In the last few years the world has witnessed the advent of drone shows. Verity Studios brings drones into the theatre, interacting with performers and creating dynamic 3D choreographies directly adjacent to or even above the audience. We had a chat with Bill Keays to deliver some insights into the work of the exhibitor of Prolight + Sound 2017.
1. Over the past few years drone shows have been gaining more and more attention when it comes to delivering extraordinary live events. How do you assess their importance?
While remote-controlled camera drones are everywhere, drone shows usually involve many drones moving in synchrony. This requires drones that work together autonomously – something our team has been working on for indoor drones for more than 15 years, and that we are now offering commercially. For example, eight of Verity Studios’ drones are performing in Cirque du Soleil’s Broadway show PARAMOUR, 8 times a week, in front of a live audience of up to 2,000 people. To date, these drones have completed more than 300 shows, including more than 5,000 autonomous takeoffs, flights, and landings on stage – all without safety nets.
As you can read in a new overview document “Drone Shows: Creative potential and best practices” and see in the contained imagery, drone show systems allow aerial indoor and outdoor lighting displays by choreographing the simultaneous movements of a multitude of flying objects in 3D space. Freely positioning lights in space gives this technology the potential to fundamentally transform the live events experience.
2. „The magic is real“ is one of your key claims for your newly developed drones. What makes them so „magical“?
When you see the expressions on the people in the audience you understand there is something powerful happening. It is real in that it is not happening on a screen, it’s not a trick, CGI, or an optical illusion. These drones are physical objects moving through and into the space of performers on stage and, at times, out over the audience. When they do so synchronously and with effortless grace, these objects come alive. At Verity, we call them the “Synthetic Swarm” -- people react as they do to real animals. When the Synthetic Swarm debuted at the TED conference a year ago, the expressions on people’s faces made it clear that something powerful was happening.
3. What do you plan on presenting during Prolight + Sound? Are there any new products or developments you want to show during the days of the fair?
First, Verity Studios’ bespoke events services, from one-time events to permanent installations. And second, a turnkey Synthetic Swarm system that’s powerful, yet easy to set up and operate. Most importantly, we want to share a little bit of the magic: Come see a Synthetic Swarm drone show! We are sharing a booth with TAIT Towers, one of Verity Studios’ live event partners. Stop by to see a technical demo, including integration with TAIT Navigator, and a small drone swarm performing an aerial ballet and light show at booth A19 on Level 0 of Hall 3.