What does Berkeley on lockdown look like from the sky?

‘Berkeley in Place,’ a short film created by Pedal Born Pictures for Berkeleyside using a drone camera, depicts an eerily empty city, devoid of traffic and bustle.

How will history remember Berkeley during the COVID-19 shelter-in-place era? There will be first-hand accounts, no doubt, and photographic documentation. These days, we also have drones at our disposal — the ultimate social distancing tool.

In regular times, Pedal Born Pictures tells stories through film for clients like National Geographic, World Bicycle Relief, Bellwether Coffee and UC Berkeley. But now, as is the case for many local businesses, the company’s workload is looking a lot lighter. In mid-March Jacob emailed Berkeleyside to say that the brothers were fans of the news site, not least its “tireless” work covering the pandemic for the community, and they were looking for a way to contribute.Jacob and Isaac Seigel-Boettner run Berkeley documentary and commercial production company Pedal Born Pictures.

“We want to offer up our services as filmmakers and wondered if we could partner on documenting these new, surreal times in our city,” he wrote.

The first fruit of that partnership is Berkeley in Place, a Pedal Born Pictures short film shot for Berkeleyside using a camera installed on a drone.

As his company’s name suggests, Jacob used a bike to make his way around the city in the week beginning March 30. He identified a dozen locations from where he launched the drone. (The company has a commercial drone license and adheres to local drone regulations, which is why, for example, there is no footage of EBRPD parks.)

The result is a beautiful, almost eerie documentation of an extraordinary moment in time.

Tracey Taylor is co-founder and editorial director at Berkeleyside. Email: tracey@berkeleyside.com.