MIT Geeks Gone Mad with Drone Rim Light

Drone automatic light

Some MTI geeks have come up with something I never expected to see – a drone rim light. This light does not require a light stand; it flies! The light is held by a quadcopter and moves automatically to provide the percentage of edge or rim light the photographer specifies. If the subject moves, so does the light. Likewise if the photographer moves, so does the light. The photographer chooses the width of the light by choosing a percentage. The drone does it all automatically. This could have easily been a fill light, back light or another. In fact the inventors envision a whole fleet of drone lights.

Drone rim light

The airborne demonstration is set to debut next month at the Symposium on Computational Aesthetics in Graphics, Visualization and Imaging. We’ll post a video as soon as possible. But before gaffers and lighting directors start worrying about their jobs, I see a few minor problems.

Danger. Do you really want 4 spinning blades so close to a person’s eyes? Most rim lights I’ve set up are ten or twelve feet from the person’s face. Your video production insurance is bound to rise.

Expense. Would you really rather spend a couple thousand dollars on this as opposed to $50 for a Lowel light stand? I’d rather hire an assistant and say “move the light back a foot.”

Noise. Would you want the noise of 4 spinning fan blades in your studio during a shoot? This would make it harder to communicate, ruin the audio track if you’re recording sound, and spoil the intimacy the photographer tries to establish with an actor, client or model.

Light Control. How do you scrim or flag this light? I guess you’d need another drone with a combination scrim, flag and colored gel arm. That’s gonna add a couple more thousand!

Sorry, but the Jetsons had better ideas.


Keep Reading...

How to Get a Grant For A Documentary

How to Get A Grant for A Documentary

Learning how to get a grant for a documentary is one of the first skills a documentary producer must learn.

Read More
ChromeCast brings YouTube videos to your TV.

Chromecast Delivers YouTube On TV

Chromecast delivers YouTube and more better than expected.

Read More
NASA 4K Video

NASA 4K Video from the International Space Station.

Change the settings on your player to 2160p (4K) Need some great background for a title sequence or other use? NASA footage is in the public domain because like all government video, this NASA 4K video was produced with U.S. taxpayer dollars. The footage is easily available on the NASA website and on YouTube. And […]

Read More
Crash This Drone

Go Ahead Try and Crash This Drone

The new DJI Phantom 4 claims to have a crash avoidance system. And for $1400 you would think it should. Well, some crazy guys over at TechSmartt needed to test that claim. Can they crash this drone? Fortunately they made a video to document their attempts. And besides their attempts to crash this drone, the […]

Read More




Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


  • Forbes Magazine calls VideoUniversity one of the best business-to-business sites for digital video production.
  • WINNER
    Videography Magazine's
    "Website of the Month" Award
  • WINNER
    PC Magazine Online "Best Desktop Video Site" Award
  • WINNER
    CyberFilm School's "FOUR STAR" Award