Drone Lights, Drone Cameras, Drone Action

I recently reported on the FAA’s announcement that it will review petitions by the Motion Picture Association of America for the use of UASs for film and television.

But specialised drones can light the scenes those camera drones film.

sUAS News reports that Digital Sputnik will light up the sky with its drone mountable DS LED light heli system.

The drones are a co-operative development between Digital SputnikIntuitive Aerial and Black Armoured Drone, using a DS LED Light System which can produce intense light inflight to adequately illuminate the objects and scenes those filming drones are trying to film.

This small drone can carry a lightweight light output equivalent of 1.5kW HMI. This product was expressly designed by Digital Sputnik for use as creative, mobile and flexible lighting for film and television. The system can be controlled over WiFi using an iOS app.

The DS LED has high output, modularity, and tuneable colour temperature from 1500K – 10000K, with the option to adjust tint (+/- green).

Kaur Kallas, co-founder of Digital Sputnik said, when the company launched the product:

“Flying the DS LED System creates a whole new paradigm in lighting for film and television. Never before has it been possible to fly such a high output light source with a drone. The DS team is giving the creative industry yet another revolutionary mobile creative tool, all the while not sacrificing on output and mobility.”

When it comes to drone-assisted film production, we can count on lights, cameras and, hopefully, some good action.

The application seems logical, if not as critical as some other applications we’ve seen such as crop monitoring and aiding rescue efforts.  It would improve the range of takes and angles available to film Directors.  With backing by the Motion Picture Association of America the FAA may look favourably on these petitions.

If they receive approval, one can only imagine the onslaught of petitions which will follow.

In May, AP reported that news media were challenging the existing ban from the FAA on the use of for journalism.  At the time, the FAA expressed concern over the impact of numerous drones deployed for this application in the airspace.

In its announcement this Monday, the FAA indicated that its final approval for drones used for film and TV production would depend on petitioners proving that no such safety risks exist.

However, this move by the FAA to consider the petition from film and TV production companies may open the floodgates for renewed requests by news media and perhaps weaken the FAA’s previous stance against a journalistic application.

Oh, Brave New World.   At the very least, watching what comes next will be good entertainment.

Featured Image Digital Sputnik

You Can See Digital Sputnik at their booth S240 during Cine Gear Expo 2014, Los Angeles.

4 thoughts on “Drone Lights, Drone Cameras, Drone Action

  1. I see no conflict for the FAA in saying yes to the movie industry and no to the news media in terms of the utilization of drones. From my perspective the onus falls seperately on the news media to provide a response to the FAA in what way they as an entity would not be creating a safety hazard with the use of drones for media coverage. Practically stated, how does the news media insure the public’s safety when they send 10+ drones to cover what they consider to be a news worthy event, and none of the drones are being coordinated and controlled from a single command and control center? Currently FAA air traffic control is the authority over all media aerial coverage of an event, to include altitude and distance. This insures that the media does not end up crashing into itself while all media air vehicles involved are trying to get in close for the perfect viewing angle. Without this FAA control being applied turn the media loose with drones and the question of the day is what will be the result. Perhaps a 2nd news worthy event being created while attempting to cover a news event; except with all of the pieces of news event #2 falling into the entrance of a hospital emergency room or holiday parade?

    1. Bugsy, you make a very good point. The use of drones by film studios for scripted television productions is likely to be carefully coordinated and involve a single drone at a time. (We imagine.)

      I do think that, reasonable as it is to approve one and not the other, the FAA will run into a heavy stream of petitions now. News organisations really want this. Whether or not they should have it is a separate matter. They are bound to persist.

      As you say, several news services sending separate drones to cover an event at once will be a mess.

      But, looking far ahead, I think our future will involve resolving these sorts of messes.

      Then again, in my SciFi mind, I see tiny drones following people everywhere like flies. That’s just me. Maybe it won’t get that bad.

      Back to reality, UAVs/UAS have really useful practical applications and I’m excited about those. I’m not sure that drone film-making is at the top of my list of things society needs, but it’s up to the FAA to decide. They did state that they’ll be looking for proof that it is in the Public Interest to approve the petitions.

      Once this application gets approved, we’ll see what happens.

      Thanks again for contributing to Flight Chic, Bugsy. It’s always good to hear from you.

Leave a Reply