28 Aug
Photogs Aim to Create Perfect Lighting with Drones Photogs Aim to Create Perfect Lighting with Drones

Photogs Aim to Create Perfect Lighting with Drones

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Researchers at two American universities have come up with a prototype of a system that incorporates aerial drones to help photographers throw the right kind of light on their subjects.

The goal of the teams, from MIT and Cornell, is to provide photographers with a usable interface that would cast light into areas that would otherwise be difficult if not impossible to illuminate. To that end, the researchers prepared a presentation for the International Symposium on Computational Aesthetics in Graphics, Visualization, and Imaging in order to illustrate the effects of "rim lighting," where only the edges of a subject are lit. The effect was specifically chosen because it is notoriously difficult to achieve, says one of the researchers associated with the project.

“It’s very sensitive to the position of the light,” says Manohar Srikanth. “If you move the light, say, by a foot, your appearance changes dramatically.”

According to an MIT press release, the experimental system allows the photographer to tell the drone which side of an object to brighten with rim lighting. The photog then tells the drone the exact width of rim preferred, and communication goes back and forth between man and machine until the desired effect is realized.

From there, the robot maintains the specified rim width. This is especially helpful for live subjects, which can move on impulse, necessitating a change of light placement. And the system is also capable of responding to the photographer's movements. In either case, it is the camera that supplies the controlling signal to the drone.

Another researcher notes the challenges to practical use of the system, "but [it's] also something that should be doable given the rapid advancement of all of these technologies.” 

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Read 2749 times Last modified on Tuesday, 05 August 2014 22:52
Jim Lillie

Jim began writing for newspapers and designing for publishing companies at a time when both industries were just beginning to make the switch from manual to digital platforms. Jim lives in Boulder, Colorado with his teenage son.

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