DJI Mini 3 and 3 Pro Slow Motion Video

The basic Mini 3 offers a maximum frame rate of 30 fps at 4k resolution and 60 fps at 2.7k and 1080p. The Mini 3 Pro has a maximum frame rate of 60 fps at 4k for real slow-motion capabilities at full resolution. It also features five-times super slow-motion at a resolution of 1080p 

Users interested in video with the Mini 3 and 3 Pro might find these articles useful:

If you prefer to watch this as a video, you will find my YouTube version at the end of this article

Why slow motion?

When shooting landscape footage far away from the target, which is often the case with drones, slowing down the footage is not particularly useful, especially if there are no moving elements in the shot

Video by Vicvideopic

But when the scene contains moving elements, we can add more interest by slowing down the action

When we get closer to the action, slow motion becomes even more essential to convey a different mood to the scene

Slow motion adds emotion not only to sports and action but also to people walking or dancing and even with waves, fountains, and waterfalls

Video by Vicvideopic

In the clip above you can see a few examples of slow motion applied to footage shot with drones and ground-based cameras

Another spectacular effect is obtained by speed ramping: suddenly slowing down from regular speed to slow motion or the other way around

Choice of the Frame Rate

The most used frame rates are 24 or 30 frames per second, which are 23.976 and 29.976. Sometimes 25 fps is also used. For the sake of simplicity, let’s focus on the most used two, 24 and 30 fps

24fps is traditionally used in Europe, while 30fps is more common in the United States. Historically the different choices were due to differences in the frequency of electricity, 50 Hz in Europe versus 60 Hz in the United States

Nowadays 24 or 25 fps are the one used in most cases for cinema, while 30 fps is used mostly in TV news, sports, and reality TV

Video by Vicvideopic

I will concentrate on 24 fps, as it is considered the most cinematic and offers more options for slow motion

Before starting any project I set the timeline of my video editor to 23.976 fps, which means that I will be encoding and publishing at this frame rate

More examples of footage quality with the Mini 3 and 3 Pro are in this article, while this one is about night footage with these models

Why Higher Frame Rates

Many users ask if it is possible to slow down footage while editing to get slow-motion

It is always possible to accelerate footage in post-processing without loss of quality. The same is not true when slowing it down

Video by Vicvideopic

If we compare footage shot at the same frame rate of the project and simply slowed down in post-processing versus slow-motion obtained by filming at a higher frame rate interpreted in the frame rate of the project, the difference is evident with a noticeable stuttering

When shooting footage I set the frame rate to the same value as the one of the timeline, 24 fps, unless I intend to apply slow motion, in which case I will go for a higher frame rate, as we will see later

All other settings for video with the Mini 3 and 3 Pro are in this article

Accelerating footage

Video by Vicvideopic
SpeedLength in secondsFrequencyFrames neededFrames available
Normal424 fps9696
2x224 fps4896
4x124 fps2496
Speeding up footage shot at 24 fps

A simple example: we have 4 seconds of footage shot at 24 frames per second, So a total of 24 multiplied by 4 equals 96 frames

If we want to double the speed we need 2 seconds of footage still at 24 frames per second, so 48 frames are required

We have plenty of frames available, all the software has to do is drop half of them and keep the 48 needed, to maintain the same quality

If we want to speed it up by four times we only need one second of footage. Again there are plenty of frames and the program will drop 3 frames out of 4

Slowing Down Footage

But if we want to slow down our four seconds clip to half speed, the software has to fill 8 seconds and needs 192 frames (24 frames by 8 seconds)

But there are only 96 so it needs to extrapolate new frames and this is where the quality declines, whatever method we use

SpeedLength in secondsFrequencyFrames neededFrames available
Normal448 fps96192
Half848 fps192192
Slowing down footage
Video by Vicvideopic

The best way to slow down a clip is to start with a higher amount of frames

In our example, if we start with a clip of 4 seconds shot at 48 frames per second, we have a total of 192 frames

If we slow down the speed by half, we end up with a clip of 8 seconds, since our project is at 24 fps

We need 24 x 8 seconds, which equals 192. We have the number of frames required

Video by Vicvideopic

The best results are obtained using a frame rate that is a multiple of the one used in the timeline so that all the frames are used

But other frame rates are sometimes used. For example, it is possible to shoot at 30 fps and encode at 24, to get a subtle 20% slow-down effect which is used quite often in movies

The software has to create one frame out of five. This can cause small artifacts, but the result is good enough for most non-professional usages

Another possibility is to use 60 fps for a 60% slow-down effect. Some frames will again be extrapolated

Frame rates in the Mini 3 and 3 Pro

The basic Mini 3 offers a maximum frame rate of 30 fps at 4k resolution and 60 fps at 2.7k and 1080p, therefore it doesn’t have any real capabilities for slow motion at the highest resolution. 

On the other hand, the Pro model has a maximum frame rate of 60 fps at 4k

Video by Vicvideopic

By choosing Slow Motion on the video menu we can get a frame rate of 120fps at 1080p for five times slow motion. The 120 fps is automatically slowed down and doesn’t need to be converted in the frame rate of the timeline

Limitations of frame rates above 30 fps

When shooting for slow motion, in some cases we want to track a subject, but the intelligent flight modes are only available up to 30 fps, including Active Track and Spotlight, the two most useful ones for tracking

The zoom capabilities are not available at 4k resolution and frame rates higher than 30fps

Editing Slow Motion Footage

Obtaining slow motion using a higher frame rate is quite simple. The process works in similar ways in most video editors

I will use Premiere Pro, one of the most widely used. I will show two different methods to make sure that your editor contains at least one of them

Video by Vicvideopic

After dropping the first clip in the timeline, the frame rate of the project is set by going to Sequence, Sequence Settings, and choosing the Timebase at 23.976

A clip shot at 48 fps, which is double the frame rate of the project, plays at normal speed when inserted in the timeline

We need to slow it down to half speed and there are two ways to do it

Method 1

The more flexible way is to right-click the clip’s icon on the window at the left, choose Modify, and then Interpret Footage

Then in Fram Rate, we select Assume This Frame Rate and enter 23.976

The clip now plays at half speed as 48 frames are played at 24 fps speed (24=48*1/2)

The original frame rate of the file is kept in memory and can always be retrieved if needed. This can be useful when working on a project with plenty of files with different frame rates

It is also possible to batch modify several clips by selecting them, right-clicking, and choosing Assume This Frame Rate

Method 2

Video by Vicvideopic

Another method that can be used is simply right-clicking on a clip in the timeline and choosing Speed Duration

We are presented with a window where we can enter the desired speed

In this case, we have a 48 fps clip and we want to slow it down to half speed, so we enter 50%. The duration of the speed displayed just below will double

When using this second method we must enter the correct percentage of speed reduction according to the frame rate at which the file was shot

Assuming, as usual, a timeline of 24 fps, if the footage was shot at 30 fps we must enter 80%, for a file shot at 48 fps enter 50%, for one shot at 60 fps, enter 40%

Note that when we shoot with the Mini 3 Pro in slow motion mode, therefore at 120 fps at a resolution of 1080p, the file is automatically interpreted and we don’t need to reduce the speed

Only Use Higher Fram Rates for Slow-Motion

Since it is possible to use the 60 fps footage at normal speed, someone may think about filming at 60 fps just in case we decide to slow it down at a later stage

I suggest planning and shooting at higher frame rates only footage that we want to slow down

Footage taken at higher frame rates produces bigger files, requires more processing resources, and is not as cinematic when played at normal speed on a 24 fps project 

More Info and Examples in this Video


I am Vittorio Caramazza, aka Vicvideopic, the founder of this website and author of all the posts. I am a videographer and photographer contributing to several stock agencies. I am an Adobe Certified Expert in Photoshop and Lightroom. I have 10 years of experience with dron videography and photography. I was struck by drone syndrome in 2013. I have owned and tested in depth the following drones: Phantom 3, Phantom 4, Phantom 4 Pro, Mavic 2 Zoom, Mavic 2 Pro, Mavic Mini, Mini 2, Air 2, Air 2s, Autel Evo Nano Plus, Mavic 3, Mini 3 Pro, Mini 3. My home has turned into a breeding ground for drones. I am the owner of two YouTube channels specializing in Videography and Photography, with a focus on drones My main channel is VicVideopic (in English): My other channel is Drone Mitico, the Italian version.: I am currently based in Sicily (Southern Italy), but I tend to move quite often. After all, this is one of the main benefits of being a digital nomad…

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