DRONE SHOW BUSINESS
FROM THE INSIDE
We, at Drone Show Software team of SPH Engineering, help drone professionals around the globe to start their drone show business and manage astonishing outdoor performances.
#1: Drone Shows: the future is here
Explore demand for drone shows and discover the most spectacular shows, delivered to world-known companies.
Public celebrations:

Many countries launched drone shows in 2020 to support the first responders teams fighting the pandemic. Where public gatherings remain widely restricted, drones help create celebration performances visible from far and above to large audiences.
Marketing in the Sky:

Today the approach to advertising is changing and employing new technologies and progressive ideas. We call it “Marketing in the Sky”. Drone light shows help brand campaigns stand out in an eco-friendly way and make people talk, share and remember. The scannable QR
code advertisements, company logos and slogans made of hundreds of drones take brand communications to a brand- new sky level.
Sports events & venues. Theme parks & concerts:

Drones contribute to a unique atmosphere of the sports event. Drone displays stole the show at the opening ceremonies of the Olympic games the second time in a row. They also entertain audiences in resort and theme parks, and perfectly complement festivals and concerts.
Hotels & Resorts:

Integrated with professional light consoles, drone shows enrich standard resort animation. Visible from afar, they also give more freedom in where the event happens and thus help hospitality industry overcome pandemic crowd restrictions.
Drone Show Software comprises over 300 professionals – drone operators and event industry specialists –
in 50+ countries, from Mexico to Japan, and from Norway to New Zealand. If all drones of Drone Show Software professionals were brought together, more than 6 000 drones would light up the night sky at a time.
#2: How to make your drones dance?
The drone show backstage and the technologies behind.
#1
Idea & Scenario
Any performance starts with an idea. Unless your client has a good understanding of what to show and how, you both start sitting over a blank sheet of paper. As your discussion goes on, the idea is transformed into a scenario and a story to be told.
#2
Animation of Choreography
Once you know the story, it is time to move the drones, virtually. At this step, a drone show team animates drone movements, using a common animation software, such as Blender, Cinema4D, Maya, or 3D Max. Another and a much more user-friendly option is to use Drone Show Creator to orchestrate drone formations and animate color, calculation of safe trajectories, merge key scenes to each other automatically and creation of a formation based on 2D images. The resulting file is always an animation with paths of many drones that all together move and form aerial objects.
Customer often needs to have the idea approved internally, and thus requests a more appealing visual representation of the future performance. Drone Show Software teams use a proprietary sales tool for choreography review. For investors, event directors, and key decision-makers, the design team simulates a drone show choreography in a selected location being simulated as well (see a life-like simulation in the top left corner of the picture below or watch the video with a simulated flight of the choreography).
#3
Run virtual tests & ensure spectator safety
Animation should be tested several times to make sure the spectators will be safe during the show. It is better to find all animation shortcomings in a virtual environment, rather than damage drones in the field and correct everything on site. In addition to the take-off and landing positions, formations, and lights & payloads operation, drone show providers should address the risk of collisions and make sure the show faces proper direction. Drone Show Software has been designed with safety in mind: all drones use RTK GPS for centimeter- level accuracy, redundant two-channel communications, and a dual geofence system.
#4
Logistics & preparations in the field Run virtual tests & ensure spectator safety
Once you set up the equipment (RTK GPS base station, Wi-Fi router, and the main control laptop), you need to put the drones in the start position. Although it might be not obvious, the drones require quite a large field for the take-off and future landing. For example, to fly just 49 drones, you will need to find a flat ground of 324 sq. m, without high grass or snow piles, surrounded by a safety fence. It’s all because the usual distance between the two drones is 2.5 to 3 m.
#5
Test flights & rehearsals
After the drones are properly positioned on the ground, Drone Show Software software automatically assigns the flight paths to each drone. The pre-flight check verifies that all parameters are within acceptable limits. Shows with a large number of drones usually require at least one on-site rehearsal. Once you set the showtime (time to take off), all is ready for the test flight. Everybody enjoys the show except for the operator who has to monitor the entire swarm via the laptop.
Watch the video guide on creating a drone show step-by-step to learn more about backstage
At Drone Show Software team, we enable anyone with drones, ambition, and a choreographer to create mind-blowing drone shows:
1
You get knowledge and hands-on training from Drone Show Software team on how to organize the show and pilot a drone swarm
2
We supply a solution, including all hardware (drones & firmware) and software required to run drone shows, as one pack.
3
You receive a complimentary set of ready- to-launch show scenarios for a quick start.
4
We share the complete documentation with you to apply for the CAA permit in Europe.
5
You benefit from marketing, PR and expert support of the entire drone show provider community.
#3: Selecting drones for drone show fleets
How to select drones for drone show fleets and what may go wrong here
(spoiler - quite a lot of things!).

This article is all about our dealing with various manufacturers and even constructing own fleet from scratch. Nowadays, we advise our future and existing partners on how to choose the drones in line with local legislation, weather conditions, payloads, and other factors.

However, we started from a different ground.


Almost five years back, when Drone Show Software just entered the market, we were obsessed with the idea to create our own drones to fly shows. And we actually did that: our tiny team spent many months and many sleepless nights with a soldering iron and wrench, tuning the drones constructed from custom elements and spare parts available on the market.


Then a flamboyant success of flying our first 50 drones followed, with all 50 taking off, moving according to the pre-designed paths, and landing almost successfully (all except one, which never made it home from a nearby tree). We were proud of ourselves and continued building more and more drones, until we realized that we spent more time mending the drones than flying them.


Since that time, the market has evolved, and new drone show providers technically do not need to burden themselves with manufacturing their own drones. They can rely on UAV manufacturers, specialized in producing drones for shows. The Drone Show Software technicians test at least three new drone models quarterly and will be glad to advise you on compatible and reliable drones.

The lessons learned from playing a UAV manufacturer:
While you might be a great engineer, for safety reasons please opt for a reliable manufacturer. Making UAVs in-house, you’ll have to wait many months for the first show to take place. The time until you fly your first show can be as short as one month if you work with a reliable manufacturer.
#4: How to fly your first drone show in a month?
A step-by-step guide explaining a launch of a drone show business

The first steps are always considered the most important to further success. Our practice shows that it takes an average of one month for an emerging drone show provider to get started and fly its first commercial show.

A good team is crucial when establishing a drone show company. At least, you need:
1
Operator:
someone who knows all the ins and outs of working with Drone Show Software and all the necessary hardware
2
Drone Pilot / Technician:
a person responsible for drones, their condition, batteries, and configuration, and being also able to pilot a drone manually and assist the Operator with the software when needed.
3
Creative Mind:
a person having a big picture in mind of how the show should look like, and being able to pitch the idea to customers.
4
It will also be beneficial to engage an animation software professional (Blender, Cinema 4D, Maya, etc.). However, this is not a must-do, since animation can be ordered from a third party.
Purchase a Drone Show Software package

You may request our help in calculating the payback period, ROI, etc. given your region and local specifics. Also, if you raise funds, we will help you justify the launch of a drone show business to your investor.
Complete the training

Once you have the team, it is time to take the Drone Show Software training to learn how the shows are made and what drones to use. This will set you on the right path to launch your own first drone show.
Get the fleet delivered

The delivery time depends on the number of drones and the manufacturer; however, the best practice is to mind the lead time and order the fleet a few weeks in advance. This way, once your profs pass the training, the fleet arrives and the team is ready for the first launch.
HOW PROFITABLE IS IT?
The new business can start to pay off after six shows. The more drones you have in your fleet, the faster the break-even point comes. Our team can help you calculate the break-even point specific to your business.
Learn more about
“How to start drone show business”
from our existing customers:
Nick Kowalski
Celestial / UK

Nicholas Kowalski is a UK based drone operator/engineer who has been building and operating UAVs since 2015. Nick’s experience in drone manufacturing and use, for civil and military purposes led him to co-found Celestial who started operating in the UK in 2020. During this time Celestial has provided shows for clients such as Edinburgh New Year’s Hogmanay, Amnesty International and Greenpeace
Patrice Guy
Northstar Fireworks Inc / Canada

Patrice is a 33-year veteran of the international pyrotechnics industry. He is the Co-owner and Technical Director of Northstar Fireworks Inc. and is the former Vice- chairman of the Canadian Pyrotechnic Council. His specialty is in Pyro musical Design, Show Production and Drone Light Shows. Most recently, Patrice served as the Technical Director of 2017, 2018, and 2019 editions of the Philippines International Pyro Musical Competition.
Marc Loosli
Swiss Drone Show AG / Switzerland

Marc previously worked for a major telecommunications company in Switzerland in the area of software development and operation of complex platforms. Today, he is responsible for the innovation department of a major Swiss telecommunications company. Two years ago, he founded the Swiss Drone Show AG, together with four co-founders, and currently works as Vice President and CTO.
#5: Bottlenecks of drone show business
How to overcome the most common risks and obstacles on the way to success in drone show business.
#1
RISK
SAFETY

Preflight checks, as well as technical and software enhancements, like built-in distance checking tool (minimizes the risk of collision) for animations, add the extra layer of safety.

Drone Show Software holds the CAA permit to perform drone swarm flights and is compliant with JARUS SORA risk assessment process.

Dual geofence

guarantees that the drone stays within the limited area and avoids areas with spectators.
Control interface
enables the operator to land each drone at any time during the show.
An independent Red button
is the third layer, which uses a separate computer to stop the show and safely land the drones.
#2
RISK
ANIMATION

As we’ve already explained, employing a person capable of working with any animation software will be very beneficial.


However, there are more options to choreograph drone flight positions and RGB LED light effects.

  1. Ready-to-use samples
Drone Show Software comes with a package of ready-to-launch choreography scenarios for various events, such as offers of marriage, weddings, birthday parties, national holidays, and even surprise shows for outdoor events.
Explore the samples.
2. Choreography-as-a-service
Order animation as a service from experienced animators. Also, if you need a hand with an animation task, you can always reach out us.
3. Drone Show Creator
Purchase Drone Show Creator and orchestrate drone formations and animate colors, calculate safe trajectories, merge key scenes to each other automatically and create a formation based on 2D images. The learning curve is pretty short compared to traditional options like Blender, Cinema4D, Maya, or 3D Max.
#3
RISK
REGULATIONS

Drone show providers have to comply with local regulations and obtain all the required permits.

The process varies from country to country. To help our partners speed up document drafting, we share the complete CAA permit documentation to apply for the permit in Europe as per EU Regulation 2019/947 and JARUS SORA risk assessment process. Drone Show Software documentation can be taken as a basis.

#4
RISK
COMPETITION

Whatever emerging market you join, it will take months or even years to build brand awareness and earn customer loyalty. Each of our customers becomes part of a huge community.

Community members benefits:
Marketing and PR support from the community
Large community projects participation

Association with other members of the community. For example, a show of 100+ drones organized in cooperation with two Drone Show Software providers
Digital communication platform to communicate within the community
Experience, ideas, animation and resources exchange

Let's have an online meeting to discuss the next steps!

Eriks Pastars
Sales Manager
eriks.pastars@ugcs.com
LinkedIn
Alexander Levandovsky
Head of Drone Show Software Business
alevandovskiy@ugcs.com
LinkedIn