Skymagic’s spectacular drone show as part of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations has, according to its founder Mungo Denison, sparked huge interest in the technology. He tells Access about the next steps for the company.
Since its launch in 2015, as an arm of event design studio New Substance, Skymagic has delivered multi-drone light shows in more than 20 territories worldwide, from the UK to United Arab Emirates and Japan, but its work on the Queen’s Jubilee concert has taken interest in the company to another level.
“The attention has been off the scale for us, we’re a small company and we are not aggressively going after that type of exposures but it has been fantastic,” says Skymagic founder and director Mungo Denison.
The show was watched by a TV audience of more than 13m people in the UK alone, resulted in extensive media news coverage worldwide and even saw Skymagic being asked by the team at ABC Good Morning America to create a drone show for them. But Denison says it was a phone call from a 92-year-old member of the public that was among the most gratifying reactions.
“He said it had taken him five days to track me down, he was furious with the BBC for not putting a credit for us at the end of the programme, and he just wanted to say ‘thank you, it was amazing’,” says Denison.
Having been commissioned by BBC Studios to deliver the show above Buckingham Palace, Skymagic used its 3D animation suite to design and choreograph a 400-drone performance that included a range of multi-coloured images including a corgi dog and a postage stamp with the Monarch’s face on it.
It’s a long way from Skymagic’s first commercial show back in 2016 that involved a 40-drone display marking a theme park opening for Dubai Parks And Resorts. Since then, it has staged numerous shows worldwide, with two consecutive London New Year’s Eve displays among the most notable in the UK. Within weeks of the Jubilee, Skymagic delivered the UK’s largest ever drone light show. Marking the launch of the Paramount+ streaming service, a 600-drone display was created above Hollywood, near Birmingham.
With all of Skymagic’s software and hardware being proprietary, Denison says the “sky is the limit” when it comes to the number of drones that can be used. The biggest issue for clients is the larger the volume of drones, the bigger the take-off area required, which is a key consideration when looking to do an activation in a metropolitan area.
While it is not possible to fly the drones directly above audiences, Denison says there has been a lot of interest from major festivals such as Coachella and Tomorrowland: “We are talking to festival operators about shows next year. Often festival operators don’t have the budgets for such sizeable add-ons so it’s a case of trying to wrap it in with a sponsor.”
The company has a fleet of more than 1000 drones and is able to create both indoor and outdoor activations. As well as its fleet of drones equipped with LED lights that are visible for 2km, Skymagic offers a PyroDrone fleet that has been used for a display that broke the Guinness World Record for the ‘most unmanned aerial vehicles launching fireworks simultaneously’.
Says Denison, “We are exploring lasers mounted on the drones and looking at the ability to fire lasers from the ground to hit the drones. That’s in development at the moment, we’re always looking to push the envelope where we can.”