Active Track Mode is one of the coolest in the Mavic Pro Intelligent Flight mode arsenal.
It's like having a robot drone follow you around and take videos of you, no matter what you are doing.
You simply tell the drone via tapping on the screen what to follow, and your Mavic Pro does the rest.
Of course, there is more to it than that, which is why I recommend you keep on reading...
What Is Active Track Mode?
Active Track Mode is an intelligent flight mode the Mavic Pro can use to automatically follow a subject and film video at the same time.
It can follow most moving objects, provided they are distinguishable from the background (so no wearing your camouflage gear in the forest!) and that the Mavic Pro can travel as fast (so traveling less than 35mph / 55km/h approx).
So, that means the Mavic Pro can potentially track you doing most sports and even driving a boat, car or motorbike, as long as you are not driving too fast.
Here is a Mavic Pro following a car and it can only keep up until about 33mph / 55km/hr.
How To Enter Active Track Mode
Like most of the other intelligent flight modes on the Mavic Pro, you can enter the Active Track mode in the Intelligent Flight Modes menu.
Note: In case you have trouble finding the Intelligent Flight Modes the image below will help you find the Remote Control icon
The following are the exact steps you need to enter Active Track mode
- Get Mavic Pro into the air (3m or 10ft min)
- Tap on the Remote Control icon on the far left of the DJI App screen (see image below)
- Select Active Track from the modes (remember you can swipe across to get to more modes)
- Check you are in Active Track Mode by looking at the top for the Drone symbol (now says "ActiveTrack")
- Now you need to select what should be tracked - either tap or draw a box around the object (you might need to move the drone or camera to get the subject in shot)
- A green box now appears around the subject with a "GO" over/next it
- On the right you can now select the Active Track mode (Trace, Profile or Spotlight - image below)
- Hit the green box with "Go" to start tracking the subject
- The subject can now move and the drone will follow
Active Track Mode Options
You have three main options on how to track something in Active Track Mode:
- Trace - Follows the subject, normally from behind (but adapts to it's movements when turning etc)
- Profile - keeps a side view (profile) of the subject as it moves (and tries to keep up if the speed changes)
- Spotlight - the drone remains fixed in position and tracks the subject through camera angle changes
I have used both Trace and Profile quite a bit and they work well for tracking the subject.
Active Tracking Pitfalls
Active Track is great, but it is only as good as the things you are expecting it to do. You need to know your surroundings (and future surroundings) and the capabilities of the Mavic Pro.
- The drone can only track up to about 33mph (55km/hr) so fast vehicles will get ahead of the drone and it will lose tracking ability
- The drone needs to be able to keep the subject in sight, so if you move around a corner or under the drone too fast, Active Track will fail and stop (I even walked under a single tree and it lost me)
- You need to be aware of all potential obstacles in your path (The drone will track you and keep a distance from you. It will try to reframe the camera, but sometimes it moves when you don't expect it. Crashes when trees, buildings, branches etc are around is almost inevitable. I always use these moves in clear spaces)
- If you want a smooth shot you need to keep the subject at a fairly constant speed (The Mavic tries to keep up, but will sometimes make jerky movements as it accelerates and stops as you change speed)
- The Mavic also tends to have a hard time tracking from a large distance (when the subject appears too small)
All in all it's a great mode, but it has limitations. You should play with it where there is a lot of space. Give your drone plenty of height and make sure it can't hit anything, even when you think it won't go somewhere (it might).
When To Use Active Tracking
Active Tracking is great for when you want constant focus on one subject but controlling it by hand would be tough.
This is especially useful with sports, but can really be applied to anything. DJI even says it can track animals!
Other Settings While In Active Tracking Mode
There is one other cool setting worth mentioning that you can use in active track mode and that is the "circling" option. If you use the Trace option you can slide a slider which determines how wide a circle the Mavic makes around the subject as it is tracking. So, you get tracking and circling all in one!
I have found a video that shows you how to use this below: