Work, Journal

Intel Drones for Time

This week’s issue of Time Magazine is entirely dedicated to drones. The magazine made history by sending 958 Intel drones into the sky with a flight path that created the shape of the Time cover, THEN shooting THOSE drones from a Red 8K mounted to ANOTHER drone flown by Astraeus Aerial Cinema Systems to create the final cover image. It’s 2018, y’all. It was also one of the biggest drone shows ever produced in the US.

This all went down on May 3rd. I drove to Intel’s facility in Folsom, CA to shoot the creation of the cover (I did **not** shoot the cover... I guess technically the pilots of the Red 8K drone did). When we arrived, the Intel Drone Light Team team was on their third day of flight simulation. The drones usually need to fly 3 meters apart to safely fly in formation, but for this cover they needed to be 1.5 meters apart. Combined with gusty winds, drones were colliding with each other hundreds of feet up in the sky during the afternoon testing and plummeting back to earth like plastic meteors, smashing to the ground and laying there like giant dead bugs. It was a sight. And I was pretty sure someone’s car windshield was going to get smashed, but luckily that never happened.

As the sun set, the anticipation grew, since the crew really only had one shot per sunrise and sunset to nail the formation and shot (there was no post-processing or retouching drones on the cover). The drones went up, the wind held, and 6 minutes later, at 8:31pm, this final cover shot was captured.