Virtual Space Needle light show for New Year’s celebration in Seattle

Needle show in Seattle

Real, authentic fireworks shows are pretty amazing. But the virtual version isn’t too shabby, either.

The Space Needle and Seattle Center didn’t host their traditional in-person New Year’s celebration this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Instead, like many groups this year, they pivoted. Terry Morgan, CEO and owner of Seattle-based Modern Enterprises, helped put together a special video production that replaced fireworks with graphics.

It uses digital mapping technology with a twist, as layers of images are laid over real video of the Needle, shot in advance from multiple camera angles.

The reaction was mixed after the show aired on TV and streamed online. Some YouTube users left comments such as “mindblowing” and “this is stunning!” Others on Twitter said “it just didn’t have that same effect,” and “lame.”

Regardless, it’s definitely impressive creative work, and offers a reasonable alternative to the “real thing.” Watching the virtual show in the comfort of your own home isn’t a bad option.

Morgan partnered with Maxin10sity out of Budapest, Hungary, who he worked with on another unique art and light show in Seattle in 2018, called “Borealis.”

The Needle has added some tech flare beyond just fireworks in recent years. In 2018, a choreographed light show was added to shoot powerful beams of light into the night sky.


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