The Best Holiday Light Show Is Performed by Drones High in the Sky

The video above reveals a new use for drones, provided you’ve got a high-end model, are an ace with compute -programming, and are able to think in four dimensions: up, down, across, and time. No problem.

Drone developer Ascending Technologies clearly has the requisite chops since it’s created this unique aerial holiday greeting card. It’s based on the same time-lapse method artists use for painting with flashlights but writ very large, in the sky, and using often hard-to-control drones. (After a year, all I can get my nano drone to do is crash immediately into ceilings and walls.)

To do this, Ascending mounted an LED on its AscTec Falcon 8 drone and programmed an incredibly detailed set of GPS waypoints for each flight using its AscTec Navigator flight-planning software and a whole lot of trial and error. The drone flew at about 2 meters per second.

Each flight was photographed with a still camera set up to take exposures as long as 10 minutes. Ascending combined the light paintings and turned some of them into GIFs to add movement. Still, all of the actual light painting was done by the drone.