Tired of your DJI video being choppy? I’ve spent hours researching all the probable causes and their fixes. In this guide, I’ll share 10 reasons why your DJI video might be choppy.
DJI video choppiness can result from various causes such as low-quality SD cards, outdated playback devices, unexpected VFR recording, mismatched editing software settings, or even faulty drone hardware. Ensure to use recommended SD cards, update software, calibrate the gimbal, and follow videography best practices.
Read on for an in-depth look at each cause of choppy DJI video, its fix, and other related insights.
|SD Card Quality and Compatibility
|Ensure SD card meets write speed requirements of DJI drone. Check DJI’s official list of supported SD cards.
|Playback Device Limitations
|Use a device geared for high-resolution playback or adjust recording settings for compatibility with older devices.
|Variable Frame Rate (VFR)
|Use Handbrake to convert VFR videos to Constant Frame Rate (CFR).
|Editing Software Settings and Export Issues
|Transcode video to a universal format and ensure project settings match source footage settings.
|Firmware and Software Updates
|Regularly check and install official firmware updates. If issues arise post-update, revert to a previous version.
|Media Player Software Incompatibilities
|Turn off additional playback features or switch to another media player better suited for high-resolution footage.
|Inadequate Sequence Settings in Editing Software
|Ensure sequence settings match footage. For mixed frame rates, consider separate sequences or smooth transitions.
|Disregarding the 180-Degree Shutter Rule & Auto Mode Impact
|Use Manual Mode to ensure shutter speed is double the frame rate. Use Neutral Density (ND) filters in bright conditions.
|Gimbal Issues Leading to Unstable Footage
|Calibrate gimbal correctly, avoid rough landings, and update DJI software as needed.
|Faulty Drone Hardware Or Software
|Ensure the latest software and firmware is installed. Consider a factory reset or contact DJI support if needed
DJI Video Choppy? Top 10 Causes And Fixes!
#1. SD Card Quality and Compatibility
Look, not all SD cards are created equal. If your DJI drone’s video is acting up, it might be the SD card’s fault.
You might think any SD card will do, but that’s NOT the case. Especially with DJI drones, high-quality recordings demand specific write speeds.
And there’s also this: sometimes, there’s just plain incompatibility between your SD card model and your DJI device.
And using that “ultra plus” card? Might want to think twice. Choosing it over the recommended “extreme pro” version? That’s a recipe for choppy videos.
Now, for the good stuff. How do you fix this? First make sure the SD card you’re using meets the write speed requirements of your DJI drone.
As a rule of thumb, here’s what you should be looking for:
|SD Card Configuration:
|UHS-I SD card
|Min 30 – 60 MBps
|Min 64 – 256 GB
As far as brand goes, SanDisk is a solid choice here, but Samsung and other brands are also fine. When it comes to size, there’s flexibility.
You can roll with a smaller 64 GB or go big with a 256 GB card. But remember, manageable is KEY.
Here’s one of the best SD cards for DJI Drone (available on Amazon).
Pro-Tip: Always check DJI’s official list of supported SD cards. And one more thing: keep your drone’s firmware fresh with updates.
Speaking of DJI’s official list and keeping your drone updated, many users sometimes face issues with the DJI app itself. If you’ve ever had the problem of the DJI App Keeps Crashing?, then this guide can help troubleshoot and provide some alternatives.
#2. Playback Device Limitations
Choppy playback? The device you are playing the video on might be the cause of the issue.
Devices with outdated processors or GPUs might struggle with high-definition content. 4K or higher resolution footage demands significant computational power. This is especially true for 4k60 videos.
Many older laptops or TVs simply weren’t designed to handle this kind of detail. They don’t have the necessary power in their processor or GPU to deliver smooth playback.
Your best solution? Opt for a device that’s geared for high-resolution playback, take for instance a high definition OLED TV.
If these options are not available right now, consider adjusting your recording settings. Lowering the video resolution or frame rate can make a big difference for compatibility on older devices.
#3. Variable Frame Rate (VFR)
DJI drones, like many modern techs, have a great ability. They can record in both VFR (Variable Frame Rate) and CFR (Constant Frame Rate).
So, what’s the difference? In a nutshell, VFR adjusts the number of frames per second depending on the scene, making it super flexible.
On the flip side, CFR is steady; it’s unchanging, giving you a constant flow of frames every second. But there’s a catch.
Sometimes, when there are interruptions or if the SD card struggles to keep up, the drone might just slip into VFR mode. Problem is, not every software or player likes VFR, leading to that DJI video choppy playback.
The remedy? Handbrake. It’s a handy tool that converts VFR videos to the more universally accepted CFR. And to prevent those switches from CFR to VFR, invest in an SD card as discussed earlier in this post.
#4. Editing Software Settings and Export Issues
Think what happens when there’s a mismatch between your source footage’s frame rate and your editing software’s project settings?
Even if your preview looks clean, the software settings or export configurations might toss a wrench in things, causing that annoying choppiness in your final video.
Here’s a tip: Transcode your video to a universally preferable format like before bringing it into your editing software.
Make sure your project settings are in harmony with your source footage settings. And a heads-up: if you’re facing issues during export, try turning off hardware encoding. Sometimes, less is more.
#5. Firmware and Software Updates
Your DJI drone might be high-tech, but running outdated firmware can lead to choppy videos. But hold up! Not every update is a sure shot.
Some might be packed up with glitches, bringing new problems instead of fixes.
Stay in the loop. Make it a habit to check and install those official firmware updates. But be careful. If you update and things seem off, don’t sweat it. Just revert back to a version that was smooth sailing.
While updating firmware, a common issue that users come across is the DJI Assistant 2 not recognizing the drone. If you ever run into this hiccup, check out our guide on DJI Assistant 2 Does Not Recognize Drone to get back on track
#6. Media Player Software Incompatibilities
Alright, let’s lay it out straight: not all media players play nice. Ever notice that choppy playback when using media players like VLC, even when everything else checks out?
It could be because of those extra features – think subtitles in your videos adding an extra load while processing everything..
Turn off any of those add-on features that could be weighing down your playback. Still no luck? Shift gears and opt for another media player.
Some are just better built to handle that crisp, high-resolution footage without skipping a beat.
Another common issue that many DJI drone users face is video file compatibility issues, especially when trying to play MP4 files. If your DJI MP4 is not playing, we’ve got the reasons and solutions for you.
#7. Inadequate Sequence Settings in Editing Software
If you’re editing, sequence settings are one of the crucial things to consider. When you take 4K footage and add it onto a 1080p sequence without scaling it right, you’re already getting into trouble.
And mixing different frame rates in the same sequence? That’s like trying to mix oil and water. The result? Yep, you guessed it – DJI video choppiness.
Make sure your sequence settings and your footage are on the same page. That means if you’re dealing with mainly 4K footage, set up for 4K.
And for those projects with mixed frame rates, think about breaking them into separate sequences. If not, ensure you’ve got smooth transitions between those different frame rate clips.
#8. Disregarding the 180-Degree Shutter Rule & Auto Mode Impact
Let’s talk about fundamentals. The 180-degree rule isn’t just a fancy rule; it’s the vital framework of getting that smooth, cinematic motion in your videos.
Put simply, it’s about setting your shutter speed to double your frame rate.
But, here’s the catch: filming in Auto Mode can be an issue. The camera takes the wheel, adjusting settings as it sees fit based on the lighting. And sometimes, it misses the mark on the shutter speed, bypassing the 180-degree rule.
Result? Footage that is either too sharp or just a blurry mess.
Avoid the unpredictability of Auto Mode. Go Manual. By doing so, you’re grabbing the reins, controlling how your camera behaves.
Aiming for a 30fps shoot? Your shutter speed should hover around 1/60.
And for those sunny days when everything seems too bright, slide on some Neutral Density (ND) filters.
Think of them as shades for your drone’s camera.
They dim the incoming light, letting you keep that shutter speed sweet spot without the risk of turning your footage into a sun-washed disaster.
And hey, spend some time with your DJI drone. Know its quirks, its buttons. That way, when you’re up in the sky, you can fly and adjust with confidence.
#9. Gimbal Issues Leading to Unstable Footage
Here’s the deal. The gimbal plays a HUGE role in keeping your DJI drone’s camera steady.
Gimbal’s goal? Delivering you that smooth footage, even if it’s windy or you’re on the move .
But when things go sideways, and your footage looks like a mess, there’s a good chance the gimbal’s to blame.
Maybe you didn’t calibrate it right, or it took a nasty hit. Sometimes, it’s software being a pain.
- Start Right: Whenever you’re about to take off, make sure your drone is on a flat surface. It helps the gimbal find its balance.
- Regular Check-ins: Jump into the DJI app and give your gimbal a calibration. (By the way, if you’re facing issues while opening your DJI Fly app on Android, check out this guide on why DJI fly app won’t work sometimes and how to fix.)
- Be Gentle: Avoid those rough landings. If you’ve had a few bumps, consider getting a pro to look at it.
- Stay Updated: Keep an eye out for those DJI updates. They often come with solutions to known gimbal issues.
On the topic of updates and connectivity, there’s another frequent issue: sometimes the DJI Mavic Pro has trouble connecting to its controller. If you’ve faced this, our DJI Mavic Pro Won’t Connect To Controller guide can be quite helpful.
#10. Faulty Drone Hardware Or Software
Even the best tech gadgets have their bad days. Drones are no exception.
Sometimes, they pop out of the box with issues or develop them over the long haul. These hardware or software hiccups can make your footage look like a stuttering mess.
If you’ve tried every trick in the book and your drone is still giving you grief, it might be a deeper-rooted issue. Think crazy flying patterns, constant software glitches, or that dreaded choppy video.
- Stay Current: First things first, always have the latest software and firmware. DJI’s updates often come with handy fixes for bugs.
- Back to Basics: Think about a factory reset. It’s the tech version of a clean slate, wiping away any minor software glitches.
- Contact Experts: If you’re still stuck, reach out to DJI support. They’re there to help, whether that means troubleshooting, fixing it up, or replacing a faulty drone under warranty.
DJI drones are top-tier, but even the best tech items can have issues. Choppiness in your drone’s video can be due to a number of reasons, from playback device limitations to gimbal issues or even faulty hardware.
The key takeaways? Always ensure you’re using compatible playback devices, adhere to videography best practices like the 180-degree shutter rule, and keep your drone’s software up-to-date. If issues persist, reach out to DJI support.
Now, if you’re on a budget and looking for other drone options, it’s worth checking out the Best Drones Under $100 With Longest Flight Time. Whether you’re a hobbyist or just starting out, these affordable choices won’t disappoint.