Though Amazon wants to litter our skies with a squadron of drones to block out the sun so that we can more quickly receive our Fire TV Sticks and boxer briefs, the buzzing devices can actually yield some pretty incredible footage, when they’re put in the right hands. Cinematographers and aspiring artists have been using drones to make true visual experiences, rather than annoying topless sunbathers.
Every quadcopter that takes to the skies can make even the most peaceful person feel like testing out their shotgunning skills, but hopefully these 20 amazing drone videos will prove you can take your finger off the trigger.
DIY Drone Flying, Footage
Each of these videos is bottled inspiration, so for those hoping to make their own mark on the world of stunning cinema, we suggest starting with this piece from Drones Globe. They not only break down the top 50 personal drones available, but offer up camera and flying advice for newbies and old pros alike.
Chernobyl: Drone Footage Reveals an Abandoned City
Chernobyl has long been a cautionary tale about the risks inherent in poor management of nuclear power plants. It is the disaster that launched a thousand conspiracy theories about irradiated, subterranean mutants and horror stories about cannibals, but this video shows how nature can heal all the wounds of man.
Ultra HD Phantom Flex4k drone footage
By: Brain Farm
Nothing more than a few trucks splashing around in a puddle, the use of real 4K photography creates a high-def experience and an intense level of slow motion that drones previously haven’t been able to accomplish. If the Zapruder film were shot this well, there’d be no guesswork about the CIA on the grassy knoll.
DJI Phantom – Niagara Falls
A natural wonder captured as never before seen by a mundane piece of machinery, the grandeur of the falls, and the daunting drop has never been given so much care. It’s almost enough to make you rethink that barrel trip you were planning.
Drone’s view of Burning Man 2014
By: Eric Cheng
Even if you’ve been to Burning Man to experience the artistry and hedonistic abandon firsthand, you should give this a watch. It shows the spectacle in a way that honors the loving ritualism, and is easier to remember than attending the actual event through a haze of home-cooked hallucinogens.
Humpback Whales Bubble Feeding Drone Views
Bubble feeding is a rare act that is exclusive to humpback whales, and only done miles out to sea. Here you can see a pod of the beautiful beasts drawing krill up to the surface and then going on a Golden Corral-level binge that will put them in fat pants for months to come.
Space Needle Aerial Drone Footage In Seattle
By: Michael Rusch
Tourists can’t appreciate the Needle the way a Seattle local can. This playful video shot by a drone takes pictures of the picture takers, as well as celebrating the space needle for its architectural accomplishment and elegance, rather than just its view of the city.
Swiss Alps Drone Video – Mount Titlis
By: Thon Bauer
From the top of the slopes, it’s easy to take the majesty of the Swiss Alps for granted, since there’s always some drunk snowboarder yelling at you in a language you will never understand. When you see them shot like this, it’s a humbling and empowering feeling of being atop the world.
Drone View of Different Hong Kong
Hong Kong is a sprawling, chaotic madhouse. At street level it’s filthy, loud, and often dangerous. Get a few stories up, hitching a ride on the lens of a drone-mounted camera, and it becomes an awe-inspiring sea of light that’s peaceful and powerful to behold.
Minnesota is Beautiful
By: Drone Star
With our scant vacation time, most of us would never think to go to Minnesota unless they were hosting a Super Bowl. Here, Minnesota dweller Drone Star shows off why the land of 10,000 lakes is perhaps the Eden many of us seek.
Fireworks Filmed with a Drone
By: Drone Hub
There’s nothing that a good 4th of July fireworks display can’t fix, except maybe PTSD. When you see it from within the fireworks themselves, up-close and big as life, the pop and sizzle becomes an even more fantastic spectacle.
Eruption at Bardarbunga Volcano
If you’re ever this close to a volcanic eruption, odds are that taking pictures of it is going to be the last thing on your mind. Nevertheless, it’s footage of lava like you’ll pray to never see in person.
Drone Flying Through NYC Snow Storm
By: Jonathan Harper
The city that never sleeps can quickly turn into the city that never goes out once a serious snowstorm hits. A blanket of snow turns the Big Apple into a landscape as gentle and tranquil as any mountain cottage painted by Thomas Kinkade.
By: John Duncan
The highlands of Scotland are rife with rolling hills and wilds to rival the Yukon territory, and make the lush New Zealand landscape green with envy. This drone’s video will inspire you to visit for something other than the whiskey (though don’t be a fool and skip the whiskey.)
Aerial: Drone footage shows total devastation in Homs, Syria
By: Russia Today
Syrian refugees are fleeing to safety away from the war-torn hell in which they live. Aerial shots of just one of the cities ravaged by the strife of their country will show you the living nightmare they’re trying to escape, and tug at your heart strings.
Lake Iliamna Salmon Migration
By: Viral Videos
It’s damn hard to get excited about salmon anywhere but at a deli. Seeing their mad migration en masse is a shocking look at the fervor that these small, simple animals can have. You might just rethink your bagel topping.
By: Kalle Ljung
Wild and whimsical, for a place that is little more than frozen water, Antarctica seen via drone video is a pristine landscape that manages to be as cold as it is inviting; like January Jones.
Shark at Pismo Beach
By: The Stork
Though a little long, this video of surfers blissfully going about their day as a tiger shark lurks near them is more than enough to make you never want to go back into the water. Eat your heart out, Spielberg.
Tiger Sharks Tear Whale Apart
By: Eco Abrolhos
Off the coast of Australia, while horrified tourists looked on, a whole shiver of tiger sharks tore into a dead whale in what amounts to a predator buffet. It’s a gory frenzy captured by a macabre drone pilot who knows nature is harsh mistress.
Nothing more than a test flight of a Phantom drone, the smooth motion video and array of shots are better than can be found in most cinema, all done with the expertise of a filmmaker showing off what these little copters can do.
Eagle vs Drone
A fitting end. That’s a wedge tailed Eagle proving who’s the apex predator off the ground with vicious finality.