Flying a drone in a urban area is dumb for a multitude of reasons. It can put the safety of others at risk, especially if you’re an inexperienced pilot. It can crash, be crashed, or even be shot down depending on how grouchy someone is. Or the police might pay you a little visit to discuss why you’re flying a robot around. But sometimes, with footage like this, it’s worth it.
Essentially Randy Scott Slavin just hooked up his GoPro to his DJI Phantom, took off, and started filming. This isn’t the first time Slavin’s explored cities with a drone; notably, he gave it a shot in Northhampton, Massachusetts. But it’s rare to find drone footage of New York City, especially this well-done, even though there’s no shortage of drone pilots in the Big Apple.
Of course, there are a few reasons for that, most of which are good ones for not trying this yourself. First of all, you have no idea what you’re going to run into up there; it’s not uncommon for drones at a certain height to start running into birds and other, ah, “squishy obstacles.” Secondly, filming with a drone can be of questionable legality depending on where you are and what you film; there’s a reason most drone footage on private property is paid for by the company who owns that property. Drone pilots know all too well that the NYPD can hassle anybody they think might be breaking laws.
But, we have to admit, you can’t argue with the results. OK, you can argue with the music, but that’s true of a lot of viral videos. Either way, it’s a beautiful collection of footage that captures a city just going about its business, over the course of a day.
Dan Seitz is an obsessive nerd living in New England. He lives in the Boston area with a fiancee, a dog, a cat, and far too many objects with processors.