Many pilots are interested in hearing the details of how the GoPro Karma flight modes work. Above is a video that demonstrates each of these options.
The GoPro Karma has four automatic shooting modes, which enables the drone to do all the hard work when it comes to getting the perfect cinematic shot and/or positioning. Note that these modes are commonplace on drones these days, so none of what we see here is out of the norm. In fact, by all objective measures, GoPro has the least number of autonomous shooting modes. And they lack autonomous follow-me modes.
Here’s a run-through of the four modes.
Orbit: In this mode, the drone will orbit around a set point. To set it up you’ll start by flying directly above the point you want to orbit around. Then on the controller you’ll tap to set that point. Next, you’ll fly to the radius around that point. In other words, just back up 10-15 meters. Then mark that point. Then simply hit start. At this point Karma will fly around the object forever.
You can adjust the speed along a slider, as well as then adjust the height and radius distance using the controls. This means that you can keep the drone circling around that tree, while increasing or decreasing elevation. The drone will automatically keep pointing both the camera and gimbal angle at that tree. Further, you can then increase the distance to the tree by using the other stick, allowing you to create a spiral effect.
Dronie: This mode allows you to take a selfie where the drone zooms out and away from you. So the picture starts up close, and then the drone flies upwards and outwards away from you, keeping you in the picture. You can control the speed during it. Afterwards, it’ll reverse course along the same path back to the starting position.
The challenge I’ve found on numerous occasions with this is that it’s hyper-sensitive to movement of the controller. While the unit will give you a 3-second countdown, if you try and place that controller out of view during that 3-second countdown I’ve seen cases where it’ll change orientation of the drone camera – thus defeating the purpose of the dronie.
Reveal: In the reveal, GoPro Karma will fly towards a point and slowly rotate the camera gimbal up to the horizon. You’ve likely seen this shot countless times at the start of a movie where the camera is pointed down towards the ocean, and then pans up to show the skyline of a city ahead of it, as the craft continues to fly towards it.
It’s a great opening shot in a video, and it’s also handy to use in snippets of videos as well.
Cable Cam: This flight modes allows you to set two points in the sky and then have the drone fly back and forth between those points over and over again. You’ll start by flying to Point A, and then setting it. After which, you’ll fly to Point B and set that. You cannot do any more points beyond two points. After which, you’ll press start.
GoPro Karma will then go back and forth along this imaginary highway. By default it’ll also remember any elevation changes you’ve set between the two points. Thus you can get smooth elevation increases this way. While the drone is going back and forth, you can then control the camera angle. Not just the gimbal, but the orientation of the camera. The drone takes care of flying, while you just focus on the camera. You can also adjust speed as well as height at any time.
Note when you close the clamshell, it immediately ceases any auto-shot modes. The drone will instantly stop and hover. This really sucks, because that’s kinda-sorta the point of the clamshell remote – to be able to close it up and not have it dork with the controls. So I had wanted to get in the shot and take the control with me on the bike, but alas, I can’t do that.
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