DJI Zenmuse L2 LiDAR Transforms Planning Of Drone Light Shows

DJI Zenmuse L2 LiDAR Transforms Planning Of Drone Light Shows

An award-winning pyrotechnics company is using drone LiDAR to enhance the planning and designing of drone light shows and fireworks displays. Data from the DJI Zenmuse L2 creates detailed 3D models for client previews, checking audience view points, and general site planning.

Last updated: Jul 04, 2024

5 minute read

  • Award-winning pyrotechnics company, DroneSwarm, is using drone LiDAR to enhance the planning and designing of drone light shows and fireworks displays; 
  • 3D models are created from LiDAR data for client previews, accurate object measurements, checking audience view points, and general site planning.
  • DroneSwarm is deploying the DJI Zenmuse L2 and says its upgrades compared to the L1 lead to greater efficiency and more robust object detection. Both the L2 and L1 can also create true-colour point clouds, which aids visualisation.

This epic video shows how the DJI Zenmuse L2 helps an award-winning UK pyrotechnics company revolutionise the planning of drone light displays.



DroneSwarm creates these eye-catching mock-ups by superimposing an animated version of the drone swarm against a colourised 3D model of the site, using LiDAR data captured by the L2. 

These detailed, true-to-life simulations transform pre-show preparations: The enhanced visualisation benefits precision choreography and provides organisers and clients with a more immersive view of how the display will look.

Mapping with the L2 also facilitates more comprehensive logistical planning, providing rich insights about the terrain and potential obstacles such as trees and powerlines, based on up-to-date drone data.

And having previously deployed the L1 payload, DroneSwarm says the L2's key upgrades bring additional benefits, including greater efficiency and more robust object detection.

The video below details DroneSwarm's end-to-end workflow for creating drone light shows and fireworks displays using LiDAR data. 



Director Mat Lawrence said: "Drone LiDAR transforms the way we prepare drone light shows, providing us with insights and visualisation capabilities that we haven't had previously. 

"The L2 helps us collect data quickly for more streamlined and informed pre-event planning and logistics, and the cutting-edge 3D model produced from the L2 allows us to present a stunning simulation of the display which simply blows our clients away."


DJI Zenmuse L2.


heliguy™ is DroneSwarms' drone partner, helping the Daventry-based company integrate drone LiDAR into its operations through consultancy and hardware supply.  

How Drone LiDAR Helped Plan Spectacular Light Show

DroneSwarm utilised the L2 and the DJI M350 RTK aircraft to prepare for this drone show extravaganza at Eastnor Castle, helping celebrate 30 years of weddings.


Eastnor drone light show.


The team flew the L2 to conduct a full scan of the surroundings - conducting a 12 minute flight to survey a 500m x 500m area.


DJI Zenmuse L2 flying the site at Eastnor Castle to prepare for a drone light show.


Mat said: "We can now survey sites very quickly, obtain accurate and up-to-date information, and produce an incredible simulation of the display to see how it will look in relation to the landscape.

"The L2 is a great tool and we are huge fans of the DJI M350 RTK, which is a fantastic piece of kit."

The subsequent data was imported into software platform DJI Terra to create a digitised recreation. 

The L2 integrates a 20MP RGB camera with a LiDAR module, enabling it to produce true-colour points clouds - such as this one of the Eastnor Castle site.    


3D model produced with the DJI Zenmuse L2.


The render from DJI Terra was then imported as a .PLY file into Blender, a 3D computer graphics software tool, to merge the drone data with an animated version of the drone show.



Then it was turned into the stunning simulation - helping the team better coordinate the drone swarm in perfect harmony and enabling them to present a detailed preview of the display to the client for enhanced visualisation and sign-off. 


Drone light show: Simulation vs real world.


Mat said: "Traditionally, we would plan a show by using pictures of the venue and generic images of the sky, but now, we can produce this highly-detailed and fully-immersive simulation of the show.

"Not only does this allow our clients to see how the display will look, it enables us to perfect choreography, and work out the best position for pictures and video.

"Utilising drone LiDAR also helps with the logistics: We can map the terrain, observe how the show will work in relation to possible obstacles such as trees and powerlines, see where it is best to place cables, look at elevation differences to work out the height of the display and how spectators will observe the show."


Drone light show: Simulation vs real.


This thorough planning helps the team pull off stunning visual masterpieces - such as the shows at Eastnor Castle which featured 24 drones.



L2 vs L1

The DJI Zenmuse L2 was released in October 2023 as the successor to the DJI Zenmuse L1.

Key upgrades include:

  • Increased return rate and higher sampling rate, improving he L2's ability to detect small details.
  • Increased efficiency - fly further and higher, plus the L2 does not require IMU warm-up prior to take-off.
  • Denser point clouds, thanks to the L2's more concentrated beam. The L2 has a reduced spot size of 4 x 12 cm @100m, only a fifth of that of L1.
  • 30% increase in the measuring range.
  • Enhanced and more realistic datasets - collected more efficiently, thanks to the L2's larger RGB mapping sensor and faster shooting interval. 


DJI Zenmuse L2 vs DJI Zenmuse L1.


Mat and his team previously deployed the L1, but are now benefiting from the enhanced capabilities of the L2.

He said: "When we had the L1, we needed to wait 5-10 minutes for the IMU to warm up before the flight, but this is now not required with the L2, helping to improve efficiency.

"The L2 also allows up to five returns, compared to the L1's three returns. This helps us create more detailed and enriched true-colour point clouds for enhanced visualisation, and is better at picking up smaller details, such as powerlines, which is crucial for us at the planning stage."



The fact that the L2 - and the L1 - can produce true-colour point clouds is a major advantage for Mat and his team.

He said: "We felt LiDAR was the best solution for our requirements because it produces highly-accurate data, but if we couldn't have obtained full-colour point clouds for presentation purposes, we would have chosen photogrammetry.

"But the fact that the L2 can utilise its RGB sensor to produce accurate and stunning true-colour 3D renders made it the perfect option for us: Giving us detailed data which is visually appealing for planning purposes, benefiting us and the client."

About DroneSwarm

DroneSwarm is the drone light show division of UK leading firework display company MLE Pyrotechnics - crafting world-class drone, firework and laser displays for any event. Its experienced team has represented the UK on the international competition stage, winning first place on multiple occasions.

The company's drone swarming system fleet comprises the in-house designed and manufactured Pixel.

These platforms are equipped with the latest technology, including accurate GPS systems, heated IMUs, and industry-leading LEDs capable of producing a palette of 16.7 million colours in vivid intensity, making each drone show a true visual masterpiece.

heliguy™ supports MLE Pyrotechnics' drone programme. Our in-house surveying department can help organisations integrate the L2 into their workflows. Contact us for more information. 

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