How To

Mavic Adventures: How to shoot road cycling with a drone

We put the DJI Mavic Pro drone into top gear

Road cycling is one of the most beautiful sports in the world – you don’t need us to tell you that. Not only is it a great way to stay fit and to escape the hustle and bustle of daily life, but it takes us to some of the most breathtaking spots on the planet – from the postcard-perfect British countryside to the dramatic peaks of the Alps, Pyrenees and Dolomites. The world really is our oyster and for pure drama there’s no way better way to capture two-wheeled adventures than with a drone.

With the ultra-portable Mavic Pro, which folds down easily into a bag and will fly for miles, it’s now possible to capture your favourite rides from the air. Having already covered the basics of how to fly a drone, in this latest installment of Mavic Adventures, produced in partnership with our sister-site Mpora, we’ve taken a closer look at how to shoot road cycling with a drone.

– Find out more about the DJI Mavic Pro here – 

The first challenge is obviously following a rider on their bike. The Mavic features several Intelligent Flight Modes that make this super-easy. Some of these, like Active Track, have already been covered in our mountain bike episode, so for this video we’re going to take a look at Course Lock.

Hit the Course Lock icon in the DJI Go app to turn your drone into a virtual cable cam.

Course Lock fixes the direction that the drone is flying in and lets you spin the camera around while keeping a straight line – a bit like a virtual cable cam.

When you’re shooting a straight section of tarmac, simply position the Mavic parallel to the road and point it in the direction the rider will be travelling. Then hit Course Lock and use the right stick to move forwards.

Now use the left stick to turn the camera. With a little practice, you can get some awesome cinematic shots.

For faster sections, flick the Mavic into Sport Mode. This boosts the top speed to an impressive 40mph, enabling you to keep up with the rider at full tilt.

Line up your Mavic on the road you’re shooting and fix the heading.

Try overtaking the cyclist and then keep going to focus on the scenery. Or for a dramatic entrance, fly straight down the road at normal speed and wait for the rider to burst into frame. With drone shots, simple moves like this are often the most effective.

“Sport Mode boosts the top speed to an impressive 40mph, enabling you to keep up with the rider at full tilt”

If you’re riding in hills or mountains, tight bends provide a great opportunity to capture that classic birds eye view. Simply hover over the corner and tilt the camera straight down using the gimbal wheel.

Hairpins provide an ideal opportunity for a bird’s eye angle

To add some movement to the shot, slowly ascend by pushing the left stick up, revealing more of the landscape as you go.

“With drone shots, simple moves are often the most effective”

That’s all for this tutorial. Next time, we’ll venture out into the wilds to show how the Mavic can bring some fun to your outdoor adventures. Otherwise, head to the Mavic Adventures hub for more, including our tutorials on shooting mountain biking and surfing.

Buy a Mavic Pro direct from DJI here >>

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