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Nearly 1,000 Drones Come Together to Make TIME's New Cover

By Marili Persson - 4 min read

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TIME magazine’s latest issue is a special report on the rapid explosion of drones in our society. For the cover photo, the magazine recreated its iconic logo and red border using 958 illuminated drones hovering in the sky.

In recent years, drones have become increasingly popular and we’re still living in the early days of the drone age.To mark this, Time dedicated a special report to unmanned aerial vehicles, called “The Drone Age.” Working together with Intel, the magazine cover was created using 958 of the company’s Shooting Star drones, resulting in a cover unlike any in the magazine’s 95-year history.

The iconic TIME logo and red border was made in midair over California, by pre-programming the drones to create the recognizable shapes and designs.

This visual display comes only three months after 1,218 drones were used by Intel to create the five Olympic rings in the sky, during the 2018 Winter Olympics opening ceremony in South Korea.

The swarm was 100 meters (around 328 feet) tall, and hovered over Folsom, California,for a moment before returning to earth. And to cap it all off, the cover photo was shot by a drone itself – a first inTime’s 95-year history since being founded in 1923. To see how it all came together, have a look at the video below.

If you’re wondering why, as seen in the photo above, the virtual cover appears at an angle in the sky, Time Creative Director D.W. Pine, explained while previewing the cover for Ad Age at the magazine’s headquarters:

“Because of all the downdraft that’s created by the propellers, if the ‘cover’ was vertical, that downdraft would knock all the drones below down. So you have to angle it so each drone’s downdraft misses the other drones.”

About the closest the drones came to one another was 1.5 meters, which put the overall height of the dron formation at around 100 meters tall.

By TIME Magazine

The cover can be found on the June 11th 2018, issue of TIME, which will hit stands on June 1st. Want to see more of one of the biggest drone shows ever produced in the U.S.? Make sure to catch the behind the scenes of the production.