DIY : Tom Stanton Builds a Drone-Mounted Long-Exposure LED Display

We featured Ivan Miranda’s gigantic long-exposure LED display a few days ago, but what we didn’t mention is that Miranda was planning on collaborating with fellow YouTube maker Tom Stanton. Miranda’s project was based on a 3 meter long LED strip that he moved by hand. Tom Stanton’s version that he demonstrates in the video utilizes a smaller 2 meter LED strip that is mounted on a drone.

The use of a drone meant that Stanton’s long-exposure LED display could be used to show images in the sky! The downside, of course, is that drones don’t have a particularly large payload capacity. So, Stanton did two things to reduce the overall weight of the light strip: he used lightweight wood for the frame, and he reduced the length of the strip from 3 meters to 2. The strip was mounted as close as possible to the drone’s center of gravity, so that flight would remain stable.

Stanton than used the same code as Miranda to turn images into sequences on the LED strip. Each vertical strip of pixels in the image is converted into commands for the LEDs, and timed so that the next strip is displayed after just a moment. With long-exposure photography, that results in a coherent image as the drone moves across the sky. Stanton created a number of photos to demonstrate the display’s capability, and, as you can see, they all look fantastic.


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