Lady Gaga's Super Bowl Drones Weren't Performing Live

The hundreds of coordinated Intel drones actually performed earlier in the week. 

YouTube / NFL

For tech nerds like us at The Drive, one of the highlights of last night's Super Bowl halftime show was Lady Gaga's opening number, in which a swarm of Intel drones danced in meticulously choreographed precision in the sky behind the singer while she performed on the roof of Houston's NRG Stadium before she descended onto the field to sing for the assembled crowd.

Well...not quite. As it turns out, Gaga's inspired pre-jump installment of Dancing With Drones didn't occur live. It was taped several days in advance, according to The Verge, which received word from Intel. The whole bit where Gaga performed "God Bless America" and Woody Guthrie's "This Land Is Your Land" in front of a constellation of unmanned autonomous vehicles that formed, among other shapes, the American flag? Pre-recorded. 

Blame the Federal Aviation Administration and its pesky no-fly zone around the stadium, which apparently did not include a halftime show exemption. The FAA shut down the airspace for more than 30 miles around the Super Bowl—a ban, the agency clearly stated, that also included UAVs. 

Live or not, however, the drone show was still one hell of a spectacle. Intel used 300 of its Shooting Star drones—quadcopters roughly the size of a hubcap—for the performance, according to The Verge. Each Shooting Star weighs roughly an ounce, can fly for about 20 minutes on a charge, and comes equipped with LEDs that can blast out light in four billion different colors.