Reinventing cinema lighting with drones

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light

‘THE LIGHT’ is the second creative short film collaboration between Tim Sessler and Brandon Bray. After our last collaboration on ‘BALANCE,’ we wanted to focus on a more narrative piece but really push the abstract while letting the visuals do most of the storytelling. While BALANCE explored aerial cinematography in a new and artistic way, ‘THE LIGHT’ is really about attempting to make light a character, and using it in a new and innovative way.

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Over the past year we’ve seen an increase in interesting use of “drone lighting”.  People attaching remote flashes to small quadcopters or creating impressive work, like Reuben Wus landscape photography with a tiny 200W light.

The issue with most of these systems is that they are far from being usable for motion picture. Even our first test with small prototype lights resulted in pushing Sony’s a7s II to extremely high ISOs, as high as 32,000. While the results of the drone light were absolutely stunning and created a bizarre effect that seemed to combine the moving shadows (that we otherwise only know from timelapse footage) and live action – we needed to create a much stronger light source to capture our vision with a proper cinema camera.

After multiple prototypes we finally arrived at our first light that got us into a realm of usable exposure. Using 60 feet of high powered 2835-480 LED light strips – giving both a 360 degree spread as well as a separate top down light, we had our first working drone light with about an 80,000 lumen output.

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