Consumer camera drones have become incredibly powerful and easy to use. As they pack on more and more features, they have become more accessible to hobbyists at all skill levels.
DJI has been especially active about providing filming and photography hobbyists capable drones equipped with easy to use tools and features. You’ll find settings like Follow Me mode, Tripod mode and Selfie mode that make taking shots and videos from a camera drone much easier for both amateurs and experts.
Combine that with the wide range of powerful video editing tools available and you get an endless supply of pro-level videos popping up every day. Here are the ones that wowed us the most in 2017.
Some are 4K videos. Turn on the video quality on YouTube to the highest setting to enjoy them in full glory.
Showing the True Size of Auschwitz
Just reading about Auschwitz or seeing pictures never really captures the huge size of the concentration camp. Even most videos you see in the news or documentaries don’t portray just how vast this camp was.
So one drone user decided to take an aerial video that would provide a more realistic perspective. He was given access to the grounds early in the morning before visitors started coming in.
The short film shows the vast size of Auschwitz including the demolished gas chambers, the barracks, the large fields and the train tracks. It brings them all together in one sweeping shot that emphasizes the true scale of what the Nazi built.
It’s not an easy watch but it’s an important one.
2D RUN – MMP 3 (Mixed Motion Project)
This was one of the top prize winners at the New York City Drone Festival and other film festivals held in 2017. The drone follows Ilko Iliev, a free runner from Bulgaria as he runs across roofs and jumps from one building to another in breathtaking stunts.
Because it’s short directly from above, the film has a 2D perspective. This tends to distort some locations so sometimes it seems like he is running up the side of buildings.
The film ends as Iliev increasingly grows weary. He starts crawling and eventually collapses in a heap in the street. The music is great too.
For another free running drone video, see this film that was also featured in the New York City Drone Festival.
Australia’s South Coast 7 Min Nature Relaxation™ Short
Nothing captures the expanse and majesty of nature better than camera drones. This 7 minute short takes you on a journey across Australia’s South Coast.
For most of the film, the camera keeps both the water and the beach in the frame, providing a nice contrast between land and water.
The film also manages to include some shots of the sunset glistening off the waters and lighting up the trees inland in a nice golden light.
Overall, one of the best nature drone films of 2017.
Drone movie – in Hong Kong
This film was shot using a DJI Mavic Pro drone. It shows the best of Hong Kong’s skyline, rocky outcrops, the beach and the densely packed skyscrapers. It includes a nighttime shot showing the gleaming lights across the city.
The film mostly shows a bird’s eye view but sometimes drops to the level of the highest skyscrapers, providing an equally stunning horizontal perspective of Hong Kong.
Miami Beach Before Hurricane Irma
Miami Beach is normally a place bustling with activities as tourists come seeking the sandy beaches and sunny weather.
But just before Hurricane Irma hit Florida with devastating force, the place turned into a ghost town. This eerie drone video by the New York Times shows empty boarded up buildings, empty roads with traffic lights still signaling and a general feeling of foreboding.
NURK FPV – Flight of the Year
This was one of the most popular drone videos of 2017 with over 1.5 million views.
On a routine drone flight in Reno, NV, Paul Nurkalla encountered a train and decided to try out a few tricks. The drone sweeps over the top of the moving train, goes over and under bridges and flies alongside the train.
As if that’s not enough, he lands on top of the train, gets inside one of the carriages and even goes under the train. It’s pure skill and one of my top favorites in this list.
This stunning 4K aerial video taken using a DJI Phantom 4 Pro drone. It showcases different nature shots from around the world.
This surreal 60fps 4K video showing nature scenes from Chile and Argentina. It captures shots both from above and from near the ground level.
This 8-minute time span condensed into 49 seconds shows a total eclipse over Arnold, Nebraska. You can see total darkness fall over the village. The darkness then gradually fades as the eclipse passes. One of the best short drone videos of 2017.
Finally, this HD drone video of New Year’s fireworks in London.