Watch: Edinburgh unveils 'home of Hogmanay’ film finale to herald arrival of 2021

A symbol of a giant handshake above the home of Scottish rugby has heralded the arrival of 2021 in the finale of a short film underlining Edinburgh’s claim to be ‘the home of Hogmanay’.

A swarm of drones was deployed to create the effect above Murrayfield Stadium for the specially-commissioned film expected to have been seen by millions of people around the world by New Year’s Day.

The film features spectacular footage created to accompany a new three-part poem, Fare Well, by Scots Makar Jackie Kay, the final part of which declares “good riddance to the last page torn from this scunnered year".

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More than 1.2 million people were said to have seen the first two parts of the film around the world before the final instalment - which also featured drone effects created above Edinburgh Castle, Calton Hill and Portobello Beach - was released.

All three parts are expected to be released together on the official Edinburgh’s Hogmanay website on New Year’s Day.

The special effects, which also saw symbols of a stag, an eagle and even a new-born baby appear against a backdrop of some of the most iconic views of Edinburgh, were all created in the Highlands.

Kay can be heard reading excerpts of her own poem in the film, with actors David Tennant, Siobhan Redmond and Lorne MacFadyen among the other Scots making contributions.

The final lines of the three-part poem, which was accompanied by a soundtrack created by Skye-based electronica band Niteworks, are read as drone effects are created above the Forth Bridges.

They state: “We share the planet’s air. What’s yours is mine

"There ur seeds on the air which wull be trees.

“Choreography on the air, danced by bees.

"There's auld licht made braw by a billion stars.”

A 'drone swarm' was used to create an image of a handshake above Murrayfield Stadium in the final part of the Hogmanay film

Hogmanay festival producers Underbelly revealed they had been planning to stage live drone displays in the sky above Edinburgh, but were forced to rethink their plans due to the heightened coronavirus restrictions imposed in the city since plans were first drawn up six months ago.

The public funding for the project from the city council and the Scottish Government has not been disclosed, but is understood to be well over half a million pounds.

Director Charlie Wood said: “I’m really pleased with the final film, which is beautiful, creative, imaginative and innovative, and tells a great story of Scotland, for Scotland.

“I’d much rather have been on the streets of Edinburgh, but out of the disaster that 2020 has been, I think we’ve produced something really extraordinary and exceptional with all the creatives and artist that have been involved with the project.

Drone sequences were filmed in the Highlands and superimposed onto footage of vantage points across Edinburgh.

"Our original idea around six months ago was to do a live drone show. We had very long, but good, discussions with the city council and the Scottish Government, which resulted in a decision not to do do anything live and to film the drones remotely in the Highlands.

“We have been saying to the council and the government throughout 2020 how important it was for Edinburgh and Scotland to maintain their position as the home of Hogmanay.

"Our challenge was to produce an event that kept Edinburgh and Scotland at the forefront of the world’s attention. I think we did that and put artists at the forefront of an extraordinary creative achievement.”

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Edinburgh's Hogmanay short film is expected to be seen by millions around the world.

Joy Yates

Editorial Director

Edinburgh Castle is among the famous Edinburgh landmarks featured in the finale of the official Hogmanay film, which has replaced the city's world-famous street party.
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