San Francisco by air at night is beyond beautiful.
April 9, 2013 5:46 AM   Subscribe

Absolutely gorgeous aerial footage of San Francisco bay (shot in gyrostabilized ultra-high def, so watch in full-screen if you can). [via]
posted by quin (39 comments total) 44 users marked this as a favorite
Wow, that is beautiful. Thanks! I will be sharing with my boyfriend - we met there 5 years ago this week.
posted by foxhat10 at 5:54 AM on April 9, 2013 [2 favorites]

Utterly sumptuous-looking footage.
And the light of fog
blanketing the hills
drifting in at night
through the Golden Gate
to lie on the city at dawn
And then the halcyon late mornings
after the fog burns off
and the sun paints white houses
with the sea light of Greece
with sharp clean shadows
making the town look like
it had just been painted
— Lawrence Ferlinghetti, The Changing Light
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 5:56 AM on April 9, 2013 [5 favorites]

That does look good; the city, the quality of the movie, and the choice of scenes (like the one of the lit bridge appearing).

(Only quibble is the loud and furious string music. I spend a lot (too much) time looking at videos on Vimeo (FPP coming soon on a certain type of these), and over-the-top music is a common distraction. But at least in this case, the San Francisco video didn't have that damned music from Inception which seems to be the default choice of vimeo timelapse movie makers.)

And yep, need to watch this one full-screen, in as high a resolution as possible. Looks great when projected on a wall.
posted by Wordshore at 5:58 AM on April 9, 2013

help i am trapped in a windowless box in texas
posted by Devils Rancher at 6:12 AM on April 9, 2013 [7 favorites]

This is beautiful.

The first time I ever flew in to SF the fog was rolling in over the hills. I stared out the plane window my mouth agape, and the only thing I could think to describe it was, "God pouring milk into a bowl".

I haven't been back to SF in over 10 years, but there are a handful of images burned so deeply into my memory*, I feel like I visit all the time.

* - (That first flight, Fort Point, The Palace of the Legion of Honor, a Gap store at the corner of Haight & Ashbury)
posted by DigDoug at 6:13 AM on April 9, 2013 [3 favorites]


It is becoming increasingly possible to enjoy amazing journeys like this one online... watching the Mickey Mouse Club clips with Annette really brought back to me what it was like to watch grainy, flickering images on a black-and-white television, feeling positively thrilled when the picture came in clearly.

Then I watch this, and my mind is blown over and over again.

Thanks for posting.
posted by kinnakeet at 6:16 AM on April 9, 2013 [3 favorites]

I think they used the same technology to film the aerial shots of New York that are often used on Trump's Apprentice show.
posted by Birchpear at 6:17 AM on April 9, 2013

Wow, stunning. Agree with Wordshore on the overblown, hack music, though. Mute is highly recommended
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:23 AM on April 9, 2013


a) This is 4k, so you need a pretyy damn good home setup to watch this stuff in its true glory
b) TGR does stuff like this (120 second/2 minute video link, welllworth watching), so in 4k gyrostabilized mode it will be so XXXXTREEEEME my brain will disappear into a wormhole.
posted by lalochezia at 6:28 AM on April 9, 2013

Vimeo is by now chock-full of great (and less-than-great) shots taken from rotorcraft, etc., some of my favorites being Leif Kåre Havås' many videos taken in his native Norway. I've rarely seen anything to match the quality of the SF Bay video, though—really remarkable.

On Vimeo, in my limited experience, it's usually a good idea to watch on mute from the start, turning the volume up only when you feel you're missing out on something key. BGM is something the internet may never get right.
posted by mcoo at 6:45 AM on April 9, 2013 [1 favorite]

BGM is something the internet may never get right.

I've been looking at new equipment lately, and all industrial machinery promo videos absolutely 100% require this weird hybrid of sports music/90's techno, compressed all to hell & turned up to 11.

I think the music is supposed to be saying ""LOOK AT ALL THE WORK BEING DONE!" I've got to turn the sound on sometimes, because you never know when there might be a voice-over explaining how their patented de-combulator re-configures the throughput-emphasizer. It's torture.
posted by Devils Rancher at 7:03 AM on April 9, 2013 [2 favorites]

But then, San Francisco by ground at daytime is beyond beautiful, too, so.
posted by Mooseli at 7:03 AM on April 9, 2013 [4 favorites]

I got through about a minute of it before I felt like I was going to start crying, so thanks for the reminder that after all these years I'm still in Exile-on-the-Potomac.
posted by psoas at 7:53 AM on April 9, 2013 [1 favorite]

Wow that music is like a The National song.
posted by ReeMonster at 8:05 AM on April 9, 2013

This is so gorgeous. I first visited San Francisco last December and was taken aback by how visually stunning everything is. I've been back since, and I'm making a third trip in May. I think I've fallen in love with it and I fully expect to be living there within the next year and a half.
posted by Cat Pie Hurts at 8:35 AM on April 9, 2013

But then, San Francisco by ground at daytime is beyond beautiful, too, so.

Yes. When I saw the title of this, my first thought was: "Most any city is beautiful at night by air. But when you get up close and personal in broad daylight, not so much."
posted by philipy at 8:53 AM on April 9, 2013

My new work computer, a 27-inch iMac, just arrived yesterday. This is a perfect video to break it in with. I still haven't gotten to get to SF, and this makes me think that needs to climb the priority list.
posted by azpenguin at 9:00 AM on April 9, 2013

Save up all your bread and fly trans love will be worth it.
posted by ogooglebar at 9:12 AM on April 9, 2013

No Full House house?
posted by dontoine at 9:16 AM on April 9, 2013

Wow. Just wow. I'm also glad that they shot that when the art installation was going on the Bay Bridge because that is one of the things that I love about living in the Bay Area.
posted by Lynsey at 9:35 AM on April 9, 2013

Why did I ever leave there and discover how low the cost of living is in the midwest?
posted by juliapangolin at 9:43 AM on April 9, 2013

Why did I ever leave there and discover how low the cost of living is in the midwest?

Oh, my friend, let me sing you a song of longing and regret.
posted by Devils Rancher at 9:49 AM on April 9, 2013

San Francisco: with a helicopter tracking shot, even our prison is beautiful.

Nowhere near the majesty of this, but I want to show off this awesome aerial composite of Dolores Park I was present for. Balloon photography via the good folks of Public Laboratory. They shot video too, if you want to see what horribly unstabilized low res video looks like. OTOH the whole thing was made with about $200 worth of equipment and the final static image is pretty great.
posted by Nelson at 9:54 AM on April 9, 2013 [3 favorites]

this awesome aerial composite of Dolores Park I was present for.

That is pretty awesome, & it brings back a flood of childhood memories. The best picture I have of my mother from those days was taken on that footbridge over the J-car tracks. I was pretty much a street urchin/free-range kid from about the age of 7, and grew up in the Castro & Noe valleys so Dolores park was about the closest park of any decent size from home, most of the time. There were often drum circles down there in the late 60's & early 70's and I can still hear the congas ringing out through the whole neighborhood on a warm fall day.

I'm about ready to chew my own leg off to get out of this trap. My parents moved me to Austin when I was 15, and here I still am all these years later. I've learned to love Texas in its funny way, as any sane person had better do when they find themselves in a place they can't leave, and for the longest time I was happy here -- I've got the place wired, have good friends, a nice job, a family, the whole thing...

But The City never gets out of one's blood. I met a homeless guy named The Rattlesnake yesterday afternoon at the park, who was living in his car & it struck me a little while ago that if I were The Rattlesnake, I'd be maybe $250.00 away from filling up a tank & going home. At least for a while.
posted by Devils Rancher at 10:21 AM on April 9, 2013 [4 favorites]

Meh, from this helicopter vantage over San Francisco you can't smell the urine and see the trash littering the ten-times patched streets. And The Rattlesnake did come home to San Francisco, as did about 25,000 of his compatriots, and they have nowhere private to shit or shoot up so welcome to the Tenderloin and the Mission and Market Street!

Someone should do a nice aerial treatment of Austin. The river, Zilker Park, maybe sneak in some footage of Enchanted Rock because hey, it's not too far away.
posted by Nelson at 10:29 AM on April 9, 2013

Agreed that this is beautiful, but does not adequately represent the stench of urine.
posted by mudpuppie at 11:35 AM on April 9, 2013

Nooo, I'm trying to buy a house here dammit and there's enough competition already. You all wouldn't like SF, it's dirty and full of, um, yaks.
posted by Blue Meanie at 12:00 PM on April 9, 2013 [3 favorites]

I waited until my lunch hour to watch the video. From my desk in an office in the East Bay, where I commute from my home in the Central Valley. I rarely have a chance to visit the City. Now, after watching this, I just want to go play hooky for the rest of the afternoon. So close.
posted by ogooglebar at 12:50 PM on April 9, 2013

It is beautiful. Too bad it will be mostly destroyed some day by a large devastating earthquake (play sad trombone sound now).
posted by Seymour Zamboni at 2:07 PM on April 9, 2013

San Francisco is better because of people like The Rattlesnake. Hopefully we can get them all houses some day, if they'd like them.

I know, I know, so-and-so aggressively panhandled you, that guy over you mugged you, that man is shitting in the park right in front of your kid and that other guy is shooting up at 6th & mission out on the street in front of god and everybody.

Despite being afflicted with the presence of all this, most housed people in San Francisco are still pretty dang comfortable, all told.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 2:53 PM on April 9, 2013

I have said it many times, but San Francisco is a jewel in the crown of humanity.
posted by feloniousmonk at 3:01 PM on April 9, 2013

Hopefully we can get them all houses some day, if they'd like them.

Hopefully we can get the mentally ill and severely addicted people out of their lives of misery in the streets and into treatment, involuntarily if necessary. I'm happy to pay my share of what it costs.

Sorry to be such a downer, but I just walked down Mason street to Powell BART today and had forgotten how wretched that particular part of San Francisco is. This video is beautiful, but that pan down and across Market is literally right above a section of SF that is misery. Our beautiful city has a severe, ugly secret right in its heart.
posted by Nelson at 3:48 PM on April 9, 2013

I have said it many times, but San Francisco is a jewel in the crown of humanity.

A fitting home for the Emperor of the United States.
posted by homunculus at 9:50 PM on April 9, 2013 [1 favorite]

My favorite part was the shot over the tip of the Transamerica Pyramid. I've always wondered what that light looks like up close.
posted by treepour at 11:41 PM on April 9, 2013

I am going to San Francisco for the first time next month, so this has certainly whet my appetite!

Not sure I'll need to visit Alcatraz now. Just saying, it took up a significant proportion of the running time.
posted by asok at 1:52 AM on April 10, 2013

posted by threeants at 12:05 PM on April 10, 2013

The Rattlesnake, by the way, is running for president.
posted by Devils Rancher at 8:16 PM on April 10, 2013

I'm not sure I've ever mentioned this here, but the first time I ever visited here, my friends picked me up at the airport and drove me straight up to the Marin headlands, where we walked around the old gun emplacements and stood looking down at the bridge and the city, the pale houses up and down the hills, the shining fog. Suddenly the wind picked up and there was an orchestra surrounding us. We wondered for a moment whether a Monty Python-esque God was about to start talking to us through a break in the clouds, or whether the Druids had put speakers in the trees, but the sound modulated as the wind changed, and we realized that the bridge was vibrating like a giant harp.

That was in April 2003. By the middle of October I had a job offer, and on Christmas Day I'd packed up my truck and started the drive across the landmass.
posted by tangerine at 1:51 AM on April 11, 2013 [1 favorite]

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