DJI Mini 4 Pro: How to Use Spotlight Mode for Cinematic Footage

Using Spotlight with the Mini 4 Pro it is easy to produce cinematic footage in two different ways:

  • With static targets, the operator generates the movement using the two sticks of the controller, and the camera will maintain the target in the same position on the screen. In other words, the camera is disconnected from the flight direction
  • With moving targets, it is possible to track them while applying all sorts of movements using the two sticks of the controller

The DJi Mini 4 Pro has a host of powerful features for video. One of the most useful is the intelligent flight mode Spotlight, grouped with Point Of Interest and Active Track under the name Focus Track

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I have written several related articles you may find interesting:

If you prefer to watch this as a video, you will find my YouTube version at the end of this article


The intelligent modes of Focus track don’t appear in the Photo/Video menu where Quickshots, Mastershots, and Hyperlapse can be found

To access them, simply draw a box with a finger around a target after selecting the mode Video

DJI Mini 4 Pro> the window for the three modes of Focus Track

The three modes of Focus Track will appear on a small window in the lower part of the screen, Spotlight is the one in the middle and is selected by default, so it is ready to go

In Spotlight mode most of the video settings are available

It is possible to use Manual or Auto Exposure, and Manual or Auto White Balance

The resolution can be set to 1080p or 4k and in 4k there is a choice of frame rates up to 60fps, so it is possible to apply some slow motion, while with the Mini 3 Pro, the maximum frame rate in Spotlight mode is 30 fps

DJI Mini 4 Pro: menu for Slw Motion video mode

It is also possible to use Spotlight with the Video Slow Motion mode for a frame rate of 100fps and extreme slow motion

The three video color profiles can be used, the 8-bit Normal and the 10-bit D-Log M and HLG

Spotlight with Static Targets

Unlike the other two modes of Focus Track, in Spotlight the aircraft doesn’t move autonomously

The movement is generated by the two sticks of the remote controller, like for regular video, but the camera will maintain the target in the same position on the frame, in other words, in Spotlight mode the camera is disconnected from the flight direction

After starting the move, the software will evaluate for a few seconds the position of the target, and the movement can be a bit jumpy. Then a smaller box appears on the target and it is then safe to start recording the footage, as the movement will be much smoother

I use Spotlight mode with static targets very often, as it makes it easy to obtain smooth cinematic footage with moves that are quite difficult to control manually

A classic move is to advance diagonally compared to the target, the camera will remain locked to the subject revealing the surroundings with interesting parallax effects

In this case, the camera is locked to this tiny lighthouse and I can move the drone in all directions to reveal the width of this lovely bay and Mount Etna in the background

Here the drone rises in altitude while the camera remains locked on this little hill revealing the bay of Catania in East Sicily in the background

Spotlight mode is very useful in real estate videography to show the surroundings of a property in a cinematic way

Another classic move difficult to perform manually is the crane shot, starting to the front of a landmark, rising in latitude, and advancing for a bird’s eye view

The reverse movement can also be quite spectacular, starting from the top view to reveal the surroundings

As you can see Spotlight can also be used in the vertical orientation, very handy for users active on social media platforms

Spotlight can also be used for orbiting moves around a landmark, with results similar to Point of Interest

Spotlight for Tracking Moving Targets

Spotlight mode is also useful for tracking moving objects, although it operates differently from Active Track

Active Track is the one to use for the so-called “follow me” situations, when it is not possible to use the remote controller, for example when driving, walking, or cycling and an operator is not available

In this mode, the drone will be able to track the target autonomously

When we can operate the remote controller Spotlight can be used to track a moving target in a very dynamic way, getting closer or farther away from it or changing elevation

Any time I can use the controller for tracking subjects other than myself, Spotlight is the mode I use for extra freedom of movement

Mini 4 Pro: Subject Scanning in the Control tab of Settings

In the Control tab of Settings, there is an option named Subject Scanning to help select targets that can be tracked

When Subject Scanning is selected the software will recognize subjects like people, cars, and bicycles and put a plus sign over them to select them

It is a bit tricky to catch a fast-moving car, so it is better to wait for it to slow down, or to move closer to it

When the drone is hovering and a moving target is selected, the camera will move to maintain it in the same position on the frame, acting a bit like a true Spotlight

This can be useful for targets moving in a confined space like a match of tennis or boxing, or comedians or musicians on stage

If You Prefer To Watch This As a 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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