Posted on August 16, 2018
Do you want to get smoother more cinematic drone shots?
Or are you interested in making your drone’s movements more aggressive and quicker which makes it really fun to fly?
Well if you are trying to get smooth cinematic shots then adjust your EXPO settings can be really helpful but it’s also a fun way to fly the drone if you push the settings to the extreme.
Check out my video tutorial below or read all about how to do it after the jump!
In this tutorial you’ll learn the answers to the following questions:
- What are EXPO settings?
- Where are the EXPO settings in the DJI Go App?
- How do you adjust the exponential curves?
- Why adjust the EXPO settings?
- How does the EXPO graph work?
- What is the difference between smooth and aggressive flying?
- What happens when you tweak EXPO settings while in SPORT MODE?
- What EXPO settings do I personally fly with?
- Plus a bonus trick for adjusting the sensitivity of the controls on a DJI Phantom
For this tutorial, I am using the DJI Mavic Pro but everything I am sharing applies to DJI’s other drones like the DJI Mavic Air, DJI Phantom, DJI Phantom Pro and DJI Inspire.
I want to mention that this is a more advanced tutorial so you should be fairly comfortable with your drone. Also to prevent any confusion DJI has these settings listed in menus as EXP but I just call them EXPO because it’s me shortening the term “exponential”.
What are EXPO settings?
Adjusting the EXPO settings helps you get smoother or more aggressive movement when your drone is moving forward and backward, yawing and ascending.
For instance, adjusting the EXPO settings is one way to adjust how slowly or quickly your drone pitches forward when you want to fly straight ahead.
If you tend to be hard on your sticks or if you get nervous when flying, or if you have shakey hands or have accidental movements or twitches then it might be worth adjusting your EXPO settings to dull them down or make them more sensitive.
Where are the EXPO settings in the DJI Go App?
To get to the EXPO settings in the DJI Go app all you need to do is select:
The aircraft icon > scroll down and chose Advanced Settings > then go to Gain and Expo Tuning > then click on the EXP option.
From there you will then see three graphs. This isn’t too complicated if you pay attention to the name above each graph.
The graphs represent how to adjust the sensitivity of how your drone ascends, descends, yaws left, yaws right and pitches forward or pitches backward.
How does the EXPO graph work?
You can adjust the values in each graph just by moving your finger on the line or manually enter a specific number.
To understand the curve of the chart just know that a lower value number (like .10) will require you to push harder on the remote’s sticks to get movement, which makes the drone move slower and more graceful through its moves.
A higher value number (like .90) will require only a soft push on the remote’s sticks to get a move, which makes the drone more sensitive and squirrely which results in it quickly jumping into the move.
The key here is to adjust the value to your personal liking and find a balance that works for your preference at the time.
The EXPO Graph Line
The more graduated the line is on the graph, the more easing there will be.
Gradual curve = moves that you can smoothly ease into.
Which means the drone WILL NOT lunge into its move when you softly push the sticks.
A steeper curved line on the chart means that the moves will be more aggressive and squirrely.
This basically means the drone WILL easily lunge into its move when you softly push the sticks.
Configure The EXPO Settings
Remember you can adjust this curve with your finger or type a specific number into the box.
- A higher value such as .90 = very aggressive moves, which means the drone will kick into its moves right away. This also means braking will be abrupt and happen much quicker because there is no gradual easing into the braking.
- A lower value such as .10 = makes the moves much smoother which is nice if you want to really ease into your moves. This is one way to get more cinematic looking footage. This also means braking will be smooth which make the drone gradually come to a stop.
Remember to play with each graph setting to adjust how your drone pitches, yaws and ascends or descends.
EXPO + SPORT MODE
For some added flying fun try putting your DJI Mavic Air, DJI Mavic Pro, DJI Phantom or DJI Inspire into Sport Mode and then adjust your EXPO settings to a higher value.
I like to do this when I just want to have fun flying because you can whip your drone around.
Try adjusting your EXPO settings to a high value while in Sport Mode for added fun
This works because Sport Mode already makes your drone fly quicker and more aggressively so when you pair Sport Mode with custom EXPO settings that have a higher value the results can be really fun.
Just be sure you are comfortable with flying your drone as well as with adjusting the settings we talked about above… and of course make sure you are flying in a big obstacle-free area.
What EXPO settings do I personally use?
For smooth movements when I am trying to get cinematic shots, I generally find myself flying using values between = .30 – .40 on all three charts.
But for those times when I just want to quickly fly and whip the drone around, I like to push the values to .90 on all three charts with Sport Mode on.
That combo of settings makes for some really fun flying.
DJI Phantom & Inspire Pro Quick Tip
A quick tip for physically adjusting the sensitivity of how your drone flies is to raise up the sticks if you have a DJI Phantom or DJI Inspire Pro.
To do this just unscrew the tops of the Phantom remote’s sticks by raising them up higher to your desired level.
This will result in a taller stick which means there will be a larger movement angle the stick will have to travel which will require a more input from your fingers.
Adjusting the EXPO settings is all about adjusting the way your drone moves and flies through the air.
Ask yourself if you want to slowly ease into a move or aggressively jump right into it? Different situations call for different settings so you be the judge.
Be sure to let me know what you think about adjusting the EXPO settings down in the comments below! Are you going to try this, have you already done so, if so do you have a favorite value setting you like to fly with?
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Dirk Dallas, also known online as @dirka, is the founder and curator of From Where I Drone, a blog dedicated to inspiring and teaching drone pilots how to create better aerial photos and videos.