Intel and Dollywood’s behind-the-scenes video explains how drone light shows work

drone light show intel kimbal musk

Dollywood, one of the best theme parks in the world, is running drone light shows until July 31 as part of its 2021 summer extravaganza. The production of this drone display, which is integrated into a choreographed fireworks show, is said to have cost a half-million dollars. And now, a new video offers a behind-the-scenes look at the preparation that goes into putting together a drone show that’s both stunning and safe, day after day.

The drone shows at Dollywood began on June 25. Every evening, around 400 dancing drones take to the skies to create spectacular animations for a Dollywood-centric story.

Conceiving a drone light show

The concept and planning for this audio-visual delight was more than a year into making. Cyndi McCormack, VP guest experience, Dollywood, says:

We think we’re offering something that has never been done this way before. When we heard about drone light shows, we thought it was an incredible way to integrate music into our storytelling. And what better way than to put imagery into the sky in a way most people haven’t seen before?

Intel, whose drone light shows have bedazzled some of the world’s largest stages, including the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, Coachella, and the Super Bowl, was the obvious choice for a technology partner.

Darren Press, who works with Intel Corporation for Emerging Growth & Incubation, explains:

The concept for an Intel drone light show begins with the idea you have. The team at Dollywood had some ideas and they sat with our team of animators to collaboratively come up with what the drone displays should look like.

Interesting read: Travis Scott: First-ever artist to use drones to release new music

Behind-the-scenes at an Intel drone show: Safety protocols

Each base station can hold up to six Intel drones that have a flying time of five to six minutes.

A new video released by Intel gives an in-depth look into how a drone light show is brought to life. The video shows hundreds of drones being set out in an airfield every day before the show, where each drone is individually inspected for visual damage. The good folks at Intel also keep an eye out for the weather forecast and the changing wind conditions. They are also constantly scanning the skies for any unidentified flying object intruding on their airspace.

Intel’s technology, meanwhile, is sophisticated enough to allow the drone show to be conducted with just one pilot and one computer – with the click of a button. But before that button is ready to be clicked, there is an extensive amount of effort that goes into project management and ensuring impeccable coordination.

In the end, it’s all worth it though. As Cyndi quips:

Even though we’ve told our guests that we have drones, I don’t think any of us knew how that was going to really look and feel. It’s fun to watch our guests see it for the very first time. Our big payoff comes from their ‘wows’ and the ‘oh my goodness’ and people staring up into the sky, hand in hand and arm in arm with their family and friends. That is incredibly rewarding.

Watch the video here:

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