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Film Like a Pro: How to Create Cinematic Orbit Shots
5892 35 2019-7-12
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Aerial videographers are always looking for ways to improve their shots, and performing an orbit is a relatively simple way to do exactly that. This powerful cinematic effect can quickly push your cinematography from beginner-level to advanced.
Shot on Mavic Air


What is an Orbit?
As you might guess from the name, an orbit is a circling motion around a point of interest.

To achieve this shot, the camera moves around a subject while shooting, keeping the subject in the same position within the frame as the background changes. This is a great way to highlight any subject, as the dynamic movement between the subject and the background creates a strong sense of the spacing and environment.
Shot on Mavic 2 Pro

While a standard orbit is relatively straightforward, users can get quite creative by adding additional movements and features. For example, they can zoom in or move forward or backward while rotating around the subject, creating a fade-in or fade-out effect.
Shot on Mavic 2 ©Shirley.Films

In aerial videography, you can lock the gimbal on your subject and descend or ascend during an orbit to create a greater sense of depth by changing shooting angles.
Shot on Inspire 2 ©牧七

Shot on Ronin-S and Lumix GH5

However, an orbit shot isn’t only for drones. You can also use handheld stabilizers (for example, Osmo Pocket or Ronin-S) and walk around your subject to achieve this shot. Try tilting the camera upwards to create a unique and cinematic angle.


Orbit Skills
What are the mechanics behind the motion of an orbit?

Let’s say you want to use a drone to orbit around a subject. First, move the right control stick to the right, and the drone will fly to the right. While the drone is circling, move the left control stick in the opposite direction to turn the drone’s camera to the left. (By the way, we’re assuming here that you are using Mode 2 and you want to film your orbit in a counterclockwise direction.) This is the essential motion of an orbit.

However, this movement is not quite as easy as it sounds. The distance between the drone and the subject, the size of the subject, or even the drone’s flight speed are all factors that can increase the difficulty level. You’ll have to constantly adjust both control sticks to keep shooting as smoothly as possible.

Holding the control stick with two fingers is suggested for movements like an orbit that require a high level of precision.

To truly master shooting an orbit, you have to practice and learn some savvy skills. We recommend beginners use two fingers to hold each control stick (as shown above), which provides the extra precision required for this maneuver.


Users can adjust control stick sensitivity in the DJI GO 4 app.

One more skill is to slow down the control stick responsiveness in DJI GO 4. Open the app, go to MC SettingsAdvanced SettingsEXP, and decrease the value of Rotate Right by 0.1-0.15. As a result, the control sticks will be less sensitive, resulting in less sudden or jerky movements during flight.


Is There an Easier Way to Orbit?
A manual orbit is indeed a bit difficult, but we have great news: there’s a much easier way to do it!

Simple select Orbit from the intelligent flight modes available in the DJI GO 4 app.
The available QuickShots for Mavic 2 Pro includes Orbit.

Open the DJI GO 4 app, tap QuickShots, and you can choose Circle, Helix, Boomerang or any other mode you want. Tap the subject to lock on, and you’re ready to shoot a cinematic clip.
Use ActiveTrack on the Mavic 2 Pro to perform Orbit

If you think QuickShots are too restrictive, or you want to get more creative with your orbit, try using ActiveTrack. Tap to choose your subject, wait for the camera to lock on, set a circling speed, and then the drone will follow your command and start orbiting at the preset speed.

During Orbit, you can still control the drone to have it fly upward, downward, closer, or farther away from your subject, giving your video a dynamic and unbelievable perspective.
You can also use ActiveTrack with Osmo Pocket to perform an orbit.

Osmo Pocket also features the ActiveTrack function, which comes in handy when filming an orbit on the ground.


Safety Reminders
Safety tips for users performing an orbit manually or automatically:

When the drone is circling, obstacles in front cannot be directly seen on the screen. Therefore, users must check the surrounding environment carefully before flight, and choose to perform this maneuver in an open space.

You must always make sure not to fly over people who aren’t involved in the creation of your video.

You must always stay in control of your drone. Even when your drone is flying an automated flight path, keep your hands on the controller and know how to stop the pattern and descend if an airplane or helicopter approaches.

You must always keep your drone in sight at all times, so you can see any approaching obstacles and take action to avoid them.

If you are using handheld gimbals, always pay attention to your movements as you circle your subject and be careful not to trip.

Always remember, safety is the top priority when performing an orbit. These precautions are required by law in some places, and they’re common sense everywhere. Fly safe and have fun!


The content origins from DJI BUYINGGUIDES
2019-7-12
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Corkyboy14
Second Officer
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Saint Helena
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Great stuff, i always forgot about shots like these!
2019-7-12
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Lysak2003
Captain
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Ukraine
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It's not so easy on Spark though
2019-7-12
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kaitokid535
First Officer
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Philippines
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Good tip! Been practicing this kind of shot for a while now, I agree that the Point of Interest feature still allows you to descend/ascend or forward/backward the drone when it's circling around which is an easy way to do but I'm also practicing to do it manually which more fulfilling to me.

Thanks for posting this guide
2019-7-12
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Juliano Cruz
Second Officer
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Brazil
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Great text and tips! Thanks to share it!!!
2019-7-12
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Toedles
First Officer
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Thanks for sharing.....
2019-7-12
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Malibu Aerial
Second Officer
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United States
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Thanks for the tip.  Very helpful.
2019-7-12
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jacksonnai
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Malaysia
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Thanks for sharing the information
2019-7-12
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Klaus W.
First Officer
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Germany
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Thanks for posting this guide!
2019-7-13
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ParideM
Captain
Flight distance : 1872001 ft
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Is one of my favorite functions. I love using it when I reach really beautiful points of interest
2019-7-13
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Montfrooij
Captain
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Netherlands
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Very good info!
2019-7-13
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escore
First Officer
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Finland
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Good post about it! Thanks for writing!
2019-7-14
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photokirk
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India
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Pretty useful Tip, TFS
2019-7-14
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allyssongemelli
First Officer
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Brazil
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Cool Panda, nice tips!
2019-7-16
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A J
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Brilliant tutorial
2019-7-16
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andy10
First Officer
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Manual circling is the quickest way to do this but as it has been said practice and practice. You can do that in both ways.
But - that's important! -the distance between the drone and the object can vary pretty much, so beware of sourroundings.
Manualy you can't do a perfect circle. More likely it will be an elipse. So do this in an open area or high enough.   
2019-7-17
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uurcyln
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thnx for the tip
2019-7-17
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samshah
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United States
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i will try today, it's good
2019-7-18
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daffy13
Second Officer
Flight distance : 196240 ft
Greece
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Nice guide! I have a question. With the 3 axis gimbal rotating the drone will be smoother right?
2019-7-19
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maddox
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Malaysia
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Great info
2019-7-21
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djiuser_rf5R9nbztoDL
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United States
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Good article to read.
2019-7-21
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djiuser_Sv6kPECDbrWm
New

Australia
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Hello all maybe someone can help me, I had a SJRC s70w and it would automatically put a black spot over the sun while video recording making for a clear 360 degree video I have now upgraded to a DJI Phantom 4 advanced but when  doing a 360 degree video it does not block the sun ending in a massive amount of glare how can I stop this happening. Mark
2019-7-22
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QQRUCH
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Spain
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Great article! Thanks for sharing
2019-7-28
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djiuser_rf5R9nbztoDL
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United States
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Great info and shots. Thanks for sharing.
2019-7-28
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Corkyboy14 Posted at 7-12 02:59
Great stuff, i always forgot about shots like these!

Maybe you can try in next time.
2019-7-30
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kaitokid535 Posted at 7-12 08:17
Good tip! Been practicing this kind of shot for a while now, I agree that the Point of Interest feature still allows you to descend/ascend or forward/backward the drone when it's circling around which is an easy way to do but I'm also practicing to do it manually which more fulfilling to me.

Thanks for posting this guide

You are welcome!
2019-7-30
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Juliano Cruz Posted at 7-12 11:35
Great text and tips! Thanks to share it!!!

2019-7-30
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ParideM Posted at 7-13 05:12
Is one of my favorite functions. I love using it when I reach really beautiful points of interest

Yeah, that's really useful.
2019-7-30
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DJI Panda
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You are welcome allyssongemelli
2019-7-30
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andy10 Posted at 7-17 01:40
Manual circling is the quickest way to do this but as it has been said practice and practice. You can do that in both ways.
But - that's important! -the distance between the drone and the object can vary pretty much, so beware of sourroundings.
Manualy you can't do a perfect circle. More likely it will be an elipse. So do this in an open area or high enough.

Nice additional tips. Thanks, andy.
2019-7-30
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Jacob Williams
Second Officer
Flight distance : 824560 ft
United States
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Cool stufff!
2019-8-5
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Jacob Williams
Second Officer
Flight distance : 824560 ft
United States
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I need to try orbit shots now!
2019-8-5
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djiuser_Obz7EJYMI9lj
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Norway
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Great video
2019-8-5
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AlansDronePics
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Croatia
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kaitokid535 Posted at 7-12 08:17
Good tip! Been practicing this kind of shot for a while now, I agree that the Point of Interest feature still allows you to descend/ascend or forward/backward the drone when it's circling around which is an easy way to do but I'm also practicing to do it manually which more fulfilling to me.

Thanks for posting this guide

Try doing this with a car or longer rectangle, like a van. Being close up and not a true circle or elipse, means speeding up the turn at the corners, so the camera is pointing directly to the subject.
I found this technique most valuable with a sailing ship which is a long, thin shape.
https://youtu.be/rEp81qKrBmE
When i took this, i hadn't  mastered the technique and the drone was new, far out to sea. I admit, it isn't a masterpiece, but the start of better things.
2019-8-6
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Konstant1n
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good tips..
Thanks for sharing.
2019-8-14
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Miro Perez
Second Officer
Flight distance : 25374 ft
United States
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Wow. Great tips can’t wait to try them, I never thought about trying that before.
2019-8-14
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