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Drone Light Show/Air Show

Chrislaf

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We are having our annual air show this weekend, and for the first time there was a drone light show. I do lots of light painting with my drones but this is the first time I have seen a drone light show in person. It was a cool experience.

The show covers the history of aviation in Canada with an emphasis on the Royal Canadian Airforce ((RCAF). The video is long (around 10 minutes) and rough as I just wanted to focus on enjoying the show rather than making sure the video was perfect. I missed the beginning because it wasn’t clear where the drones would be.

Chris

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Wow - that must have taken a wee bit of work!
Yes, I can only imagine. These kind of shows seem to be getting more popular and judging by the ooh’s, aaw’s and the size of the crowd, it was a big hit.

Chris
 
Here's one of my shots from the Airshow. It's the Snowbirds - the Canadian aerobatic team. It was taken while I was standing on the roof of my house. Many of the planes flew near or over my house.

View attachment D3300-38-2.jpg
 
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Wow - that must have taken a wee bit of work!
I have no actual knowledge of how these shows are done, but I've got to imagine that they have some sort of animation software that they use to develop what it is they're trying to show, which then crunches the data and downloads the required flight paths to each one of the drones which produces the desired result.

I'm pretty sure that they don't have someone programming waypoints into each individual drone.

Letting my imagination run a bit, they could conceivably even have system in which the performance is watched by a camera and and the positions of the drones are analyzed in order to provide real-time feedback. It's hard to imagine so many close-flying drones not drifting a bit from the desired flight path without some sort of feedback mechanism.
 
Here's one of my shots from the Airshow. It's the Snowbirds - the Canadian aerobatic team. It was taken while I was standing on the roof of my house. Many of the planes flew near or over my house.

View attachment 175715
I've seen those Tutors up close, and it makes me sad the shape they're in. No money for our military for decades has meant no money for new demo planes. They are a vastly important identity tool, and the pilots and crew are amazing. But those planes should have been retired 25 years ago.
 
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I have no actual knowledge of how these shows are done, but I've got to imagine that they have some sort of animation software that they use to develop what it is they're trying to show, which then crunches the data and downloads the required flight paths to each one of the drones which produces the desired result.

I'm pretty sure that they don't have someone programming waypoints into each individual drone.

Letting my imagination run a bit, they could conceivably even have system in which the performance is watched by a camera and and the positions of the drones are analyzed in order to provide real-time feedback. It's hard to imagine so many close-flying drones not drifting a bit from the desired flight path without some sort of feedback mechanism.
Correct. I don't have an insight either, but I read something somewhere that it's essentially a custom software program that allows one to program the routines and movements well in advance, the software works out which drones need to go where to make the thing happen, and you press "start" and watch them.

In Canada, you would need an SFOC (Special Flight Operations Certificate) to operate more than 5 drones at a time, and even though these drones are likely under 250g and would normally be exempt from that rule, they usually put up a NOTAM and close the airspace for the show and then the drone size wouldn't matter anyway.
 
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Here's the link to the company that performed the drone show - NorthStar Drone Shows

There was a NOTAM in place for the whole weekend and the airspace in the area and around Barrie was closed to all air traffic except emergency services (there is a hospital with a landing pad for an Ornge air ambulance helicopter).

Chris
 
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Makes sense, they would want to keep drones (and other aircraft) not involved in the show out of the area.
 
We are having our annual air show this weekend, and for the first time there was a drone light show. I do lots of light painting with my drones but this is the first time I have seen a drone light show in person. It was a cool experience.

The show covers the history of aviation in Canada with an emphasis on the Royal Canadian Airforce ((RCAF). The video is long (around 10 minutes) and rough as I just wanted to focus on enjoying the show rather than making sure the video was perfect. I missed the beginning because it wasn’t clear where the drones would be.

Chris

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Hey Chris, that sounds awesome!

Drone light shows are so freakin' cool, aren't they? I've only seen them on YouTube, but man, it must be mind-blowing to see it in person. Especially with the whole history of Canadian aviation theme - that's next level stuff!

Don't sweat the video quality, dude. Sometimes it's better to just enjoy the moment rather than fussing with camera settings. Besides, even a rough video of a drone show is still pretty epic.

How many drones were up there at once? And did they sync with music or anything? I've heard some shows do that and it sounds insane. Since you do light painting with drones, you should totally share some of your work sometime. I bet the folks here would love to see it!

Thanks for sharing your experience, man. You've got me itching to see one of these shows myself now. Maybe I'll have to road trip to an air show sometime!

Regards, David :)
 
Hey Chris, that sounds awesome!

Drone light shows are so freakin' cool, aren't they? I've only seen them on YouTube, but man, it must be mind-blowing to see it in person. Especially with the whole history of Canadian aviation theme - that's next level stuff!

Don't sweat the video quality, dude. Sometimes it's better to just enjoy the moment rather than fussing with camera settings. Besides, even a rough video of a drone show is still pretty epic.

How many drones were up there at once? And did they sync with music or anything? I've heard some shows do that and it sounds insane. Since you do light painting with drones, you should totally share some of your work sometime. I bet the folks here would love to see it!

Thanks for sharing your experience, man. You've got me itching to see one of these shows myself now. Maybe I'll have to road trip to an air show sometime!

Regards, David :)
It was really cool to see the show in person. It wasn’t synced to music but was synced to the narration.

As far as how many drones were used, I’m not sure but you can check the link I posted earlier. As you can see at the end, they came down in layers.

I did try to share some of my Light Painting images on here earlier but my thread was deleted. If you want to see some of the pictures I have done, I have a thread going at PhantomPilots. I mostly use my old Phantom 3 Standard but also use my Mini 3 Pro.

There is also another forum member @RAC DJI who has a thread going on here featuring his Light Painting.

None of these light painting pieces would be possible without Litchi Mission Utilities created by forum member @DJ Wes.

Chris
 
Hey Chris,
That's so cool that you got to see the show in person! Syncing with narration sounds pretty unique - must have added a whole new dimension to the experience.

Man, I just checked out that video you posted. Those drones coming down in layers at the end was insane! Really gives you an idea of just how many were up there.

Sorry to hear your light painting thread got deleted. That's a bummer. But thanks for the heads up about your thread on PhantomPilots - I'll definitely check it out. Using a Phantom 3 Standard for light painting? That's old school cool, dude! And the Mini 3 Pro must give you some sweet maneuverability for those trickier shots.

I'll have to look up RAC DJI's thread too. Always love seeing what other folks are doing with drone light painting.

And big props to DJ Wes for creating Litchi Mission Utilities. It's amazing how the right tools can open up so many creative possibilities.

Keep up the awesome work, Chris! Your passion for this stuff really shows. Maybe you could try posting some of your light paintings again? I bet the community here would love to see them.

Cheers! David :)
 
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