Learn How To Fly A Drone For Aerial Photos And Videos


Lesson Info

Flight Mode: Active Track

ActiveTrack... anybody familiar with what ActiveTrack is? It's a newer feature. It's a newer intelligent flight mode of DJI. Used to be that, that we would just use what is it called? Followme for tracking subjects. One of the downside of that is you had to have your transmitter with you. So, typically if you see anybody testing ActiveTrack was like somebody walking around a field with a transmitter, "Oh, look at the drones following me." It's like, "Wow, that's cool." Then, if you think about it from a... How are you gonna use that? You're not gonna give your subject a runner or a surfer, "Hey, would you put this transmitter on your back, "or something...?" So, DJI came up with this ActiveTrack and what's really cool about that is you simply, when you find, you get your subject close emough and then you just draw a box around it and hit go. And it just knows. It's not just a tracking, physically tracking the subject in terms of, where the 'copter goes but it's actually doing some came...

ra moves to keep that subject framed how you want it. I think we'll see that in the next video. ActiveTrack, it's a cool feature. It's new to me. The truth is a lot of times when I'm doing tracking work, oftentimes I'm actually flying in a two-person operating mode where I'm just flying the copter and my business partner Phil Vandrunnen is either operating the camera, that's really great because if you can manage to put a two-man team together like that it's really nice because somebody can just focus on the flying, the other person can just focus on tracking the subject. But a lot of us we wanna go out and film a surfer, or film a runner, or a friend of ours, or whatever. These intelligent flight modes, I think is what DJI calls them enable you to, it takes the pilot... It takes some of the pilot load off the pilot so that you can fly safe and you can get more productive footage. We're gonna attempt their ActiveTrack feature which is really cool. You basically draw a box around the subject and supposedly it just tracks it. I've tested this before. It works pretty good so let's see how we do today with it. Here we go, taking off. (small engine whirs) Alright lets walk over here. So, we have a runner Patricia, over there, getting warmed up and we're gonna try ActiveTrack on Patricia. One thing that's worth nothing that if you go to a park, make sure that if you're tracking somebody with a drone you get there permission first. They might be creeped out by being actively tracked by a drone. But Patricia signed up for this so she's good to go. She's coming towards us here. I'm going to put it in... I'm gonna get a little higher. So, right now, we're on that P mode. If you click on the copter right there, click on ActiveTrack. When she goes pass the camera, I'm going to try to draw a box around her. You can't track it because she's too small, right? I'm gonna put the copter away from Patricia, so we can talk to her. It's going to be a little bit noisy. What we're gonna do is... Yeah, just have her stop. (voice in background speaks) Then, I'm gonna get the lock on her, and then we'll tell her to go. Alright, so right now we're gonna get ActiveTrack back locked on her. So, ActiveTrack, draw a box. Go. And, why don't you do a little bit slower jog. Yeah, and we're ready to go. Go for it. So, right now as you can see, I'm yawing the craft around but if I don't, it's yawing on it's own. It's actively tracking her. So, look at this. I'm not touching it. Now, I'm a little nervous of those trees but look at that. That's so awesome. But I'm gonna yaw around her so the way that happens is if I just do the right stick left. It's just gonna track her like that. I mean that is just so cool. Now, here's the thing guys: there's a fence coming up. I'm going to abort out of that. Jump up, and I'm just going to be safe I'm going to get some blue sky and then we're gonna come back. I think that's a great example of how well ActiveTrack actually does work, if you let it do it's job. We'll talk in studio a little bit more about what happens, what inputs affect what. The cool thing is that it's gonna keep the subject in the frame. As you like, with the right stick I wanted to go left of here, and even though it starting to go alongside her it naturally yawed the craft to keep her in the frame. Which, that's really awesome. [Male From Audience] Quick question. When it's tracking her, right, you make an adjustment, you can kind of override it an any given second, right? You can always... ? Yeah, you can control the positioning of the drone but if you still have it in that ActiveTrack mode it's gonna always fight to keep the subject in frame. Gotcha. So, it's interesting because normally when I would yaw or I would slide around it would be a combination of a yaw motion you know, a twisting motion with the copter. And it would also be a combination of moving the copter left-roll. So, I would... I would, let's see, so say we have Patricia running, she's like right here and I've got the cop- I'll do it the other way. So, Patricia's running here, and I've got the copter running here. Now, say I wanted to do this kind of move. See, normally I would have to do a combination of rolling left a little bit and yawing the copter so it's twisting while it's being pushed this way. Whereas with ActiveTrack, I was able to just roll the copter around, and it was just naturally yawing the copter for me. So, it does take a lot of, the advantage, of course, is that it takes a lot of the pilot load off. If there's a disadvantage is that you're playing by its rules. It's algorithms to, however you framed it up initially. That's one thing I'm not, honestly, I'm not sure of and maybe somebody from the interwebs can tell us but on ActiveTrack is depending on where you frame that subject up. I can't remember if they keep that, so if you frame somebody on, let's say the right third I can't remember if they keeps you on the right third or if it wants to keep you on the center. It's a really neat feature to me because I typically do all this manually. At any rate, it's still... once it's locked you're playing by it's rules. Honestly if anybody that's tried tracking a moving subject with a copter, you're just thankful that you stay locked and you have a lot of useable footage. Question? [Male From Audience] Yeah is that a DJI patent or do other competitors have ActiveTrack as well? Well, I don't know if it's a DJI patent. Other companies have had the FollowMe mode and that's a good question I don't know the answer to. By the way, as far as, if you guys have questions and I might not know the answer now, I'm always researching this stuff. So, there's always something new to learn. I'm on twitter. My handles my name. Just Blain Chastain, no space. So if you follow me on Twitter, I'll be more than happy to get back to you on some of these specific questions that maybe we're not getting to during this course. I'm not as familiar anymore with Uniques products but I do remember them having a tracking feature. So, yeah. I'm not sure. I know that DJI, it's a newer feature and it's implemented really well. That's one thing, I don't know of any other main drone companies that have as many intelligent flight modes as DJI, at the moment. I'm sure that'll all catch up it's just... but yeah. I was actually really impressed. No matter how small Patricia got in the shot it was still tracking her. And we were dealing with the wind, too. So, it was fighting to push into the wind and yet it was still, even though she got super tiny at times. As someone who's kind of old-school pilot, RC pilot, I like doing a lot of that by hand. For one, to start off you have to get really close to the subject, and go okay that's really my subject. So, there's some setup time whereas if I can get the shot personally then I'll just be like, "Let's just go with it." Especially in a two-person operation then it's no question. The creativity you have as a two-person team is really cool. You don't wanna be limited. Especially when you're just looking for a three to ten second, one to ten second keeper shot. Because our edits, as we're shooting for the edit we're not looking for a 30-second perfect shot. We're looking for a at most a ten second, at most.

"To everyone out there wanting to learn how to fly a Drone and take incredible images and videos; I promise Blayne Chastain is your guy!" -Brooke, CreativeLive Student

Drones can be an expensive purchase, and without the proper knowledge, they can be dangerous and difficult to fly.Capturing the view from above can show perspective, creativity, and just look cool! But getting your camera into the air isn’t as simple as just grabbing a remote control. It takes knowledge, practice and patience to master your camera in the sky. In this class, Blayne Chastain will give you the tools you need to fly any drone and the techniques you’ll need to capture beautiful images and videos every time you go out.  After taking this class, you’ll feel confident in your purchase and in your footage. You’ll learn:

  • The basic components of a drone 
  • The safety tips and regulations everyone must follow when flying 
  • What to consider when flying in different weather conditions 
  • Simple flying techniques and advanced maneuvers to master 
  • How to capture beautiful media that you’re excited to share! 
 Blayne Chastain has over three decades of practice flying RC aircrafts. He is the co-founder of Cloudgate, a film company specializing in cinematic aerials. He's captured aerial footage everywhere, from the seat of a kayak in Iceland to chasing snowboarders down a mountain with his drone. With the teachings in this class, you’ll have the ability to maximize your flight hobby, and turn your images into a part of your business. 

Don’t know which drone to buy? Be sure to download Blayne’s “Drone Buyer’s Guide” to find out which gear is right for you!  



  • First, I wanna start off by saying thank you to Creative Live TEAM for giving me the opportunity to attend this class LIVE in-studio! The experience was everything and MORE I could have hoped for. The TEAM really makes you feel apart of the family and I can't wait to come back! As Far as the class goes: To everyone out there wanting to learn how to fly a Drone and feel confident in flying, take incredible images and videos and everything that comes with it; I promise Blayne Chastain is your guy! He covers all your questions and teaches you how to get started from Learning to actually fly and how to practice, to what would be the best drone for you, FAA regulations and certification, to editing and your finished product. AND MUCH MORE But in order to fully grasp all of this knowledge you must get this class! I promise you won't regret it and will only grow! Thank you Blayne, for opening this door for us and teach us that THE SKIES THE LIMIT!
  • The class was excellent in the information offered. Real info that can help someone starting out to get a feel for what they need to learn and practice. While the info was great, the presenter was not to the level of other professional speakers I've seen on CreativeLive. He didn't seem confident in the information he delivered, stuttered quite a bit and lost his train of thought quite often. The video cuts were poorly produced for the most part. Showing us how to fly a drone that is represented by a tiny speck on the screen was not all that helpful. It kind of felt like there was little planning in the production more of a "seat of the pants" lesson plan. However, with all of these presentation flaws, the content was great info, so I would recommend the class with the warning to be very patient with the presenter and the production quality - not normal for a CreativeLive class.
  • This course was amazing. Made me actually want to go out and buy my first drone. Highly recommend for anyone who wants to learn the ins-and-outs of operating a drone for aerial photos and video.