Metro Productions helps Aurora Flight Sciences' concept aircraft take flight

RICHMOND, Va., March 15, 2016--Metro Productions' graphics team brought LightingStrike, a vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) model aircraft, to life for Aurora Flight Sciences Corporation, who was awarded a contract from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to develop the plane.
"Millions of people around the world watched the video following our high-profile press launch.  Without the quality video produced by Metro Productions, I can credibly assert that many news organizations that did cover the story would not have done so," said Chip Sheller, vice president of communications at Aurora.
Metro's graphics team, Deven Langston and Joseph Ryan, partnered with Aurora to generate a scenario-based program that introduced the aircraft. Based off early-stage CAD models, our graphics team developed photo-realistic content that demonstrated LightningStrike's capabilities, including its vertical and horizontal takeoff, speed and efficiency.
"The challenge for Metro was to accurately display how the plane would operate in real life to ensure the video was as realistic as possible," Ryan said.  Taking a personal approach, Ryan carefully built textures, formulated a background that incorporated pictures he'd snapped from an airplane window to give the clouds a lifelike look and added various layers and textures to make the images pop.
Once Ryan finalized the overall environment, Langston constructed the video portion, ensuring that proper shadowing, lighting and texturing lent the right amount of authenticity to the project. After three weeks of collaborating with Aurora, the graphics team rendered the final program. The end result was incredibly well-received and provided Aurora with the tools needed to receive the DARPA contract.
" Working with Aurora on a ground-breaking project of this magnitude was an exciting opportunity," Langston said.   
When built, the remote-controlled six-ton plane will be about the size of a business jet. A Rolls-Royce turboshaft engine enables three Honeywell electric generators to power the 24 propellers that allows LightningStrike to take flight. Its hybrid-electric propulsion increases its efficiency and it will be engineered to fly faster than current planes.

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Metro Productions is a script-to-screen full-service video production company with locations in Richmond and Hampton, Va. Founded in 1981 in Williamsburg, Va., the firm is one of the leading production companies in the Mid-Atlantic region. Metro serves a variety of clients, ranging from corporations and healthcare organizations to universities and government entities. Using the right mix of visuals and audio, Metro transforms concepts into engaging, entertaining and impactful videos, strengthening the relationship between a business and its audience.

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Ray Walsh


Ray Walsh

President & CEO 
Metro Productions