Drone Light Shows

Written by Diana Djalalova,

Sep 9, 2022

Drone Show Software - DSS

Drone lights

Drone Light Shows 2022

Do you want an overview of the drone show industry?

The demand for drone light shows is growing around the globe. Wherever drones light up the sky, they leave audiences amazed, inspired, and with lasting memories. The trending use cases in 2022 include:

Aerial photography wouldn’t be so easy without the current capabilities of drones today. Most drones on the market can operate hundreds and thousands of metres in any direction from the remote controller. These distances can be limited by drone regulations for safety reasons. The drone regulations applied to your drone could be a factor in your purchase choice. Find out more about the UK drone rules, here.

Let’s dive right in.

TDR: Introduction to Aerial Photography

The demand for drone light shows is growing around the globe. Wherever drones light up the sky, they leave audiences amazed, inspired, and with lasting memories. The trending use cases in 2022 include:

Public celebrations

Drone shows today can be of any size – from a fleet of 20 drones to several thousand, the only question is what the organizer of the event is willing to show in this part of the entertainment program. Interestingly, a drone show can carry not only beautiful entertainment, but also any idea, an appeal. Moreover, it is quite easy, adding an inscription or logo from drones.

Marketing in the Sky

OToday the approach to advertising is changing and employing new technologies and progressive ideas. We can call it “Marketing in the Sky”. Drone light shows help brand campaigns stand out in an eco-friendly way and make people talk, share and remember. The scannable QR code advertisements, company logos and slogans made of hundreds of drones take brand communications to a brand-new sky level. Here are some points to consider.

Sports events & venues. Theme parks & concerts

Drones contribute to a unique atmosphere of the sports event. Drone displays stole the show at the opening ceremonies of the Olympic games the second time in a row. They also entertain audiences in resort and theme parks, and perfectly complement festivals and concerts.  

Hotels & Resorts

Integrated with professional light consoles, drone shows enrich standard resort animation. Visible from afar, they also give more freedom in where the event happens and thus help hospitality industry overcome pandemic crowd restrictions.

What’s the Process?

 Step #1 – Idea & Scenario

Any performance starts with an idea. Unless your client has a good understanding of what to show and how, you both start sitting over a blank sheet of paper. As your discussion goes on, the idea is transformed into a scenario and a story to be told.


Step #2 – Animation of Choreography
Once you know the story, it is time to move the drones, virtually. At this step, a drone show team animates drone movements, using a common animation software, such as Blender, Cinema 4D, Maya, or 3D Max. Another and a much more user-friendly option is to use Drone Show Creator to orchestrate drone formations and animate colors, calculation of safe trajectories, merge key scenes to each other automatically and creation of a formation based on 2D images.
The resulting file is always an animation with paths of many drones that all together move and form aerial objects.

(The customer often needs to have the idea approved internally, and may request a more appealing visual representation of the future performance. Drone Show Software teams use a proprietary sales tool for choreography review. For investors, event directors, and key decision-makers, the design team simulates a drone show choreography in a selected location being simulated as well.)

Remote Pilot
Grammar School Land

Step #3 – Run virtual tests & ensure spectator safety
Animation should be tested several times to make sure the spectators will be safe during the show. It is better to find all animation shortcomings in a virtual environment, rather than damage drones in the field and correct everything on site. In addition to the take-off and landing positions, formations, and lights & payloads operation, drone show providers should address the risk of collisions and make sure the show faces proper direction. Drone Show Software has been designed with safety in mind: all drones use RTK GPS for centimeter-level accuracy, redundant two-channel communications, and a dual geofence system. 

Going Outdoor

Choosing your memory

Step #4 – Logistics & preparations in the field
Once you set up the equipment (RTK GPS base station, Wi-Fi router, and the main control laptop), you need to put the drones in the start position. Although it might be not obvious, the drones require quite a large field for the take-off and future landing. For example, to fly just 49 drones, you will need to find a flat ground of 324 sq. m, without high grass or snow piles, surrounded by a safety fence. It’s all because the usual distance between the two drones is 2.5 to 3 m.

Step #5 – Test flights & rehearsals
After the drones are properly positioned on the ground, Drone Show Software automatically assigns the flight paths to each drone. The pre-flight check verifies that all parameters are within acceptable limits. Shows with many drones usually require at least one on-site rehearsal. Once you set the showtime (time to take off), all is ready for the test flight. Everybody enjoys the show except for the operator who must monitor the entire swarm via the laptop. See example here.

Samsung 980pro

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