Kuwait warmed up for its National Day and Liberation Day celebrations with a series of stunning drone shows taking place over eight evenings in the lead up to the big night. Zain Kuwait and the Touristic Enterprises Company invited AO Multimedia & Drones to provide the spectacular shows, which featured a fleet of 2,000 LED drones swarming above Green Island.
“We have been a leading partner for innovative event technology all over the Middle East for many years. Our multimedia shows – including the world-famous FALCON searchlights – have made major impacts in illuminating many capitals since 2000,” commented AO Multimedia & Drones’ CEO and Executive Producer, Marco Niedermeier.
“Kuwait is a proud country with an impressive cultural and economic development in just a few generations,” he added. “The country is focused on entertaining its people and celebrating its national identity, which allowed our team to utilise the storytelling power of the drone show to translate the message of Kuwait’s past, present and future into an entertaining story-based show for all ages.”
The show began with a striking depiction of the Kuwaiti flag, followed by a series of formations alluding to the history of Kuwait, including the traditional practice of pearl diving that was so prevalent in the country in years gone by, as well as a representation of the traditional Bedouin lifestyle that the country’s forefathers led.
The show also featured some of Kuwait’s most recognisable modern landmarks, including Seif Palace, the Grand Mosque, and the iconic Kuwait Towers, as well as a finale of incredibly detailed 3D portraits of the country’s leadership.
Describing them as “a special challenge”, Niedermeier explained the process behind the portrait effects. “It is a very challenging process to realise the portraits in such a way that the pictured people – here, the Emir and the Deputy – agree with them.
“Besides the fact that it requires a very precise and reliable drone system to avoid black holes (for example, in a smile with white teeth), you also must consider the possible resolution in terms of viewing angles and distance to the audience,” he explained. “A 3D drone sculpture is designed in layers and looks totally different from any angle. Our 3D drone animation team must work with a completely different mindset than any creator working on screen content to achieve these results.”
In terms of challenges, besides the constant monitoring of weather conditions and perfectly organised maintenance of thousands of independent drones, Niedermeier highlighted the need to adjust the design to the venue. “A perfect show flight has to be created that allows visitors from all related positions to get the best experience,” he commented. “This requires a lot of preparation and research in advance regarding the venue and technical details like GPS connections, backlighting, and suitable altitudes.”
AO deployed an extremely powerful drone system on this project to “guarantee stable and absolutely precise pictures with realistic colours”. Niedermeier added: “We can offer a flight time of up to 33 minutes – including take-off and landing – and a flight speed of up to 5mps, even in more difficult weather and wind conditions. To maintain maximum control, we fly a maximum distance of 500m from our pilot’s position, and the picture size can be up to 160,000 sq m, depending on local regulations.”
Looking back on the project, the CEO and Executive Producer was particularly proud of the 3D portraits and architectural scenes. “They are always very impressive,” he reflected. “For example, the living underwater scene morphing in the wide sky to a pearl, coming out of a giant seashell or a Kuwaiti walking through the desert with his camel.”
However, where the show really came into its own was in the transitions between scenes. “To create a story and an exciting show flight, the transitions from scene to scene are the most exciting feature of a drone show,” Niedermeier concluded. “Creating a flow that can be connected with music and voiceover makes the show a real story.”
Photos by AO Multimedia & Drones