Drake: Taking Drones On The Road

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(Robbie Rodick)

Drake is on the road with his 2018 Aubrey and the Three Migos Tour, and his high-tech show includes a video stage by Tait and a flutter of drones provided by Verity Studios for the songs “Elevate” and “Look Alive.” Live Design chats with Raffaello D’Andrea, founder and CEO of Verity Studios, on Drake’s use of their drones.

Live Design: How did Drake come to want drones on his tour? Raffaello D’Andrea: We’ve heard a few stories around this. Apparently, someone from Drake’s team saw the drones at Metallica and was impressed.

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LD: How did Verity get involved?

RDA: We were approached by Steve Kidd, Drake’s tour manager, who told us Drake wanted drones in his show, but that he wanted something that had never been seen before. From there, we started working on different concepts with the creative team. After seeing the concepts, the Drake team confirmed in early June they wanted our drones, and we built the drones, shipped the system, and arrived on site in just two weeks.

LD: Who is the lighting designer for the tour, and how did you collaborate with them?

RDA: The creative director for the tour is Willo Perron; the tour manager is Steve Kidd; and the lighting designer is Jesse Blevins. When we were approached by the creative team, we first worked with them to understand their creative vision. Our drone choreographers then came up with some concepts, which we presented as 3D pre-visualizations. Once on site, we made around 40 iterations on the choreographies until everyone was happy.

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LD: What are the drones doing in the show, and how do they perform? How many drones are involved?

RDA: The number of Lucie® micro drones that perform varies from venue to venue. But it’s around 88 drones. For the first song, “Elevate,” they wanted something organic and ethereal. So, we modeled the choreography after a swarm of bees, which follows Drake as he goes from one end of the stage to the other. For “Look Alive,” we came up with a concept of a wave of drones that undulates above Drake before transforming into a 3D cross. Both choreographies are completely new concepts that we’ve never done before. Our drones are accompanying Drake for the whole 2018 Aubrey and the Three Migos Tour in North America, which amounts to 66 shows in 25 locations.

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