Tag Archives: Drones

FILMING FIREWORKS

The filming for prosperity of your back yard fireworks display has become so easy these days, anyone with a little bit of time, a camera and a computer can achieve almost professional results in little or no time.

Since the introduction of high quality camera phones, that most of us have nowadays we are for the most part have access to a video device capable of up to 4K resolution leading to high quality footage possibly. Some even have a firework filter installed as standard. Quality video editing software we can easily add titles, atmospheric music, and some even allow effects to be added post production to give scatter fields and other unusual filters.

Most computers come with Microsoft’s Movie maker which is a good place to start for those who will do the occasion bit of filming. Furthermore, PowerPoint, which is supplied with the office bundle, can be useful for adding text, credits and some pretty cool transitions from one slide to another. There are so many software packages around its difficult to know where to start. Many companies offer a 30 day trial of products to ensure the program suits your needs before you splash out any hard-earned cash, so risk involved.

So now you have a camera, a laptop to process your video and some software to add credits, music or whatever else fires your imagination, but now you are ready to go a step up, filming remotely, with a drone.

Drones, UAV’s (unmanned aerial vehicles) or RPAS (remotely piloted aircraft systems) to give them their proper name have been around for some time now but over the last year or two we have noticed a dramatic drop in price as their popularity increases. But what about the laws regarding flying these awesome little gadgets, can you just buy and fly, unfortunately not.

Over here in the UK, our airspace and what flies in it, is governed by the CAA (the Civil Aviation Authority) who have set up strict rules and guidelines to ensure our safety, security and rights to privacy, for example do you think you could hover a drone over your house to film your bonfire party. ONLY if you have applied for and been granted an Air navigation order. If you live in a built up area or want to fly a drone within fifty feet of a building this is a must, as if reported you could find yourself paying a hefty fine or worse. Permission is usually granted providing there are no legitimate reasons not to, these might include: you live near a military installation or an airport, the flight of a drone may interfere with equipment in some hospitals or pose danger to the public, the list is almost endless but these people are not there to spoil your good times just ensure all will be safe.

Air navigation orders come in two varieties single flight, or a 12 month order, the latter is usually only available when a flight operators manual has been submitted for ongoing work, such as inspecting tall structures on a regular basis.

For single use orders the CAA would like to see a risk assessment plan and the operator would need to demonstrate they have taken every step to prevent harm to others, filming fireworks over a large public display may cause problems, if the pyrotechnics hit a drone and ricocheted back towards the watching crowd’s pandemonium could ensue.

If you are not sure if you need permission e-mail [email protected] who can answer all your questions much better than we could.

Luckily the operators of these drones had full support from the CAA’s counterparts in the USA the FFA (federal Aviation authority) to fly through a display. Thanks Guys.

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FILMING IN THE NEW YEAR

By now most of us have recovered from the New Year celebrations, and what a night it was!!

Australia is always the first we see, streamed live at around 1pm UK time, although we were impressed as the rest of the world was, it wasn’t until midnight we see what I thought was the best display of the year.

Drones and Go Pro cams are becoming more and more popular these days being used for various reasons from fun pursuits such as filming the action as we hurtle down mountain paths on our all-terrain cycles hanging on for dear life. They also offer a chance at YouTube fame should it all go wrong and applications for use of these covert cameras are used to search in disaster struck areas, probing for survivors in impossible to reach situations or for nature conservation, observing the colonies of birds dotted around our islands cliffs without alarming them, making sure all is well.

Whatever the reason for owning one of these now inexpensive technological marvels, combing the Drone with a high spec 4k camera and flying through a fireworks display which certainly has to be one of the best reasons to use them in our considered opinion.

On New Year’s Eve, across the world these flying machines were out in force capturing the displays for prosperity these “Drones” or “Quad-Coptors” which can be picked up from a couple of hundred pounds, climbing to a couple of thousand for the better ones.

Whilst laws on the use of these gadgets can vary around the world, operation is becoming tighter, most counties are taking more interest recently due to the “security concerns” as their versatility is becoming more apparent, human ingenuity being what it is there are people have adapted the use of the Drones for many purposes, from farmers in the Highlands of Scotland keeping a beady eye on their prize cattle from the comfort of the farm, to commercial and military airports disguising them as falcons in an attempt to prevent flocks of birds damaging the jet engines and risking the loss of life.

If you filmed your Epic New Year display please send us a link and we will add it to the collection.

HAPPY NEW YEAR FROM ALL AT EPIC FIREWORKS

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A Game of Drones

The Gadget Show on Channel 5 is techie heaven on all levels and a firm favorite with the crew here at Epic. They recently carried out a product test feature on the ‘love em or hate em’ Camera Drone.

Once, drones were only used by governments but today, the ‘Copter Camera’ is available all over the UK from around £50.00 for the really cheap up to a couple of thousand.

We are a little divided on how we feel about them having heard from friends in the professional firing business regarding how many times a drone has impacted on a display for one reason or another from falling from the sky onto crowds, knocking a shell off course and the people on the ground taking footage or photographs which have the lights of the drones on them, these are just a few of the reasons why the great unwashed are undecided about this new technology. That said, they offer up some brilliant footage when taken in amongst the bursting fireworks. As advised by the Civil Aviation Authority, they passed the operation of the devices onto a drone specialist Chris Ayres to avoid any possibility of interfering with the competitors in this fiercely fought event.

In this short video feature, the test team put the three chosen drones through their paces in a number of situations to see how they fared including first of all at a skateboarding track and then over to a grand firework display at Catton Hall, Derbyshire for Jubilee Fireworks’ Festival of Fireworks which pits the best in the World against one another on this one night super display competition.

First up; Parrot AR Drone 2.0 Elite Edition (GPS) which was found to be disappointing overall and highly unstable and difficult to manouevre but it is the least expensive of the 3 at £255.00 and the images are questionable at best.

Second to fly was the Blade 350 QX AP Combo RTF in the middle of our price range at £630.00 and sadly, the performance was once again at best underwhelming and the images were grainy and unclear with out of focus and a little washed out and in the midst of fireworks and the controls proved to be difficult to use. I must be honest, for over £600 I would have expected a much better result.

Finally, the daddy of those tested was without a shadow of a doubt the SJ Phantom 2 Vision + which retails at around £800.00. The quality of the video footage and the photographs was nothing short of awesome and it captured the midst of the display with top marks for moveability, image quality and ease of use.

So, the upshot is that yes, drones are the future but there have to be massive advancements in classification, where they can and cannot fly (we all heard about the incident where an R/C drone almost hit a passenger plane at Heathrow and the one which landed on the front lawn of the Whitehouse) and some sort of collision avoidance system before we all go out and buy one.

As with any technology though, the drones will continue to improve in quality and abilities and the price will come down too.

In the meantime, check out the Gadget Show video –

http://gadgetshow.channel5.com/review/series-20-episode-7-game-drones

If you skip along to 5 minutes 30, the fireworks start shortly after.

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