Sunday, October 19, 2014

The Sky's the Limit

Billboards and 30 second commercials have become the norm for our daily dose of advertising, but what about an old classic, more time consuming method? Skywriting is something we've all heard or seen, but how much do we really know about it?

Oil is inserted into the plane to make the billowing white smoke clouds that make the text so noticeable and temporarily preserve the writing. Back int eh day they even had to write the letters backwards in order to be read below.

Skywriting is done by one plane that can generally write up to six characters, with a skilled pilot at times maneuvering upside down as they decide when smoke is needed for the letters. Five to seven planes are needed for longer messages (up to thirty characters) so that the entire message is visible at once.

Skytyping is a technique whereby the smoke is emitted in a series of bursts, like dots. A computer generates the master plan and electronic signals control the smoke output. The blurring of the smoke makes the desired end effect.

Night skywriting is the use of searchlights or lasers on the ground to project an image on clouds (also called cloud writing).

Artist Ron English takes graffiti to new heights by sky-writing the word 'CLOUD' in New York. 
The writing soon disappears and turns into... clouds

Artist Kim Beck, a professor at Carnegie Mellon University

“Pi in the Sky” 
Ben Davis, 53, founder of the San Francisco-based collective Illuminate the Arts

Fun Facts about skywriting:
  • The first skywriting for advertising was in 1922.
  • April 8, 1924, Savage received a patent for “Method of producing advertising signs of smoke in the air” (US Patent 1,489,717).
  • A letter can be as high as one mile and take 60-90 seconds to create.
  • A message can stretch up to fifteen miles.
  • The best conditions of course are few clouds, little or no wind, and cooler temperatures. Then the letters may be seen for 30 miles in any direction and can last 20 minutes.
  • One company in New York “writes” more than 50 marriage proposals a year in the sky.

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