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DJI Air 3 Vertical Mode (Video) – Droneblog


The DJI Air 3 is a popular and favorite drone for many in the hobby. It is known to be great for beginners, enthusiasts, veterans, and even professionals looking for a budget-friendly commercial drone for clients.

Taking a page from the original 2016 Mavic Pro, the Mini 3 Pro was released 6 years later, in 2022, with vertical shooting. This was especially loved by those using social media platforms like TikTok, Instagram, and Facebook.

The DJI Air 3 likewise has vertical shooting, but it might not be exactly what you are expecting.

This article and video will discuss what vertical mode actually is on the DJI Air 3, as well as serve as step-by-step guides showing how to enable and use Vertical Mode.

What is Vertical Shooting

Vertical shooting, or shooting in portrait mode, is turning a camera tall-wise, instead of length-wise, for a shot.

For most landscape photographers, shooting images in horizontal orientation, otherwise known as landscape mode, is most common.

Generally, portrait photographers shoot their subjects oftentimes in portrait mode, and landscape photographers in landscape mode.

Drones, due to their wide-angle lenses, up until recently, have mostly fallen into the landscape crowd: horizontally oriented photos and videos.

Image Credit: Dan Bayne/AISCF

With the popularity of social media sites like TikTok and Instagram, vertical content (both photos and videos) is now quite commonplace, with every industry imaginable using vertical content, from Real Estate to major-brand giants.

What is the benefit of shooting vertically?

When pictures and videos are shot as vertical content and then posted, viewers do not have to rotate their phones to get the best view, like they would if they were posted as horizontal content (landscape orientation).

Study Cases: DJI Mini 3 Pro and Mini 4 Pro

The Mini 3 Pro reintroduced vertical content to the hobby. The Mini 4 Pro, as the successor, has kept this going.

Like the original 2016 Mavic Pro, the Mini Pro line has cameras that physically rotate 90 degrees. This means that there is no tricky software processing going on to produce vertical-like content.

At the press of the C2 button on the back of the DJI RC or RC 2, or a double-press of the fn button on the RC-N1 or RC-N2, you can activate the Portrait/Landscape Mode Switch. This will change the Mini Pro’s camera orientation vertically or horizontally and vice versa.

Once the content has been captured, it can be uploaded, as-is, to any social media site in the correct orientation. Or, you can choose to edit it first, and then upload it.

Just like a DSLR or Mirrorless camera, shooting this way on the Mini Pro retains the resolution of the photos, as the entire sensor on the 1/1.3-inch CMOS camera is used.

To get this effect when shooting horizontally (in landscape orientation) on a non-vertical shooting camera or drone, the sides of the image are cropped or cut off in editing software. After this, the image is in the correct ratio for posting. In this case, a bit of the image is lost due to cropping.

When shooting vertically, the Air 3 is different than the Mini Pro.

Air 3 Vertical Mode

Let’s get this one thing out of the way: Vertical shooting on the Air 3 only applies to videos and not photos. It cannot shoot vertical photos.

Now, with that out of the way, unlike the Mini Pro line, the DJI Air 3’s dual camera system does not physically rotate vertically, 90 degrees.

How does it get vertical video? It does so by employing the software tricks I briefly mentioned earlier.

Rather than requiring you to purchase video editing software to physically crop the content to post to social media, everything is done within the Air 3.

That’s right. You do not have to go into DaVinci Resolve, Final Cut Pro, or Adobe Premier, choose an aspect ratio, and designate the crop area or set up keyframes or sequencing.

When shooting video vertically, the Air 3 automatically places darker (not completely opaque) areas along the outside of the screen, showing what content in the middle of the screen will be taken.

While this is in no way true vertical shooting, it does help:

  1. Line up the subject with the vertical shooting area, and
  2. alleviate the need to do any work in post to properly post the content on social media

Once you have filmed your video footage, it is ready to go if you do choose to immediately upload it.

How to Shoot Vertical Videos

When shooting vertical videos, there are only two resolutions that can be used, which are in the 9:16 aspect ratio. These are:

4K is not available in the vertical shooting mode.

The good news is that there is a broad range of frames per second represented through both the 1080p and 2.7K resolutions. These are: 24, 25, 30, 48, 50, and 60fps.

The process of shooting vertical videos is quite simple:

Step 1: With the Air 3 on and in Live View in the DJI Fly app, change your mode from photo to video, if in photo mode. If it is already in video mode, then it can be left as is.

Step 2: Whether you are in Pro mode or Auto, on the bottom right-hand corner of the screen, press the resolution to enter the resolution settings.

Step 3: Change from the current, non-9:16 ratio resolution to either 1080p 9:16 or 2.7K 9:16.

Choosing either 1080p or 2.7K resolution with the 9:16 ratio will change the video to vertical mode. Onscreen, you will see your vertical shooting area between two slightly opaque and darkened bars.

Step 4: Proceed to film as you normally would with any other aspect ratio, remembering to hit the record button.

As a side note, you can also be in the 70 mm camera and likewise shoot either 1080p or 2.7K vertical video with no issues whatsoever.

Watch the video below: