A few months ago, I was contacted by a local TV station. They had been hired by a University to cover the graduation ceremony and needed to add drone footage to the Livestream.
They already had their drones (one of which was a Mavic 3). All they needed was a drone pilot to help with flying and live streaming the whole event.
At first, I was confused since I’d never tried live streaming with a drone, though I’d heard it’s possible. But after watching a few YouTube videos and trying a few tricks, we managed to do it through the app.
So, how do you Livestream with a Mavic 3?
You can live stream with your Mavic 3 by going to YouTube, Twitch, or any other platform that supports RTMPO (the protocol used for live streaming), get the code, and paste it into the Mavic 3’s live streaming option, RTMP section.
The process is the same for all drones using the DJI Fly App.
Please keep reading to learn more about how live streaming works on the DJI Mavic 3 and other DJI drones.
Why use drones for live streaming?
Drones have changed how numerous industries conduct their activities. In sectors like filming, construction, or agriculture, they provide a cheaper and more efficient platform for data collection.
But there was one huge gap; you could not stream the footage you get from a drone. And if you could, you would need a highly complex setup. Being able to live stream from a drone opens more doors of opportunities.
In events like Safari Rallies, political gatherings coverage, or anywhere else where one would need to stream live footage, using a drone is more accessible and cheaper compared to helicopters. Drones are easier to get up, they don’t consume fuel, and the pilot gets to stay on the ground.
Before an update in 2021, only DJI Prosumer drones like the Phantom could stream. The live streaming process is much easier with the DJI GO 4 app, and you get more options on the bitrate and resolution you can stream in.
The update made it possible to stream using consumer drones like the Mavic 3 and Air 2S, but they are slightly limited. For instance, in most cases, your live stream will be in 720p or 1080p with a strong connection.
But when you think about it, most Livestream, even from larger media stations, are usually in 720p or 1080p, so your consumer drone will do just fine when you need to Livestream on YouTube.
How DJI live streaming works
DJI live streaming with drones is made possible by RTMP (Real-Time Messaging Protocol), which is a protocol that makes it possible to transmit video content across multiple platforms by ensuring a stable connection.
Drones communicate with the controllers using radio frequencies, but the range of these radio frequencies doesn’t make it possible to stream directly to other platforms. That’s why a setup like RTMP is necessary.
With the DJI GO 4 App, you can select to directly go live on Facebook, YouTube, Weibo, and Custom when you need to stream through another RTMP-supported platform.
But with the DJI Fly App, you only get the RTMP option. But as long as the streaming service supports RTMP, you can use it to stream live drone footage.
How to stream with the Mavic 3
To Livestream from the drone, use the following steps:
- Click Settings (the three dots) on the DJI Fly App
- Go to Transmission.
- At the top, you’ll see the Live Streaming Platforms option. Click on it.
- On the next screen, you should see the RTMP.
- When you click on it, you’ll realize the RTMP address is blank. This means you will need to get the address from the streaming platform.
- For YouTube, go to your YouTube Studio and click on Go Live.
- At the bottom left, there’s an option to copy the Stream URL and Stream Key.
- Add a / (slash mark) at the end of the Stream URL, paste the Stream Key after the slash mark, and paste that address in the RTMP address on the RTMP address space on the DJI Fly App.
- For Facebook, Go to Live Video > Streaming Software, and you should see your Stream Key.
- Click on Advanced Settings to see the Server URL or RTMP URL.
- At the end of the slash mark (/), paste the Stream Key you saw above, and paste the code on the RTMP section on the DJI Fly App.
- Select the Resolution and Bitrate you want to film in. A higher Resolution and Bitrate lead to better footage, but they will not work well if you have a lower bandwidth. Make sure you test that before you start streaming.
- After selecting the options and pasting the link, click Start, and you should start seeing the drone’s footage while it’s on the ground streaming through YouTube.
- Start flying the drone, and anyone watching the YouTube Stream will see everything you do with your drone.
- The Livestream also immediately switches on the microphone, allowing you to talk to your viewers as you fly.
- To exit the Livestream, click the red icon at the top right and press exit.
Note: There might be a bit of a lag due to the connection setup, but as long as everything is working fine, this is nothing to worry about. The Livestream will drain more battery power on the smartphone or tablet, so if you will be live streaming for a long time, get extra batteries, use a power bank, or get the DJI RC Pro.
Can you live stream with the DJI Fly App?
Yes, you can. Any drone compatible with the DJI Fly App, such as the DJI Mavic 3, Air 2S, DJI Mini and Mini 2, and the Mavic Air 2, can live stream to any service that supports RTMP.
But ensure you have the latest firmware since it may not work with outdated versions.
How to live stream with DJI drones on Instagram?
To live stream on Instagram, download InstaFeed on your mobile device and log in using your Instagram credentials. After that, Create a New Broadcast on InstaFeed, which allows the app to generate an RTMP address and a Stream Key.
Add a slash mark at the end of the RTMP address, paste the Stream Key, and paste the full address on the RTMP section of the DJI Fly App.
If this doesn’t work, you may need to use streaming software like OBS in conjunction with Yellowstone.
- First, you must mirror your smartphone to your laptop using the Windows wireless display or third-party software.
- Next, you will set up OBS by selecting the screen size, audio settings, etc.
- Next, set up YellowDuck and log in with your Instagram credentials.
- At YellowDuck, you get the RTMP credentials, which you paste into OBS streaming settings.
- After all this is set, you can start streaming.
Live streaming using a capture card
If the process shown above doesn’t work (some users reported some errors), there are still other options you could try, and one of them is using a capture card and streaming software like OBS.
A capture card works similarly to RTMP, where it takes your live feed and translates it to a form that streaming platforms like Twitch, YouTube, or Facebook can transmit.
But for it to work, your controller needs to support HDMI output. Good examples of capture cards you can use include the Elgato HD60 capture cards.
Below is how you go about streaming with a capture card:
- Connect your controller to the capture card, and connect to the computer.
- Setup your streaming software and make sure the OBS software recognizes the card.
- Go to YouTube or any other streaming platform, set up live streaming, and get the RTMP credentials.
- Enter these credentials in OBS, and you’ll be ready to start streaming.
Note: Pay attention to data usage if you don’t have WiFi. Streaming consumes a lot of data. If possible, you can stream when you’re at home, where you will possibly have a stronger WiFi connection, or get a portable WiFi.
As long as you have the DJI Mavic 3, or any other consumer or prosumer DJI drone, you should be able to Livestream live footage.
The process may seem hectic, but in the end, it’s totally worth it. I just hope DJI will consider making the process easier and more flexible in the future.