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Spotlight: A Drone in a Bowling Alley; a Drone in a Movie Theater, and a Desolate City

By David Schonauer   Wednesday March 31, 2021


Time again for our regular roundup of standout videos.

And if you’re a fan of FPV (first-person view) drones, you’re going to like today’s showcase.

Filmmaker and Minnesota-based drone pilot Jay Christensen is astonishing the internet with a video shot at the Bryant Lake Bowl & Theater — a bowling alley, cabaret theater, restaurant, and bar in Minneapolis — using a Cinewhoop Quadcopter, which is an FPV drone that, notes PetaPixel, is common in the racing and acrobatics space.

“There are multiple types of CineWhoop available, some that are just a frame and others with more parts that can get as expensive as nearly $600 or more and don’t include a camera,” adds PP. “Because they aren’t ready to fly right out of the box, there are clearly some downsides to drones like this compared to the ones photographers and videographers are more used to flying. That said, the benefit of these drones is that they are robust, fast, and highly customizable.” And Christensen’s piloting skills made the most of those benefits.

Christensen and his colleague Anthony Jaska shot the video to demonstrate storytelling through aerial footage, notes Fstoppers, adding “and boy, did the team succeed, with the drone weaving deftly through tight spaces and all the volunteers in the shoot showing impressive timing and coordination to bring the scenes together.”

The video required a number of practice runs and 10 takes, after a day of scouting and planning the drone's route through the building. The only time Christensen ever crashed, notes Fstoppers, was the intentional crash at the very end.

Meanwhile, DIY Photography features a video from Christensen that takes you on a dizzying spin through the Plymouth Grand 15 movie theater in Plymouth, Minnesota.

In other filmmaking news, NoFilmSchool recently featured a timelapse video from filmmaker Martin Arnaldo that captures Manila, the capital of the Philippines, during its first pandemic lockdown. “I wasn’t sure at the time what I would be doing with the footage, but I wanted to capture what I had never seen—the densest city in the world, emptied of its cars and pedestrians," notes Arnaldo.

The video was shot from the same location from March to June 2020 (with a small intro from 2016) using two Sony a7R II cameras. The stills were assembled with LRTimelapse 5 software, notes Arnaldo, who finished the timelapse before Manila opened up again in June.

“I put the film away, unable to watch it—until I realized about a month ago that it was going to be one year since I had shot it,” he notes, adding, “I was uneasy watching it again, but it helped me rediscover those very first moments when the pandemic had hit us with all its force.”

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