This is an ability to experience the night sky in a way we never could before by creating a drone light show
Rather than its usual gunpowder-powered lightshow, many events and cities in California celebrate Independence Day with a sky full of drones.
An animated sequence of red, white and blue ‘fireworks’ transformed into the US flag, all choreographed to music. Drone Light Show Company does drone light shows. High winds used to mean that the July 4 show was delayed until the following evening ( but the drones can operate safely in gusts up to 38mph) the drone light show goes on.
“You have to design a show to be three-dimensional for all the audience. In some shows the audience is very much in front, but the animation isn’t a 2D screen – it’s a 3D volumetric screen. We have four billion light combinations controlled in real time.”
The images the drones reproduce on the sky are created using regular 3D modeling applications Maya and 3ds Max, with specially developed plugins that let the designers see the animations exactly as they’ll appear in the sky. The software also has a built-in safety feature that prevents drones colliding; if two drones occupy the same space at once, the designer is alerted so they can fix the problem.
Drones are re-used for many shows
The drones look amazing in motion, but that’s not the only thing. Drone Light shows are safer than fireworks in a million ways
Drones also cause less pollution, and the fact that they’re re-usable means there’s less waste. Each drone might take more resources to make than a rocket, but it’s not limited to a single flight, making it a more compelling prospect for the environment and organizers’ wallets.
It also means displays are more flexible. “Given their programmable nature, it’s not a one-time show – it can be used over and over again “It doesn’t have to be tied to one single annual event. The more you re-use them, the better the economics, we help the earth with drones this way.
Drone displays are far quieter than fireworks, which can be distressing to animals, though experts recommend taking care around pets and wildlife.
“Fireworks have their own charm, but they’re the only technology we had for centuries. Drone displays give you a level of precision – you can put stories and animations in the sky.”