VIDEO: Drone Footage Shows Chicago Landmarks, City In Retreat

Weeks into the statewide coronavirus shutdown, we captured the city’s busiest streets and iconic landmarks in a rare moment of stillness.

Drone Video Thumbnail
Manuel Martinez / WBEZ
Drone Video Thumbnail
Manuel Martinez / WBEZ

VIDEO: Drone Footage Shows Chicago Landmarks, City In Retreat

Weeks into the statewide coronavirus shutdown, we captured the city’s busiest streets and iconic landmarks in a rare moment of stillness.

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In Illinois, the statewide “stay-at-home” order took effect on March 21, 2020. Manuel Martinez, a visual journalist at WBEZ, flew a drone on four days between March 25 and April 16 to capture aerial footage of Chicago in retreat.

Martinez took advantage of sunny days to fly the station’s drone, carrying a 4K camera, over familiar spots in downtown Chicago, Lincoln Park and Lake View. He even managed to film landmarks — Wrigley Field, Cloud Gate directly from above — that are ordinarily too crowded for aerial video capture at close range.

“As journalists, we see cities at their greatest — and worst — moments,” Martinez said. “The drone project was an opportunity to give Chicagoans a unique view of their city at a time when everyone is being forced to stay in their homes.”

Watch the video here:

Manuel Martinez is a visual journalist at WBEZ. Follow him @DenverManuel.