July 5, 2014

This Fireworks Display Filmed with a Drone & a GoPro Might Be the Most Spectacular Thing Ever

Drone FireworksMost of us here in the U.S. celebrated our nation's independence yesterday by donning patriotic garb, barbecuing, and, of course, craning our necks skyward in order to see all the pretty fireworks. However, even if you think you witnessed the most beautiful Fourth of July fireworks show, I promise, you ain't seen nothing yet. A drone was flown right into a fireworks display in West Palm Beach, Florida, offering viewers an up close and personal look at the brilliantly explosive spectacle.

Aerial footage is some of the most beautiful footage out there, because it offers viewers to see the world from perspectives not often experienced. And if that aerial footage is shot using a drone that can pull off concise in-flight maneuvers, it can make that experience all the more intimate, unique, and spectacular.

We've seen amazing aerial videos that display places and events like we've never seen them, including Santa Monica Pier, Burning Man in Black Rock, and a gold mining town in California, but I can say with quite a bit of conviction that this video from videographer Jos Stiglingh is as extraordinary and dazzling as they come. Using a DJI Phantom 2 and a GoPro Hero 3 Silver, Stiglingh flew the drone right into the center of the fireworks display to catch the explosions up close -- sparks literally fly -- and it feels like they fly right at you as you watch. (If only it was in 3D!)

Even though Stiglingh posted it in May, GoPro posted a condensed version on YouTube yeterday. Here is YouTube's version followed by the full video:

Of course when it comes to flying drones (or pretty much anything), safety always takes top priority. A drone crashing on a busy Manhattan street last year caused quite a stir among filmmakers, and this flight, given the fact that it occurred among hundreds of fiery, exploding projectiles, will most likely sound some alarms about its legality and safety -- though we technically don't know the details about it. There's no doubt that seeing these pyrotechnics up close is absolutely breathtaking (can you tell I love fireworks?), but before you try your hand at recreating this video, remember that keeping people and property safe always comes first. The moral of the story is always be aware of the laws before you fly your drones -- and then abide by them.

Now that many of us have had our dream realized of (virtually) being in the middle of a fireworks display, what other spectacular, unique, rare, and unseen places would you like to see a drone go?

[via GoPro & Jos Stiglingh]

Your Comment

51 Comments

Very nice...now I want to see this done with a GH4 in 4K please!
:-)

July 5, 2014 at 10:42AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Erwin

Or with Sony A7s. GoPro has pretty bad image.

July 5, 2014 at 3:20PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Laurel

GoPro HERO4 is due out any day and will have 4K @ 30fps.

July 5, 2014 at 3:36PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Enjoying Some G...

Another idiot in the world.
I'm sure the responsible R/C pilots are extremely pissed to see this.

July 5, 2014 at 11:03AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Alex

Idiot? LOL!!!

This footage is fantastic. Lighten up.

July 5, 2014 at 3:05PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Geno

The Drone was flown over water. If it had gotten hit by fireworks, it would have fallen harmlessly into the water. The shots were spectaular. A fresh and unique perspective!

July 5, 2014 at 11:15AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Terry_Mickie

I was at this event. I live next to this park in Simi Valley California and was certain there where two drones. One taking a wide shot and one that zoomed in and out of the display. People where sitting just over a hundred yards from the display site, which had a bad accident last year(park near sterns and Los Angeles street.). I don't know why it was allowed because the area was crawling with police, so unless they didn't care or couldn't find the operators it was allowed. If that drone, as the other was stationary at a distance, had been knocked out of the sky and caused a catostophic interference with the final or any park of the 25 minute display, lots of people could have been hurt again. I was across the street on Los Angeles and that felt really close :/

July 5, 2014 at 11:44AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Correction//

I was a event in Simi where someone did the same thing on the 4th of July, it still didn't feel safe and I hope it doesn't become a trend.

July 5, 2014 at 11:50AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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I don't see the dangers you are talking about. No one sits below where fireworks are launched from.

Something I see as a far greater danger is so many bicycles riding next traffic. If any safety campaigns need to be undertaken it is this: getting bicycle riding banned on streets where there is busy auto traffic.

July 5, 2014 at 3:29PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Geno

+1

July 5, 2014 at 8:59PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Kent

Or get more lazy gits out of their cars and onto two wheels or feet, perhaps...?

July 7, 2014 at 12:33PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Graham Kay

^This. What Graham said. Cyclists make the world a better place! Less of a drain on the health system from being fitter, and less of a drain on the roading network too from less congestion and no parking demands.

July 15, 2014 at 4:28AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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You are in the wrong century my friend, it is the other way round now a days, everyone want's more bikers and less fat bastards driving pollutant vehicles . . .

July 10, 2014 at 7:40PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Dan

Amazing POV of fireworks. When the camera pans it's like a video game.
Next step would be 3D cameras I'm sure.

I've seen a point of view similar with my own eyes once in Montreal. They had the fireworks above the river but right next to the fireworks is a very tall bridge which they closed off to traffic and allowed people to watch from there. You were up at the same height as the fireworks getting a side view. Pretty amazing.

July 5, 2014 at 12:07PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Cool. But you can really see the bitrate limitations of the gopro with a video like this.

July 5, 2014 at 12:15PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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It is stupid.
Those "filmmakers" have no clue on safety and risk damage to equipment and persons. "Getting cool footage! That's the main thing!". Such guys should get banned on every set. I would kick them into their ass, if their tried to work on my set.

I have been working as a cameraman for over 20 yeas now, but I haven't seen such brainless camera work. I really hope that all goverments in the world will forbid cam copters soon and give permission only to those operators who are qualified.

July 5, 2014 at 12:23PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Tom DoP

Yes and I'm sure they guys that did this video will comply with the Alphabet Boy's Rules.

July 5, 2014 at 2:52PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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PayDro

Those fireworks are too far away to hurt anyone. What are you smoking?

July 5, 2014 at 7:52PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Rich

Amazing Footage! Most who don't like it are really upset because they didn't shoot it first! (LOL)! Or that their clients will now ask for these shots instead of the regular pan and titles you've been feeding them for YEARS! Take it easy on the guy and be happy for his accomplishment! This video is amazing guys!

July 5, 2014 at 8:19PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Dez

You must be fun at parties.

July 5, 2014 at 10:20PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Infopeddler

L-O-L!!!!

July 5, 2014 at 11:47PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Enjoying Some G...

Under 400 feet, maintaining Line of Sight, not being within 3 miles of an Airport, and not being filmed for commercial purposes. This video does not appear to violate those criteria determined by the FAA, so it would seem that it was taken legally.

If he did not break the law, I don't see what the big deal is.

People that go 5 mph over the speed limit, jaywalk, and pull tags off mattresses have violated more laws than this guy has.

Why is this even a conversation?

July 6, 2014 at 4:40PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Ken

Cheap cameras get destroyed in production all the time. This is amazing. No one got hurt. Get over yourselves.

July 5, 2014 at 12:56PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Tyler

You make a fool of yourself.

If there is need to destroy one, e.g. in a car crash, then
it is a completely controlled environment with a stunt team, rescue services etc.

You cannot compare such a scenario with this crap "honky tonky I pwn the world with my risky copter fligh over public area".

Again: it is silly doing such things.

July 5, 2014 at 1:05PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Tom DoP

You sure you thought that reply through captain safety? Who is standing under the fireworks to get hit by falling drone parts?

July 5, 2014 at 2:41PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Whatitis

...here in Europe: everyone who wants to and everyone who wants to fire up those things.
We have no restrictions like in the US.

July 5, 2014 at 3:44PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Tom DoP

Everything is okay. Try to smile.

July 5, 2014 at 4:30PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Enjoying Some G...

Sounds like the idiots are Europeans then! USA! USA! #1! #1!

July 6, 2014 at 3:07AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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adam

Wrong, your comment shows that the idiots are Americans!

July 7, 2014 at 1:13AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Tone13

You are so correct. These "filmmakers" create the wow effect for the averages.

July 6, 2014 at 4:14PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Charlie

I think some of you guys may be getting angry over safety issues that don't really exist in this scenario. The only thing at risk here is this man's equipment. He's over water where the camera will fall harmlessly if something goes wrong. Any of you driving a car down the street pose a greater risk to the public than this particular flight.

Anyway, the quality of this video is sad considering all of the effort that went in to it. More artifacts and blockiness than I can shake a stick at. Either this was shot in a very low quality, or the compression was done poorly.

July 5, 2014 at 1:20PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Daniel Inzitari

@Daniel Inzitari
I completely agree w/ you on the "safety" & "risk" factors.
However, the one thing people seem to be overlooking is, whenever a fireworks display like this is done, the city/coast guard/FAA (can't remember which one or all 3) can temporarily declare a perimeter a no-fly zone.
In this case, they "CAN" but probably didn't due to the popularity of these drones being fairly new. (The local officials were reported as joking about the drone, so they saw it and didn't seem to think there was any danger to the public.) You can bet next fireworks display, odds are the locals will post a no-fly notice.

July 10, 2014 at 6:05PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Shannon Shaw

@Daniel Inzitari
BTW, some of the more uneducated commentators' major complaint is if the drone gets damaged by a firework -- possible but not probable w/ just one, but if "100's" of drones crowd the sky next time, odds increase of getting hit -- that the damaged drone will uncontrollably crash land into spectators. (I'm still not sure how/if the "auto-land at specific coordinates" feature work or kick in when damaged)
Oh and, the poor quality is probably the compression used.

July 10, 2014 at 6:09PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Shannon Shaw

The only way some here could complain more is if a GH4 had been used on the drone. Then we could have seen the silly complaints about its low light or some such, too.

;-)

July 5, 2014 at 3:33PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Geno

Jailbait title...

July 5, 2014 at 4:04PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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k

Eh. I liked it.

July 8, 2014 at 11:23AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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grantly0711

The skies will be full of government drones soon and they will tell you it's for your own good lol.

July 5, 2014 at 5:28PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Pretty lame footage. And I agree it is dangerous to fly a drone around explosives when people are nearby on the ground.

July 5, 2014 at 8:33PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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James

If you think you can do better...

July 5, 2014 at 10:24PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Infopeddler

Safety, a word used way too much these days, isn't it?

I disagree with some, I think the video was spectacular and a good use of the technology.

Of course I'm a bit bias as I'm involved in this UAV sector, but I do encourage safety in piloting these little aircraft, however I don't write about this. I want to talk about safety, yes, safety, and how some view safety.

Here's a sincere question to you all who complained about the dangers and issues with this video. Why do you worry about that quad posing a danger to observers, when the exlosives themselves have 102x more damaging power than this little "drone" has?
Worse case scenario the owner would have lost the quad, and if so, why do you worry about his stuff, it's his property after all, correct? He paid for it, why do you behave as if you own it?!! Please, with all due respect, mind your own business, gentleman.

Folks, we should all be responsible citizens indeed, I agree with you on that, and if we are honest we know we have done worse things in life than this, right?? Be honest with yourself. But that doesn't mean we should become safety nuts! I've seen worse videos than this, where a multicopter pilot would fly his "drone" down town through a busy city without any skill or practice crashing on everything. I would give you credit there if you said it's unsafe, but in this case, honestly, are you serious?

Sorry if I sound upset, I am though. This whole thing has gone way too far and it's ridiculous already.

Anyway, carry on, and be safe with your safety. ;-)

July 5, 2014 at 11:27PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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I would like to see one flown into the center of a lightning storm. Two cameras for 3D would be good also.

July 6, 2014 at 11:06AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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David L

I'm working on it David! Well, sort of. ;-D I'm actually trying to cather to the needs of meteorologists/storm hunters with an all weather multicopter setup that would *hopefully* allow them to get right into the core of a stormy weather, maybe tornado? Don't know yet. We'll see how this goes, but I'll share some videos when I get some tests performed in bad weather, should be fun.

July 7, 2014 at 3:59PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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While I have to spend hours and $$$ to find good royalty free music for my public videos along comes this bozo and tacks on an extremely popular copyrighted track and gets promoted here. Nice guys finish last indeed. I would expect a site dedicated to filmmaking would know better.

July 6, 2014 at 12:33PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Jorge

...or you could spend the time learning how YouTube's auto licensing works...

July 6, 2014 at 4:27PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Gabe

I agree with J.F. We want to fly them ourselves and police everybody else. The radio controlled gliders have been having dog fights down at Marina Del Ray beach for at least 30 years. It is a right of passage there. If you show up with your $1000 glider and can't out maneuver the other seasoned fliers expect to be rebuilding your glider every week. In India its king of the sky with kites, every town gets littered with them during the season.
Fun video.
I like the video use of the UVA, but I'm sure some group somewhere will think King of the Sky will more suit their temperament.

July 6, 2014 at 5:40PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Hari Har

The video looks great. Would look amazing in 3D.

In terms of audio licensing, I'm sick of the big names being protected by copyright and the little people not. I want yahoo or Flickr to automatically detect photos I have taken that have been used by others and take them down. I had a band use a photo of mine without my permission for promotional purposes. To be honest, I didn't care. Why should a band (and usually a very popular one) care about people using their music on YouTube? It's a joke!

July 7, 2014 at 1:18AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Tone13

You talk a lot about this safety aspect as if to protect your ass and make you look a dogoody - please let it die. The drone was above the water, out of harms way. If it gets hit, exit one drone and camera - no big deal. The images were spectacular and well worth the shooting. Bravo! I was sitting on the edge of my seat. Excellent

July 10, 2014 at 5:08PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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David

Thanks to this viral video, my state (Texas) has just decided that Drones w/ cameras are ILLEGAL (a violation of FAA laws & regulations).
Okay, so what THIS video did (flying within the restricted airspace of the fireworks display) may have technically been illegal, but now all the sudden, the gub'ment is jumping the gun and saying 1) what happens when hundreds of people want to do this exact same thing next fireworks show? 2) You have to have a license to fly these drones, at ANY height, period.
Yes, this video was beyond-awesome, but it sucks that it has caused an uproar with the FAA and my local city (Waco - which has now banned all drones from flying, ever.. perhaps even with special licensing) & my state.
I understand the "100s flying through fireworks" concern,. but, all the other points are simply either over-reacting or spoiling a good time (or in case of indie-filmmakers w/ no-to-low budgets, destroying any production value those aerial shots brought to us, not to mention a WASTE of $3000 now)

July 10, 2014 at 5:57PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Shannon Shaw

What would have been spectacular is if a firework hit the drone and knocked it out of the sky.

July 11, 2014 at 4:59AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Dandy

Interesting and spectacular - yes. But that is about as far as it goes. Many of the comments are about cinematographer and filmmaker inferring a level of professionalism, even INDIE, not so much. Look at his YouTube account - this is his only video, and the channels he follows are more game related. He is a hobbyist who got lucky with spectacular footage. That is an important distinction as the FAA is exempting RC hobbyist while developing rules (and pre-emptive intimidation in the absence of the rules) on commercial (i.e. professional) operation which would impact people making a living as cinematographers and filmmakers. Some States are acting in advance of those FAA rules which Congress is requiring by 2015. Some of the proposed rules are downright scary, like requiring the operator to have the equivalent of a pilots license - but hobbyist are exempt . Worse, this and other incidents, like the guy in NY that killed himself, ring delivery in wedding crashed into and injured the bridal party, multiple events of flying beyond radio contact then uncontrolled free flight, all in the middle of the rule making process that would affect professionals only.
My first thought when I saw that video was not how spectacular it was how many still photographers shooting the fireworks had to clone out that pesky drone, or cinematographers that had destroyed footage with the distraction flying through. Safety of the viewing public is not the issue, however, consideration of others at a PUBLIC event is front an center. A classic case of "It's all about me" attitude. Now if he financed the entire event for a PRIVATE shoot, that would be different, but this was public where most cinematographers, and street photographers try to be non-intrusive. Unfortunately, can probably expect more hobbyist showing up at events and doing the same thing and ultimately hurting the true professional that relies on their craft to put food on the table.

July 12, 2014 at 6:57AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Larry Gray

what? Texas already passed a bill prohibiting use of drones with cameras?

stupid. and it doesn't make sense. thats WAY too soon to be changing the laws like that- the process should take years.

whatever its just dumb statue laws anyway. I too think people are overreacting to this video, its not like 100 drones are gonna show up next time because not everyone can afford this equipment

July 27, 2014 at 1:25PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Tac