For the firm’s latest adventure, Red Bull has sent French mountain biker Loic Bruni downhill in the middle of the night. Lighting his way was nothing more than a drone equipped with bright LEDs. The experience cements Bruni as one of the most fearless riders on the planet.
This exhilarating video was shot at 3 a.m. in Mandelieu, France over the course of three nights. As the 23-year-old rode down the mountain, a full moon and an LED-equipped drone lit the way. Following closely behind was another drone mounted with a camera. With just 50 feet of visibility, Bruni made his way down two different trails. Every decision had to be made in an instant, creating a sense of urgency. “It was a little bit dangerous sometimes,” said Bruni. “It is really hard nowadays to innovate when you do videos.”
It’s not hard to see why Bruni is so comfortable with the sport. His father, Jean-Pierre, was also a well-known downhill mountain biker. Bruni’s recent wins include becoming the 2012 World Junior Champion and earning his elite gold at the 2-15 UCI World Championships in Andorra.
Director Hadrien Picard had to create the drone lighting from scratch. “Technically it was a good challenge for everyone on the sport side and on the technical side,” explained Picard. In order to make it safe for the rider, the lighting had to attach to a gimbal before connecting to the drone. This way, the lighting can always point at the biker regardless of the drone’s position. Motion controls allow the controller to steer the lighting in an intuitive way. To keep the whole system cool enough to operate, the lighting system features liquid cooling.
The final result is a trail full of mesmerizing shadows bending and twisting around it.
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