sense the ground. Right up here is the gimbal lock. So I'm gonna push these two tabs in and this folds up. And then I'm gonna slide this off. And now we can see the camera. So you definitely wanna hang onto this. You wanna travel with that on so you don't scratch up your lens. But here's the camera. This is a 12 megapixel camera. It also shoots 4K video. So that's pretty incredible considering how small this drone is. To take out the battery, what I'm gonna do is I'm gonna push on the two tabs here on the side. I'm gonna push down. And I get a little indicator right there with the red. And that means I can now pull this off. So I can push this button right here on the top and it lets me know that I am charged up. And this is underneath the drone. One of the first things that you need to do before you fly your drone is, you do need to register it. So I usually will put my registration number right in here and you do that with the FAA, they'll give you a unique number. And I usually just tape it right here and then put my battery back in and it's nice and covered up. So the Mavic Air is super-fun to fly because it's so small. It's very nimble. So if I throw this drone into sport mode, which means the drone goes extra-fast, the sticks are a little bit more sensitive on the remote control, I can whip this thing around and have a lot of fun flying with this. I do love this because it can serve as another lens in my camera bag. So if I'm bringin' my DSLR, I can easily fold this drone up, put it in my camera bag, and now I have an aerial camera wherever I go. So some of the things that aren't my favorite about the Mavic Air is that it's a little bit easier to be swayed by the wind just because it's a smaller drone. So there's that tradeoff there. And then the props, when they're spinning, they're a little bit noisier than say, the Mavic Air with the quiet props. So that's one feature that bugs me a little bit. And then the battery life on this drone is a lot smaller. You get a little bit less flight time because obviously, you know, they're packing a battery into a smaller drone. So there's the tradeoff there. Whereas say, the Mavic Pro or the Phantom Pro, these two drones, they can stay up in the air and you can get a lot more flight time out of them. I'm gonna show you the backside of the Mavic Air. And this can sometimes be a little difficult for me to open. But this is where you can put in your micro SD card. And you can also connect the micro USB to do firmware updates. This is the controller for the Mavic Air. What I love about this controller, say, over the Mavic Pro or the Phantom controller is that this controller can get really slim. And what I mean is, I can actually unscrew the sticks and then I can put them right here inside the controller. And now this is flush and it can easily go in my pocket. So it travels really nice. So I do love this feature. The Mavic Pro does not have that feature. And the Phantom Pro does not. So going back to the Mavic Air controller, I'm gonna put these sticks back on. I'm just screwing them on. And really quick to power on the remote, I push this button right here. And I have a function button, I have that sport mode button which means the drone is gonna go a little faster. I have a record/pause button here. Up top, I have my camera shutter button so I can take my pictures. I have another function button so I can set something up for that button if I want to do something custom. I can record video with the button right here. This button right here lets me control the gimbal, which this camera is connected to a gimbal, which means, when this is powered on, even if the drone is moving, like right now, it's not powered on, this camera will hold nice and still. And that's how you get really great smooth-looking footage. The magic is in that gimbal. So what you can do is you can move this dial one way or the other, and the drone will either have the camera gimbal tilt down or it'll tilt up, so a really cool feature. Over here on this side of the controller of the Mavic Air, I have a micro USB, and this is where you can charge the controller. And this cable right now has a USB-C on the other end so that I can connect my Android phone, which then, this serves as the screen. And what that means is, I can then see what this camera is seeing right here on my screen, even if this is, you know, hundreds of feet away, super-cool. And then if you install the DGI Go app on your smart device and then you plug it into the controller right here, you can now tuck this phone into the sides. And this is gonna basically fit any standard phone. And it's gonna hold it in place. Once you do that, you now have access to the information that is related to your drone. So the height, how far it is, you can actually change settings with regards to the camera. So you definitely wanna download that app, plug it in, and you're gonna get a lot more functionality, where if you don't fly with it in, you can still control your drone, but you're not gonna see what the camera sees, you're not gonna have access to any of the information like the height, and the distance it is from you. All right, so next I'm gonna show you guys how to take the props off. So what you wanna pay attention to is, there are two sets of props. So this one has the white lines and this one has the white lines. This one does not and this one does not. So you wanna keep in mind that these are two different props. So I'm gonna set the drone down and I'm gonna push down and twist this prop and it's gonna pop right off. I'll do it with this one. I'm gonna push down, I'm pushing down on the center. And I'm gonna twist. And it's gonna come right off. So now you can see that these are different. We have white lines, we have no white lines. So you wanna put the props with the white lines with the motor that has the white lines. This motor does not. So that's an easy way for you to tell. So I'm gonna now put it back on and you're gonna be able to see that you can line up the little notches, right here on the motor. And I'm going to push it down and then twist, so it's just the opposite way of taking it off. So I always just give it a little bit of a twist to make sure it's on. I'm now gonna put this prop on over here. Line up the notch, and then I'm gonna twist and make sure it's secure, and it's secure. So this is the Mavic Air, really cool drone. The next drone I wanna show you is the Mavic Pro. This is a drone that I love to bring with me, just because it's a little bit more stable than the Mavic Air because it's a bigger drone. But you do have to keep in mind it is a bigger drone. So do you have room for that? If not, in your camera bag, this might be the better drone for you. This drone obviously folds up nice and neat. So this is a pretty small drone, as well. The way that you unfold this one is we go out with the front motors and then the back motors. And I'm just kinda following the way that it feels, how I'm tuggin' it. So I'm pulling up with that. And this is the gimbal camera cover for the camera. And the way that you take this off is there's a tab right here. And I'm just gonna pinch that and then pull it off. And hang onto this, you always wanna have this packed away with your drone so that you can keep your camera free from getting scratched. And then this is really important. You wanna make sure that you also remove the gimbal lock. The gimbal lock is right here. And what I'm gonna do is I'm gonna push on the two sides and then I'm gonna pull it out. And so now the camera is loose and this would be ready to fly. If you keep this on, you're obviously gonna have problems with the gimbal. So make sure you take that off. Hang onto this one as well. You always wanna put this in and travel with this then to make sure that your gimbal is not bouncing around in your bag. So this drone also has sensors. We have two sensors in the front. That would prevent the drone from hitting a wall, a tree, something like that. So that's obstacle-avoidance sensors. And then we have sensors on the bottom. Unlike the Mavic Air, this model specifically does not have sensors on the back, just to make that clear. The way that I take off the battery for this drone is you can see that there's these two tabs here on the sides. I'm gonna push and then pull out the battery. And here is my FAA number right there. I'm gonna put the battery back in and just push down. So it's really easy to remove that one. The way that I can get to my micro SD slot is over here on the side. I'm just gonna push that down and then right in there is where the micro SD card is. So I'll put this cover back on. And then over here on the opposite side, I'll move this tab and now I have access to the micro USB port so I can do updates on this drone. The way that I put the props on and the way that I take the props off are very similar to this drone. So what I'm gonna do is I'm going to push down and I'm gonna twist. So I will push down, I'll twist and these props come right off. I'll do it on the other side, push down and twist, and they come right off. So you can see that on this model, I have a little gold indicator here, letting me know that this is different from this. So I'm gonna match up the gold indicator with this motor. And then I'm gonna put this one on this one because it's empty, there's nothing there. So I'll show you guys how to put these on. I'm gonna line up the notches. And I'm gonna twist and then I'll just make sure it's secure. And then I'm gonna line up these notches right here. And I'm gonna push down on it first and then I'll twist and make sure it's secure. All right, so next I'm gonna move on to the remote controller for the Mavic Pro. This controller looks very similar to the Mavic Air, but it does have the little LCD. But unfortunately, you can't remove the sticks on this one. But we can still pull out these arms and for this drone, it's basically similar to the Mavic Air. There are a few differences. I do have the record/pause button right here. This is a multifunction button so I can assign different custom settings to it if I wanna get to something really quick. I can power on the remote controller right here. Right here is the sport mode. Right here is the shutter so I can take pictures. Right here I can actually adjust the exposure. Unlike this one, you cannot adjust the exposure on your remote controller. And then right here I have the record so I can record video right here and I can also control the gimbal so how the camera moves. So the big difference is, the Mavic Air doesn't have the LCD. And you can't adjust the exposure right on the remote controller. One thing I do really appreciate about this controller is I have these custom buttons down here so I can quickly get to a menu or setting, depending on what I assign these buttons to. On this side, we also control it using the micro USB right there. And I'll put this back in and for this remote controller, I have the lightning cable. So I can put my iPhone in here. I'll set it in these arms. I'll secure it and now this is ready to go. And then the next thing I'm gonna show you is how to get the antennas out. So you don't wanna fly with the antennas like this. This is just like a travel mode so it's nice and compact. But what I'm gonna do is I'm gonna unsnap that, I can fold it out and then I'll twist it and now I'm ready to go. So the way I hold my remote controller is just like this, a nice grip. And I use my thumbs. So my right thumb is gonna control the right stick and my left thumb will control the left stick. And some people actually do fly a little differently so it's not that there's one right way or wrong way, but some people like to fly with two fingers, like this. And I suggest you just try it out. See which way you prefer. And it might be different than mine and that's totally fine. All right, so the next drone I'm gonna show you is the Phantom Pro. And this is a drone I fly with a lot, personally. And the reason why is mostly because of this camera. You can probably tell the camera is a little bit bigger. This has a one-inch sensor. So this camera can shoot 20 megapixel images and do 4K video. Whereas this camera has a smaller sensor. It shoots 12 megapixel still images. It also shoots 4K video. And this one shoots 12 megapixel still images and 4K video. But you know, there is a price difference so it's something to keep in mind. Obviously too, this does not fold up nice and neat into a jacket. So there's a tradeoff there. It just depends what your needs are. So this drone is a little bit more of a high-end drone. And it has a few extra bells and whistles. So I have the sensors in the front for obstacle avoidance but I also have sensors on the side right here. And then I have sensors on the back. And I have sensors underneath. So I have sensors almost all the way around. And that just prevents you from getting stuck in a tree, hitting a wall, something like that. So that can be really helpful. So on the side of the Phantom drone, we have the micro USB port so we can do the firmware updates right there. And then right next to it, we have the micro SD card slot so you can put in a card. I tend to use a 32 gig or a 64 gig. But that is gonna be your preference. So coming around, I do have the bigger battery right here compared to the two smaller drones. And the way that I get the battery out is I'm gonna push on these two tabs right here. So I'm gonna push and then I'm gonna pull 'em out. So what you can do is you can push the battery's button right here. And it's gonna light up all four of the lights. And that lets me know that this is a fully charged battery. I'm gonna put the drone's battery back in and I'm gonna keep my fingers on the tabs, keep them depressed, and then I'll let go. And just make sure it's nice and secure. You obviously don't want that falling out. The gimbal on this drone is a little bit more noticeable than the smaller drones. So I'm actually gonna remove first the gimbal lock. So I do travel with this on and all I'm doing to get this off is I'm pushing down on that side and then I'm pushing down on this side and then it just slides off. So definitely hang on to this. You do wanna travel with that. So here's the Phantom's gimbal. It controls the camera. So when this drone is powered on, this camera will be nice and straight so that you can get smooth video. Really again, this is the magic behind the drone. This thing's moving around, trying to stay steady, but your camera is nice and still. So pretty cool feature. So I'm gonna show you how to put the props on the Phantom Pro. And this is very similar to what we've been doing with the two smaller drones. I have a silver prop and I have a black prop. And all I'm gonna do is match the silver with the silver and the black with the black. And the way that you can tell is this motor has the black dots right here. So that means that it's gonna take the prop that has the black circle. And this motor has no dots. So that is going to be for the prop with the silver. So I'm gonna do a very similar thing. I'm just gonna line up the notches and then I'm gonna push down and twist and then just make sure that's in. Now I'll take the silver one, line up the notches until I kinda felt it sit, and then I'll push down and lock it by turning to the side. And I'll take the black one 'cause this motor is black, push, and then the silver one, push down and twist. If you don't lineup these props correctly, it actually won't even let you put 'em on. But you'll probably be frustrated 'cause you'll be like, tryin' to jam it on and maybe something might snap. So just be nice and careful with these. They'll naturally fall into place if you're putting it on the right motor. I'm next gonna show you the Phantom Pro's remote controller. This is a bit bigger than the Mavic Pro and the Mavic Air. The reason why I specifically got this model from DJI is because I really liked the screen that folds out. And what that does is, I can you know, just travel with a screen always near my remote. I don't have to always have my phone charged up. And always having it out, a call interrupts me while I'm flying, something like that. So I do like having the screen built-in. Another cool feature is this is brighter than most of the cell phones that I've used. So that can help when you're outside. You're getting glare. You're gonna definitely notice that this is a brighter screen. So this is a nice upgrade. And this remote controller is very similar to the other two. The settings are just in different spots. So I have the power button right here. I have a return to home button right here. That just means if I'm ever in a pinch, I can push this and the drone will automatically come back where it took off. So a nice little thing for piece of mind. I can charge up the remote controller right here. Up here, I have access to taking a picture. So here's my shutter. Here is my exposure dial so I can change the exposure when I'm in the air. And then up here is the settings related to our camera for taking a picture. So here's my shutter and this is the exposure dial. So I can change the exposure while in the air, just from the remote control without touching the screen or going through the DJI GO app. And then right here is a pause button. On this side, I have the record for recording video. And then I have the dial for adjusting the camera's gimbal. And then right above that dial, I have a switch that puts me into three different flight modes. So by default, it should be in P mode, which is positioning mode. That just means that GPS will hold your drone in place when you let go of the sticks. So if you're ever in a pinch and you're like, I don't know what I'm doing, just let go of the sticks it'll hold in place if you're in positioning mode. If you switch this over to where it says S, that is sport mode on this drone. So that means again, your drone's gonna go faster, it's gonna be more sensitive to your inputs. It's gonna be moving quicker through the air. If I switch it over to the A mode, that's the atti mode. And that means that GPS is no longer holding the drone in place. So if a gust of wind comes, the drone is just gonna coast until the wind kinda dies out. It won't hold it in place. So that can be really great for people that are shooting video because they wanna have a nice smooth movement that goes along with the wind. And then to put the antennas up, I just push these both up and then let them click into place. You'll hear a click. And this is how I fly with the Phantom's controller and my monitor out like that. Below you'll see that I also have my custom 1, custom 2 buttons. So I can assign certain functions on these two buttons. I generally like to have the gimbal forward down on this one so that means that I can quickly snap the gimbal into place with just a quick click of a button without having to use the dial, super-cool feature. And then right over here, I have a USB port, an HDMI port, a micro SD slot, and then a micro USB port right there. And the way that I hold the Phantom drone is I like to have the antennas out just like this, the monitor angled just a little bit and then I also have my thumbs on the sticks, so my right thumb on the right stick and my left thumb on the left stick. And some people again prefer to control the drone like this. And that is a personal preference. So try both to see what works best for you. So just to make sure you understand, I do have the version that has the built-in screen. But some of these Phantom drones only have the mount with nothing there. So you have to put in a smart device, like an iPad, an Android phone, something like that. And again, these are the three drones that I typically fly with, depending on the scenario. I love the Mavic Air because it's super-compact. A lot of travel photographers, videographers will bring this drone with them because it's so small. The Mavic Pro is a great drone, a step up in terms of image quality. And it can handle the movements of the wind a little bit better. And this is when you start to maybe to get into something a little more professional. I'm seeing a lot of people in real estate and weddings shooting with this. And then this drone is the drone that I tend to use if I don't really need to worry about space in my bag or something like that because it does have the better camera, the one-inch sensor, 20 megapixel still images. So I just wanna encourage you guys, no matter what drone you have, these are the ones I have. They are all very similar. They have certain features, depending on your needs. But take your drone up, get out there, shoot, learn, make mistakes, learn from those, join the community #FromWhereIDrone. And I'd love to see you guys out there tagging your photos with that. Thanks for watching.