DJI Mavic 3 ActiveTrack 5.0 [Secrets and Warnings]

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The DJI Mavic 3 is a powerhouse drone worthy of flagship status in the DJI drone ecosystem. It has a range of features and artificial intelligence flight software to make your piloting experience as awesome as possible.

The DJI Mavic 3 comes with ActiveTrack 5.0. The aircraft will be able to track stationary and moving subjects such as vehicles, boats, and people at speeds of up to 15 m/s. The drone will also bypass obstacles in ActiveTrack mode.

The ActiveTrack technology on the DJI Mavic 3 is one of its best features. The drone can automatically detect objects and follow them around, keeping them in the frame without any intervention needed by the pilot.

Does the DJI Mavic 3 have ActiveTrack?

The DJI Mavic 3 has ActiveTrack 5.0. It is divided into two types of tracking: trace and parallel.

DJI MAvic 3 active track trace vs parallel

In trace mode, the aircraft tracks a subject at a constant distance and altitude, maintaining its angle with the direction of the subject. In this mode, the drone can track subjects in up to 8 directions, including back, front, left, right, and each diagonal.

The direction is set to following from behind by default and can be adjusted when the subject is moving in a stable direction. The direction of the tracking can be adjusted while tracking is active.

In parallel mode, the drone will track subjects at a constant angle and distance from the side view.

In both modes, the aircraft will maintain a distance of approximately 4 to 20 m when tracking people with an altitude of about 2 to 20 m.

It is important to note that the optimal distance for ActiveTrack 5.0 on people is between 5 to 10 m away from the subject at an altitude of 2 to 10 m.

When tracking vehicles or boats, the drone can maintain a distance and altitude of between 6 and 100 m. The optimal distance for tracking vehicles and boats is 20 to 50 m at an altitude of 10 to 15 m.

How to use ActiveTrack 5.0 on Mavic 3

Using ActiveTrack with the DJI Mavic 3 is very simple.

  1. Start by taking off and ensure that you can maintain a stable hover.
  2. Drag a box around the subject you want to follow in the camera view or enable subject scanning under the control settings in the DJI fly app. DJI Fly Control > Control settings > Subject Scanning
  3. Tap the subject to enable FocusTrack
  4. When you first open up the focus track mode, the drone will be in spotlight mode. Tap the icon to switch between spotlight, ActiveTrack, and point of interest.
  5. Select ActiveTrack from the mode choices and tap on GO.

You can use the wheel to change the angle at which you are tracking the subject:

the wheel labels allow you to move to the right, left, forward, or back of the subject.

The wheel can get a little bit in the way of the screen, so it will be minimised if there is no operation on the screen or no user activity for an extended period of time. You can also get rid of the wheel by tapping any other area of the screen.

Exiting ActiveTrack mode

To exit ActiveTrack, you can press stop in the DJI go fly app or press the flight pause button on the remote control.

ActiveTrack 5.0: Normal Mode vs Nifty

The DJI Mavic 3 provides two options for obstacle avoidance, Nifty and normal.

If you want to know more about this mode, check out the YouTube video by DC Rainmaker:

Essentially, Nifty mode is not to be used with an ActiveTrack flight. This mode allows pilots to fly faster and bypass obstacles closer than in normal mode.

Nifty is designed to be used with normal and cinematic flight modes. You have to be extra careful when moving past small obstacles like power lines and tree branches.

If you are in ActiveTrack mode, it is best to avoid Nifty and stick with the normal obstacle avoidance.  

ActiveTrack warnings for the Mavic 3

Of course, ActiveTrack and ActiveTrack isn’t always the best option for your drone flying adventure.

Here are some of the warnings you need to be aware of if you are going to utilise ActiveTrack to capture your photos and videos.

Do not use it in areas with people

It is important that you do not use ActiveTrack when there are many people or animals nearby. Most jurisdictions require you to leave at least a 30 m space between and above your drone and the people you are filming.

ActiveTrack doesn’t care about the local laws and regulations, and you can inadvertently end up breaking a load of local laws and regulations by allowing the drone to get too close to people and private property.

In short, there is nothing else nearby that the drone could bump into.

Does not work well in these situations:

There are a number of situations where the ActiveTrack will not work well, and it could end up placing your drone in danger.

Object not moving on a level plane

ActiveTrack assumes that the object you are tracking is moving on a level playing. If the object quickly steps up or down or runs up a steep incline, it could easily lose track of the object.

Subject changes shape

ActiveTrack works best when the object remains the same size and shape. Sometimes the object is different when looking at it from a different angle, and any extremes will cause ActiveTrack to lose tracking ability.

The object moves out of sight

This mode does not work very well when the object you are tracking moves out of sight for a long period of time. Artificial intelligence is able to keep up with the object if it disappears for a quick moment behind a tree or other obstacle.

However, if the object moves out of sight for a long period of time, it will lose track.

The object is on a snowy surface

Snowy surfaces are reflective and can cause ActiveTrack to lose its lock on the scene’s subject.

Same colour as surroundings

If the objects you are tracking are the same colour as the surroundings, the tracking can become confused and lose lock.

High or low light

Bright light can throw off the tracking mode. On the other end of the spectrum, really low light can also throw off the tracking.

Make sure that your subject will continue to be well lit throughout the entire scene and shot and that it doesn’t become too bright or too dark, confusing the tracking software.

ActiveTrack is unavailable in lowlight settings and when the vision systems are unavailable.

Do not track another drone, model boat or car

The tracking software cannot keep up with anything with high acceleration, including another drone, a model boat, or a car.

If you are tracking an object with a high acceleration that is small and can quickly move out of the frame, I recommend that you learn to follow the subject manually.

May swap tracked object

The lock may switch to a similar object if there are many other similar objects in the scene while you are tracking.

This action is true in crowds of people and flocks of animals.

Disabled at high resolutions

It is important to note that ActiveTrack is disabled when recording at high resolutions and frame rates such as 2.7 K 48/50/60 FPS, 1080p 48/50/60/120 FPS, 4K 48/50/60 FPS, and 5K 24/25/30 FPS.

You should learn to fly your drone manually for all of these high resolutions to emulate the ActiveTrack features.

Disabled in explore mode

The ActiveTrack feature is disabled in explore mode, where the DJI Mavic 3 uses its zoom camera to capture images and video of up to 28x.

Near flight limits or in a Geo zone

The ActiveTrack feature may not work properly when the aircraft is flying near its flight limits or in a Geo restricted flight zone.

Other Awesome Mavic 3 Features

The release of the DJI Mavic 3 is highly anticipated by professional and amateur photographers alike.

This drone bridges the gap between the high-end drones used by professionals and the more basic models that are popular with hobbyists. The Mavic 3 boasts a number of features that make it ideal for both groups.

For starters, it has a longer flight time than previous models, allowing you to capture more footage. It also has a better camera, with a 1-inch sensor that can shoot 4K video at 60fps.

In addition, the Mavic 3 is easier to fly than ever before, thanks to its advanced obstacle avoidance system.

Advanced Safety Features

One of the coolest features of the Mavic 3 is its advanced safety features. With Obstacle Sensing System 2.0, the drone can detect and avoid obstacles in its path, even when flying at high speeds. This makes it perfect for beginners who might be worried about crashing their drones. Additionally, the Mavic 3 has an emergency brake feature that can stop the drone mid-flight if needed.

Quiet yet Powerful Motors

The Mavic 3’s motors are not only powerful but also incredibly quiet. This is thanks to DJI’s new propeller design, which reduces blade noise by up to 4 decibels. Not only does this make flybys quieter, but it also means that you won’t have to worry about disturbing your neighbors when flying early in the morning or late at night.

Extended Flight Time

The Mavic 3 has a max flight time of 31 minutes, which is about 10 minutes longer than the Mavic 2. This is thanks to its new low-noise propellers and more efficient motors.

4K Camera

The Mavic 3 comes with a brand new 4K camera that takes stunning video and photos. With HDR video and 20 megapixel stills, you’ll be able to capture amazing footage no matter where you fly.

Wrapping up

This article has been through everything you need to know about using the DJI Mavic 3 ActiveTrack mode and the warnings and considerations you need to make to keep your drone safe.

It’s always a good idea to go through all of the different modes of your drone and practice with them until you are completely familiar with how to operate them and how to access them if things are not going well.

The Author

Dr Andrew Stapleton is a Drone pilot, Writer and YouTuber with a PhD in science. His drone footage has been featured on TV (ABC Documentary) and he has written and/or produced videos for Science Alert, COSMOS magazine, and Australia's Science Channel among others. He has been a drone pilot for many years and has flown many types of drones.