ActiveTrack, also known as Follow Me, is one of my favorite features in a drone. I always wished I had it on the Mini 2, but DJI decided to release it later in the DJI Mini 3 Pro.
I have had the chance to test ActiveTrack on the Air 2S and it works great, and the usage and activation are pretty similar with what you will find in the DJI Mini 3 Pro.
It was a tough choice, but I explained why I chose the Air 2S over the Mini 3 Pro here.
However, when I first got the drone, finding where the ActiveTrack feature was difficult. Why?
Unlike Quickshots, Hyperlapse, and other modes listed in the app’s right-hand section, ActiveTrack is not listed anywhere in the drone’s Menu.
To activate ActiveTrack, or any other FocusTrack features, draw a box with your finger around the subject you want to track, and a Menu will appear at the bottom asking you to select either ActiveTrack, SpotLight, or POI (Point of Interest).
Let’s take a closer look at how to use ActiveTrack and other related features on your DJI Mini 3 Pro.
To help, we’ve identified and reviewed the best drone courses for beginners and professionals.
What is ActiveTrack?
Before I show you how to activate it, let’s first discuss what ActiveTrack is.
As mentioned earlier, ActiveTrack is a Follow Me mode where the drone autonomously follows a subject, which could be a person, a car, or a boat.
ActiveTrack is one of the features offered in the FocusTrack mode. The other features include:
- SpotLight – In this feature, the drone will always keep the subject in view.
But unlike ActiveTrack, where the drone will move as the subject moves, the drone pilot has to control the drone in terms of height and orientation, but it will always keep the subject in view.
You can switch to this feature when ActiveTrack doesn’t work, or you want more control over the drone’s movement. It’s also usually the default FocusTrack feature.
- POI – Point of Interest is a feature that lets the drone circle around the subject while keeping them in the frame at all times.
You might have learned POI as part of basic drone maneuvers, but this feature allows the drone to do it automatically as you do something else.
How to activate ActiveTrack on the DJI Mini 3 Pro
As mentioned above, activating ActiveTrack can be done by simply drawing a box with your finger around the subject you want to track, and a menu will appear at the bottom of your screen asking you to select either ActiveTrack, SpotLight, or POI (Point of Interest).
Or, turn on Subject Scanning in the settings by going to Control, then press the Plus sign next to the subject you want to track.
Once you have selected the subject, you can select either Trace or Parallel active tracking. Trace tracks the subject from behind, while Parallel tracks the subject while at its side.
Once you select the mode you want to use, click GO, and start moving, and if the drone successfully locks the subject, it will move, readjusting its position and speed to keep flying and following the subject.
However, it will not change its altitude, and you must select a height appropriate to your flying area.
You can also manually change the drone’s height, angle, and orientation using the controller as you fly and as your surroundings change.
One of the best reasons you should try ActiveTrack in the DJI Mini 3 Pro is the vertical shooting mode.
If you are a social media creator and love filming yourself hiking, biking, or partaking in any other outdoor activity, DJI Mini 3 Pro is designed just for you.
You can have the drone follow you as you record in portrait mode, and you will not have to crop the footage before posting it on your social media channels.
Unfortunately, ActiveTrack is only available in 4K 30 fps. So you can’t record it in 4K 60 fps to create slow-motion videos later, which would be great.
Tips to get the most out of ActiveTrack in the DJI Mini 3 Pro
Now that you know how it works, below are some tips you could use.
Set obstacle avoidance to Bypass.
Set obstacle avoidance settings to bypass for a smooth flight as the drone follows you. This way, the drone will swerve and keep moving as long as you are within its range or as long as it sees you.
If you set it to Brake, the drone will stop every time it senses an obstacle, which can be pretty hectic if you are flying in areas with several trees or low-level objects the drone could bump into.
Switching the sensors off is the worst idea unless you are in a very open area since the drone will crash into anything it finds and could end up with significant damage.
Find an area with few obstacles.
While the DJI Mini 3 Pro does come with obstacle avoidance, it’s tri-directional. It only detects obstacles at the front (not the complete 180 degrees), downwards, and backward.
That means that it will not detect obstacles on its side and could end up crashing into them.
Bypass mode won’t be very effective in areas with many obstacles since, as it swerves, it may crash into something on its side.
If there are too many obstacles, you can try flying the drone at a higher altitude, but bear in mind that if it’s too high, ActiveTrack will not work.
Obstacle Avoidance is also unavailable in Parallel mode, so ensure it will not run into anything before using it.
Track an object or location on the ground.
This primarily applies to Spotlight and POI, but once you try ActiveTrack, you will want to try the rest and may use them a lot too.
Why should you track an object on the ground?
Because, as the subject moves, these intelligent modes don’t produce the smoothest footage when the subject (either you or a vehicle) is moving around a lot.
So, to prevent producing shaky footage, select a stationary object near the subject, such as a boulder, tree, car, point on the ground, or any object for the drone to track.
Then, initiate the intelligent flight mode and do any activities you want to include in the shot near the stationary object.
This way, the drone will place a pin at the object you selected and track that pin, but it will look like it’s tracking you.
Even as you move, the drone won’t get jerky while trying to figure out the best way to track you, and you also end up with some very cinematic shots.
Another reason you should track a pin instead is when there are too many objects that could block the drone.
Often, the drone will lose you, and once you appear back in its view, it may not resume tracking.
But when it’s tracking a pinned location, you will often end back into the drone’s view even after being blocked by other objects, and the drone will not have to stop.