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Have you ever wanted your drone to follow you everywhere? Without needing to have the controller in your hands?
There are drones with such features, and the DJI Mini 3 Pro is one of them. By tapping just a few buttons, the drone will stick to you whenever you go.
You first need to open the camera view on the DJI RC or mobile device. Then circle the person, group of people, or vehicle you want to track on the screen. On the bottom side of the display, a three-option menu pops up. Now you can select one from the three follow-me modes: ActiveTrack, Spotlight, and POI.
This follow-me is what DJI calls FocusTrack. It is an optical feature where the drone tracks you with its camera lens. It is not a GPS mode, so you must consider a few factors to use it securely.
Each FocusTrack mode has unique characteristics, so it’s worth knowing in which cases you should use them.
That’s why we came up with this guide. We will take you by the hand, explaining in detail how this follow-me mode works and how to use it to reach its potential.
But first, let’s clarify something key.
Is the DJI Mini 3 Pro FocusTrack mode reliable? #
It is a remarkable feature, but it’s far from being as safe as in the Mavic 3, for instance.
The Mini 3 Pro lacks obstacle avoidance sensors at the sides and the top.
This translates into blind spots, where the drone can’t detect objects in all directions that interfere with the flight. It makes this drone suitable for use of the follow-me mode in open spaces only.
You can use it safely in places with low density of trees, buildings, people, and obstacles in general.
Consider that the target must always be on the camera. If the camera drone loses it for a few seconds, you will need to pair it again.
The drone will simply stop by hovering in the place it lost contact with the target. That way, you only need to pair it again, as we explain next.
One advantage, however, is that the Mini 3 Pro has a powerful camera lens.
This follow-me feature anticipates the target movement so it can spot it easily. It will be hard to lose the object in an open space, even when moving fast.
Does the DJI Mini 3 Pro Follow Me work with GPS? #
None of the DJI drones has a GPS-based follow-me function. So the DJI Mini 3 Pro can’t follow you by GPS.
Some skeptical pilots still aren’t happy about this DJI feature. For it to be a complete follow-me mode, the drone must stick to you by GPS, according to critics.
With a GPS follow-me, the drone would follow a GPS device you wear. It could be a band, a watch, or whatever the manufacturer provides.
DJI solved the requirement for a GPS by placing sensors that avoid obstacles. It’s a multidirectional avoidance system that prevents your aircraft from colliding while following a target.
DJI drones such as the Mini 3 Pro use an optical follow-me, which recognizes and follows the target without a GPS tracker. In conjunction with the sensors, it’s a safe and accurate function.
Why can’t I use the Follow Me mode in a forest? #
You can, but you should avoid it.
The reason is that the Mini 3 Pro lacks sensors to be an omnidirectional sensing drone. This drone has tri-directional sensing capabilities only. Meaning it likely will crash in a place full of obstacles.
Therefore, you should only fly it in open areas, ensuring it’s away froom all obstacles.
Does the DJI Mini 3 have Follow Me mode too? #
The FocusTrack is not available on the DJI Mini 3. This is because it doesn’t come with collision avoidance sensors.
For that reason, the Mini 3 can’t fly safely on its own. Follow Me mode would be too risky without obstacle avoidance sensors.
Now that you know the principles of FocusTrack, let’s jump into the different follow-me modes the DJI Mini 3 Pro has.
By far the most fun of all.
It allows the Mini 3 Pro to follow you like a dog. It literally sticks to you wherever you go once you set it.
To do this, it hovers at a minimum height of 2 m or 6.6 ft. It also stays at a distance of 4 m or 13 ft from you or the target. You can adjust the altitude and distance to 20 m or 66 ft max.
From there, the Mini 3 Pro will follow you at a constant speed of up to 10m/s. The drone is fast enough in this mode to follow you while running, biking, yachting, or driving a car.
Note: It is essential to mention that once you set the ActiveTrack, the drone won’t start recording automatically. You need to click the record button when you are ready to capture video.
In this mode, the Mini 3 Pro can follow you from the back, top, front, or sides.
Trace mode #
The first and safest way to use ActiveTrack is the Trace mode.
Here the aircraft will follow the target from the back, from above, or from the front. Thanks to its collision avoidance sensors, you don’t need to worry about it crashing when flying in place with few obstacles.
It’s perfect for activities where it wouldn’t be easy to control the drone. So it’s the mode of choice to film yourself doing fast-paced activities like running.
Parallel mode #
If you want your Mini 3 Pro to follow you from the side, you need to take special care.
The drone will always point the camera lens at the target. In parallel mode, the drone flies without sensing the terrain next to it, as it doesn’t have sensors in those directions.
Using this function is best when you have total control of the drone. This could be while walking and recording a vlog or filming a group of people, and you have full awareness of the drone path.
How to set ActiveTrack #
To set the ActiveTrack mode, go to the camera view and enclose the target with a finger on the touch screen.
A three-horizontal dots menu pops up. Select the one on the left side that says ActiveTrack. Finally, tap on the GO green button.
The drone will hover at a safe height and distance from you. Now you can walk, run, and drive a car, and the Mini 3 Pro will follow you wherever you go.
You can also set up ActiveTrack, by tapping the three dots on the right-top corner of the screen. From the menu, enable Subject Scanning. This feature automatically recognizes people, vehicles, or objects it can follow.
Once enabled, go to camera view again, and you will see the possible targets with a “+” sign. Tap it and select ActiveTrack.
In some scenarios, ActiveTrack can be a little robotic with its movements. Maybe you want more fluid maneuvers while the drone follows the target.
Here is where Spotlight shines.
This mode aims to lock the target in the camera’s center while the drone hovers. You can control the aircraft to the sides, up and down, with the camera following the object centered.
It is perfect for fast-paced videos with sharp movements.
Let’s say you want to film a skateboarder doing tricks. You can control the aircraft without worrying about taking a bad shot, as the camera never misses the skateboarder.
How to set Spotlight #
You can set Spotlight up by going to the camera view and circling the target or by enabling Subject Scanning.
Once you select the target, the three-horizontal dots menu pops, with Spotlight active by default.
Point of Interest POI #
Finally, let’s assume you want to film around a still person or an object. POI fixes the drone into a circular movement, making it fly around the target, with the target centered in the camera view.
The most incredible thing about POI is that it also works with a moving target. Once you start walking, the drone captures you wherever you go.
It will get lost if you move fast, so we only advise using it when walking. Besides, the collision avoidance sensors deactivate, so you must always keep an eye on your drone.
In POI mode, you control the drone’s direction with the right stick by moving it left or right at a maximum speed of 13m/s.
You can also adjust the height, moving the left stick up or down for a gorgeous 360 shot.
How to set POI #
Using POI is as simple as the other two FocusTrack modes.
Go to camera view and draw a box on the screen that encloses your target. Or, if you have previously enabled Subject Scanning, select the “+” symbol in your target.
Select the POI mode and then tap GO from the three-horizontal dots menu.
As you have read, using follow-me with the DJI Mini 3 Pro is quite simple.
Just remember that this drone has a three-directional sensing system only. So It’s always better to use these modes in places with a low density of obstacles.