This morning I watched a video so beautiful and so perfect in its essence and its execution that I'm not sure I even need eyeballs anymore. Somewhere in southeastern France, a truly brilliant individual strapped a GoPro to an eagle and let that baby soar. I was into falconry as a teen, and I can say there are few things more majestic than watching a raptor glide through the sky. Watching it from atop the bird's back is one of them.
Plus, you get the added bonus of feeling like some sort of fantasy metal badass who rides eagles. Who doesn't want that?
And yet there are a whole lot of animals out there, and just as many humans with YouTube accounts and GoPros. (Or the equivalent. It's interesting how GoPro became a catch-all term for a type of cinematography, like Kleenex but more bitchin'.) For you, dear reader, we therefore must ask: What animal is best to strap a camera to?
I recently finished reading a fast food novel in which a super-advanced version of an F-15 fighter jet, codenamed Cheetah, battled a mind-controlled jet in the roaring techno-futuristic wonderland that was 1996. I mention this as a reminder that cheetahs are really goddamned fast cats, which is why my first thought was to check out some cheetah POV action. Most big cat videos in the GoPro genre involve lions licking the camera, and I was pretty stoked to find one with a camera actually mounted to the cat. But this video mostly amounts to a cat doing cat things. PASS.
Bummed on the cheetah vid, I thought I'd take us to visit the SlowPro movement. This rather earnest video, titled "TORTUCAM GOPRO HD HERO TORTUGA TURTLE," has higher production values than you might expect, with slides, some sort of karaoke version of Smashmouth, and aggro turtle footage. The best part is where the turtle sees the dog and is like "fuck this, I'm hitting the pool, doggie bro" and then ACTUALLY GOES SWIMMING. Plus the song says "boogie down" a bunch of times so you know you're in for a chill ride.
The star of this video, Lily, is billed in the description as a "super dog." I'm not going to argue with that, because indeed this dog goes flying off a positively humongous cliff. I'm not completely satisfied with this video, however, because it reminds me that dogs have such debilitating addictions to "getting the ball" that they're willing to jump to potential death just to gnaw on balls originally designed for rich people to bat around to please their cardiologist.
What is it about people with mini cameras and an obsession with Sublime cover bands? I clicked this video expecting to see a cat absolutely demolish a rabbit—with the rabbit then kicking the hell out of the cat—but instead got an altogether too lengthy animal standoff livened up by music that only people who've previously owned a jester hat could understand.
Now this is what we should be talking about. This is a GoPro promo video that just about everyone has seen somewhere, but damnit if it's not the standard by which all animal GoPro videos should be judged. Dolphins are so cool; you can tell they're mugging for the camera and whatnot. Think about that for a second: Thanks to modern technology, highly-intelligent marine mammals are making better videos than any of us ever will.
This video is not what I'd call "compelling" but it is fun to sort of see the way a rabbit hops. I'm not sure if the "thump thump thump" is the rabbit's feet hitting the ground, but I'd like to imagine that rabbits actually make bouncing noises. Feel free to click through this video, which is probably what you do anyway.
The enduring question of this video is how the motorcycle rider, who has a long history of doing battle with this ram, got a camera on the furious quadruped in the first place. A second, more existential question, was just poised by Motherboard video editor Chris O'Coin: "Why is this ram such a dick?"
You're watching this one and thinking "Holy crow this cow can eat!" and then the Swedish bovine decides to just MOO like a sonofabitch and everybody's laughing. Seeing this one go about its day is great. It just stands there are stares at stuff, then eats, then sniffs, then stares some more. Cows are so crazy.
So now we've gone through all the animal GoPro videos I had time to look for, and we must answer the eternal question: What is the best animal to monetize via jury-rigged GoPros and YouTube preroll ads? The eagle is the best video I've seen, hands down. But I've got to hand it to the turtle, because I could really feel the bliss when it ate those flowers.
BONUS LIST OF ANIMALS THAT HAVE YET TO HAVE GOPROS STRAPPED TO THEM, BASED ON A VERY CURSORY YOUTUBE SEARCH