Drones are taking the event industry to new heights, especially as environmental concerns related to fireworks increase. According to Atmospheric Environment’s journal, fireworks release high levels of pollution into the air, and as a result, many global cities are replacing conventional fireworks displays with drone shows.
“Drones are representative of new technology and showcase a new, innovative solution to the communities where they occur,” said Martin Codd, COO, Pixis Drones. “Fireworks are loud, and research shows they can be triggers for PTSD. In addition, because drone shows are silent, pets can also comfortably enjoy them.”
So what exactly is a drone light show? Quite simply, it’s an illuminated aerial show created by a synchronized and choreographed group of drones. And event planners are taking note. Skift Meetings’ Event Tech Innovation Summit laid out the steps to produce a compelling drone show.
Drones Make A Visual Impact
All eyes were on the skies above the Los Angeles Convention Center Super Bowl Weekend this February as the NFL put on a drone show that featured outlines of the Lombardi trophy and the respective logos of the NFL, Rams, and Bengals.
In another spectacular display this March, hundreds of drones flew over downtown Austin during South by Southwest (SXSW), creating a jumbo QR code to entice viewers to view a trailer for Paramount+’s new sci-fi series Halo.
Whether planners choose aerial logos like what the Super Bowl committee did or opt for brand messaging akin to the sci-fi series, Halo, aerial light shows make an impressive visual impact and a statement: that a group cares about its environmental footprint.
“We work with our clients to determine what they want to see in the air. We design the show and are responsible for everything you see in the air,” said Armands Blumbergs, executive producer, Basemotion.
A storyboard timeline is used to create an outline of the desired image that is then animated and often set to music. Narration and other lighting that can include things like LED bracelets for all the attendees are then incorporated to produce an immersive experience.
When done properly, drone shows are completely safe, said Codd. “There are two geofences, Wi-Fi and radio telemetry. Plus, we do not fly over people or active roadways.”
How much does a drone show cost? According to Codd, on average, an event planner should plan to spend $300 to $500 per drone. Pixis is one of only two companies in the U.S. that has an FAA waiver to fly up to 500 drones at one time, with plans for that to increase to 1,000 in the near future.
Can a similar show be incorporated into events of less magnitude? “Drone shows are attainable and affordable for everyday events like internal company meetings to special event galas and weddings,” said Codd, who added Pixis has also produced shows for resorts, casinos, sporting events, concerts, and conferences. They are a memorable way to share a customized and highly targeted message that is also engaging. “Ultimately, we are storytellers. We bring a client’s story to life creating a rich tapestry of images and effects,” said Codd.