This video isn’t in 4K. Or 3D. It isn’t even in full color. But that doesn’t matter, because it’s the first video to be projected from an airplane onto the clouds outside.
New Scientist explains that the hardware for the project was created by artist Dave Lynch, scientist Mike Nix and maker Aaron Nielsen. Project Nimbus, as it’s called, is a modern-day version of 19th-century zoopraxiscope that uses lasers to make moving images. New Scientist has a great write-up of the development process. For instance, it explains:
[The] first zoopraxiscope was a lashed–together affair, made from bits of recycled technology, and a $35, 2-watt blue laser bought on eBay... The breakthrough was to replace the 14 slits in the zoopraxiscope’s shutter disc with 14 hemispherical lenses, replicating the slits by turning the circular laser beam into focused lines of light which sweep the image in place of the shutter. The result was a sharp, bright image – even when projected onto the nebulous media of clouds at variable distances from the projector – in this case up to 50 metres away.
The resulting hardware has been used to successfully project images from a Cessna 172 aircraft onto the clouds above Nottingham in the UK—you can watch the results below. The team behind it have speculated on the idea of working with the likes of Virgin to create a giant digital art piece in the skies using the technology; wouldn’t that be amazing?