Could drones help with fashion shoots? New quadrotors more effectively light sets

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Lighting is crucial to the art of photography. But lights are cumbersome and time-consuming to set up, and outside the studio, it can be prohibitively difficult to position them where, ideally, they ought to go.

Researchers at CSAIL and Cornell University hope to change that by providing photographers with squadrons of small, light-equipped autonomous robots that automatically assume the positions necessary to produce lighting effects specified through a simple, intuitive, camera-mounted interface.

At an August conference the team will be presenting a prototype system that uses an autonomous helicopter to produce a difficult effect called “rim lighting,” in which only the edge of the photographer’s subject is strongly lit.

Read more about the research, conducted by former CSAIL graduate students Manohar Srikanth and Kavita Bala, as well as CSAIL principal investigator Frédo Durand: http://bit.ly/1mGcnx5

Media coverage in BDCWire, BBJ, Engadget, Fortune, Gizmodo, TechCrunch and Wired.