How Much Does A Drone Light Show Cost?

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Drone light shows are an exciting way to make any event memorable. A great drone light show can brighten the night sky with dazzling colors and patterns. But how much does a drone light show cost? And is it easy to get approval to use the airspace?

A small, simple drone light show may cost anywhere from $1,000 to $3,000. Larger and more complex shows could cost up to $10,000. The final cost may depend on many factors, such as location, logistics, and complexity. Drone types also can affect cost. 

Some drone light shows have over 500 drones and they look like 3D animations in the sky – an incredible array of technology and artistry combined for an outdoor drone light show that will blow you away. 

I’ve been to a number of drone light show performances and I have been blown away by the ability to fly drones in an incredibly precise way.

Typically the drone shows use about 300 drones in different stages throughout the performance. Because of the limited battery size the drone show company needs to stagger the drones flying.

The size of the show, the type of show that is being performed, and the type of performance that you request all dictate the price.


In this article, let’s look at how much a drone light show costs. We will also look at the average cost ranges for different types of drone light shows. 

We also discuss if a drone light show is better than a traditional fireworks show.

What Is A Drone Light Show / Drone show?

A drone light show is a spectacle of beautiful colors and patterns created by fleets of drones in the night sky. The drones are usually equipped with LED lights. They then fly in a predetermined path to create a stunning display that can be seen from miles away.

Drone light shows are becoming popular. You may see them in concerts, festivals, events, and functions. Drone light shows offer an exciting and environmentally-friendly alternative to traditional fireworks displays. 

You can also program drone light shows to create intricate displays. These may not be replicable by a traditional fireworks show. As you’re looking at a drone show the perspective is very different to a traditional firework show. The light show drones provide depth, extended viewing time and complex 3D animations in the sky.

GreatHigh, a Chinese drone company, performed the world’s current biggest drone light show. Using 5,164 drones, they achieved the feat in 2022.

However, 50 drones may be all you need in an intimate setting – whilst other larger shows may use up to 200 or more drones.

How Much Does A Drone Light Show Cost?

When it comes to drone light shows, the costs can range widely. This is because many factors play a role in determining a show’s final costs.

For example, a small, simple show may cost anywhere from $1000 – $3000. Larger and more complex shows could cost up to $10,000.

A simpler show may use a small number of drones. The maneuvers and movements the drones need to do may also be simple. The choreography may come from cookie-cutter templates. This means no custom programming is needed. 

The lighting on the drones may also be in a single color and not very bright. The show may also be shorter. This is because the drones may not have large enough battery capacity. As a result, they cannot stay in the air for long.

For an expensive show, you may see many drones involved up into the thousands. These drones are also high-quality drones with powerful batteries. This means they can fly and power the lighting longer.  Also, the company will fly drones in batches to increase the amount of time and complexity of the show.

The maneuvers and formations may also be unique. This means they have never been seen elsewhere. As a result, they need to be custom-programmed using mapping software.

Complex shows usually result in longer work hours to prepare. This usually results in higher costs. 

What Factors Affect The Cost Of A Drone Light Show? How many drones, types of drones and more

A few factors can influence the cost of drone light shows. These could be the event size, location, and complexity. The types of drones used could also affect the final cost of a drone light show.

Event Size – Booking a drone light show

This may not need mentioning, but the larger the event, the larger the spectacle needs to be. This means you will need a show that uses more drones. Since shows with more drones may be more complex, more people would be needed to execute them. 

Since more people are also viewing the show, they may also be viewing it from a further distance. This means the drones used for the show need to be high-quality, with very good lighting.

Combined, these factors would increase the cost of a drone light show.

Location And Logistics

Depending on the location, your drone light show’s cost may also differ. Suppose you are planning a drone light show in an outdoor space in the city. In this case, your cost should be higher than usual.

This is because you may need to check for possible obstructions. Often, you will also need permission from the local authorities to conduct a drone light show too. These should result in extra billable work hours, which means higher costs.

Suppose you are to conduct your drone show in more rural, harder-to-reach areas. In this case, the logistics cost will go up since it would be harder to transport the drones to the location. Set-up work would also be harder.

Complexity – how many drones are used

Drone light shows can range from simple to complex. Basic animations and simple shapes are easy to produce. More elaborate designs or sequences need more sophisticated methods.

The complex performance will also need advanced mapping software with custom programming. More people may also be needed to prepare the drones if the show is complex enough to need many drones.

You can also say that a complex show may also be longer. This means more programming, training, and rehearsal to ensure a smooth show.

All these mean extra work, pushing up the cost of your drone light show.

Types of Drones Used and drone light show software

Professional-grade drones offer brighter and more impressive displays than smaller, consumer-grade models. Higher-grade drones come with brighter, more powerful LED lights.

They also have powerful batteries that can sustain longer flight times. These drones are also tougher and can operate in harsher temperatures and weather. This means the drones will stay in formation even if strong winds blow during the show.

If you use these high-quality drones for your drone light show, your cost will definitely go up.

Are Drone Light Shows Better Than Firework Shows? What drone light show companies are worried about.

Generally, drone light shows may be better than fireworks shows. This is because it is more environmentally friendly. At the same time, it can generate a spectacle like a fireworks show.

Yet, fireworks shows may be more steeped in tradition and have better sound effects. Fireworks show also may generate a higher sense of anticipation. This should result in a higher sense of excitement.

Why Drone Light Shows Are Better

Many believe drone light shows are better because it is more environmentally friendly.

This makes a lot of sense since, unlike fireworks that generate fire and smoke, drone shows do not. Aside from that, drone light shows do not leave debris on the ground after the show. 

Drones could also be reused after a show, unlike fireworks. Once you blow up the fireworks, they are gone. Over the long term, drone light shows may save up more resources.

Drone light shows also do not generate explosive noise, unlike fireworks. This means it will not scare the birds away. Birds have been known to die from fireworks shows. This could have been prevented if the show was a drone light show instead.

Why Fireworks Shows Are Better

Firework shows could still be better than drone light shows in several ways as well. First is that fireworks shows are deeply steeped in tradition.

For example, the Chinese like lighting firecrackers during the Lunar New Year. They believe the exploding sounds will scare away evil spirits and bad luck. 

The same could be said in Britain. There is a tradition of lighting firecrackers to celebrate Guy Fawkes day. These are traditions that drone light shows simply cannot replace.

Fireworks show usually come with loud explosive sounds. This may be exciting to many spectators. The explosions also add some sense of anticipation to the show, which may be hard for drones to replicate. 

The Author

Dr Andrew Stapleton is a Drone pilot, Writer and YouTuber with a PhD in science. His drone footage has been featured on TV (ABC Documentary) and he has written and/or produced videos for Science Alert, COSMOS magazine, and Australia's Science Channel among others. He has been a drone pilot for many years and has flown many types of drones.