To help promote its Video Music Awards that aired last night, last week MTV employed a novel approach to aerial advertising. Instead of having a plane pulling a large banner, it used a pair of helicopters to create a flying movie theater that the Guinness Book of World Records has confirmed as the world’s largest aerial projection screen.
The advertising stunt was realized by a company called Branding By Air who developed and built the 250-feet-wide screen using scale models in a wind tunnel to ensure that it was actually possible. The custom-engineered screen needed to remain unfurled and vertical for the stunt to work, so it featured pockets along the top to help give it lift, and weights along the bottom to keep it stretched out and taut.
A second helicopter flying alongside the airborne screen was packed with three 4K video projectors all working in tandem to maximize the brightness and color saturation of the projected video. And while the pilot of the second chopper was highly experienced (he flies power-line inspectors right the live cables for his day job) the projector system itself was able to track the location of the screen to help ensure it was always on target giving both aircraft were moving independently.
Does this mean the world’s first fly-in movie theater is right around the corner? Obviously not, that’s incredibly dangerous. But the next time you look up in the night sky, it won’t be a full moon you’re looking at, but a commercial for delicious Moon Pies.