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The Amazing Drone Ballet That Took Flight at Burning Man

Burning Man Intel drones


The Amazing Drone Ballet That Took Flight at Burning Man

Source: Studio Drift

The Amazing Drone Ballet That Took Flight at Burning Man


Burning Man is a festival like no other, bringing a creative community together in an expression of freedom, and this year one artistic group chose drones to express this.

Called ‘Franchise Freedom’, Studio Drift used 300 Intel® Shooting Star™ drones to create a drone light show performance that mimics the flight of a flock of birds, with a live piano accompaniment.

The performance, which was backed by automaker BMW, was first shown at Miami Beach at Art Basel.

““Everything can be simulated in animation and virtual reality, but we think there is an importance in creating real experiences that you can feel and see with your own eyes in the real world, not only through a screen”, said Lonneke Gordijn, co-founder of Amsterdam-based Studio Drift.

It’s a mesmerising performance, echoing those seemingly random but intimately connected movements of starlings flying in a murmuration.

The algorithm that the studio used to create the flight pattern of the fleet of drones was based on research that began as far back as 2007, the company says.

“To create Franchise Freedom, Studio Drift studied the natural flight patterns of starlings and translated them into software that has been specially developed and embedded in the drones,” the creators write on their website.

Instead of flying in a pre-programmed formation, such as by Intel at the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, the drones fly according to the flocking behaviour algorithms that are ‘based on ongoing university research’.

By controlling the intensity of the lights in each drones, artists Lonneke Gordijn and Ralph Nauta were also able to create a sense of depth and density within the drone flock.

The result is certainly beautiful – but don’t believe us, check it out for yourself:


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Cite this article as: Sarah Whittaker, "The Amazing Drone Ballet That Took Flight at Burning Man," in, September 18, 2018,

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