Love That Beautiful Video of Nature? Thank the Aerial Drone That Took It.

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Aerial drones and nature
Are zebras afraid of drones? Apparently not. ...Good for them.

When it comes to wildlife videos, a telescopic zoom may be the only way to get an amazing shot of a lion eating its meal without actually becoming that meal. Of course, nature documentary filmmakers don’t have to worry about risking their cameraman when that cameraman is a robot. In one of the cooler recent applications for aerial drones, TBS Television Japan and Microdrones teamed up to take awesome closeups of wildlife on the Serengeti. Watch the “Making Of” clip in the video below. As flight capabilities and recording quality improve, these flying drones may provide a new way of looking at nature. And who knows, with falling prices you and I may be able to get in on the wonderful world of wildlife ourselves.

Microdrone’s MD4-100 zips merrily around elephants, zebra, and more in the following video.  I’m not sure what these animals must think of a large buzzing peeping tom, but apparently it doesn’t spook them too much. The sweeping closeups of this video make me wonder if these aerial drones may be able to capture shots we’ve never seen before from helicopters or ground photography. Get close in without endangering your life, or blowing animals away with wind. It certainly looks like it could work:

We’re no strangers to cool aerial photography taken via drones. From extreme sports coverage to daring passes past Manhattan skyscrapers, we’ve gotten a look at some phenomenal first person video from flying robots. This nature video, however, really caught my interest because of the possibilities that will arise as we crowd-source documenting the wilderness. Already, there are a few intrepid drone enthusiasts who’ve ventured into recording animals from the relative safety of a flying drone. Check out this (admittedly much less professional) clip of an alligator, taken with an AR Drone from Parrot and a GoPro camera.

Unlike the Microdrones/TBS video, there’s little chance this amateur clip will win any cinematography awards, but it was taken with around $500 ($300 AR Drone + camera) worth of equipment flown via an iPhone. There are many more people who can afford such a setup than can work on a professional documentary using Microdrones’ more advanced vehicles. At some point aerial drones may become so cheap, and so common place that such flying amateur photography could form a meaningful way to expand our exploration of nature.

Well before then, we’re going to get some truly breath-taking looks at nature through high grade drones and their professional camera crews. If this short clip from Microdrones and TBS Television Japan is any indication, we may be seeing much more of aerial drones in the nature documentaries of the future. I can’t wait.

[screen capture credit: Microdrones]