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What is a Drone Light Show?


A drone light show is a bunch of flying LED lights.

Seeing the lights in the sky signifies that a celebration is taking place.

Drone light shows have seen a recent spike in popularity, an alternative to the classic fireworks that we were used to seeing before. By using several electronic machines, the same impact can be made with lights that are attached to drones.


One of the largest electronics manufacturers in the world, Intel is a leader in drone technology. Intel can be hired to put on large scale light shows for special occasions. Most recently, they displayed their work live during Super Bowl LIII.

This recent performance at the 2019 Super Bowl was the first of its kind. Intel was allowed to put the show on in real time, gaining permission to fly over the area. All other televised light shows have been recorded at an earlier time because of safety concerns.

Aside from entertaining spectators at the Super Bowl, Intel is also responsible for a light show that was displayed at the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas. This show was a collaboration alongside the famous Bellagio water fountains. Attendees of the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) were treated to the sight.

The drones that Intel uses for their light shows are known as the “Shooting Star” line. These devices are constructed of lightweight material such as styrofoam and plastic, with the sole purpose of being used in light show productions. They contain built-in LED lights that provide impressive entertainment that audiences love.

2019 was not the first time that Intel used their Shooting Star drones at the Super Bowl. During Lady Gaga’s one-of-a-kind performance at the halftime show in 2017, Intel pre-recorded a segment in which their drones formed the American flag. This part of the performance had to be pre-recorded due to the no-fly zone regulations that were in place.

Many performers in recent years have chosen to use drone light shows for their performances. The technology is top of the line, and much more efficient than utilizing pyrotechnics. Much more can be done with drones, all at the push of a few buttons.

The devices can be controlled by the hundreds, all pre-programmed to flash and blink in designated patterns, shapes, and colors. There are over 4 billion different color combinations to work with while using a Shooting Star. This is an impressive feature that any other technology just can’t seem to touch.

2018 Winter Olympics

The largest drone light show in the world took place in 2018. The Winter Olympics, held in South Korea, went for a glorious display of lights to commemorate their opening ceremony. Intel provided over 1,200 drones to make the show happen.

The lights displayed several different animations for the duration of the show. Some of the Olympic sports were featured, such as skiing, snowboarding, and more. The drones also formed the iconic Olympic rings.

By using these drones to put on such a spectacular, the creators wanted to send a message of progressive unity. Not only did the 35,000 spectators feel the magic, but so did the millions of viewers watching from their television screens at home. It is still being talked about as one of the best Olympic opening ceremonies of all time.

Intel originally wanted to make their light show a live performance, but they had to scrap the idea at the last minute. Safety concerns were present because of the number of people in attendance; it was revealed that logistics would have been an issue. Instead, they settled for pre-recording their original intended plan.

Even despite the modifications that had to be made, Intel still put on a record-breaking performance that will be remembered for decades. Their light show appealed to younger and older viewers, alike. It truly provided the audience with a sense of unity, just as it had hoped to.

Since the development of this technology is not slowing down any time soon, it is natural to expect something even bigger to come from Intel in the near future. Their aim is to always wow the crowd and do more. With their Shooting Stars, it appears that nearly anything is possible.


Chinese Lantern Festival

In May of 2018, Xi’an, China put on their own display of lights via the use of drones. Their light show was featured during the Chinese Lantern Festival, and it lasted for around 13 minutes. The company Ehang took credit for this performance.

They specialize in drone technology, best known for a larger model that they produce that is known as the “flying taxi.” Their aim was to set a record, and while they did at that time, the production experienced a couple of malfunctions along the way.

Controlled by computers, it appeared that half of the Ehang drones suffered from a glitch. They did not want to fly into their correct positions, ruining the illusion. Some of the drones even stopped working altogether and fell to the ground.

While the flawed performance was not an entire disaster, many people were still impressed by what Ehang had set out to do. It was a moment in drone light show history that motivated creators to find better technology to put on such productions.


World Records

Currently, Intel is the world record holder for their performance during the 2018 Winter Olympics. Their drone light show had the most drones flown simultaneously during a performance. Since then, their team has continued to push boundaries and redefine what is possible in the world of technology.

Prior to this, the Chinese Lantern Festival performance held the title. Even though the show was less than successful, Ehang did set out to fly the most drones at that time. This had given Intel the push that they needed, some healthy competition.

Intel is expected to top anything that has ever been done before. By the 2024 Olympic Games, viewers can expect something even greater. It has been speculated that drones are going to be set up to “enhance” the experience of watching the Olympics.

The 2016 record was held by Intel, as well. They flew around 300 drones into the night sky in Germany, creating a breathtaking show. The LED lights captivated audiences and demonstrated all of the different abilities that light show drones can possess.

This was a pivotal moment in drone light show history because it really gave viewers the chance to see that using drones was much safer than using fireworks. Having the mass control of the devices allowed the creators to choreograph a path with ease. This light show was a step up from the one that had been put on in Sydney just months earlier.

The Drone 100 was a fleet of 100 drones that flew over the skies in Sydney, Australia. Accompanied by the Sydney Youth Orchestra, Intel created a light show for the event called 2016 Vivid Sydney. Seeing how far the numbers have gone in just a few years time really gives us an idea of how fast this technology is progressing.

This performance was the debut of the Shooting Star that many have become so fond of throughout the years. It was presented as the first device of its kind, its sole purpose for entertainment. The device itself has no screws and is made up of a smooth exterior cage to protect its parts.

Imagining the impact that drone light shows will have on our future is almost unfathomable. Developers are constantly working to push more boundaries and put on larger productions. There is no slowing down now in the world of drone technology.



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