Zoom over yacht fires, Chernobyl, and volcanoes in the most amazing drone videos

amazing drone videos
DT writer Brandon Widder contributed to this post.

Commercial drones are like that dog inside the coffee shop down the street. There are plenty of reasons to worry — the potential for fleas and Cujo-inducing bites, for instance — but we’re often far too tickled to give a damn. Despite recent security concerns and sweeping bans in our country’s national parks, aerial drones have still managed to capture spectacular footage from above that was essentially unthinkable a few years ago. They’ve wormed their way through the cavernous ice caves of Alaska, flown a la Spider Man above the protester-lined streets of Hong Kong, and even gone toe-to-toe with Mother Nature (on more than one occasion). Drones have allowed just about anyone with a few hundred bucks to film a bird’s eye view of whatever they please.

Related: Know an aspiring pilot? Bored retiree? Peeping tom? Get ’em a drone

That said, there’s no shortage of drone films out there. Here are our 16 favorite videos, just in case you’ve decided to skip your upcoming trip to Chernobyl or ever wondered what it’s like to hover above a megapod of dolphins from the perspective of a seagull.

Yacht fire

When a million dollar yacht catches fire in a San Diego harbor, it takes only a few minutes before a man armed with a quadcopter and boat begins shooting. However, before you sympathize with the yacht owner, just take a look at how the price investments dwarfs the fire trucks in front of it. I guess there’s a valid reason for switching to GEICO after all…

Hong Kong protest

Millions recently protested in Hong Kong regarding the Chinese government’s plan to increase regulations over the special administrative region near Wanchai. The sheer scale of the peaceful protests are captured in this footage — which, astonishingly, manages to showcase more waving than Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade.

Alaskan ice caves

Firefight Films’ footage of the massive ice caves atop Alaska’s Mendenhall Glacier makes the frozen north seem somewhat more appealing. The breathtaking caves are basically the snow fort you made as a child, except we doubt you had exquisite, blue-eyed soul blaring in the background. Then again, maybe you were ahead of the curve.

Panning over Chernobyl

Modern-day Pripyat, Chernobyl, is virtually a ghost town overgrown with trees and debris of a once-thriving Soviet city. Filmmaker Danny Cooke’s footage shows the effects of the devastating nuclear accident that took place nearly 30 years ago, one that forced nearly 50,000 people to evacuate their Ukrainian home for less contaminated pastures.

Space Needle at dusk

An Amazon employee from out of town shot this quick flyover of the popular Seattle icon. It’s as close as you’ll come to watching the sun set from the deck of the Space Needle without paying. Too bad he later ended up crashing the drone into the Space Needle, that is, before receiving a knock on his door from the local police department.

Lima, Peru

The serene beaches and back roads of Lima, Peru look exquisite, especially when shot from above, at dusk. It’s no wonder archaeologists in the country have begun to use the miniature aircraft to document protected, ancients sites throughout the country.

This ram is not happy

This furry fellow rams like a champ. He’s become a hero of sorts for his anti-drone stance, and to be honest, who could blame him? No one wants a rotating blade to the face.

“Utopia” in Arizona desert

Chock-full of terrific drone flyovers, this short film talks a little about the experimental town of Arcosanti. Italian-American architect Paolo Soleri designed the community in the 1970s as a sustainable alternative to the commonplace, urban environment that was beginning to engulf the Earth. The video may showcase a slew of brief interviews, but it also captures the innate beauty of Arizona’s deserts and harsh climate to a tee.

Flying through fireworks

This clip has two things going for it: amazing aerial footage of fireworks and a gorgeous view of the city skyline at night. However, you’ll probably want to mute the rendition of “Ave Maria.” Just because Franz Schubert’s classic is nearly a century old doesn’t mean it’s better suited for fireworks than other pieces of classical music. Sheesh!

Product Review

Canon Pixma iP8720 review

The Canon Pixma iP8720 is a wide-format, single-function home printer that’s ideal for photos, crafts, and documents.
Emerging Tech

From flying for fun to pro filmmaking, these are the best drones you can buy

In just the past few years, drones have transformed from a geeky hobbyist affair to a full-on cultural phenomenon. Here's a no-nonsense rundown of the best drones you can buy right now, no matter what kind of flying you plan to do.
Emerging Tech

7 drone crashes that will make you fly your bird more carefully

If you've been getting a bit reckless with your drone and suspect you may be heading toward a spectacular crash, then these messy drone mishaps should help you avoid such a calamity.
Emerging Tech

Lidar-equipped drones could help protect California from future wildfires

Last year saw the most devastating wildfire season on record in California. Could drones help? One drone surveying company, Flight Evolved, is doing its part to assist. Here's how.
Emerging Tech

The best drone photos from around the world

Most of today's drones come equipped with high-end cameras, which are quickly revolutionizing the world of aerial photography as we know it. Here are some of the best drone photos from around the world.
Deals

Black Friday 2018: When it happens and where to find the best deals

Black Friday is the biggest shopping holiday of the year, and it will be here before you know it. If you can't wait until November 23 to start formulating a shopping plan, we've got you covered.
Photography

Not just for photographers anymore, Loupedeck+ now supports Adobe Premiere Pro

Video editors can now get physical with the Loupedeck+ control board. Originally for Lightroom, a software update allows the controls to adapt to video editing, including color grading, clip trimming, and navigating through the timeline.
Computing

PowerDirector, PhotoDirector aim to balance advanced tools with easy editing

CyberLink's latest photo- and video-editing programs fix advanced tools with a simple UI. PowerDirector adds Chroma-Key tools and multicam features, while PhotoDirector gains tethered shooting, an updated layer, and Content-Aware tools.
Deals

Cyber Monday 2018: When it takes place and where to find the best deals

Cyber Monday is still a ways off, but it's never too early to start planning ahead. With so many different deals to choose from during one of the biggest shopping holidays of the year, going in with a little know-how makes all the…
Computing

Photoshop isn't required to resize images. Here are 6 ways to do it in seconds

Resizing an image isn't the toughest thing in the world, even if it may seem like a hassle. Here's how to resize an image using six tools that allow you to make quick work of any photo, regardless of your operating system.
Photography

No gimbal required: GoPro’s HyperSmooth stabilizer makes Hero7 a must-have upgrade

Just how good is the stabilization inside the new GoPro Hero7 Black? GoPro calls it gimbal-like, and it works well. Also new: live-streaming, shooting modes, and menus. Plus, Hero7 Silver and Whit.
Photography

All about that bokeh: Meet the Sony 24mm f/1.4 G Master with updated autofocus

The Sony 24mm f/1.4 G Master lens uses primary XD elements at the front and rear of the lens for better chromatic aberration suppression and smooth bokeh. The 30th native E-mount lens, the 24mm also uses a new autofocus motor.
Photography

Joby’s tiny tripods double as selfie sticks and hide four different modes

The Joby TelePod models are more than just compact tripods -- they also double as hand grips, selfie sticks, and tabletop tripods. Designed to accommodate smaller gear like smartphones and lightweight mirrorless, the tripods use a unique…
Product Review

Canon Pixma Pro-10 review

If you plan to put those digital high-resolution images you’ve shot with a DSLR onto paper, Canon’s Pixma Pro-10 will deliver gallery-quality prints. Just don’t expect it to be speedy.
1 of 2