Drones For Hogmanay
Written by Lucy Black   
Friday, 31 December 2021

Too Good To Miss: Seeing in the New Year in Scotland's capital city, Edinburgh. is usually a really big thing, shared on television by millions worldwide. This year's event has been cancelled due to Coronavirus restrictions, but we can still enjoy last year's drone display.


(Originally appeared 1st January 2021)

No not bagpipe drones - the flying kind. Just in case you don't know, Hogmanay is how Scots welcome in the New Year. This is the first time I've seen a drone display that beats fireworks.

First the non-techie part:

"Hogmanay is the Scottish name for new year celebrations. ... Dr Donna Heddle, an expert from the University of the Highlands and Islands, explained: "The name could also come from the Anglo-Saxon 'haleg monath' meaning 'holy month'." Some say it could come from the Scandinavian 'hoggo-nott' meaning 'yule'"

Whatever the name, there are usually fireworks, but this year Edinburgh city used drones and it was the most effective display I've seen.

Now for the techie part:

Drone show pioneers, Celestial have used sophisticated AI software to choreograph their movements, the drones reached an altitude of 150m and top speeds of up to 25mph to form images created by Scottish illustrator, Gary Wilson. Reflecting both the words from [a poem by Jackie Kay] and the surrounding nature of the Highlands, the drones depict a series of images including a stunning Stag galloping across the scenery and the Saltire Cross.

Now for the video part:

and Part 2:

and finally Part 3

The poem is good to - all in all a successful artistic blend and yes impressive.

"Lending their voices to part one are renowned actors David TennantSiobhan Redmond and Lorne MacFadyen; with 25-year-old native Gaelic speaker Winnie from the Isle of Skye completing the line-up, all to a musical score from Skye-based Celtic fusion band, Niteworks."

Only a short time ago drones were clunky and drone displays were about getting the maximum number of machines into the air and competing for simple spectacle with fireworks. For my money there was, and cannot be, a contest - when it comes to spectacle fireworks are brighter and louder. But when it comes to subtle and artistic, drones certainly seem to have won.



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Last Updated ( Friday, 31 December 2021 )