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The Year in Drone Video: Real Estate, Architecture, and Cities

An obsession with perspective isn't anything new to architecture, but increasingly, there's a new point of view that's changing our views of real estate, design and buildings. The proliferation of drones, which motivated the FAA to open an online registry earlier this month, has been cited as a game-changer for everything from real estate (more eye-popping tours) and construction (better site evaluation) to architecture and travel. The myriad new business opportunities that these small copters and unmanned vehicles provide suggests that, even with regulation stumbling through its infancy, drones aren't coming down anytime soon. Here's some of our favorite footage of the year that showcases the potential for innovation and inspiration that comes from this relatively new type of videography.

Drone Tour of Frank Lloyd Wright's Hollyhock House
Providing exceptional exterior coverage as well as interior footage showing off Wright's exquisite design, this video showcases part of the future of architectural tourism.

Drone Scoping Out Potential Site of Brooklyn Bridge View District
To illustrate Curbed critic Alexandra Lange's column about the need to establish a Special Scenic View District to protect the sightline of the Brooklyn Bridge, photographer Aymann Ismail utilized a drone to put the scope of the proposal in scale. Development proposals and even preservations battles fought in a dense urban environment would benefit from the ability to give the public a better perspective of just exactly what's at stake.

Site Selection and Evaluation for Milan Expo 2015
To help separate renderings from reality, this overhead video clearly shows progress being made on the site of one of the year's biggest expositions. Offering a clearer view of a relatively complex and crowded building site while the myriad pavilions are still being assembled can only help organizers and planners.

Tesla Gigafactory Process Update
Video footage of the immense Tesla Gigafactory, the electric car company's futuristic battery factory in the desert near Sparks, Nevada, helped fuel speculation and excitement over the project. While drone footage is perfect for illustrating real estate and construction stories, any number of issues, from border skirmishes to the refugee crisis, benefit from overhead observation.

The Brooke Mansion

An example of a what properties we focus on

Posted by Get Bold: Historically / Architecturally Unique Properties on Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Video Tour of the Frank Furness Mansion
How do you find a buyer to lay down nearly $2 million on one of the most eccentric estates ever built in Pennsylvania? For the agents trying to unload the Brooke Mansion, the work of storied Philly architect Frank Furness, adding drone footage to their online sales pitch gave potential homeowners a better view of a home known for its numerous quirks. As Curbed DC noted earlier this year, drones may soon be a standard tool for home tours.


Miami Mat Foundation 24-Hour Concrete Pour
Perhaps the best use of drone footage is eye candy. This video of the 24-hour concrete pour that created the foundation for Miami's new Zaha Hadid-designed museum certainly provides some time-lapsed amusement.


Stunning Drone Footage of Apple's New Campus
On a similar note, this construction footage of the massive, Norman Foster-designed Apple campus puts the company's ambitions for its new workspace into focus.

Video Footage of Chicago's New Green Line Station
Of course, in addition to more journalistic and business-oriented motivations, putting together highlight reels for inspiring new works of architecture, or showing off your hometown, have always been a great reason to launch a drone. This look at Chicago's Cermak-McCormick Station, designed by Ross Barney Architects, showcases the sleek profile of the city's latest L station. Along with the following videos showing off cities across the country, it provides a drone's-eye view of the urban landscape.


Detroit Drone from John Marton on Vimeo.


Chicago: A Bird's Eye View VIII - Summer Finale from Soaring Badger Productions on Vimeo.


Manhattan Beach, California


Philadelphia in 4K from Philly by Air on Vimeo.


San Francisco


Los Angeles from Ian Wood on Vimeo.