Behind the Scenes With Intel’s Incredible Olympic Drones
If you watched the 2018 Winter Olympics Opening Ceremonies, you were probably impressed by Intel’s Olympic Drones – here’s a closer look behind the scenes.
Friday evening, TV sets around the world were tuned to the Pyeongchang Olympic Stadium in Pyeongchang, South Korea, as the 2018 Winter Olympics officially got started. Like all Olympic Opening Ceremonies, it was filled with spectacle and wonder as athletes and performers from around the world came together to offer a message of peace and hope.
There were half-naked Tongans, a (kind of) unified Korea, a Donald Trump impersonator, and much more, all of which combined into a must-see spectacle. But while the eyes of the world were on the stadium, one of the most impressive moments occurred over it, and a few months earlier.
Unquestionably, one of the most incredible moments of the show – at least for people watching on TV – was when Intel’s Shooting Star drones appeared over the stadium, forming several images, including a bird in flight and the Olympic Rings. The drones even seemed to combine into a skier and then hit the slopes.
This isn’t the first time Intel has used its drones to impress people at events – they were recently used at Disney for a “fireworks” display and Lady Gaga’s 2017 Super Bowl halftime performance used them – but this is by far the largest. There were 1,218 drones in total, which set a world record for the most drones simultaneously in flight. The drones weighed just 24.7 ounces and each contained an LED light.
Despite the impressive display, the drones’ performance was actually recorded months earlier. Due to “impromptu logistical changes,” whatever that means, plans to launch the drones during the Opening Ceremonies and have them fly over the stadium were scrapped, as was a secondary plan to launch a smaller batch of 300 drones. The official reason is that there were “too many spectators standing in the area where the live drone show was supposed to take place,” which seems like the kind of thing that would have been obvious long before the show. But no one wants the headlines of the Olympic Opening Ceremonies to read “Tragedy Strikes as 1200 Drones Fall from the Sky.”
To avoid a possible death toll counter displayed next to the Medal Count, Intel and the Olympic committee wisely decided to use the footage previously recorded. Those watching live at the stadium might have been a little disappointed, but it was more or less seamless on TV.
Check out the video below for a closer look at the flight of the drones below.