Drone Films Chernobyl's Lost Radioactive City 28 Years On

By Matt Hill on at

Drone videos are the new GoPro videos which were the new time lapses which were the new, well, videos, we guess. Where do selfies fit? Everywhere and nowhere. But anyway, while we're overladen with fuzzy flying film these days as the price of personal drones tumbles, in the hands of a pro, and with a subject of genuine interest, it can still produce magic.

This striking video of the lost Ukrainian city of Pripyat, abandoned due to radiation from the nearby Chernobyl nuclear disaster in 1986, was made by freelance filmmaker Danny Cooke while working on CBS News's 60 Minutes. 

Cooke tells us he supplemented his traditional Canon 7D videography with drone-assisted aerial shots, in some cases eyeing areas beyond where non-flying photographers are permitted to tread. These were produced using a DJI Phantom 2 with a HD-3D gimbal stabilising a GoPro 3+ camera.

While the city's abandoned ferris wheel and decaying signage will be familiar to anyone whose played the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. games, it's the scale of the architecture, and the foliage now engulfing them, that the floating footage captures so well.