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What if you were able to place light wherever your mind wanted to?

David Robinson followed his vision and attached an ELB 400 to a drone in a visionary MTB photo shoot!

The Start

The story begins about 2.5 years ago, when being given a tour of Red Bull's generously stocked Equipment Pool, amongst the plethora of cameras and endless walls of lenses, I was shown a custom Octocopter. Designed to carry such cameras as RED's Scarlet, at a time when the only cameras flying around at this time were GoPros.

 

"I wanted to take the idea

as far as I could!"

© David Robinson

The Octacopter in action with a battery pack and 1x head.

The main thing about this piece is the muscle behind it, and it opened a lot of doors regarding what equipment could be used. I wanted to take the idea as far as I could right away, I knew that a hot shoe flash just wouldn't cut it since one of my favorite things to do is add to the daylight already in the scene.

"Get light into impossible places."

© Liam Joyce / Marco Leiter

The light where needed

 

The existence of this drone got the gears turning in my head. Not being a filmmaker, my idea for exactly how to use it was motivated by allowing me to get light into places it's not typically possible to do so.

 

Being a biker myself, instantly I thought of slopestyle MTB, since the prominence of the jumps usually limits a photographer to placing any additional lighting behind the jumps and lighting the subject from below.

 

This isn't ideal since the eyes and brain can recognise, even subconsciously, that something that isn't quite right since light very rarely occurs from beneath in nature.

Video

Video

Filmed by airos records

The ELB 400 form factor

 

I touched on some of these points in the video, but the ELB 400 itself was a huge catalyst in making this shoot happen.

The form factor, in that it's a separate pack and head system, allowed us to distribute the weight optimally in the center of the drone. With a head weighing in at a mere 250g, it's no problem if this is off axis as the drone self-levels itself.

Not only was this package exactly suited to what we needed, but with the Skyport Plus HS transmitter allowing me to change my settings while it was airborne, made it extremely user-friendly.

Of course, the Hi-Sync functionality to allow me to reign in the ambient light, allowing the rider to pop.

What next?

 

With my idea down in pixels now, it was quite satisfying but at the same time not quite as outstanding as I'd hoped. The main image worked perfectly but I realise now that it might not be so obvious to the untrained eye.

Technically, everything worked as expected, and in that respect as a proof of concept it was a success. The next step for me is to take it to another sport where it will make more of an impact!

"This is going to be the next big thing!"

With such packs as the ELB 400, coupled with the trend of the commercial drones getting stronger and more intelligent, I can't help but dream of what exactly might be possible in the future. Take the newest drones and their subject tracking ability. How about a 3-point light setup that leaves your bag and tracks your subject automatically? All in an integrated and dedicated flash drone package?

Sign me up!

 

Keep your eyes out because this is going to be the next big thing.

 

Note: The photos were altered in post-production to fit to the Red Bull branding guidelines.

 

Follow David's work

www.davidrobinsonphoto.com

Facebook / Instagram

© Liam Joyce / Marco Leiter

David's To Go Set

David's To Go Set

  • ELB 400 Hi-Sync To Go Kit

    $1,499.00More infoAdd to cart

    ELB 400 Hi-Sync To Go Kit

    EL10418.1

    Save big while supplies last!

    Original Price: $1,839.99

    Built to be as portable as possible and weighing only 0.28 kg (0.62 lbs.), this head not only packs well but it is mountable in situations that would be impossible for a full-sized flash head. It also integrates a daylight balanced LED modelling lamp that produces the equivalent of 50W of tungsten light output. The HS designation denotes the system’s optimized head for Hi-Sync photography such as high shutter speeds or overpowering the sun and limits the gradient effect to a maximum. It is ideal to use in conjunction with the optional new EL-Skyport transmitter Plus HS.

    It includes a high quality bag dedicated to location which is fully adaptable to your needs.

    A strong and robust design which enables photographer to simply trigger and adjust flash power up to 200 m (656 feet) away, optimize reception by its swivel functionality and is powered by AA batteries. It also includes a high quality bag dedicated to location which is fully adaptable to your needs.

    $1,499.00
    QTY
    Add to cart

  • Elinchrom Skyport Transmitter Pro for Canon

    $249.95More infoAdd to cart

    Elinchrom Skyport Transmitter Pro for Canon

    EL19366

    The Elinchrom Skyport Transmitter Pro for Canon represents the latest evolution in Elinchrom's venerable wireless ecosystem. It combines compatibility with three generations of transceivers and flash heads with cutting edge features like Hi-Sync flash sync speeds up to 1/8000 sec two way visual feedback and TTL with Manual Lock.

    Two Way Visual Feedback Interface
    The large LCD display of the Skyport HS features two-way control via a Visual Feedback Interface that lets you see the exact power of every light in your setup right on the transmitter. The individual strobes show up automatically on the screen, and users can control each light's power level and modeling lamp settings directly from the Skyport transmitter or on the strobe itself, which instantly shows the updated power settings.

    Hi-Sync and HSS
    Go beyond the X-Sync of your camera with two different flash synchronisation technologies; Hi-Synch and HSS. Hi-Sync is optimised for power and while HSS is easier to use and more consistent. The Transmitter Pro uniquely integrates both Hi-Sync and HSS so photographers can simply access sync speeds up to 1/8000s to freeze motion, overpower the sun, darken backgrounds, or use a wider aperture for a shallow depth of field.

    Hi-Sync is only achievable with Hi-Sync enabled flash heads and the Transmitter Pro must be used in manual mode while HSS only works with TTL enabled units with the Transmitter pro in either manual or TTL mode.
    Note: both technologies may be used simultaneously when the Transmitter Pro is in manual mode. (ex. ELB 1200 with Hi-Sync + ELB 500 TTL with HSS)

    Impressive Wireless Range
    The Skyport Transmitter Pro has 20 channels and 4 groups that can be used for either Normal or Speed mode, and a wireless range of 656' outdoors and 196' indoors. Users can instantly distinguish what sync mode they are in since the backlit display glows green for normal sync mode, and red for speed sync mode.

    Compatibility
    The Skyport Transmitter Pro is compatible with previous generations of Elinchrom flash units including the EL- Skyport Transceiver RX module for Style RX, Digital RX, and Ranger RX systems and the integrated EL-Skyport modules for the BRX, D-Lite RX, ELC Pro HD, and ELB series. The Skyport Transmitter Pro adds synchronization capability and two-way control functionality to all Elinchrom lights with EL-Skyport capability.

    User Updatable Firmware
    Designed to be a future proof, users can update the firmware of the Transmitter Pro via included mini usb cable. Current Skyport Plus HS owners can update to full Pro functionality via a free firmware update on Elinchrom.com

    $249.95
    QTY
    Add to cart

  • ProTec Location bag

    $179.99More infoAdd to cart

    ProTec Location bag

    EL33195

    Elinchrom’s latest bag is designed for photographer on the go. Quality and craftsmanship is throughout as the ProTec Location bag can be customized and reconfigured to fit photographer’s equipment needs while enabling quick and secure transportation from location to location.

    $179.99
    QTY
    Add to cart

  • 44cm Softlite Silver Beauty Dish Reflector - 55° w/ Deflector Set

    $164.99More infoAdd to cart

    44cm Softlite Silver Beauty Dish Reflector - 55° w/ Deflector Set

    EL26166

    One of the accessories that created the Elinchrom legacy. 

    Ideal for beauty and portrait work, this silver finishing offers extra contrast for stunning images.

    The included Deflector Set can modify the color and softness.

    $164.99
    QTY
    Add to cart

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