Timeless Skies

Viewfinder: Above America

Despite the abundance of aerial drone videos on Vimeo and elsewhere, “Above America” exudes an old-time charm. The opening trills of “Ride of the Valkyries”, the celluloid warmth of the colors — it harkens back to the dawn of film, when filmmakers took nature shots purely for the wonder of capturing something beautiful.

That’s because the short film was shot on 35mm film. Harrison Sanborn, a California-based director and cinematographer, dug up his father’s archive of aerial footage (primarily shot on an Arrii IIC) and scanned the Eastman Kodak 5247 film at 2K resolution (2048×1536 pixels), maximizing and clarifying the characteristic hues of the celluloid. The result is a time capsule without a particular year in mind: looming shots over pastures and shores call to mind early America, red rock formations take on an early George Lucas vintage, and views of the Manhattan skyline place the film well before 2001. Home video quality won’t stop improving, but there’s still a certain something about vintage film.