Skip to Content

TIME creates stunning magazine cover using almost 1,000 drones

TIME magazine is known for having some amazing covers. Be it portraits, paintings, photos of people, animals, scenes and events — they have all been featured at one time or another.

The digital age has changed things for the magazine, too, giving them even more freedom to play around with things in their online platform. But that’s not the only way in which technology has given them more freedom to explore ideas.

TIME’s June issue is dedicated to exploring unmanned aerial vehicles, better known as drones. It was with that in mind that their cover involved taking to the skies and producing something really, really cool.

It’s a bird…it’s a plane…it’s…a lot of drones

The cover shoot took place in the sky above Folsom, California and when it was all over with, 958 drones were used to create the image. If you think it would be pretty simple to pull off, think again.

It’s one thing to fly a drone but another to have nearly 1,000 of them in the sky in the same area, making sure they are in the right place at the right time. In this case, the Intel Shooting Star drones were programmed to display TIME’s colors and then create a pattern that looked like the magazine itself.

Having to take into account not only the technology, but uncontrollable factors such as wind, the crew found a way to get the job done. Ensuring the drones not only went where they were supposed to but also did not collide with each other was no easy feat.

Drones have been used for similar purposes in the past, such as the Olympics, but no two productions are the same.

When it was all set up, another drone captured the image which, with the drones set at the perfect angle, created quite a show. It was one of the largest drone shows ever produced in the United States, and this video gives a behind-the-scenes look at the entire production:

According to TIME, this is the first time they have ever used a drone to take their cover photo, and after watching the video it’s easy to see why. Not to take anything away from the photographers who do great work in capturing incredible images, but the process to get this one is incredibly complex.

But we’re really glad they went through with it, because the end result is something that is truly unique.

Wary of drone technology? Perhaps it is license plates that should have you concerned

Another new thing is hitting the roads, and while kind of neat, it seems a bit less necessary than some of the other inventions we have seen. Not only is it unnecessary, but the possibilities for it to be a bad thing are pretty apparent. Click here to learn more. App background

Check out the free App!

Get tech updates and breaking news on the go with the App, available in the Apple and Google Play app stores.

Get it today