We all know what the DJI Fly App is, some of us love it, others hate it, but did you know that you can use it not just to fly your drone… but also to edit your DJI footage on the fly? (pun intended)
Many drone pilots opt to edit using the Fly app because it’s easier to have everything done with one app. In this article we’ll go over how you can edit your videos using it, and whether it’s worth it in the first place.
Let’s talk about the app itself first, on the off chance that you’ve never heard of it.
The app is a sort of companion app that controls some aspects of flight for many of DJI’s new drone models, including the Mini 2, the Mavic Air 2S, and others. I say “sort of companion” because it’s actually crucial to fly or see your drone’s feed, but can easily be replaced by DJI GO, its predecessor or the DJI GO 4, the newest version. You can read more about the comparison of these three DJI editing apps here.
The DJI Fly app is used to control flight, update firmware, calibrate the compass and IMU. It also has some intelligent flight modes and is geared towards novice drone pilots who still don’t have much experience.
That’s all great and all, but how are we going to use a flight control app to edit our DJI footage? Keep reading then.
The beauty of editing through the DJI Fly app is that it's an easy-to-use app, it helps you edit footage quickly and efficiently, and lets you share your creations with just a few taps.
Here's a more detailed video on how to do it and a step-by-step guide below it.
The first thing you’ll want to do is open the Fly App.
Afterwards you’ll want to click on Album and tap Create on the bottom right of the interface to access the Editor.
You can either use Template or Pro mode to edit photos and videos. In this article I’ll show you both ways.
As the name suggests, this is an easier editing mode. Basically you’ll be using premade templates, all you have to do is run your raw footage by them and let the app do most of the work.
Once you’ve selected Template Mode, select from the different templates on the right side of the screen and tap Apply.
Afterwards, you’ll want to import the amount of photos or video clips required. A better way to do that is to to not upload too many video clips or photos, but also not too little.
The DJI Fly app will then edit them into a video automatically with a preview.
You’ll be able to tap the clip at the bottom of the screen to edit it out according to your preferences.
And that’s it when it comes to template mode. You can still manually change clips, videos and even music, but most of the heavy lifting is already done for you by the app.
This is perfect for beginners and hobbyists but a little restricting to professionals as it blocks their creativity.
In Pro Mode, you can import one or more photos and videos which will be arranged automatically in the order that you select them. Afterwards it’ll be up to you to trim, cut or replace the footage as well as add any effects or transitions.
Start by choosing the Pro Mode and importing the photos and clips you want to use in your end footage.
Select a photo for tuning or zooming, or select a video clip to cut, tone, adjust volume or speed, or even play it in reverse (transitions and effects are limited in the Fly App). It’s really up to you at this point of the process, you’ll be doing all of this manually.
After having done that, you can spice it up a little by adding more filters and music from the music library (you can use the music in your phone’s storage).
Any background music you use can be cut to fit in different video clips and a little flare to the end video. To do it accurately, you can use Rhythm to add music beat points to the video. This will help you cut the video into different parts and add transitions effortlessly.
Once you’re satisfied with the end result, it’s time to share your creation! Tap Done on the top right of the screen and the video will be saved locally on your mobile device.
Once it’s saved you’re free to share it on your platform of choice.
Knowing how to use the Fly App for editing is only one part of the puzzle. You still need to know a few key things to make sure your videos are on point.
Below are 3 key tips that I think are essentially to guarantee great videos, even if you’re a beginner.
1. Try shooting your footage in log
One of the most effective ways to add that cinematic feel to any footage is color grading. That’s why you should be shooting in D-log mode in your DJI drone, even if it means a larger file size. D-log mode gives maximum dynamic range and helps avoid the loss of details in highlights and shadows as you adjust the video brightness and color-grade your drone footage afterwards.
2. Stabilize your shaky drone footage
Although many DJI drones have great image stabilization, there are times when shaky footage occurs. Especially in situations where there is strong turbulence or a storm, choppy footages are inevitable. However, you can avoid them by following some of the tips in this article or you may also use the stabilization feature on Premiere Pro or FCP to enhance the video stabilization. Believe me, it will make a huge difference.
But then again that beats the purpose of only using the DJI Fly app for editing, so just make sure you’re only editing stable footage.
3. Create depth in your drone videos
If you’re only filming huge rocks, the ocean and forests it won’t make your videos stand out. Try to combine close-up scenes with panoramic shots and include multiple camera angles for the foreground, midground, and background, that way you’ll be adding more depth to your videos and making them far more interesting.
As you can see, the Fly App is quite good if you need to do some basic editing or want something that’s just good enough. But if you want more functionality and features, yet still don’t want to edit videos outside your phone, I recommend you check out my article about the best and easiest mobile editing apps to use.
The apps I outline in my article are all cherry-picked and packed with features, so be sure to check it out. And if you are encountering problems or errors with the app, head out to this article for some basic troubleshooting solutions.