A drone’s eye view of the Tasmanian bushfires


video There’s been quite a bit of hype recently about the increasing use of remote-controlled drones to film events, delivering an eye in the sky viewpoint to those on the ground. So perhaps it’s not surprising that Tasmanians are using the technique to publish remarkable videos on YouTube of drone footage of the horrific bush fires the state is currently experiencing.

We found this amazing video of what appears to be footage of Dunally in Tasmania — apparently shot using a GoPro camera attached to a Quadcopter FPV — linked from this iTNews article about the potential use of drones to forecast future bushfires. Obviously it’s a bit hard to verify the footage at this point, so take it with a grain of salt, but if legitimate it’s certainly fascinating. There’s more on the drone journalism phenomenon in general in this excellent ABC article.


  1. Can see the Telstra SATCoW in the street. Probably legit.

    Amazing the devastation. And amazing that a guy with a $300 copter and $80 camera can give us footage as good as any news studio.

    Power to the people. And condolences to those who lost so much.

  2. I piloted the drone. I had it with me while I was running supplies behind police blockades. It was two days before I got the chance to fly it was a very hectic disaster. I was driving past a news crew and my mate suggested I fly over them so I did. I’m not a professional photographer I just do it as a hobby. I have a lot more video than that but I’m trying to get $ for it from the tv stations so i can purchase more generators for people. I always keep a small quad in my car and it seemed like a good time to have a go.

    For those interested It’s worth about $2000 including cameras and has 2 onboard gopro’s including a new black edition. I’m flying a QAV500 frame with a naza system and 700kv sunnysky motors. It has an effective range of about 2km in theory and runs for 10mins or 15mins of hovering. Weighs 1.7kg.

    • Wow, thanks for sharing that Rian. Its always nice to get first hand backstory for things like this, especially directly from the source.

      Hope it pays off for you. Personally, I think drones are ideal for these sorts of events, or other early contact events (accidents, riots, schoolies week…) where its always a little chaotic getting any footage at all.

      Nice to be shown that its possible.

  3. There is no POWER!!! All the powerlines have melted for 100km read the news. They won’t have power for months anywhere. That’s why I was there I was helping people get supplies who have just lost everything The only danger from the power lines was me crashing and wrecking my quad. Everything has been burnt down.

    • Rian, once again, thank you for your reports and footage. Well done.
      If Generators are hard to come by down there, I do have a small 4KVA generator at my home which has hardly had use over the last few years (its virtually as new). I would be willing to Courier it down for use by a courteous responsible person, who would use and care for it and then return it to me in good working order after they finished with it when power is restored. I don’t mind the wear and tear and dirt on it, but care to look after it so it has a good long life, then I am happy to help out my Neighbors in Tasmania in their needs.
      Does anyone know of a Courier Company that won’t charge the earth to do this?
      Also, consider the use of an external battery on a UPS. As long as people using it understand the limitations of the load they can place on the UPS, it’s worked for me in the past in having power when the mains fail.

  4. Raises the point, what is the impact on the NBN apart from power loss of , not only Tassie, but also all the other fire areas.
    Was a touch concerned that the NBN put their Ops Centre in Dpcklands when there has been a discussion re impacts of climate change. Maybe arguments even though things appear to be happening more rapidly than modelled

  5. Has anyone noticed the Guy who was controlling the Drone was wearing stereoscopic headset to control the Drone. Whether he had stereo vision or not, I think this Drone was more than a simple setup.
    But hey, these things could become the next world wide craze. Help us all, as vids are released of everyone under the sun, doing anything that is titillating and gossipy. As much fun as they will be to use, I don’t think anyone will appreciate there privacy being invaded by anyone.
    On the use by the Law, Court Orders once again will make sure no abuse, well to a point just as it is now. Everything gets abused to death now days. Imagine the use by the Paparazzi. :{(

      • Stereoscopic glasses aren’t anything new and people have been FPV flying for quite a while it just hasn’t had as much attention because people get scared and focus on the negative. FPV flying gives an amazing feeling of flying but takes a lot of practice and patience. If you want to see some amazing FPV flying I recommend this guy he is really something http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v-B2yfmU89k
        For about $400 you can get good ones that have built in video receivers and head tracking so you can control the camera with your head tilt but it’s not very functional if you are piloting a multicopter.

    • And that brought to mind a picture of someone sunbaking on their exclusive balcony, some 20 floors up, then the soft whir of one of these gets louder and louder until finally a little copter appears over the balcony edge, camera light blinking on and off as it records.

      For some reason in my head that was accompanied by the theme from Appocalype Now…

      @Renai, hook up a chat with Rian Taylor, as above, if you can. If he WAS the pilot (and no reason to think he wasnt), then you might get a nifty little interview scoop with him.

      • Ride of the Valkyries, thats it! Took me a minute, but I got it.

        Dum da da daaa dum, dum da da daaaa dum, Dum Da Da DAAAA Dum, DUM DA DA DUM! With a little RC copter.

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