If you wanted to beat the crowds of people, the mosquitoes and – in some parts of the country – the torrential rain this Independence Day, you could have gotten a front-row seat to a fireworks show by sending out your drone instead.
Fireworks footage taken by an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) has surfaced before: A YouTube video posted in May that shows fireworks being filmed by a DJI Phantom 2 has garnered millions of views. However, many more joined the trend this holiday weekend.
What these UAV operators are doing is not simply recording a video of the show; rather, the aircraft are actually in the middle of the show. USA Today reports that an entrepreneur in Nashville, Tenn., knew about the dangers of operating his drone in the city’s show. However, he says that considering it was all performed over water, he went through with it and ended up with some remarkable footage.
In other parts of the country, some people were confused at the sight of a UAV in the sky. In Grayslake, Ill., an object in the sky puzzled police officers during the town’s fireworks show, according to the Libertyville Review. When they heard no noises coming from it but saw only a red light, they jokingly said it was a UFO.
GoPro has also provided a video of a West Palm Beach, Fla., fireworks show in such startling proximity to the UAV it feels as if the vehicle will be knocked out of the sky at any moment.