How to Document Your Cycling Stunts With a Drone

So, you love cycling and all that is related to bicycles, stunts, downhill maybe? Do you love those jaw dropping stunts in the half pipe, or the trick course? Would you like to get a chance to make awesome videos of your stunts and downhill rides? You can actually do that quite easily if you have the right drone with the right camera.

Of course, finding the right drone/camera combo can be quite difficult, especially since there are literally thousands of different camera drones on the market. Not to mention that you need to know how to set up the camera to get the best possible footage, and to really know how to fly the drone to get that perfect shot angle. But, that’s why we decided to create this article to help you out and so that you can have Pro Cycling Stunts Videos to create Buzz on your social media profiles.

In this article, we will first talk about how to find the right drone model, then offer you a few pointers on how to find the perfect angles and how to fly your bird to get the best out of your stunt videos.

Choosing the Right Drone Model and the Camera if Necessary

As we mentioned above, you need to choose the drone that will be able to keep up with your action, but also have a camera that can record high-quality resolution videos. Unfortunately, there are too many models available on the market and most of them come with low res cameras, even though the advertisement tells you FULL HD video.

But, not all is lost, especially since you have us as advisors. The brand you should keep an eye on is definitely DJI, but other brands such as Yuneec, Autel Robotics, AirDog, and a few more. The models that would be ideal for your videos are Phantom 4 Pro, Mavic, Spark (all DJI), Typhoon (from Yuneec, all series), Xstar Premium (Autel Robotics), and AirDog from AirDog, but this model comes without a camera so you will definitely need to buy one additionally.

All of the mentioned models come with advanced features that you will need for your stunt recording, such as follow me, circle around, point of interest, and are unbelievably stable thanks to their high-tech systems and gimbals. And, they come with cameras that can record minimum 1080p and up to 4K resolution videos. You can find out much more about each model and many more if you visit MyDroneLab, a site specialized in drone reviews and everything related to this interesting hobby.

And speaking of cameras, if you get the AirDog, or some other model that doesn’t include a camera, the obvious choice would be the GoPro Hero 4,5, or the latest 6th generation, but they cost a small fortune. Therefore, if you want to save some $200 of your budget but still have pretty much the same 4K resolution, we recommend checking out the Xiaomi 4K, or the 4K Mini. They both offer on pair video quality as the Hero cameras, but cost less, way less.

How to Start With a Drone

You didn’t expect to start making awesome videos the same day you buy the drone, didn’t you? You need to keep in mind that flying a drone, and we mean safely flying and being able to create high-quality videos, takes plenty of practice and airtime.

Okay, you could start recording right away on your first day, but then you wouldn’t be able to get the most out of your drone and the camera, plus, you would risk crashing the drone and wasting a serious amount of cash. Therefore, practice, practice, practice, and after a week or two, when you really know all the tricks with your drone and its features, you can start recording your or your friends bicycle tricks.

Once You Get Familiar With the Drone

After you have some decent airtime under your props, and after you are completely comfortable with all the settings and your flying skills, it‘s time to start making those awesome videos that got you into this topic in the first place.

Downhill Videos

This is a video category that demands having a drone that can follow you and keep you in the center of the frame at all times. Luckily, the models we recommended all have that mode, and you can even place the remote in your backpack and film yourself during the downhill run.

But, there are a few things you should know before taking off with the drone and going down that hill:

Make sure the battery will last the entire ride

This means that the full flight time of your drone has to be at least a minute or two longer than the ride lasts. So, make sure you know how long your drone can stay in the air, make sure you know how long it will take you to finish the ride, so that you have time to stop and get ready to wait for the drone to land or to grab it as it lands to avoid flipping on the landing (drones are not famous for knowing how to land safely on their own so catching it for its landing gear just before it lands is the safest way).

Make sure you have all the settings set properly

By this, we mean to check if on your path, there are some tall trees or any other tall obstacles, and that your flight height is set to fly over those obstacles. Also, if you plan on using the circle around mode, make sure that the radius isn’t too big so that the drone can hit something along the way.

The best way to make sure the path is clear or that you will cover all the possible obstacles and keep your drone safe, is to go down the path, check all the possible dangers, and make sure you set the parameters properly before taking off.

Best modes and angles for downhill videos

Most people make mistakes and when shooting such videos, they set the drone to follow them from behind and from high altitude. Two things are wrong in this situation, first, if you set the drone to follow you from behind, as it accelerates, the front props are bound to enter your frame and ruin your shot. Second, if the drone is too high, then you lose all the small details and mid track tricks you might do, thus the video looks too ordinary and not that interesting.

To avoid this and make your videos jaw dropping, set the Follow Me mode to be in frontal mode, meaning that the drone will fly backwards and film you frontal. This way, the props will go away from the camera, and you don’t have to worry about them ruining your video. Also, set the height of the flight to some 5 to 10 meters, so that the drone is close to the action. But, remember to check for obstacles before the flight.

Obstacle course or skate park

This is much easier as you won’t be moving at high speeds and you have time to try many different angles. If you plan on recording your friends tricks, we suggest using the course lock mode. This means that the drone will follow an imaginary line, while you can fly sideways, or turn in the yaw axis without changing the course. This gives you the freedom to focus on camera work and not so much on piloting.

Another useful thing is the Point of Interest mode. In this mode, the camera is pointed at the selected object or subject, no matter what you do with the drone. This can be useful if you want to record your own tricks, as the drone can simply hover in one place, but keep the camera on you. This looks especially effective when you are doing flips, or 360 spins, as you can set the drone just by the side of the jumping ramp, and literally fly just a few inches way from the drone as it shoots.

But, be careful to set the height right so that you don’t end up hitting it.

If you are doing a ride with multiple obstacles and ramps, then the Follow Me mode would be the best choice, but, in this case, set the mode to follow you sideways, for the maximum effect.

Have fun and fly and ride safe!


Author Bio:

Jack is a true drone passionate and he focused his education on this amazing field. Thus, he graduated the Drone/UAV Pilot Training Certificate program and now he’s a member of the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International. His main purpose right now is to find and develop new features and help others discover the wonderful experience of flying a drone. For this, he is the main editor and content creator at MyDroneLab Blog where you can find everything you want to know about drones.

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