What Are Drone Shows and How Do They Work?


Courtesy of Heritage Canada and North Star Drone Shows, a Canada Flag flies proudly in the nation’s capital on Canada Day, 2021.

Drone shows are the future of aerial entertainment.

In a drone show there will be dozens, or even hundreds of drones outfitted with LED lights (capable of rendering over 16 million colors) that take flight and fly choreographically to present distinct shapes illuminated in the night sky. For videos of drone shows, check out our Youtube Channel.

These types of shows are just beginning to become mainstream in North America, Europe and Asia. It is highly likely that you will experience a drone show sometime in the next few years, as the industry is currently experiencing rapid growth in demand from corporations, municipalities and non-profit organizations. There are various benefits that drone shows offer when compared to other forms of large-scale outdoor entertainment, which we will begin explaining in this post. 

Pictured above are dozens of drones prepared for launch. This picture was taken in Manitoba where, as you can see, the ground is very flat and optimal for launching drones.

So, how do these drone shows actually work?

First off, let’s be clear on what the drones are actually capable of. These drones are custom made for the purpose of aerial light shows and are built for maximum stability, not style. However, these drones create anything but plain performances, flitting around the sky within centimeters of each other to create spectacular shape outlines or even 3D shapes with enough drones present. There are some limitations on drone shows, mainly being unfavourable weather conditions such as high winds, rain or snow and sub-zero temperatures.

The drones are not operated by traditional remote control devices, instead they are all programmed by a technical director well in advance of the event and the whole process is computerized. Using access points connected to the internet, the technical director will create a ‘geo-fence’ which essentially limits the space that the drones will be contained within to conduct the show. The drones are always launched in grid point form and the show will be practiced prior to the actual event to ensure programming is adequate and that the drones fly precisely the way they’re intended to. 

North Star conducted a drone show in Mississauga on August 11th, 2021 for the launch of a new condominium project currently under development by premier developer Camrost Felcorp.

The level of programming knowledge, and overall skill set required to enable these drone shows has been a barrier to entry to those considering a venture in this very niche industry. Having an experienced drone show company (like North Star) operate your show is always wise as it reduces the chances of errors or unpleasant surprises. It also ensures that all necessary permits and qualifications have been properly addressed, such as the Special Flight Operations Certificate, NAV Canada Authorization, advanced pilot licenses, liability insurance, etc. 

What are the benefits of drone shows compared to, for example, a display of commercial fireworks? 


Obviously, unlike fireworks, drones do not contain black powder or burst in order to produce their light. They are therefore much more suitable for dry areas, during fire bans, or anywhere where risks posed by fire render fireworks unusable. 


Each drone show is custom programmed to include colours and shapes that are relevant to the client, allowing for total flexibility and engagement with the show. Drones can also form words and even complete sentences, giving our clients the ability to get a dynamic message across to their guests.

Sound / Noise

Drone shows are considerably quieter compared to a traditional fireworks show.  While many people love the loud excitement generated by pyrotechnics, they are not always appropriate for every location or scenario.  Drone shows allow for a display at any time of the night, and are often drowned out by traffic and ambient noise.

So there you have it! 

Drone shows are aerial displays that illuminate the night sky with shapes and words previously only imaginable. They are the newest, greenest and most cutting-edge additions to the outdoor entertainment industry.

If you or someone you know has an interest in learning more about how North Star Drone Shows can help make your event the most memorable yet, feel free to reach out to us! We are always excited to speak with prospective clients about how to create buzz around their organization using our custom drone shows.

Send us a message or give us a call today!