Wacky ‘human torch drone’ lights up the night sky in Fantastic Four PR stunt

In a wacky PR stunt that may end up proving to be more entertaining than the movie it’s promoting, a “human torch drone” was launched into the skies over Long Island one recent summer evening for a video to highlight the new Fantastic Four flick, which hits theaters on Friday.

The flaming flying “person” was the creation of viral video agency Thinkmodo, which wisely shot the sequence at Nassau County’s Fire Service Academy with around 10 firefighters on hand.

The team working to keep the burning "human" in the sky.
The team working diligently to keep the burning “human” in the sky.

Thinkmodo co-founder Michael Krivicka told Adweek he realized the stunt was “risky,” and selected the fire training facility because, as he put it, “it’s designed for the purpose of burning and extinguishing things.”

The idea was inspired by a previous Thinkmodo project that saw flying “people” soaring over New York City, however, it wasn’t simply a matter of dousing the machine in gasoline, lighting it, and sending it skyward – it was a little more challenging than that.

“It took a lot of testing because we had to find the right material to do it with,” Krivicka explained to Adweek. “A special pyro technician had to figure out how to coat the aircraft so it burns in a way that the human shape reads well (instead of it looking like a big flaming ball).” Presumably they also had to find a way for the drone’s flying mechanisms to stay intact amid the heat and flames, or risk seeing the thing sail off into the distance with a bunch of extremely concerned fire fighters giving chase.

As you can see from the video, the human torch drone certainly does manage to retain its shape, an achievement that, while impressive, will have also scared the bejesus out of anyone in the vicinity who didn’t know anything about Thinkmodo’s wild stunt and glimpsed the burning “body” flying through the air.

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