What You’re Seeing: Going Inside Fireworks With a Drone
By Kyle Hill on July 7, 2014
Jos Stiglingh had everything he needed to go viral: an HD camera, a very social holiday, and a perspective that no one has seen before. But when he posted the video of his GoPro-adorned quadcopter flying through a May fireworks display in West Palm Beach, Florida and set it to a lovely Andrea Bocelli aria, nothing happened. Then, Fourth of July fever picked it up and YouTube gave the video a life of its own. At the time of this writing, his video has over 6.5 million views. It’s a gorgeous video, as you can see below:
For how mind-blowing the drone makes fireworks look, the sky was exploding with very basic chemistry. A good firework really only needs two things: oxygen-rich chemicals and fuel. Play with the numerous combinations of these two factors–different chemicals burn with different colors and fuels can smolder or outright explode–and you get the wide array of “Oh” and “Ah” making projectiles.
Once the chemistry is ready, the concoctions are packed into snow cone-shaped shells with a packet of black powder at the base. After they are launched, a timed fuse burns into the shell and ignites another pocket of black powder. When that explodes, it sends dozens of “effect pellets” out into the sky, which burn and produce the lovely visual effects that Stiglin’s drone saw up close.
TOP IMAGE: Screenshot via Jos Stiglingh