2015 is just around the corner, and we are about to wrap up another really successful year for filmmaking. We’ve seen much new favourable gear throughout the year that has been released, tons of amazing 4K footage, a bunch of fantastic new cameras popping up, and some great gimbals.
The past year was quite extraordinary, as it saw the evolving drone (UAS) technology provided some really compact and super efficient smart flying gadgets that gave us a whole new perspective and unique cinematic experience by pushing the creative boundaries of our imagination even further. On Christmas Day, we are recaping some of the most memorable and breathtaking visual masterpieces of aerial cinematography captured from a bird’s-eye view up in the sky.
AERIAL CAPE TOWN
Aerial Cape Town, South Africa, by Phantom 2 from Eric Cheng on Vimeo.
With 330 000+ views on Vimeo, this short aerial film shot by Eric Cheng reveals the beauty of Cape Town and its surrounding area, including Lion’s Head, Table Mountain, Cape Point, Hout Bay, Simon’s Town, and Seal Island. The footage was captured with DJI Phantom 2 with Zenmuse H3-3D gimbal on GoPro HERO 3+ Black.
OK GO – I WON’T LET YOU DOWN
The video of the American alternative rock band OK Go “I Won’t Let You Down”already has more than 16 million views on YouTube only two months after its release and it’s definitely on of the best a must-see music videos of 2014. It features the band members riding self-balancing unicycles and an army of dancers joining up motley umbrellas.
The most attractive part here is how seamlessly the camera moves from ground level at the beginning of the video to birds-eye-view up in the sky in the end.
KOH YAO NOI
Koh Yao Noi from Philip Bloom on Vimeo.
One of the early and keen adopters of DSLR video shooting and now of the drone cinematography as well, Philip Bloom captured this stunning footage of Koh Yao Noi, an island in Thailand while being there on a holiday trip. The video becomes viral in no time and is definitely one of my favourites here. It was entirely shot with the GoPro Hero 3+ in 2.7K mode.
POSTCARDS FOR PRIPYAT, CHERNOBYL
Postcards from Pripyat, Chernobyl from Danny Cooke on Vimeo.
Armed with a camera and a dosimeter Geiger counter Danny Cooke visited Chernobyl whilst working for CBS News on a ’60 Minutes’ episode which aired earlier this year revealing the real post-apocalyptic landscape of Town of Pripyat abandoned by its citizens evacuated by the Soviet authorities right after the nuclear disaster 30 years ago. The short was shot using DJI Phantom 2 with a GoPro3+ cmaera and Canon 7D.
ERAPTURION AT BARDARBUNGA VOLCANO
This is the second video of Eric Cheng for today who is actually a director of aerial imaging for drone manufacturer DJI, so there is no surprise that we mentioned him in this post once again. This time, he and the landscape photographer Ragnar Th took a trip to Iceland when the Bardarbunga volcano was actively erupting.
Both managed to get so close to the eruption that the heat actually melted the front of the GoPro camera they were filming with. Luckily for both cinematographers and millions of viewers around the world, the footage survived as the final result is more than impressive, indeed.
Solstice from STURGEFILM on Vimeo.
Being Staff Pick on Vimeo, Soltice reveals the beauty of Alaska’s summer wilderness where “the magic hour is never just an hour”. Again, the footage was shot with the Phantom 2 and the GoPro Hero 3+ camera.
It’s hard to believe that this footage was capture in a course of two days only. Tim Browning’s aerial video of Mongolia is another proof that you don’t need the most expensive gear in the world to capture plethora of mind blowing moving images from a height.
FIREWORKS FILMED WITH A DRONE
Sending a compact quadcopter equipped with a camera into the middle of an extravagant fireworks up in the night sky is probably not a wise decision, especially for the owner of the gear, however the risk might pay off in the end. This is exactly what Jos Stiglingh did with his DJI Phantom and the resulting footage offers an outstanding viewing experience.
TEAM BLACKSHEEP IN DUBAI
If you ever wondered what is the feeling of flying around the top of the tallest building in the world Burj Halifa in Dubai. This truly great drone video shot by Team BlackSheep probably would give you all the answers.
MAD//13 – Madrid Aerial Demo-Reel from cromatica45 on Vimeo.
Despite of the fact the video was actually shot and released in the end of 2013, it become even more popular this year. The show reel of the Madrid City providing only aerial footage from different places of the city was captured with a DJI Phantom drone and was produced by the Spanish production company Cromatica45.
These exceptional drone videos demonstrate the true potential and the endless possibilities of aerial videography. I’m sure that we are about to see even more inspiring aerial footage in the next year as the technology will continue to evolve and blend with the artistic vision of thousands of passionate shooters all around the world providing some of the most outstanding aerial cinematography masterpieces created so far.
[via www.smithsonianmag.com, YouTube, Vimeo]