Londoners were treated to a collaboration between Ars Electronics FutureLab and Ascending Technologies when they used about 30 quadcopters to form a 3D Star Trek logo in the night sky a couple of weeks ago.
Every Star Trek fan I know probably has the video of the said event on their computers, tablets and smartphones, which may seem to be the perfect indicator of how successful Paramount’s “Star Trek – Into Darkness” would be once it comes out in theaters on May 9. But will it be really as successful as the rest of the franchise?
The quadcopters, four-rotor mini-whirlybirds or Spaxels, rose above Potters Fields Park near London’s Tower Bridge in conjunction of the Earth Hour. You can only imagine just how beautiful of a sight that made on the evening of March 23.
Horst Hörtner, director of Ars Electronica FutureLab, was mighty proud of his collaboration with Ascending Technologies. He said this project from Paramount Pictures attest to the worldwide interest their quadcopters generated when it was launched at the Klangwolke in September last year.
To be able to create the Star Trek logo, a ground flight control station communicated with each quadcopter to determine their location. It also helped in keeping them on course. The quadcopters also communicated with each other, so that they know where they are exactly. They used 2.4GHz channel to precisely coordinate the 30 moving quadcopters. So although Londoners have witnessed a lot of aesthetically beautiful night shows in the past months, this particular night show is especially appealing to thousands of Star Trek fans out there.
And to keep in line with the Earth Hour, the quadcopters used batteries that were charged using Austria’s green energy from its renewable energy grid. Key landmarks in London such as The London Eye, the Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament all turned off their lights for Earth Hour. This made the logo’s display much more appealing.
At the end of Earth Hour, the logo reappeared above London’s skyline. The logo hovered above London at a height of 36m (118ft) at the lowest point. At its highest point, it is well above the ground at 130m (426ft). The total height of the logo was an estimated 94 meters or 308ft.
Clever Marketing Idea
The use of the quadcopters to start promoting the movie on May 9, which is not receiving the expected anticipation, is a good way to psych the UK and Ireland moviegoers to come and see it. It is also a good indication that Paramount Pictures is supporting the Earth Hour. It sends a message across that even big shot Hollywood production houses recognize the threat of global warming and climate change.
It is just disconcerting that the film isn’t receiving that much of attention. It remains to be seen whether the promotional gimmick of using the Star Trek logo can increase the excitement for the film in May. Sure, it was a little exciting to see the logo hovering above the London night sky, but will it equate to ticket sales? We will have to wait for May 9 for the answer.