Filming yourself cycling while controlling the drone is quite challenging. To avoid getting hurt, you must focus more on riding the bike than flying the drone.
To solve this, DJI includes the ActiveTrack mode in some of its drones, such as the DJI Mini 3 Pro.
This feature allows the drone to follow an object or person without the need for the pilot to control it.
To use ActiveTrack on the DJI Mini 3 Pro, you only need to open the camera view and circle the target on the screen with your finger. Three options appear at the bottom of the screen. Choose ActiveTrack, press the GO button, and you are ready to go.
However, you surely want a step-by-step guide to make sure you know what’s going to happen next.
We will explain to you how to use the ActiveTrack function in detail, from targeting objects that are stationary to ones that are already moving.
So let’s dive in!
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How to use ActiveTrack on my DJI Mini 3 Pro
The use of ActiveTrack is straightforward. But it’s best to consider a few things first.
This feature detects when you are targeting a vehicle or a person.
If you target a person, the DJI Mini 3 will follow the target at a minimum distance of 4m or 13ft and a height of 2m or 6.5ft, and at a maximum distance and height of 20m or 65ft.
If you target a vehicle, the range expands. The DJI Mini 3 Pro will follow a car at a minimum distance and height of 6m or 20 ft and a max distance of 100m or 328ft.
The difference comes as a vehicle achieves higher speeds. So it’s helpful to be farther away from the target so as not to lose it.
Another thing to consider is that ActiveTrack is an optical feature and doesn’t work using GPS. The target will always need to be in the camera lens view, or the drone won’t be able to follow it.
The drone can anticipate where the target is heading. This helps to prevent losing track by sensing the direction of the target. Some advice here is that too many obstacles can make your drone lose its target.
Now, let’s go through the steps to set up your drone in ActiveTrack.
The first move is to hover your aircraft at a minimum height of 2m or 6.6ft from the ground. This height guarantees the camera is positioned so as to have good visibility for any target.
Go to the camera view on your DJI RC or mobile device. Encircle the person or vehicle you want as a target. The target must be stationary, or not moving forward.
You must enable subject scanning first if you want to target a moving object or person. Go to the menu and press Control. In the middle, you’ll find the Subject Scanning option.
As you select the target, three options appear on the lower side of the screen:
The default mode is always Spotlight, so you need to press ActiveTrack. Then a green GO button pops up.
Press it, and now your Mini 3 Pro is in ActiveTrack mode.
This mode only enables the drone to follow the objective by camera without recording it.
Note: Don’t forget to tap the record button once you activate ActiveTrack.
How does ActiveTrack on the DJI Mini 3 Pro work?
To make use of this feature, first, you need to understand how the drone uses this function.
The ActiveTrack divides into two modes that you can toggle while it’s active.
When you use the ActiveTrack in Trace mode, your drone will follow an object or a person from behind, front, or even from the top.
You just circle the object on the RC or mobile device screen.
Then adjust the height and distance from the target. And it will follow it at a constant speed of less than or up to 10m/s.
On the other hand, parallel mode makes your drone follow the object or person from the side.
This mode allows the drone to be at wide side angles, not strictly perpendicular to the objective.
It will follow you at a constant speed equal to or less than 13m/s.
What can you do with ActiveTrack?
The idea behind this mode is to free your hands while still capturing the scene you want.
Let’s say you want to film a car from behind while taking a series of curves. You are driving it. This functionality allows you to order your drone to follow the car while filming it.
You are not piloting the drone after activating ActiveTrack, as it will follow the object automatically.
This incredible feature is the perfect option to capture this kind of cinematics where it’s uncomfortable to control the drone.
The drone camera takes smooth visuals, thanks to the constant speed at a decent distance from the target.
That way, the drone avoids interference with the target’s movement, always keeping it in the frame.
When is ActiveTrack useful?
Let’s say you are doing a tutorial on a location you like, and you are alone.
You can talk while walking by allowing the drone to follow you from the front. The drone will keep you on camera at the same distance and height without any control input from your part.
It is also helpful to follow a small group of people. If you’re having a race with your friends, your Mini 3 Pro following you from the side or top will be able to prove who the winner is.
But be aware. The obstacle avoidance doesn’t work with the parallel mode. The sensors don’t cover that side area of the drone, so you need to keep an eye on it.
Only suitable in open areas
The first downside is that it only works in open areas with sufficient space and few obstacles.
The sensors have enough blind spots that make it a bit risky to let DJI Mini 3 fly automatically. Places with obstacles everywhere, such as forests, parks, or cities, are not the ideal option.
Max resolution is 4K@30
Although it might be enough for some pilots, it kills the drone’s ability to capture gorgeous scenery at full specs.
The Active Track doesn’t allow you to film fast-paced movements, looking jittery even at 4K.
Finally, we need to place the drone above any obstacle for the ActiveTrack to be safe to use.
Depending on the place, the drone must be very high. That way, we must zoom to get usable footage. The downside pops up as the DJI Mini 3 Pro camera zoom is only digital, losing even more quality.
In the end, ActiveTrack is a feature still in development that you can use to film low-paced videos up to 4k.
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