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A drone flying with a 1,000-Watt LED is the best thing you'll watch today

Drone photography is exploding, and people are pushing the envelope to come up with creative ways to use unmanned aerial vehicles as art. One man, Daniel Riley, thought outside the box and came up with a light-based performance that not only is incredible to watch, it may also have some practical application for law enforcement and search and rescue.

So what did Riley do that was so incredible? The photographer took an incredibly bright 1,000 Watt LED light panel and attached it to a Freefly Alata-8 drone. Riley is no stranger to working with bright lights — he created the 1,000 Watt light rig last year as a DIY project that he published on YouTube.

Earning the title of the world’s brightest DIY flashlight, the panel puts out an earth shattering 90,000 Lumens. The 10-pound rig is built using 100 LED chips that are installed in a row. Each 100 Watt module includes a heat sink and an individual driver that provides sufficient juice from the battery to power the light. Two lithium polymer batteries in tandem power the lights providing about 10 minutes of run time.

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In his latest experiment with the 1,000 Watt lightbar, Riley upgraded his light bar with new lights that are brighter and that change color. He built a landing gear for the light rig and attached it to the Alta drone. The Alta drone has super bright navigation lights on each arm that make it easy to fly at night. Alta even has a custom configuration panel that provided Riley with the ability to change the brightness and color of the lights from his smartphone. With a third battery on board, the drone and the light bar can operate for up to 10 minutes.

The light is so incredibly bright it can light up a mountainside or an entire yard with the flick of a switch. Over the course of several months, Riley used the rig to film some incredible footage a night. Not surprisingly, he played around with lighting effects, bouncing light off buildings, bridges, and forests. The results are stunning from the point of view of photography, but they also showcase the rig’s ability to provide bright light in areas that are usually difficult to illuminate. This flying flashlight could easily make a great search and rescue or law enforcement tool for night operations.