Portraits of leaders in the sky

Portraits of leaders in the sky
Drone show in Saudi Arabia

In November, Geoscan became the first company to create accurate drone-made images of the leaders of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia: the king and the prince. The light show took place in Riyadh, and it was timed to coincide with the opening of the Boulevard season. 2300 drones soared into the sky!

It was the biggest drone show in Saudi Arabia; moreover, those portraits were the largest ones in the world, with each being 300 metres in height.

It was a challenge during the show preparation to convey shades of the face, shadows, details with the help of only 2300 ‘pixels’ — so, to make a sky portrait that it looks like a real person. It might seem easy: just redraw the face from the photo. However, there are more nuances in this job.

The expression of the eyes, the width of the nose, and the turn of the head were important for recognition. It was also necessary to highlight many minutiae: the folds on the keffiyeh, the angle of inclination of the rings worn on it, the special collar of the national costume — as well as to make all these details natural. In general, during the preparation of the show, the animators plunged into all the subtleties of Arab culture. By the way, in addition to proportions, details and exact features, the volume was also taken into account: the portraits were in 3D format. It turned out to be almost a hologram.

Semyon Lapko, head of the drone show department, says, ‘We carefully prepared for the launch, checking everything down to the smallest detail. No one has ever made such realistic portraits in the air. In a sense, we have brought art to a new level: once people painted on a rock, then on a canvas, and now they are painting in the air!'

  • 1 December 2021
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