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600 drones light up the skies at SXSW 2023

Sky Elements Drone Shows said the show lasted over an hour and they hope to set a world record.

AUSTIN, Texas — Sky Elements Drone Shows lit up the Austin skies with an hour-long drone show at SXSW.

More than 600 drones lifted off, creating a display of all kinds of light and technology. But the masterminds behind the show had a lofty goal in mind. 

"We're going to be flying the world's longest show, we think, in the world, so we'll be confirming that with Guinness after this is all done. But it is going to be over an hour-long countdown to a special surprise," said Rick Boss, vice president of business development of Sky Elements Drone Shows. 

Near the end of the show, a QR code appeared in the sky. If you scanned the code, you would see that "special surprise." 

"We've been preparing for this moment for probably a year, in the way of testing our technology, working with our technology, really becoming masters in what we do here," said Tyler Johnson with Sky Elements Drone Show.

It is an operation that has required hundreds of hours of work. Drone light shows are programmed by computers and 3D animators. Boss estimates this light show has required at least 50 hours of programming from their 3D animators behind the scenes as well as planning and testing with their pilots.

There is one pilot controlling all the drones. Boss promised a spectacle that was "fun-centric," aiming to grab eyes and bring more attention to this technology.

"More beauty in the sky, more interest fun. And the drones have such unique possibilities in what we can do in the sky and bring to the audience; so just hoping folks keep seeing what's possible and helping us dream for the next," Boss saiid.

The show was viewable from everywhere downtown, ranging from the Colorado River to the Bouldin Creek neighborhood.

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