The Halo is not the first drone based on a balloon. In 2015, Swiss company Aerotain debuted a globe-shaped helium-filled drone called the Skye, capable of high-definition video and safe indoor flying. The Skye even has a few tricks of its own: Daniel Meier, Aerotain's CEO, said in an interview that his company can make the drone any shape, and once launched a balloon version of "Star Trek's" iconic USS Enterprise.
The trend comes as drones are skyrocket in popularity and functionality. In a March speech, FAA administrator Michael Huerta said the agency received 770,000 drone registrations, and issued more than 37,000 remote pilot certificates. A 2016 report by PwC predicted drones will be a $127 billion industry, with $8.8 billion in media and entertainment alone.
Television and movie producers, meanwhile, are a big part of that appeal, as the gravity-defying shots drones are able to deliver help craft a more compelling narrative. "Whenever you have a tool at your disposal that allows you to tell the story more efficiently and more poignantly, you use it," Pieter Jan Brugge, executive producer of the Amazon series "Bosch," told The Wall Street Journal in a 2015 interview. "The shot tells the story."
"Drones are a new vernacular within the language of cinematography," said Michael Chambliss, a motion picture and TV specialist with the International Cinematographers Guild.
"Movies in the 1950s had their look, and part of their look was due to the idea that a camera was a 150-pound thing. And all of a sudden when cameras got lighter, we could start doing road movies, all of a sudden concepts like 'Easy Rider' became possible," he added. "The way we move a camera influences how we tell our stories."