Lumos! Drones brightened up the night sky this summer above Hogwarts Castle at Universal Studios Hollywood.
Universal Studios last week wrapped up a successful run of its “Dark Arts at Hogwarts Castle” show. The nighttime show featured a variety of special effects to create the illusion of Dementors, Death Eaters and other evil characters casting images on Hogwarts castle inside the Los Angeles theme park. And the finally ended with a massive Patronus charm brightening up the sky.
In Harry Potter lore, a Patronus is a powerful defensive charm that spews out the form of an animal unique to the wizard performing the spell. Harry Potter’s Patronus is a stag.
And at Universal Studios, Intel’s light show drones cap off the show by forming the shape of a stag Patronus over Hogwart’s castle. The light projection is accompanied by a musical arrangement conducted and performed by William Ross and the London Symphony Orchestra, respectively, based on the original scores composed for the film series created by Academy Award-winning composer John Williams.
The Harry Potter drone show was well-received by the public, and proved the repeatability factor of Intel’s drone show product. Intel’s drones have been serving as nighttime entertainment at events such as Coachella, the Super Bowl an event promoting Wonder Woman and over the Bellagio fountain in Las Vegas for CES 2018. But most of those drone light shows have been one-off events. The Harry Potter drone show is one of the first to repeat on a recurring basis (though even this show had a finite end date).
The shows use Intel’s in-house Shooting Star drones, which are quite small, each weighing a bit more than half a pound. They’re made of flexible plastic and foam (no screws) and the propellers are covered by protective cages to protect anything down below, in the event the drone crashes (though shows are generally not conducted directly over crowds). Each drone is equipped with built-in LED lights that can create over 4 billion color combinations.
If you’re interested in learning more about the Intel drone light shows (they’re truly fascinating!) watch the livestream from an event I hosted with Intel’s drone light show team. In that livestream, Cindy Ng, marketing director of the Intel Drone Group, reveals little-known details, about where the drones perform and how each show is planned and executed.