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Watch 500 Intel drones light up the night sky for St. Patrick’s Day

Orchestra of Light - Intel® Drone Light Shows for St Patrick's Day

This year’s St. Patrick’s Day celebrations were muted by the ongoing pandemic, though Intel was allowed to fly a fleet of 500 drones over Ireland’s capital city for a dazzling light show that it later shared on YouTube.

“The film presents a heartfelt, uplifting celebration of our national day, and spreads a message of hope to audiences around the globe,” Intel-Ireland said in notes accompanying the video.

The drone show was the work of St. Patrick’s Festival, Tourism Ireland, and Dublin City Council, and delivered in collaboration with Intel and Actavo Events. The film of the show was produced by ShinAwiL and scored by Irish composers Eimear Noone and Craig Stuart Garfinkle.

It shows the drones lighting up the sky over Dublin with messages and familiar imagery, at the same time illuminating landmarks such as the Samuel Beckett Bridge and the Convention Centre.

Intel has been steadily building its drone business for aerial light shows over the last six years. The performances use state-of-the-art computer software to control the drones’ complex flight maneuvers and LED light patterns, with each show lasting around 10 minutes.

The company more famous for computer chips than LED-laden drones charges $99,000 for a show featuring 200 drones. If you want to use 500 drones, the cost rises to a hefty $299,000. For that price, Intel promises a performance that will “fill the sky with flowing and lively 3D animations, with swift transitions that move like motion graphics.”

Last year, Walmart collaborated with Intel for a show featuring almost 1,000 drones, though it’s not known how much the retail giant forked out for it.

The quadcopter that Intel uses for its shows weighs 0.75 pounds (340 grams) and includes brighter lights, faster speeds, heightened resolution, and longer performance times compared to the previous version of the drone.

Intel isn’t the only company entertaining folks with drone performances like this. U.K. firm Celestial, for example, is making an impact in the same space with shows like this one in Scotland at the end of last year.

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Trevor Mogg
Contributing Editor
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