Watch: 600 drones recreate Vincent van Gogh's 'Starry Night' in the sky in record-breaking show

The event set the record for the longest animation performed by unmanned aerial vehicles

Vincent van Gogh’s Starry Night has returned to its celestial origins, setting a Guinness World Record in the process.

Hundreds of neon-lit drones took to the night's sky over China's Tianjin University to tell the story of the Dutch post-impressionist and pay tribute to his works.

The 600 drones mapped out several instantly recognisable motifs from the painter’s oeuvre, including the crescent Moon and spirals of light in the Starry Night. The drones also flew in formations alluding to the painter’s self-portraits, as well as works such as The Mulberry Tree in Autumn and the Sunflowers series.

Drone production company, EFYI Group, along with the university, set a new world record for the longest animation performed by unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) with a time of 26 minutes and 19 seconds. Though the event took place on December 18, the Guinness World Records announced the achievement earlier this month.

According to the record’s guidelines, participating drones must generate 12 images per second in order to be considered animated.

"When it comes to animation, it’s a challenge for drones to perform it. For the previous drone demonstrations, it was a picture flying to another picture. Making a full-length animation is a difficult challenge for the whole team, both technically and creatively," Zhang Siqi, chief operating officer of the EFYI Group, said. "Animation is a way to tell a story, to tell something that you want to tell.”

The drones that took part in the air show were all Agile Bee II models, weighing 1.45 kilograms and flying at 10 metres per second. The model can stay airborne for up to 38 minutes.

Guinness World Records adjudicator Maggie Luo, who attended the event, said the new record raises the bar for UAV position accuracy and may lead the institution to put forward higher requirements for the record.

Updated: February 28, 2021 02:06 PM


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