A group of pretty genius friends managed to build an LED Pyramid for Burning Man last year. They recently flew it again, at an unforgettable weekend gathering of friends close to Mendocino, CA. Here’s a little recap, all filmed with either the BlackMagic Design Pocket or the DJI Inspire 1. Yes, they used a drone, to film a drone.
Background: Florian Jourda and Ryan Luecke joined forces to blend art and technology, to instill a sense of wonder and magic, and to have drones serve a more playful purpose in the world.
The Flying Pyramid is actually a tetrahedron, though “pyramid” is an easier term in conversation. It weighs about 5 lbs (2.3 kg), has approximately 300 RGB LEDs along its fiberglass spars, staying aloft up to 15 minutes at a time. It takes two to fly — one to pilot the hexacopter, and another to rotate the tetra around the hexacopter (a small propeller in one corner provides rotational force). Landing is a fun coordination challenge.
When we first put it in the air, we realized we might have accidentally created a UFO… With that in mind, it could only debut in one place, Burning Man — a place where “art cars” are the norm, yet we had created an “art drone.” The Flying Pyramid came to Burning Man in 2014, but managed only a few flights due to moderate winds at night in Black Rock City.
Recently, we flew the Pyramid in California’s wine country during nearly perfect conditions. It was a bittersweet moment, as it was Florian’s last weekend before moving permanently to France after living in the U.S. for many years. With the help of our photographer friends, we captured our last flight as the sun descended over the golden hills of Sonoma. The pyramid has since moved to France; the drone remains in the Bay Area, searching for its next project.