The Art of Creating Nature-Inspired Drone Light Shows

7th June, 2022

Drone light shows and nature might not be something you would immediately think go together. However, as we look to technological solutions to protect our environment as we head into the future, there’s no reason why drone technology shouldn’t also play its part.

By combining drone art with nature, Celestial is dedicated to creating something special that celebrates our planet in each and every project we take on.

This article takes a closer look at how we use our drones as a vital mouthpiece for our fragile natural world.

Replicating organic movement

To create a compelling drone display that showcases the beauty and balance nature has to offer, everything needs to be considered – even the smallest details, such as the way our drone fleet moves.

At Celestial, we program our drones to replicate organic movements so that, as our drones move and transition into various shapes, patterns, and images, it looks as natural as possible – just like a murmuration of starlings. This bird species is well-known for its mesmerising and seemingly erratic movements, which can be difficult to recreate. 

However, by understanding the small nuances that make up these movements, we are able to program our drones to move in a way that looks and feels natural, as if they are part of the natural world themselves. The end result is an immersive shape-shifting display that wows the audience.

This effect is achieved by considering the speed, distance, and direction that our drones are moving in at any given moment. Our animators do this by placing virtual drones represented on-screen by a cube and placing them one by one over the image we want to create, creating a rough outline of the image we’re trying to make. Once that’s done, our animators can finesse it and make it much more beautiful. 

Connected in a network or ‘drone swarm’, our drones are then issued instructions from a computer program, which is used to choreograph them into formation. Each drone is piloted from the ground by a computer, which knows exactly where the drones need to be every second of the performance.

By taking inspiration from nature, we’re able to create something that is visually stunning but also has an important message at its heart.

Nature-inspired narratives

As a company that is passionate about raising awareness of the importance of environmental activism, nature is a reoccurring theme in all of our drone art shows to date. 

By creating nature-inspired narratives, we hope to engage and educate our audience about the interconnectivity of the biodiversity and climate crisis that are putting our planet at risk. This is achieved through combining the captivating imagery made by our drones with immersive surround-sound music, narration, poetry, lighting and animation.

Overall, we want everyone to come away from our shows inspired and motivated to do their part to create a better world for the future.  

One of our recent nature-inspired drone light displays is Our Wilder Family, a live show created in partnership with Warwickshire Wildlife Trust and Coventry City of Culture Trust. You can watch it here:

In this 16-minute show, 360 drones took to the skies in two flights, while an eclectic combination of poetry, music and the words of school children accompany an epic celebration of our natural world.

To give a voice to the voiceless, we also use a diverse range of talent and contributors in our drone shows. That’s why you can find children giving their own perspectives through narration on nature-inspired light displays—they have important perspectives that need to be heard. After all, this is the planet they’re going to inherit.  

Powered by nature

As a sustainable company with a mission to offer a green alternative to fossil fuel-laden fireworks, it’s important to us that our drone fleet is powered by nature. That’s why we only use solar-powered drones in our light displays.

This not only minimises our reliance on fossil fuels but also reduces noise pollution, making our displays more enjoyable for both the audience and local wildlife.

Along with using solar power and green energy providers, we aim to maintain a low carbon footprint in other areas of the business, including transport and logistics. 

This is because not all drone displays are as ‘green’ as you may think. 

Some drone companies even fly their drones all over the world by plane to do a light display – something we at Celestial do not do because we’re passionate about keeping our high tech technology green and believe that by working sustainably and responsibly, we can help to protect our planet for future generations.

A force for good

The final piece in the puzzle is working with clients that share our dedication to environmental activism and want to use our art and their platforms to make a difference.

We’ve been lucky enough to work with some incredible organisations that are committed to large scale environmental action, including Greenpeace, The Eden Project, The Warwickshire Wildlife Trust and more. This allows us to collaborate and use our joint platform to make a positive difference in the world and create impactful campaigns that persuade world leaders to take action. 

You can watch our environmental activism drone art campaigns with Greenpeace and The Eden project here:

Celestial is founded on strong ethical values balancing people, planet and profits, and we believe drone art has enormous potential as a force for good in the world. 

By working sustainably and responsibly, we’re able to create nature-inspired drone light shows that spread a positive message of hope for the future. As the threat to our natural environment continues to escalate, we hope our drone light shows can play a small role in calling for fundamental change. 

Want to collaborate with us on your next project? Get in touch