What could be more American than Drones+Fireworks?
July 4, 2014 4:06 PM   Subscribe

Beautiful. Makes tonight's view a disappointment.
posted by petrilli at 4:38 PM on July 4, 2014

WOW. The links in this post do not disappoint.
posted by 4ster at 4:42 PM on July 4, 2014

Great. I will now be forever disappointed at any fireworks display where I don't have a drone and a GoPro.
posted by drfu at 5:02 PM on July 4, 2014

I saw a drone flying during the fireworks on Canada Day and I assumed this is what they were doing but I haven't come across the video.
posted by RobotHero at 5:08 PM on July 4, 2014

Count me analog, but most of these do not compare to seeing live fireworks.
posted by kozad at 5:15 PM on July 4, 2014

Target area is hot, repeat, target area is hot. We're picking up a lot of flack, over.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 5:27 PM on July 4, 2014 [6 favorites]

Warning: unstable video with fast pans (especially the "while" link) may induce nausea due to strobing.
posted by charlie don't surf at 5:37 PM on July 4, 2014

Alas, this does not help as I hoped it might with my perennial puzzlement about fireworks.

Some fireworks are clearly directional; you can see them burst towards one side or the other. But the iconic fireworks explosion - a single spherical explosion of saturated color (most commonly red or green) - I've always assumed exploded in all directions. I don't think I've seen one exploding away from me.

And yet I have a persistent illusion(?) that they are only exploding towards me. I don't have any sense of anything moving away on the other side. Apparently I get the same effect when I see them from above.
posted by straight at 5:55 PM on July 4, 2014 [1 favorite]

posted by Fizz at 6:05 PM on July 4, 2014 [1 favorite]

Reminds of me of how various media uses special effects to indicate magic happening. Fireworks inspired, I thought. Maybe it's linked to magician's stageshows and whatnot, but seeing this was something else.
posted by aroweofshale at 6:12 PM on July 4, 2014

"Inside the Explosion" (linked as "Quadcopters") was quite something.

I started wondering why the drone wasn't buffeted more. Or was it?

The camera's optics and the prevailing atmospheric conditions led to some startling high quality video. Superb.

posted by mistersquid at 6:28 PM on July 4, 2014

I'm a little blasé about fireworks. I live just above Sea World in San Diego and these pop off every night in summer around 9:45 PM. Still, this was impressive.
posted by SPrintF at 6:32 PM on July 4, 2014

mistersquid, the camera is probably decoupled from the platform (vehicle) by a 2- or 3-axis gimbal. The gimbal has a second accelerometer/gyro mounted to it, and rotates counter to the rotation of the platform in order to keep the camera stabilized in pitch and roll (if not also yaw). The community-developed versions (Basecam is the big 'not-dji' option these days) can be had for <$200 for a GoPro, and <$500 for bigger cameras — not counting the UAV platform to carry it or assorted support equipment.

Of course making any money with aerial video in the US (down to monetized youtube channels) is now explicitly illegal, as is flying through goggles (thanks, FAA + idiots who weren't operating responsibly and drove the FAA to deliver a pretty stringent Interpretation of the Special Rule for Model Aircraft), sooo.. we're not going to talk about the multi-thousand dollar pile of multis and ground station gear I can no longer legally use for its intended purpose.
posted by Alterscape at 7:25 PM on July 4, 2014 [6 favorites]

These are interesting if only for providing a new perspective on something otherwise familiar.

Interestingly, I just returned from the highest point in our county, which is a popular gathering spot on clear evenings due to the huge view reaching nearly 40 miles. I'd never been up there on the Fourth and was not expecting the quantity of displays visible--we counted at least 30 municipal shows going on at once. I've certainly seen some big displays, and I've had some great vantage points, but nothing prepared me for the spectacle so many fireworks in so many places. Adding to the show: nearby fields full of big fireflies.
posted by kinnakeet at 8:08 PM on July 4, 2014 [4 favorites]

Hopefully the new FAA regs will meet.the same fate as the last ones.
posted by humanfont at 9:05 PM on July 4, 2014

Count me in with the blasé about fireworks crowd.

I live in a state that legally sells them year round. I'm currently reading in my backyard and my neighborhood sounds like Dresden.

Additionally I live a few blocks from a ball field where we have a large weekly municipal show during the warm time of year.

I don't even notice the things anymore.
posted by sourwookie at 9:14 PM on July 4, 2014

Supposedly a photo of a DJI drone that was downed by fireworks: https://twitter.com/skyshotphoto/status/485243660858970112
posted by jjwiseman at 9:28 PM on July 4, 2014 [2 favorites]

This is so awesome!
posted by dejah420 at 10:22 PM on July 4, 2014

I've lived for a while near an amusement park that regularly does fireworks shows, but I ave to say that thee's a huge difference in quality and excitement between the cheap shows that Disneyland and Great America put on, and a real firework spectacular.

Anyway, are we sure the first two films aren't shopped? they look just too smooth and well, artificial.
posted by happyroach at 2:40 AM on July 5, 2014

Salon churned out one of its latest pearl-clutching articles yesterday, this one about FIREWORKS (omg!).
posted by kozad at 6:55 AM on July 5, 2014

humanfont, I'm actually hopeful for some sane FAA regs, though it's going to take some doing.

The current Interpretation seeks to outright ban FPV, or first-person view/video. FPV is the hobby practice of flying r/c aircraft through video goggles, using video transmitted from the platform to the operator via amateur radio bands. It's likely that some or all of the videos in this post were captured from FPV platforms.

I believe FPV operations can be performed safely in many circumstances (probably not in fireworks / over crowds, though, bah humbug). At the same time, the "wild west, I do what I want with my drone" mentality some folks have is unsustainable in my opinion. Just look at all the "Drone piloted by thoughless nincompoop {crashes into building|spotted outside woman's window|within visual range of an airliner}" stories in the past year. Even after factoring in media scare-mongering, it seems to me like a lot of R/C FPV pilots are not playing well with others.

In my opinion, there needs to be some kind of regulation to give the FAA teeth to penalize people who do this kind of stupid stuff. There exist people with poor judgement who will not respect the damage that even hobby-grade UAS have potential to do if operated unsafely and without common sense. It's orders of magnitude less than piloted aircraft (less speed/mass) but a 2kg multicopter impacting your house/car/head/full-size aircraft could certainly do enough damage to be a concern.

I'd support, for example, rules limiting license-free hobby-grade FPV rc to below a certain altitude, preventing flight within some proximity and altitude of large gatherings / structures, and requiring approval from, airport operators inside a certain range. The current Interpretation appears to apply the same regs to FPV platforms as full-size airframes, which seems ridiculous.

I'd also like to see licensing for commercial operators and manufacturers to operate light UAS with different, more relaxed limits, given more thorough operator training and platform certification. Low altitude use of light UAS for applications like cinematography, crop monitoring, etc look to be very useful and economically valuable, and the current Interpretation slams the door on these kinds of operations entirely.

At the same time, the FAA does have an obligation to keep the NAS safe for the rest of avation, so I can't begrudge them enacting something. Hopefully the community can talk/lobby them down to something less ridiculous, though.

Don't get me started on the disrespect some of these folks show for the amateur radio community, though. I got my HAM license and operated my FPV platforms in compliance with its limits, but bah, some people are just silly and are likely to draw down the ire of the FCC the same way as this crop of folks is angering the FAA.

Anyway, getting off my hobby horse.
posted by Alterscape at 10:04 AM on July 5, 2014 [1 favorite]

What's the name of the opera piece in the first-linked video?
posted by lostburner at 5:05 PM on July 5, 2014

Nevermind! It was listed on the full YouTube page. It's "Con Te Partirò", Andrea Bocelli.
posted by lostburner at 5:07 PM on July 5, 2014

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