Talking tech since 2003

Everyone knows about the magical Christmas show that goes on every year at Radio City Music Hall in New York City–the Christmas Spectacular has been going on now for 85 years and stars the incredibly talented Rockettes. This year though, the Christmas Spectacular is introducing a brand new technological element to the show: drones. 

I was recently invited to get a sneak peek of the new drone part of the show and I have to say, it’s very well done (video below). The show worked with Intel to make it happen. As a fun exercise, try and spot the drones coming out on stage (I’ve watched the video many times and I can’t spot it). Note: so you know where to look, the drones enter from stage right.

Each performance features 100 drones that appear on-stage and are choreographed to appear seamlessly alongside (or, well, above) the Rockettes. 

The drones behind Santa and two Rockettes during the sneak peek

From a tech perspective, this is the first time Intel has worked on an indoor show with its drones. The drones being used in the Christmas Spectacular show are smaller and lighter quad-copter units and each drone is outfitted with a LED light. I’ve been told by Intel that after each performance the drones run diagnostics to assess things like battery life and hardware issues in an effort to ensure only the strongest drones fly out on stage each time. Additionally, along with the digital assessment, the drones are also inspected by hand.

What’s really cool is that the drones are run by a single person managing an application that Intel has developed to keep them all in sync. If you’ve read this far and haven’t watched the video yet, I highly recommend you do. The performance is really awesome and I’d imagine the full-on performance featuring the Rockettes and the drones is even better. 

In addition to the drones, the show also features a massive 8k display which looks gorgeous (you can see it in the video too). 

A photo showing off one of the incredible displays during the sneak peek.

The Christmas Spectacular starts on November 9, 2018 and will run through January 1, 2019. You can get tickets here.

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