Watch the year’s best drone footage — in just 2.5 minutes

Giving a camera wings means creating some pretty impressive shots. And when you get all the top drone video artists together in one place, well, you get a video like the 2.5-minute montage from the New York City Drone Film Festival.

From cliff divers and active volcanoes to a narrative inspired by Ages of Empires and a drone remake of the famous E.T. shot backlit by the moon, the montage offers a glimpse into the 2016 festival for anyone that wasn’t able to be in the audience. And since the tickets sold out in just six hours, that’s quite a few people.

The three-day event was held back in the spring at the Liberty Science Center in Jersey City, New Jersey, and followed by a “Day of Drones” that included demonstrations, drone racing, and a drone battle tournament.

Compiling the top footage wasn’t an easy feat — the 2016 event saw footage from more than 350 entrants from 45 countries. The event included 10 categories, from narratives to the dronie — yes, that’s a drone selfie. While some categories focused on great cinematography, the festival also included a category for technical feats, freestyle flying skills, videos featuring drones (instead of shot with them), and still photos. The Best in Show award for 2016 went to an afterglow extreme skiing video by Sweetgrass Productions.

The New York City Drone Film Festival, the first dedicated solely to drone cinematography, is only in its second year, but that wasn’t evident based on the impressive lineup and big-name sponsors like GE, Adobe and DJI. According to its website, the festival’s main goal is to “to help progress the art of aerial cinematography using drones.” Drone enthusiasts can watch the website for 2017 updates, but expect another big event in March.

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