Thursday, April 18, 2024

Verge Aero drones take center stage at President-Elect Biden victory celebration

When US President-elect Joe Biden delivered his long-awaited victory speech in his home town of Wilmington, Delaware on the evening of Saturday, November 7th, the celebrations culminated with a spectacular drone and pyrotechnic show from Strictly FX. “The creative on this originated with executive producer Ricky Kirshner, of Kirshner Events, who has been the nexus of all the work we’ve done with the DNC,” notes Ted Maccabee, CEO of Strictly FX.

In partnership with Verge Aero, Strictly FX deployed a fleet of 200 state-of-the-art drones for the event. As those below celebrated, the GPS-guided drones lit up the sky with precision choreography, synchronized to a soundtrack which began with Coldplay’s A Sky Full of Stars.

The large-scale aerial imagery, created and refined in line with the Biden campaign’s vision, included red, white and blue stars, Biden’s campaign logo, a map of the USA, ‘46’ and ‘Harris’ – all with Strictly FX’s stunning pyrotechnic accompaniment.

The team worked fast to organize not just the content of the show, but the permissions and logistics required to carry it out. “Since this was a national security situation, the permissions that we had to get from various government entities were incredibly detailed; thankfully, we started on this process three weeks ahead of the election, and we were able to wade through all the authorizations in time to create this once in a lifetime event,” notes Maccabee.

The crew from Verge Aero had challenges as well. Nils Thorjussen, CEO of Verge Aero, adds, “Naturally, there was a vigorous vetting process to satisfy the authorities that the show could be flown safely. However, the flexibility and redundancy built into our system allowed us to meet every security request and scenario that was posed to us.”

With the election’s result delayed, the team was on standby from Tuesday until Saturday, ready to fly the show at a moment’s notice. Thanks to the system’s rapid deployment capability, this was not a problem. “Our ten-person east coast special effects team didn’t know if we were even going to be doing the event until we got the green light from a member of the Biden Camp on Saturday night,” confides Maccabee.

To maintain secrecy and surprise, there was no rehearsal. “The first time we flew the show there was on the night,” says Thorjussen. “This really speaks to the accuracy and robustness of our flight planning software. The client was amazed at the accuracy of our pre-show rendering.”

“We’ve done numerous presidential campaign events, and this one was especially memorable since we were able to add drones into the mix, thanks to our partnership with the very talented professionals at Verge Aero,” concludes Maccabee.

Joe Kleiman
Joe Kleiman
Raised in San Diego on theme parks, zoos, and IMAX films, InPark's Senior Correspondent Joe Kleiman would expand his childhood loves into two decades as a projectionist and theater director within the giant screen industry. In addition to his work in commercial and museum operations, Joe has volunteered his time to animal husbandry at leading facilities in California and Texas and has played a leading management role for a number of performing arts companies. Joe previously served as News Editor and has remained a contributing author to InPark Magazine since 2011. HIs writing has also appeared in Sound & Communications, LF Examiner, Jim Hill Media, The Planetarian, Behind the Thrills, and MiceChat His blog, takes an unconventional look at the attractions industry. Follow on twitter @ThemesRenewed Joe lives in Sacramento, California with his wife, dog, and a ghost.

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