Verity Drones Accompany Celine Dion During Performance

Many performers will say the best part of their careers is seeing an audience in awe at their performance.  When an artist is able to push the boundaries of what an audience thought was possible, they have created a show that becomes everlasting.  For many years that involved the inclusion of intricate costumes and props, projected images, moving stage equipment, and even pyrotechnics.  But to keep audiences returning to shows, event planners have begun to think outside of the box to enhance a show’s vision. When one of the best selling artists in the world, Céline Dion, was planning her most recent tour she and her team knew they needed a new way to mesmerize the audience. 

When it came time for Céline to preform her encore piece she sang “My Heart Will Go On”, a song that stands out as one of the most recognizable songs in the world.  To enhance it the show designer contacted Verity Studios, a company that creates live indoor drone shows.  Federico Augugliaro,Verity’s Head of Live Events, said of the collaboration, “My Heart Will Go On is Céline Dion’s biggest hit, and show designer Yves Aucoin wanted to create a big visual impact for this song. The drones were integral in providing an immersive, 3D effect, and Céline Dion’s interactions with the drones evoke a strong emotional response from the audience.”  The results were amazing.

As the beginning melody of the song started to play a projection of Céline gracefully floating in water could be seen on the darkened stage.  About 30 seconds in Céline rises on a lift center stage in a billowing, cloud like, white gown.  She begins to slowly sing the song as the video behind her continues to play out like an underwater ballet.  Half way through the number a fleet of small drones rise from the stage seemingly beckoned by Céline’s rising arms.  She goes on to finish the song passionately as the drones dance in the air around her.  The drone’s lights and choreography match the emotion of the song, giving it an ethereal feel.  As the song comes to an end the drones slowly descend and flicker out, all but one that gently glides down to Céline’s outstretched arms.  The moment ends as Céline catches the final drone in the palms of her hands.

This show is just one of the many that Verity has enthralled audiences with.  They have created drone shows for Drake and Metallica, Cirque du Soliel and cruise lines, New Year’s Eve celebrations and sporting events, and much more.  According to their website, “The team at Verity has a passion for bringing technology and the arts together to create something people have never seen before. But more than that, we believe it should be contained in a system that’s easy to use in any event. Drone technology can fundamentally transform the live events experience and we’re committed to developing technology that is easy to use, reliable and safe for events all over the world.”

The way Verity does this is with their patented micro drone Lucie.  Lucie is a small quadrocopter that is entirely encased in a foam body and has a RGBW light at it’s center.  Because of it’s design and ultra light weight, only 1.8oz, the drone can safely fly above and around performers and audiences while still providing complete safety.  “When precisely choreographed, the Lucie micro drones form a cluster of flying lights, and together, their smooth, intricate motions work in harmony to produce captivating results. The versatility of the Lucie micro drones means you can achieve a variety of different effects.  Fly only a few for an intimate scene with performers on stage.  Or fill the air above the stage with a swarm of glittering fireflies for a more immersive experience.”

Each drone has a 3 minute flight time and needs an hour to fully charge.  The drones come with a charging and storage stack.  The stack conveniently charges and houses 40 Lucies at a time making transportation for tours or storage for permanent installations easy.  For each show, a Verity employee will be on hand to set up the autonomous drones through an indoor positioning system called Kedge.  The Kedge localization system defines the “boundaries of the flight space and allows for maximum creativity. This allows our drones to perform their choreography without cameras, carpets or other limitations.”

Verity has gone beyond just using drones to create choreographed aerial light shows.  They will also design custom costumes for the drones to wear so they can be used as props on stage like how they did for Cirque du Soleil’s Broadway show Paramour.  Meeting with the designers of the show they came up with a drone that would be disguised a lamp as part of the set scenery.  As the number moved on these drones disguised as lamps began to swirl around the performers, adding to the magic that Cirque du Soleil shows have become known for.

As self described by Verity, “We are entrepreneurs, engineers, artists, live events professionals, mathematicians and designers; all working as one.”  It is this collaboration that has allowed them to take people on imaginative visual adventures.  Their drone shows take an already memorable experience and transform them into something extraordinary.

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