DJI Mavic 3 and 3 Pro Spotlight Mode

What is Spotlight Mode in the Mavic 3 and 3 Classic?

The Mavic 3 and Mavic 3 Classic have three Intelligent Flight Modes grouped under the name of Focus Track: Active Track, Point of Interest, and Spotlight

These modes can be used for two different purposes: they allow precise and smooth movements in relation to a chosen target. They also offer different ways of tracking a target

Spotlight mode in the Mavic 3 and 3 Classic maintains a target in the same position on the frame regardless of the direction of flight. In other words, in this mode, the camera is disconnected from the direction of the flight. The two sticks of the remote control can be used to perform all sorts of movements

More details about Active track and Point of Interest in my specific articles

Example of Spotlight with dynamic moves

How to Use the Intelligent Flight Modes with the Mavic 3 and 3 Classic

The three intelligent flight modes of the Mavic 3 and 3 Classic are grouped under the name Focus Track. We access them by simply drawing a box around the chosen target. A small window with three icons for the three modes appears in the lower part of the screen and by default, it is set to Spotlight

The three modes of Focus Track are available at resolutions up to 4k at 60fps. It is therefore possible to apply some real slow motion, a useful feature for action or sports. The three Intelligent Modes are not available at the maximum resolution of 5.1k

After a series of firmware updates, the three modes are now available with the three color modes, not only Normal, but also the two 10-bit modes, D Log and HLG

The three modes can now be used with digital zoom functionalities up to a factor of 3x zoom. With the Mavic 3, they are also available for use with the telephoto lens, at the native resolution of 7x. This is another extremely useful update for the flagship DJI line, as when tracking from some distance the ability to zoom in is crucial

When using the telephoto lens manually it is very easy to get some abrupt moves due to the extreme focal length, when using Point of Interest or Spotlight the footage is much smoother and more cinematic

More details about the Telephoto lens of the Mavic 3 in my dedicated article

How to Use Spotlight Mode on the Mavic 3 and 3 Classic

With the Mavic 3 and 3 Classic, there are two different ways to use Spotlight mode. When the target is static, it is possible to perform all sorts of cinematic moves while the subject is kept in the frame. With a moving target, it is possible to track it in a very dynamic way by using the two sticks of the controller

During this complex move, Spotlight maintains the lighthouse in the same position in the frame

A typical way to use Spotlight is the movement known as Course Lock. We move parallel or diagonally to a still target while the camera remains centered on it. It is a great way to reveal a landmark and its surrounding with a very interesting parallax effect

Some creative examples of the use of Spotlight are in my article 9 drone moves for stunning cinematic video

A Course Lock type of move using Spotlight mode

How to use Spotlight Mode for Tracking

Spotlight is the most useful mode for tracking manually a moving target with an operator using the remote controller, while Active Track is the one to use for autonomous tracking, in other words, without an operator

When targeting a moving object in Spotlight with the drone hovering in a static position, the drone will rotate around its axis to keep the target in the center of the frame behaving like, well, like a spotlight. This is useful for following subjects moving in a confined space, like a boxer in a ring, or a rock star on stage

Spotlight: tracking a moving target with the drone hovering

But in most cases Spotlight is used for maintaining a moving target in the middle of the frame while performing all sorts of moves: we can get closer or farther away, modify the altitude, get in front of it, or to a side or behind. It is the ideal tool for tracking sport and all sorts of action with an operator controlling the drone

Tracking a moving target with Spotlight and the drone moving

The new APAS 5.0 for obstacle detection and the omnidirectional sensors of the Mavic 3 and 3 classic provide a very safe experience. These are the only two models of DJI prosumer line to offer safe tracking at close distance

More info about the Obstacle Avoidance System of the Mavic 3 and 3 Classic in my specific article

Is Waypoints Mode Available in DJI Mavic 3 and 3 Classic?

Waypoints is a very popular intelligent mode available in the DJI Mavic 2 Pro and Mavic 2 Zoom. It creates several points for each mission. At each point, the position of the aircraft, the elevation, and the direction of the camera are stored in memory. When launching the mission, Waypoint is able to connect smoothly each point to the next

Waypoints in the Mavic 3 and 3 Classic is available only as one of the modes for Hyperlapses. The lack of a Waypoints mode for video is a big disappointment. But the mode Spotlight is so flexible and powerful that can accomplish some of the tasks normally performed using Waypoints

As an example, the crane shot is a very useful move for real estate videography. It is very difficult to accomplish manually, but very simple to do using Waypoints

Using Spotlight we can frame our target, and then we simply move towards it while ascending, Spotlight will take care of gradually tilting down the gimbal to maintain the target in the middle of the frame. Easy! I suggest using Cine mode to lower the speed for more precise results

It is obviously possible to perform the reverse crane for very interesting revealing results or add some diagonal movement of the right stick for variations

Crane move with added diagonal movement using Spotlight mode

In videography, Waypoints mode can be partly replaced by Spotlight, although it would be very useful for other occasions, like for surveys, monitoring, and for the ability to save missions

Update! Waypoint mode for filming has been recently added to the Mavic 3 and 3 Classic by a firmware update. Please check my article

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More Info and Examples in This Video


I am Vittorio Caramazza, aka Vicvideopic, the founder of this website and author of all the posts. I am a videographer and photographer contributing to several stock agencies. I am an Adobe Certified Expert in Photoshop and Lightroom. I have 10 years of experience with dron videography and photography. I was struck by drone syndrome in 2013. I have owned and tested in depth the following drones: Phantom 3, Phantom 4, Phantom 4 Pro, Mavic 2 Zoom, Mavic 2 Pro, Mavic Mini, Mini 2, Air 2, Air 2s, Autel Evo Nano Plus, Mavic 3, Mini 3 Pro, Mini 3. My home has turned into a breeding ground for drones. I am the owner of two YouTube channels specializing in Videography and Photography, with a focus on drones My main channel is VicVideopic (in English): My other channel is Drone Mitico, the Italian version.: I am currently based in Sicily (Southern Italy), but I tend to move quite often. After all, this is one of the main benefits of being a digital nomad…

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