Space Needle fans already know it’s is already one of the most distinct and rather iconic pieces of architecture we have in the United States. Heck, it practically looks like a UFO landed on top of a few pillars and just stuck there permanently. The “space-age” feel lends itself to a certain gestalt, standing in stark contrast to the rest of its surroundings and making it one of the truly cool landmarks we have. And on New Year’s Eve, viewers were treated to quite the visual display with a virtual light show around the Space Needle that transformed it into what can only be described as its rightful place in the universe.
Check this out in clips from the show below…
You can watch the full show in its entirety here.
And if you don’t want to sit through the video, here are a few of the many (many) different patterns put on display at the Space Needle this New Year’s Eve.
It’s tough to take your eyes off the light patterns and almost mesmerizing visuals that transformed the Space Needle into an attraction unlike we’ve really ever seen around an actual physical structure. But before you have a wave of FOMO hit you, thinking you missed out on one of the truly stunning displays of our time by not heading into downtown Seattle and checking this out for yourself, don’t worry. Know that the “fireworks” and other visuals were only viewable online. If you were standing under the Space Needle when the clock struck midnight, it looked very much like it does every other night.
The virtual display at the Space Needle, airing on television and the web, was done through a combination of sky-mapping and digital-mapping technology along with real-life video footage. The group in charge of the presentation was Modern Enterprises who Seattle residents might recognize as the group that puts on the yearly Borealis Festival of Light. The company, which does massive event planning in the city, looked like they pulled out all the stops for this one-time show, dazzling the screen for over ten minutes when the clock first hit 2021.
Sky and digital mapping technology allow for visuals to be layered over an actual area on the screen, essentially creating a combination of imposed light that appears as if it’s actually happening in real-time. The technology is already used in various astronomical apps and functions, helping people see constellations and planets when gazing at the night sky, or mapping out how areas may have looked in the past. It’s fascinating stuff and in this case, was used to make it appear as if an other-worldly light show was happening around the Space Needle.
With pandemic-related closings shutting down typical public gatherings for New Year’s Eve, the Space Needle light show was broadcast on local television stations and on the Space Needle website as well. This is the first time in three decades that a fireworks show didn’t go off for Seattle residents with the decision made to go virtual only. Making the best of a bad situation, this display definitely delivered.
We might see more and more celebrations going this Space Needle route, utilizing budding technology to put on a show that visually dwarfs anything fireworks could ever offer remains to be seen. This first go-around 100% hit the mark, creating a truly out-of-this-world experience.