How They Made That Amazing Drone Video of  Chicago’s Wrigley Field

by SharonKurheg

If you ever go to Chicago as a tourist, there are some things you just “have” to do. The Magnificent Mile. The Navy Pier. Tilt (we did that one – yowsa!). The Field Museum. Buy some popcorn at Garret’s (and bring me some!) and an Italian beef sandwich or a hot dog at Portillo’s. Eat deep dish pizza at the original Pizzeria Uno. And if you’re a baseball fan (or even if you’re not), maybe catch a Cubs game at Wrigley Field.

Wrigley Field is said to be one of the most beautiful ballparks in baseball. Built in 1914 (it’s the second-oldest MLB ballpark still in use. Boston’s Fenway Park is the oldest; it’s 2 years older than Wrigley Field), it’s a national landmark that’s stood the test of time (albeit without some modern amenities added as time went on). Some of its history includes:

  • Babe Ruth’s “called shot” during the 1932 World Series
  • Ernie Banks’ 500th career home run
  • Pete Rose’s 4,191st career hit
  • Tom Glavine’s 300th career win
  • Cubs postseason series clinch for the first time in franchise history
  • Hosting the 1947, 1962 and 1990 All-Star Games

As the 2022 baseball season began to wind down, the Cubs decided to provide a visual tour of the Friendly Confines, as a gift to its fans. But instead of the typical 90-minute walking tours you can buy any time, this tour was done via a drone. It’s a very enjoyable video to watch and in the course of less than a week, it’s had over 7.2 million views on Twitter, more than 1.2 million views on TikTok, over 259,000 views on Facebook, more than 156,000 views on YouTube, nearly 55,000 “likes” on Instagram (number of views not available).

It starts by gliding over the “L” (specifically a Red Line train) as it approaches Addison. Then it goes through Murphy’s Bleachers sports pub, through the surrounding neighborhood, through a firetruck window, in and around Gallagher Way, past the famous Wrigley Field marquee, and then up and over the top of the stadium. The drone then proceeded to give a sweeping view of the stadium, then goes INSIDE the stadium’s iconic scoreboard (SO COOL!), back onto the field, through some of the front offices and the clubhouse, into the locker room, past the batting cages and finally out onto the field (following Seiya Suzuki).

There’s also a bunch of familiar audio clips thrown in (i.e. announcers, fans cheering, “Let there be light!”) that any Cubbies fan would know.

Here’s the 4:07 video, in case you haven’t seen it yet:

So how DID they do that?

The Cubs teamed up with a production studio called Sky Candy Studios, a Minneapolis-based company that’s worked with the likes of familiar names such as HBO, Amazon, 20th Century Fox, T-Mobile, Google, HGTV, the Four Seasons, Best Buy Kia, 3M, etc.

The video was shot in late July, using an FPV-style drone with a stripped down GoPro attachment. Over the course of a Saturday and Sunday, the company’s founder Michael Welsh piloted the small drone (it weighs less than 9 ounces and is made to go through small spaces), coordinating everything with the Cubs’ Media Team.

All told, they did 5 different videos that were stitched together with some modern-day “editing magic.” They did about 5 takes of each video, and the prep for them included talking with the people who would be in each shot.

From WBEZ Chicago:

Inside Murphy’s Bleachers, for example, they let patrons know a drone was coming through and they should ignore it. At first, Welsh said people can’t help but look at the camera flying by them, but by the third take “they’re kind of bored with it.”

Another reason for taking multiple takes of the same footage – so you get footage that doesn’t include mistakes. You know, like the time Welch may or may not have crashed the drone while going through the fire truck (at 0:51 or so).

There’s lots of other ways they made the footage as interesting as it was, and why it went viral. They also explain the reason why they DIDN’T use the drone for that last scene with Suzuki as he runs out to right field. Check out this page of WBEZ’s website for some more of their secrets and fun facts.

Really, it’s an amazing video.

PC (cropped): YouTube

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