Skip to main content

Makers of that bowling alley drone video reveal hardest flight maneuver

Right Up Our Alley

A stunning video (above) shot from a drone flying through a bowling alley caused a sensation when it appeared online earlier this week.

Captured by filmmaker and expert drone pilot Jay Christensen of Minnesota-based Rally Studios, the astonishing 90-second sequence, called Right Up Our Alley, comprises a single shot that glides through Bryant Lake Bowl and Theater in Minneapolis.

The film, which has so far been viewed more than five million times on Twitter alone, was shot using a first-person-view (FPV) Cinewhoop quadcopter, a small, zippy drone that’s used, as the name suggests, to capture cinematic footage. But you sure do need the piloting skills to make it happen.

Christensen worked with Rally Studios’ Anthony Jaska to plan the drone’s flight, which was tightly choreographed to seamlessly fit with the movements of actors — customers and staff — in the scene. There was no computer-generated imagery added, with the only post-production work involving the addition of an audio track to eliminate the noise of the drone.

The result is breathtaking, but how hard was it to shoot?

Speaking this week to local news site Kare, Jaska and Christensen revealed it took five practice runs and about 10 takes to nail the final shot.

“The first few, the timing was way off and we would get to a certain part and the bowler wouldn’t be there, or maybe the drone was a little out of position, so it was cool to see, halfway through the process, how we had to kind of re-structure everything,” Christensen told Kare.

Tricky maneuvers included flying between a customer’s legs and the part where the drone flies from the bowling lane to the area behind the pins — shots that Christensen actually managed to nail every time.

The hardest move, it turns out, was the opening shot where the quadcopter swoops in through the front door after flying down from high above.

The footage does include one crash though, though that was in the script. It happens at the very end of the video as the drone essentially becomes a bowling ball, hurtling down the lane before smashing into the pins.

Incredibly, the device was still in good working order following the dramatic climax.

“It actually completely went into (the pins),” Christensen said. “It’s got this little break on the protective casing, but it still flies perfectly and we flew it right after we crashed it into there.”

Not surprisingly, the film has impressed Hollywood, too, suggesting there could be some serious offers coming the way of Rally Studios before too long.

Lee Unkrich, director of the award-winning 2017 movie Coco, described Right Up Our Alley as “one of the most amazing things I’ve ever seen,” while Todd Vaziri, a visual effects artist who’s worked on the Stars Wars movies and a string of other major hits, said, “This kind of wonderful photographic innovation adds to the language and vocabulary of cinema. Just beautiful.”

Suddenly got interested in FPV drones? The latest one to hit the market comes from drone giant DJI.

Editors' Recommendations

Trevor Mogg
Contributing Editor
Not so many moons ago, Trevor moved from one tea-loving island nation that drives on the left (Britain) to another (Japan)…
The Samsung Galaxy Ring price just leaked, and it’s not good
i saw the samsung galaxy ring what love and im worried about mwc 1

The Samsung Galaxy Ring has been the subject of plenty of rumors and leaks in advance of its possible launch during Samsung Galaxy Unpacked in July. The latest leak reveals the likely price, along with rumors of a subscription plan that may be required if Galaxy Ring users want to use all the health-tracking features.

The news comes from Yogesh Brar, who says the Galaxy Ring will cost between $300 and $350 in the U.S. (or 35,000 rupees in India). Other global prices aren’t known yet, but you can check the exchange rate to figure out what it may cost in other markets.

Read more
Google just broke search
AI Overviews being shown in Google Search.

Google AI Overviews were announced a couple of weeks ago at Google I/O, and they've already proven to be rather controversial. The aim to provide high-quality answers to your questions summarized from the web, but a series of recent X (formerly Twitter) threads show how big of a fail it's already proven to be.

The response that went viral involves a very dubious pizza recipe. As reported, when prompting Google for an answer to the issue of "cheese not sticking to pizza," the AI Overview suggests adding nontoxic glue to your pizza to prevent the cheese from sliding off. The exact words the AI overview gave are as follows: "You can also add about 1/8 cup of non-toxic glue to the sauce to give it more tackiness." Where did the Google AI overview get the info as a source? An 11-year-old Reddit comment from this thread, in what was clearly a joke.

Read more
Windows is about to axe these three iconic apps
A top-down view of the Surface Laptop Go.

Microsoft's upcoming Windows 11 24H2 update will include many new features, including a controversial new app. But PCWorld reports that the following major Windows 11 24H2 updates will also remove three iconic apps you may currently use: WordPad, Cortana, and Tips.

Although each of these are being discontinued, there are some specific details for how Microsoft is rolling out the changes. This change affects Cortana in Windows as a standalone app, but it will remain within other applications, such as Microsoft Teams Display, Outlook Mobile, Teams Mobile, and Microsoft Teams Rooms. Of course, Microsoft's push into AI with a full-screen version of Copilot will take the place of Cortana. This update to Copilot treats it more as a proper app, not unlike the ChatGPT Mac app that was recently announced.

Read more