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Aerial America is a 50-part documentary series described as the biggest high-definition aerial cinematography project underway in the world. Narrated over a vocal and instrumental musical track, each hour-long segment offers scenes of a particular state's landmarks, historical sites, natural wonders and contemporary life. Viewers enjoy both urban and rural landscapes interspersed with footage of remote areas otherwise inaccessible from the ground.

What makes Aerial America unique is the use of a state-of-the-art HD camera mounted on a helicopter's nose to a Cineflex HiDEF stabilized high-definition camera system that allows for expanded rotation and steady shooting even in difficult weather conditions. In addition, Camera Operator Thomas C. Miller takes great care to prevent the helicopter's shadow from intruding on the viewer's visual experience. Vertical motion like waterfalls is juxtaposed with the horizontal motion of moving vehicles including boats, cars and particularly trains to give an overall sense of America on the move.

According to Director Toby Beach, researchers establish a state's historical timeline and select an average of 50 locations to be filmed. The team also solicits suggestions from viewers about where and what to film in a particular state. Aerial America does not use interviews or archival images; for the human stories, they look for sports venues, current industrial production sites, historical landmarks and recreational activity locations.

While it's impossible to show everything in an hour, episodes of Aerial America strive to highlight each state's unique and important elements. By the end of 2012, segments for two-thirds of the country had been completed or were in production, with the remaining states scheduled for future filming.

Aerial America is produced by Tusker Television LLC, with Toby Beach as Director and Executive Producer. Each segment runs 47 minutes to fit into a one-hour time slot. The TV-G rated show is distributed by Smithsonian Networks.

Smithsonian Channel
8 Seasons, 95 Episodes
August 11, 2013
8.8/10
Cast: Jim Conrad
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Aerial America Full Episode Guide

  • Explore some of America's most fascinating cities and the stories behind their historic landmarks and sites. Follow the systems that keep these bustling metropolis centers running and understand how their communities have responded to tragedy and become stronger than ever before.

  • Fly over the fourth largest metropolis in the nation to discover how a simple trading post on the banks of Trinity River became the start of this great city in 1839. Discover the struggles, battles and lives lost in the battle for Texas to become independent from Mexico and how the United States government protected its new American settlers, living on the edge of the frontier, with an Army outpost named Fort-Worth.

  • See why Boston is a city of firsts - from America's first lighthouse that was blown up during the Revolutionary War to the nation's first public library, public school and subway system. This episode explores iconic sights like Fenway Park and the stadium's famous left field wall, the "Green Monster," and then returns to Boston Harbor, where America's oldest battleship, the USS Constitution, sets sail with a full crew.

  • When you soar above Yellowstone, it's easy to see why it became the world's first national park in 1872. It's a place of staggering beauty and fragile creatures, of stunning granite peaks that pierce the sky and colorful springs that may hold secrets…

  • A flight over Northern California explores ancient forests, timeless coasts, golden cities and the region's pioneering spirit.

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Aerial America is available to watch and stream on Smithsonian Channel. You can also buy, rent Aerial America on demand at Amazon Prime, Amazon, Hulu, FuboTV, The Roku Channel, iTunes online.