NAB Takeaway: Drone Lights Are Now a Thing

By // April 28, 2016 // Posted in Gear & Equipment, Hardware, Lighting

In a few short years, drones have made complicated aerial shots that would have been prohibitively expensive or downright impossible, a commonplace.

For their next trick, they’ll be floating light stands.

At NAB, two companies–Light & Motion and Fiilex–demonstrated drone-mountable LED lights. Don’t be surprised if more light makers–and drone companies–jump on this bandwagon soon.

Stella 5000d

Light and Motion’s Stella 5000d delivers 5,000 lumens or 10,3000 Lux at 1 meter with a 120 degree beam that can be modified with existing Stella Pro lenses to cast a tighter 50 or 25 degree beam. It can be remotely controlled from the drone’s remote with modes for dimming and strobe. It is daylight balanced with a CRI of over 90. It weighs 1.6 pounds, so it will add some weight to your drone and reduce its flying time, though not by much.

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The Stella Pro 5000d mounts to your drone via a 1/4-20 screw and Light & Motion says this offers the user the flexibility to mount it to the frame of a number of different drones. The light is designed to draw power (up to 45W) from a 4s or 6s battery through an XT-60 connector (or other connectors with a bit of DIY wiring), and connects to a spare channel on an RC receiver with a servo plug to control the light from a transmitter on the ground.

The 5000d is waterproof to a depth of 100 meters and can survive a 1 meter drop on concrete—not enough to save it from a very high crash but tough enough to survive a hard landing. It costs $1,500.

Fiilex AL250

The AL250 is a 200W-equivalent LED with a built-in fresnel lens for focusing. It mounts to a drone via a GoPro adapter (there’s an adhesive mount available if you don’t have a spare mount on your drone) and weighs 0.6 pounds. It has a removable battery that’s good for 25 minutes of illumination, so it’s a bit more plug-and-play than the Stella 5000d in that you don’t have to wire it directly to a battery to draw power. The downside: you can’t control the output remotely like you can with the 5000d.  You’ll have to turn it on on the ground and leave it at that.

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The AL250 has a color temperature of 5600K and a CRI > 90.

It’s available now for $349.

READ MORE:

A Buzz in the Air: Keeping Up With the Evolution of Aerial Photography

The Craziest Wedding Drone Story We’ve Ever Heard

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