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From the day it was launched, DJI’s Mavic Pro became an overnight sensation. People were drawn to the compact form factor, the intelligent features, and the price point. It seemed to hit a sweet spot for people who didn’t want a toy – but also didn’t need a prosumer-level drone.

And while its 4K footage is very good, we’ve never kind of dropped our jaw and gone *WOW.*

Until now.

Roth Rind, a San Francisco-based music video and commercial producer with the Rind-Raja Picture Company, sent us a note yesterday. The 29-year-old was recently in South Africa for his father’s marriage. (His dad and bride are actually both from Santa Cruz, but she works as a missionary in South Africa. Celebrations are taking place both on the African continent and back in the US.)

Roth Rind - awesome Mavic Pro shoot in South Africa
Roth Rind, 29, is the man behind the awesome Mavic Pro shoot in South Africa

Having never been to South Africa, Rind decided to take along his Mavic Pro, which he’d purchased in January. Though he’s had experience with drones since 2012 on production shoots, he’s never actually *owned* one. So he doesn’t describe himself, by any means, as an expert. He went hoping to capture some of South Africa’s wildlife and majestic scenery, as well as put the Mavic Pro through its paces.

“I was going on the trip and picked up a Mavic Pro to see what kind of stuff I could pull off,” he told TDC from San Francisco. Rind also wanted to see if the Mavic Pro might be an appropriate tool for an upcoming pro shoot he has planned for California’s Mount Shasta.

INTO THE LIGHT

Rind knew he’d likely be flying in bright conditions. So he picked up a set of Taco RC neutral density filters – and was very glad he did.

“I used those and was running probably no less than an ND16 at any point in time. I’d rather have it be darker and not be completely blown out,” he explained.

He also decided, because he’s a producer and not a post-production expert, that he wanted going to go play around with some presets and not work on color grading in post. Most of the time he was shooting in standard portrait mode, he says, while doing other manual tweaks.

“To be honest I’m not an expert – so every day I would tweak and see what else I could get.”

Roth also managed some time-lapse action with his Sony a7S II
Roth also managed some time-lapse action with his Sony a7S II

Most of the time he was shooting line-of-sight from a Safari-style truck. And the small size and relatively low noise of the Mavic Pro was a huge bonus.

“Most of the animals were like – man whatever this is – they don’t really care. So it was unobtrusive to them, which was nice.”

Rind also found that shooting lower to the ground produced greater detail and some phenomenal shots.

IMPRESSIVE SENSOR FOR SIZE

Obviously, with a smaller sensor than something like the Phantom 4 Professional, the Mavic Pro isn’t going to produce the same level of quality that a 1″-type sensor is capable of capturing. However, Rind found the quality was of a level where it could be used on certain professional shoots.

“It kind of depends on the style of whatever content you’re creating,” he says. “If you’re shooting and you want anamorphic flares and closeups, the Mavic Pro is not going to cut it (for pro shoots). But if you want it to fly at 35 mph and get into tight spots, it’s awesome. Definitely an easy drone to use.

“I do see it making a footprint in a professional level. I would use it on a commercial shoot for specialized shots.”

And for travel? Well, based on Rind’s Africa footage – the answer is crystal-clear.


Want to pick up a Mavic Pro? Maybe some Taco RC filters? Keep reading.

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