Fireworks in New Milford: Drone + Land Cameras

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#1
This evening I pulled off one of the more challenging video shoots with our P4P 2.0: a nighttime shoot of fireworks, synched to a land based camera for audio pickup.

On the ground, we had my Sony RX10 mk III recording at the river bank with a Tascam X-Y microphone.

In the air, the DJI Phantom 4 Pro 2.0.

Also in the air, were at least THREE other drones by local residents. I was not alone in the sky! This made me feel more comfortable knowing I wasn't the lone droner up there. But I did have to watch out to make sure I kept my AC away from the others.

My wife noted that the other drones left the sky after about ten minutes. Their batteries probably depleted.

So I stayed through the whole grand finale and got it all. In the early part of the show, I backed the drone up over the town green to get the foreground downtown with the fireworks in the background. Then slowly flew toward the fireworks launch area, 2 miles west. Finally got the closeup I wanted.

As the finale finished, I had about 20% battery left. But I made it back to the river shore where I launched from, well before RTH kicked in.

Here's the resulting video, encoded in HEVC before uploading to Youtube:
 
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#4
I try to capture the entire show. This is small town fireworks, so not as exciting throughout.
I thought the fire works were fine. To see them in person is exciting. For someone to watch it on a video there has to be something more to keep someone's attention. You did a good job of audio and video recording. I am not good at my editing do to a very slow, jumping video on my old computer and my slower mind. If I told you, you have to make it less than 3mim 30 sec. What would you do. Keep the best and throw out the rest. You would have a better video to keep people's attention.Try it and see if I am right?
 
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#5
I thought the fire works were fine. To see them in person is exciting. For someone to watch it on a video there has to be something more to keep someone's attention. You did a good job of audio and video recording. I am not good at my editing do to a very slow, jumping video on my old computer and my slower mind. If I told you, you have to make it less than 3mim 30 sec. What would you do. Keep the best and throw out the rest. You would have a better video to keep people's attention.Try it and see if I am right?

All good points, especially since most people have the attention span of a cat. :)

This was the most minimalist setup I've ever done at a fireworks show. Back in 2010, Zambelli Fireworks commissioned me to shoot one of their shows at Danbury Airport's field. We obtained security clearance to bring our gear on airport property and had an airport personnel to guide us whenever we needed to cross a runway.
We brought our own power supply (big battery and inverter) and studio digital 8 track recording gear, a surround array of large diaphragm studio microphones, and three HD broadcast cameras, tripods, cables, etc. It took over an hour to set it all up. But it was one heck of a recording.
 
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#6
People's attention span is the real point.

Those where the days. I was the audio visual department for Sea Pines Plantation on Hilton Head Is. in 1973, 74. I would do hourly up dates for the Heritage Golf classic, seminars, etc. Because I worked for Sea Pines, I could go where the regular press couldn't go. I talked with most of the top golfers then. Arnold Palmer= real nice guy. Jack Nicklaus = business. Lee Trevino = insane crazy, I couldn't even repeat his stories on this forum. lol
 
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#7
Amazing.. sounds like that was a fun job!

Part of the problem with watching fireworks videos is that there are less than 1% of the playback systems/home theaters that can do it justice. We have a DCI 4K projector ($15K) and a 20kW sound system that is flat to 8Hz and will shake the ground outside our house for 100' when it's cranking.

We have semi-regular audiophile society meets at my place and The Ultimate Fireworks video I was commissioned to record for Zambelli Fireworks was the highlight of A/V events. The master audio on that was recorded 24-bits 96KHz and has a dynamic range exceeding 86dB. In order to play it, interconnects had to be upgraded and the BD player itself had to be replaced with one with an audiophile DAC in it. Several in the audience said it was a more exciting experience than being at actual fireworks.

But you're not going to get much of an experience watching it on an iPhone. :)
 
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#10
Attention span can be situational. If you send the link to a friend and say " When you get home and are relaxing later with your favorite beverage, watch this on your TV" you are likely to get a different attention span than someone grabbing their iPad and catching up on emails and forums on the exercise bike. Or even sitting on a train catching up and maybe multitasking. People are busy little cats sometimes :).

I did watch a bit on the iPad and I will sit down later at the TV and watch more of it. Although I can't promise I won't fast forward a bit. I'd like to make two audio suggestions if I might. 1) add some music track low in the mix to tie it together and help hold interest. 2) this is subtle but if you slide your audio track slightly so the explosions land exactly on the visual bursts you may find it has more impact. I know that's not how it is when watching in real life but I think it will make for a more impactful video.
 
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#11
Attention span can be situational. If you send the link to a friend and say " When you get home and are relaxing later with your favorite beverage, watch this on your TV" you are likely to get a different attention span than someone grabbing their iPad and catching up on emails and forums on the exercise bike. Or even sitting on a train catching up and maybe multitasking. People are busy little cats sometimes :).

I did watch a bit on the iPad and I will sit down later at the TV and watch more of it. Although I can't promise I won't fast forward a bit. I'd like to make two audio suggestions if I might. 1) add some music track low in the mix to tie it together and help hold interest. 2) this is subtle but if you slide your audio track slightly so the explosions land exactly on the visual bursts you may find it has more impact. I know that's not how it is when watching in real life but I think it will make for a more impactful video.
Good suggestions. I've been thinking from a ground-based perspective, but the fact that the PoV moves around closer to the fireworks, shortening the delay makes good sense.

I've not time to compose a music track now, and I don't want to deal with the copyright folks. It seems these days that if a video contains ANY music at all, Youtube will flag it--they did with music that I arranged of old, dead composers--and I had to explain to the Harry Fox Agency that I had performed the entire symphony on Kurzweil samplers before they removed the claim.

Finally, music during fireworks, to me, takes away from it. Unless it's Tchaikovsky's "1812 Overture"--and even then, it's hard to time the music to the fireworks without gross manipulation.

I really do need to spend more time sitting at the piano and composing flight music for my Phantom videos. I've got too many things on my plate at the moment.
 
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#12
Good suggestions. I've been thinking from a ground-based perspective, but the fact that the PoV moves around closer to the fireworks, shortening the delay makes good sense.

I've not time to compose a music track now, and I don't want to deal with the copyright folks. It seems these days that if a video contains ANY music at all, Youtube will flag it--they did with music that I arranged of old, dead composers--and I had to explain to the Harry Fox Agency that I had performed the entire symphony on Kurzweil samplers before they removed the claim.

Finally, music during fireworks, to me, takes away from it. Unless it's Tchaikovsky's "1812 Overture"--and even then, it's hard to time the music to the fireworks without gross manipulation.

I really do need to spend more time sitting at the piano and composing flight music for my Phantom videos. I've got too many things on my plate at the moment.
Regarding the delay, from an aesthetic perspective I don’t think it’s muxh about replicating what you observe in real life but how the audio punctuates the video at those points. Think of it as two senses firing at the exact same moment creating an additive effect.
 
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#13
Regarding the delay, from an aesthetic perspective I don’t think it’s muxh about replicating what you observe in real life but how the audio punctuates the video at those points. Think of it as two senses firing at the exact same moment creating an additive effect.

Yes, true. But there will always be naysayers who'll point out that it isn't that way in real life.. oh well, you can please some of the people...
 
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#16
Speaking of 2D, I think DJI should put a 3D camera on their next Phantom model. 3D would be amazing with a drone, flying through bridges and forests. It also would be ideal for FPV goggles, because you would gain depth perception and be able to more safely fly because you can judge distance to obstacles better.
It would not be all that expensive to add the capability, actually. Just a double camera, and some software/hardware processing to make a single stream file.
I've watched 3D movies down here and it is an amazingly realistic experience. I'd love it if my drone could record in 3D.
 
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#18
Like high end audio, the public is not interested in 3D. However, that doesn't mean 3D is not a good technology. When you've invested six figures in a home theater for 3D, the idea of having a drone capable of shooting 3D is a very attractive one. I can think of many instances where 3D video I shot from a drone would look amazing on my screen. Not to mention if paired with 3D goggles, it would make FPV flight a lot safer because you could judge distances more easily.
It has been frustrating that the general public has such low standards now. Up through the 1980s, the industry strived for better quality. Then the 90s came and with it the MP3 generation. At the same time, "high end" became polluted with 'snakeoil' gear that looked exotic but performed terribly.
Same thing happened with video. The iPhone was invented and my video production clients dropped like a stone. People just don't care about quality.
People these days could take it of leave it, WRT an IMAX-like immersive experience. But more so, they won't see the value of 3D on a 70" OLED TV, because it's too small to envelope your vision, unless you sit ridiculously close to it.
But I think the Phantoms should have 3D capability just the same. Some of us CAN and WILL use it.
 
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#19
Like high end audio, the public is not interested in 3D. However, that doesn't mean 3D is not a good technology. When you've invested six figures in a home theater for 3D, the idea of having a drone capable of shooting 3D is a very attractive one. I can think of many instances where 3D video I shot from a drone would look amazing on my screen. Not to mention if paired with 3D goggles, it would make FPV flight a lot safer because you could judge distances more easily.
It has been frustrating that the general public has such low standards now. Up through the 1980s, the industry strived for better quality. Then the 90s came and with it the MP3 generation. At the same time, "high end" became polluted with 'snakeoil' gear that looked exotic but performed terribly.
Same thing happened with video. The iPhone was invented and my video production clients dropped like a stone. People just don't care about quality.
People these days could take it of leave it, WRT an IMAX-like immersive experience. But more so, they won't see the value of 3D on a 70" OLED TV, because it's too small to envelope your vision, unless you sit ridiculously close to it.
But I think the Phantoms should have 3D capability just the same. Some of us CAN and WILL use it.
You're absolutely right, but DJI will base it's development efforts in areas where there is a substantial market base. As you point out, there are serious 3D enthusiasts, but the numbers are very small. I wish otherwise, as I developed great skills shooting, editing and producing 3D video, but have dropped it because there is little demand now.
 
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