Here's what the opening ceremonies were supposed to look like live. Everything is managed from a central computer system, which coordinates the drones on the fly based on things like individual battery life and GPS signal.
"In order to create a real and lifelike version of the snowboarder with more than 1,200 drones, our animation team used a photo of a real snowboarder in action to get the ideal outline and shape in the sky", says Natalie Cheung, Intel's general manager of drone light shows.
US viewers tuned in to a tape-delayed broadcast on Friday night that showed rehearsal footage from December, when Intel's light show broke the Guinness World Record for flying the most drones, 1,280, simultaneously.
Intel is among the corporate sponsors for the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang that are taking the opportunity to promote its products and services before the global audience.
Intel's Shooting Star drones are designed specifically for entertainment purposes, providing an indoor-outdoor alternative to fireworks.
The Olympics opening ceremony is always a big show, and this year was no exception, with Intel joining in on the fun with a record-setting performance of 1,218 Shooting Star drones flying in sync to create huge light-up images of Olympic sports and the iconic Olympic rings in the skies over Pyeongchang.
Using Intel's 3-D animator tools and simulation software, the company choreographed the flight patterns and coded the drones to display a fraction of their possible 4 billion color combinations. You might remember a similar spectacle at Lady Gaga's 2017 Super Bowl half-time show, but that only involved about 300 drones. "I think Korea could have taken better advantage of the opportunity to promote its own, homegrown tech".
But during Friday's evening broadcast, Intel will also organize the drones to resemble a snowboarder racing down a slope. That didn't keep the television network from highlighting the moment.