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  • Annika Santhanam

Lighting Up the Sky! Drone Light Shows Replace Fireworks for July 4th Celebrations

July 4th celebrations are usually always characterized by bright American flag apparel, big parties hosted at venues or with family, and, of course, fireworks! Firework displays have been a part of Independence Day celebrations since 1777, and they have continued to be an iconic part of the day ever since.

However, recent trends in July 4th celebrations have seen a surprising change - fireworks are being replaced by drones!

Now you may be wondering - how could drones possibly dazzle the sky the way fireworks do? But if you take a look online or in the many states that have started to make these changes, you will see drone light shows that create intricate shapes in the sky, ranging from an eagle flapping its wings to the American flag in full color.

So how is it possible that these drones know where to go and when to light up? And why have so many cities and states made the push away from fireworks and towards this technology? Let’s take a look at both of these answers below!

How Do Drone Light Shows Work?

Drone light shows consist of hundreds of small drones, typically only a few feet long and wide, that are deployed into the sky to form the light formations and animations. The drones carry positioning technology in order to fly to the appropriate spot in the sky as a part of the animated show, as well as a large light display that can change colors in order to fit the images programmed into the show.

Prior to programming the drones, the companies that organize the light shows first take a look at the area where the show will be hosted, analyzing spaces where viewers will sit to figure out how large of an animation space they should take up in the sky and where the drones should be positioned to optimize the viewing experience. 

Once the size of the animation space is established, software is used to plot out dots for each part of the animation to represent the drones involved. Using dots to plot out each animation allows for easy storyboarding of the shapes involved in the show, making it simpler to plan out each image that will be part of the 10-15 minute sequence as well as knowing exactly where each drone will be at a given moment.

Finally, the software engineers will spend many hours rigorously programming each drone, creating the transitions in between each picture or animated image as well as deciding which drones will move to which positions in the sky. Turning the sky into a digital canvas, the drones are then able to put on an amazing and illuminated show in the sky!

Why Use Drone Shows Over Fireworks?

There are several different reasons why drone light shows are preferred over firework shows, and they show an impressive trend towards using more technology-based and environmentally friendly mediums to put on celebrations for July 4th and other holidays.

Drones are definitely an environmentally friendly alternative to firework shows - firework shows give off a mass amount of smoke, polluting the air and potentially causing breathing problems for those exposed to the smoke. Additionally, there is the risk of debris being released from the fireworks and the risk of sparks from the fireworks setting nearby grass or plants on fire. Due to the wildfire risk in several areas and the multiple wildfires that have been accidentally started by firework shows, drone light shows pose a much safer and more environmentally friendly alternative to fireworks.

Additionally, the explosions from fireworks are very harmful towards animals, including dogs and farm animals, as well as those with sensitive hearing or people with PTSD. Additionally, many children do not like the loud sounds of fireworks, making the shows unenjoyable and oftentimes stressful for them. Drone shows give off very little noise, if any at all, making it a much safer alternative that is also more inclusive for those who want to view light shows but may not be compatible with fireworks. Additionally, with them being kinder on animals, more families are able to view them with their animals or even ensure that their animals stay safe and unharmed at home without fear of fireworks.

Finally, drone shows are highly customizable! While firework shows are largely the same every year, drone shows can have many different images every year, with every show being different from the last. Additionally, as more drones are incorporated, more complex images and animations can be displayed! There are endless possibilities to have with drone shows lighting up the sky, making them a lot more enjoyable than fireworks.

In the upcoming years, there is sure to be many more cities and states that make the switch towards drone shows over fireworks, and this new technology will continue to make a positive impact on July 4th and other celebrations for years to come. Thanks for reading and stay tuned for more articles!



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