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News Link • Drones

Aerial drones may find use as smart photographic light sources

•, By Ben Coxworth
This is often the case in the studio, but especially when shooting on location. Before too long, however, it may be possible to use hovering autonomous drones as light sources. In fact, that's just what a team from MIT and Cornell University has already done. Their system not only does away with light stands, but the light-equipped aircraft automatically moves to compensate for movements of the model or photographer.

In a demo of the system, the researchers used a Parrot AR.Drone quadcopter to create rim lighting, an effect in which only one edge of the subject is strongly lit. The drone was equipped with a continuously-shining halogen light, a photographic flash, and a Lidar (Light Detection and Ranging) unit. It was also communicating with an external computer.

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