Verge Aero has been performing drone light shows for many years and we've been, consistanly asked a lot of really good questions! These are answers to some of the most frequent questions that we get asked.
Drone shows use hundreds–or even thousands–of synchronized, illuminated drones that create giant images hundreds of feet up in the air. Each drone is a 3D, independently positionable pixel, turning the sky into a giant canvas.
Verge Aero's platform manages the technical details so that designers can focus on their vision. Shows are created using Verge Aero's drone light show software which creates the flight paths for all the drones and validates that they are 100% safe to fly. Shows are wirelessly uploaded to the Verge Aero X1 light show drones which use enhanced GPS for extremely precise positioning–down to the centimeter. This means that one pilot can control hundreds of drones at the same time with the push of a button!
The Verge Aero Design Studio allows shows with thousands of drones to be programmed in a fraction of the time as other options.
Drone shows usually cost between US$50,000 to $200,000 for a customized, outdoor drone light show capable of flying complex 3D animations and logos. Because the technology is so new, drone light shows are still quite expensive, but prices are coming down over time as the technology matures.
The cost of a show is priced on a per drone basis ranging between $350 and $700 per drone, depending on a variety of factors such as show complexity, location, and planning timeline. Drone light displays for smaller events can be successfully flown with as few as 50 drones, resulting in a cost of $25,000 at $500 per drone. By comparison, an Intel® Drone Light Show using 300 of Intel’s Premium Drones costs $199,000 ($666 per premium drone). Intel’s classic drone package is less expensive, but does not perform as well as current technology like the Verge Aero X1 light show drone or the Intel Premium Drone.
100 to 150 drones is usually the minimum number of drones required for a show. Content drives the number of drones required. Because each drone is a pixel, complex shapes and long words need more drones than simple shapes and short words, for example. Successful shows have been performed with as few as 50 drones in more intimate settings while world records have been set with thousands of drones. For complex 3D animations Verge recommends a minimum number of 300 drones.
While some amazing drone light displays have been flown using thousands of drones at a time, most applications don’t need large numbers to make a big impact. Quality content delivers more impressive shows than setting a new Guinness World Record. Verge Aero has flown incredibly impactful shows in a variety of settings using under 200 drones.
Drone shows can be flown in a wide variety of locations. The most important thing to remember is that shows can’t be flown over people, and there needs to be a reasonable safety distance between the drones and the audience. It’s best to avoid locations close to airports, buildings, and other obstructions. Generally speaking, locations with a clear view of the sky usually make good drone show locations.
Only a limited number of drone show companies around the world possess the necessary expertise and aviation authority approval to fly drone shows. The industry has its origins in the pioneering work done by robotics professors in the US and Europe. Intel led the way with multiple Guinness World Records and amazing work on events such as the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, multiple Super Bowls, and the Tokyo Olympics Opening Ceremony.
Today there are other options. Verge Aero is now the leader in drone light show technology with a fully integrated technology platform capable of taking shows to the next level and making them more accessible. We’ve flown shows for all kinds of events, ranging from the Biden victory celebration to festivals like the Electric Daisy Carnival to product launches and social media events for global brands.
Our mission is to dramatically increase the number of people able to fly drone shows by making the technology safe and easy to use. We expect to see widespread adoption by production companies, fireworks companies, theme parks, and drone service providers as people understand the limitless possibilities drones have.
Whatever you want! Since drones are just 3D repositionable pixels, the show can be whatever a designer creates. That said, drone shows are spectacular things to observe in person. Fireworks displays are similar in terms of scale and impact, but drones are capable of so much more. Verge Aero’s drone show software creates defined imagery to tell stories in the night sky. Drones can be paired with fireworks to bring together the best features of both outdoor displays.
Although drone light show performances are still new, you can see them all over the world. Verge Aero’s drones fly shows all across the globe for concerts and festivals, theme parks, corporate events, public celebrations, college sports, product launches on social media, and more. Check our site frequently and follow us on social media to get updates on where Verge Aero and/or our partners are flying drones next!
Yes, drone shows are legal. Drone light shows are regulated by government airspace authorities, like the FAA in the United States. The FAA and other airspace authorities have the authority to approve specific individuals or professional drone companies to legally fly shows within suitable airspace. The FAA governs drone laws for drone piloting and one must apply for a waiver to the drone laws (14 CFR Part 107) for their drone light show company to commercially fly swarms of drones in the national airspace.
No, Verge Aero currently does not support indoor drone light shows. Indoor drones cannot use GPS and need alternative positioning systems for their flight control algorithms to function properly.
Drone shows usually last 8 to 10 minutes long. We’ve found that shows lasting about 8 minutes tend to be the sweet spot for overall drone light show duration. Although the maximum flight time of the Verge Aero X1 drone is 20 minutes, the maximum show duration is 13 minutes to give a conservative margin of safety.
For shows longer than 13 minutes, it’s possible to deploy multiple fleets. For example, two back-to-back drone light shows can provide continuity by using half of the fleet for the first takeoff and the second half afterwards. Alternatively, the X1 drone has the ability to swap batteries so that one can run multiple shows in one night using the same drones.
In short, no. While drones and fireworks can both wow an audience, they have different capabilities and complement each other nicely. That said, there are situations where fireworks are not viable (e.g. wildfire risk areas) and drone shows are a great replacement.
Drone shows are made using drone light show software to design 3D paths that swarms of drones can fly. The Verge Aero Design Studio creates shows by creating 3D animations in the drone show software and importing effects from external animation software, like Blender. In order to build a show, you need to follow these steps: create a storyboard, build the effects in the Design Studio software, organize the effects on the timeline, and render the drone light show. Once the show is rendered, you can then fly the show using the Verge Aero Hub and X1 drones connected to the Hub.
Verge Aero's X1 drone is used for many drone shows in the USA and around the world and is designed by our team and manufactured at an ISO9001 & AS9100C certified facility in the USA.
A drone show is a synchronized, choreographed display of swarms drones (typically hundreds of drones) with LED lights that are used to tell a story and create images in the sky. Drone shows are used for large scale outdoor entertainment (like at music festivals), marketing, special events, and private parties. A drone show is an amazing way to for large audiences to have an unforgetable experience or to engage with your brand. It's nearly impossible to not be mesmerized by hundreds of drones flying enormous shapes and logos to tell your story! Check out our blog post 'Everything you ever wanted to know about drone light shows' for a more detailed overview.
To start a drone show business, you need to buy drones from Verge Aero, obtain a waiver to fly swarms of drones in your country, get trained by Verge Aero's expert pilots, and then start selling drone shows!
It's quite straightforward: Tell us what you want and we'll make it happen! We'll work together to create content tailored to the event along with a synchronized soundtrack. You'll receive a full 3D video rendering of the drone show to make sure it meets expectations. In terms of production logistics, the main thing is making sure that the drone show location is safe for flight and the airspace is clear for operations.
It usually takes 1-2 hours, depending on drone show size.
The minimum spacing is about 1.6 (5 feet) meters apart, meaning the takeoff and landing area for 100 drones needs to be at least 250 square meters or 2500 square feet. There also needs to be ample separation between the audience and the drone show (generally, one foot of horizontal separation for every foot of altitude). Drones are not allowed to fly over people.
It depends on drone show's complexity. Simple cues are generated in a minute; most customized drone shows take a day or two. The Verge Aero design software allows rapid execution. We can go from inquiry to drone show on site in a matter of days, if that's what's required.
Very. The entire Verge Aero system is designed with redundancy and safety in mind. Multiple radios onboard each drone operate at different frequencies outside the crowded wifi spectrum to ensure communications are always maintained. There are a variety of safety protocols in place, such as geofences, to ensure that the drones never operate in an unsafe manner. Likewise, FAA certified commercial drone pilots operate every drone show, and trained visual observers help ensure safety is maintained.
Yes. We have a comprehensive aviation liability insurance policy for drone shows.
Because of its powerful motors, the Verge Aero X1 can successfully perform shows in winds up to 23 mph (10 m/s). However, adverse weather conditions, such as rain, can result in show cancellation. As per FAA rules, the Pilot in Command is the ultimate arbiter of drone show safety.
Yes, drone shows are real. They use swarms of choreographed, synchronized, reusable drones with very accurate RTK GPS in order to create complex and precise 3D effects in the sky. Drone light show audiences usually cannot believe their eyes when we fly a show, so we understand why you might not think drone shows are real and are just fake photos or videos! Take a look at Verge Aero’s Behind the Scenes to see how we build and fly real drone shows!
Creating a drone show is a multi-step process. It can be broken into three stages: storyboard, design, and execution. Verge Aero and Verge Aero enabled partners start with a storyboard to capture what you want out of your drone show. After the storyboard is completed and agreed upon, the drone show is created in Verge Aero's state-of-the-art drone show Design Studio. The Verge Aero Design studio is a full 3D visualization tool - what it renders is exactly what you'll see for your performance. Then, the drones are shipped to the drone show site, the show is uploaded to the drones, and the drones fly your very own drone light show!