Internet Culture

Watch a drone swoop through a bowling alley at warp speed

Hold on to your pins, people. This thing's coming at you fast.

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GIF by Leslie Katz/CNET

Miss going to bowling alleys in person? Lace up your virtual bowling shoes and get ready to visit one through the eyes of a drone. 

Filmmakers Jay Christensen and Anthony Jaska of video production house Rally Studios sent a drone speeding through Bryant-Lake Bowl and Theater in Minneapolis and posted the eye-popping results to YouTube on Sunday.   

It's an impressive bit of filmmaking as the Cinewhoop drone flies down bowling lanes, nuzzles close to the pins and then soars back toward the bowlers. Crisp, atmospheric audio -- of people chatting, bowling balls rolling on wood, pins clanging -- adds to the immediacy. 

Cinewhoop drones are a small type of drone specifically created to capture cinematic HD footage. Because ducts protect the propellers, they're safer. 

That's probably why the bowlers awaiting their turn don't look in the least alarmed to see a drone flying straight at them. They also knew it was coming. 

Read more: The best drones of 2021

"This took a solid amount of planning and flight mapping prior to turning the camera on," Brian Heimann of Rally Studios told me. "The intention was for this to feel more cinematic and voyeuristic." 

In one sequence, the camera swoops above and then behind the pins so you can see the hidden machinery that controls them. That's a behind-the-scenes view I, for one, have never seen. Then again, I can count my total lifetime strikes on one hand.  

"I know nothing about drones, but I am amazed how it could be flown through all those narrow spaces without crashing," one YouTube viewer commented.  

Rally Studios counts adventure videos among its offerings. Heimann assures me the team operated via strict COVID-19 protocol for the production, taking temperatures at the door and requiring masks -- when people didn't need to lower them to down a beer, that is.

A bowling pin getting knocked over never looked this intense.