bojansbojans Posts: 347 Crazy Baller
Is anyone using a Mavic Air to film skiing? If so, how do you like it, any trouble filming slalom? Are there better options in the sub $1,000 price range?


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  • ricorico Posts: 412 Crazy Baller
    @bojans I have a Mavic Pro and love it. the Mavic Air is newer and a better drone. The only downside is battery time which is less that the Mavic Pro. With the blades form the Pro Platinum it's almost 10 min more flight on the Mavic Pro. I got mine for $600 refurbished with 1 year warranty.
    Eric Francois - Studio City, CA - Denali C-85 - Reflex
  • Tom351Tom351 Posts: 145 Solid Baller
    edited January 2019
    I have used my Mavic Pro a couple of times- but only with letting the drone "follow" automatically- (I am the drone operator, but either skiing or driving boat) the big limitations for me have been:

    1.) Drone has trouble keeping up with boat. Advertised top speed is 36mph- actual is around 33mph. Downwind passes at 32mph work ok, but drone fades into any slight wind.

    2.) Battery life: at about 30 mins maximum- and wanting to start process of landing (in boat- shore would be easier) with at least 20% battery as reserve it makes for a pretty quick ski set. But again, this is with only 2 people - so I launch drone, get wet, ski a couple of passes (spinning on ends to save time), climb out, catch drone.

    3.) Tracking: optical tracking is useless because it will not really stay locked onto the changing shape of the skier/spray- and even with a good lock the drone would try to fly the skiers path instead of just following boat ....you could lock onto boat, but then you might not even see the skier because the camera is centered on the boat. My solution for this is a 3rd party control app that allows the drone to follow the controller (in boat) using GPS (from phone attached to controller)- you can then set a subject offset to pan the camera to the skier area behind the boat (instead of keeping boat in center of frame). This works very well, and you can set it and forget it- boat driver only needs to monitor drone battery level.

    here is a little sample video- at the end I had the subject offset set incorrectly as you can see that the skier is just out of the frame:

    If you have a dedicated drone operator that is not skiing or driving the boat then you obviously would have more options.

  • jakecuz23jakecuz23 Posts: 35 Baller
    edited January 2019
    Hi! I am a member of the MSU water ski team and our team video maker Dean uses a Mavic Air and has had great results.

    Look at his YouTube channel, he has a few water skiing videos.

  • DelonousDelonous Posts: 11 Baller
    Yep thanks @jakecuz23. If you're filming slalom you have to be in sport mode which requires makes it a little tough due to the increased sensitivity. No head wind you can keep up at 36. Image quality is better than I expected (it's better than those videos videos, YouTube decreases quality). Never tried tracking a skier. My biggest complaint is that in sport mode, the gimbal doesn't have enough range to stay horizontal at full speed. So you will be looking down going forward at full speed. So if you want a horizontal shot at 36, have to fly backward. Happy to answer any other questions. But couldn't be more happy with it.
  • LazLaz Posts: 386 Solid Baller
    @rico Are you saying that changing the propeller blades added 10 minutes of flight time? Any other performance changes?
  • z_skierz_skier Posts: 44 Baller
    I use a Mavic Pro to film skiing, and other things. With a few camera/gimbal speed tweaks you can easily make footage look professionally cinematic.

    My flight time issues are solved by having multiple batteries and a portable car charger.
  • ricorico Posts: 412 Crazy Baller
    @Tom351 I have no problem getting over 40mph in sport mode. I do not use the follow me mode as the speed restriction does not work with slalom speed.

    @Laz No the new prop will give you an extra 3 min which is almost 10 more than the Air.
    Eric Francois - Studio City, CA - Denali C-85 - Reflex
  • Tom351Tom351 Posts: 145 Solid Baller
    @rico yes, I can get 40mph+ as well in sport mode but I am using the drone primarily in an autonomous follow mode where it rarely gets above 34mph (I could have been more specific about that above). With a dedicated drone operator I can see where the sport mode's higher top speed would be useful.
  • bojansbojans Posts: 347 Crazy Baller
    @Delonous, can you provide a link to your channel? Thanks for the info, would like to see other footage.
    Go Green!
  • DelonousDelonous Posts: 11 Baller
    edited January 2019
    @bojans 3 most recent videos contain shots from the mavic air. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCFwKDFPMBqluq1dYu84bkYA/videos
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