ACT News

Canberra drone company films Skyfire from above

Three Canberra drone pilots filmed the Skyfire event at the weekend from a unique vantage point - 1500 feet up in the air - and with stunning results.

Rob Morrison, the general manager of drone photography company Overall Photography and part of the team who took the video, said it was the first time the fireworks event had been viewed from that angle.

"This is the first firework display in Canberra that has been filmed by a UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle)," Mr Morrison said.

Mr Morrison said all three men were certified by the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) and Airservices Australia to fly drones.

They operated them from 100 metres away from the fireworks, in compliance with an exclusion zone set by the organisers.

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Mr Morrison said CASA regulators also did not allow them to fly when aeroplanes were in the air, as they were within three nautical miles of the Canberra Airport, and they were happy to comply. 

"We were in constant radio communication with the tower each and every time we fired up the vehicle.

"And we got cleared to operate up to 1500 feet, well above the normal approval of 400 feet, so we could be above the fireworks," he said.

Mr Morrison, a former DJ, started the 10-month-old company alongside Tim Butler and Mitchell Bannink, who is also a commercial airline pilot.

The team used three different cameras to film the event, including a Panasonic Lumix GH4, a Canon 5D Mark 3 and a DJI Integrated 4K Inspire camera.

The company has also been involved in trialling the use of drones in shark surveillance for NSW lifesavers on the south coast.

"It's amazing what you can see. At the 300 feet mark we can see straight through the water," Mr Morrison said.

As well as a new tool for spotting sharks, drones are increasingly seen as a new tool in general lifesaving, including for getting flotation devices out quickly to drowning swimmers.

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