Following the great success of the Edinburgh New Year show, Celestial was contacted in January by Greenpeace.
They asked us to recreate the same kind of magic for them in a film to be released at the critical G7 summit in Cornwall, June 2021. With the world leaders gathered to decide the destiny of the natural world, our brief was to create a powerful warning about the biodiversity crisis.
This drone display was to be a collaboration with Greenpeace’s long term projection partners P.O.W. (Projections On Walls), blending beautiful light projections and Celestial’s attention-grabbing drone art into a unique and innovative drone art film with the title ‘300 drones, one message: ACT NOW‘.
Celestial’s creative team got to work on the script that was going to shape Greenpeace’s G7 drone show. To bring about real change, we wanted to use our drones to tell a story directed at the hearts of world leaders and adults around the world.
Our idea: to watch spirit animals, formed through ethereal projections and drones, travel from the four corners of the planet and arrive at Cornwall to deliver a hard-hitting message about extinction in time for the G7 summit. All of this coupled with a heartfelt narration from young children about their hopes for a greener future.
We wanted the Greenpeace drone show to be haunting, beautiful and majestic, wowing audiences with stunning visuals before making them shed a tear when they heard this warning cry from nature. Ultimately we wanted to inspire world leaders to take action.
We were excited that we now had 300 drones at our disposal at the base – officially the biggest permanent drone fleet in the U.K. This meant the tech team could start flying 3D animals for the first time. Using innovative 3D animation techniques, the giant animals looked utterly spellbinding as they moved in the night sky, and we instantly knew this project was going to be special.
At the same time, we went through a thorough testing and animation process with P.O.W., fine tuning the design and movement of the projected light animals.
Several trips to Cornwall, where the G7 summit was due to take place, were required for us to locate the beautiful Cornish landscapes needed to tell that part of the story. Mullion Cove and the Lost Heligan Gardens were epic natural locations that gave us real production value. But because of Covid restrictions, we had drone pilots from around the world sending us cinematic footage of deserts, jungles, mountains and Antarctica, capturing the majesty of our natural world on a global scale.
An evocative and soaring score was created by Emmy nominated film composer and solo artist Hannah Peel. Capturing the soul of the project, the music incorporates the ghostly sounds of extinct animals.
To our utter delight, Hannah told us that the music would be recorded live in Belfast by the Ulster Orchestra. Believing in the project, the Ulster Orchestra wanted to record the score for free, and we are humbled and grateful for that incredibly generous gesture. They did a fantastic job.
Children were cast, and we spent a day in Brighton recording their voices to be used in the Greenpeace film. Hearing the children’s hopes for a better world was a deeply moving experience for the adults who were present at the recording session that day.
With all the creative elements of the drone show recorded and filmed, we went into post production—almost four weeks of editing, VFX and sound mixing needed to sculpt the final film into shape.
We are extremely proud to have produced a drone display that we hope will inspire action in world leaders attending the G7 summit and play some small role in making this world a greener place for future generations. It’s been yet another crazy adventure and steep learning curve for Celestial.
Huge gratitude goes to Greenpeace for commissioning our 300 drone display and supporting us on this groundbreaking project. A big shout out to our projection collaborators, P.O.W., and once again, a heartfelt thanks to the entire team at Celestial for all the long hours and another stellar piece of work.